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World’s cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant, Tim Ho Wan, coming to New York

A look inside the famous char siu bao.
Photograph: Courtesy tablehopper.com. A look inside the famous char siu bao.

Anyone who has ventured to Hong Kong should be more than familiar with the crave-inducing dim sum at Tim Ho Wan, which has five locations. And now the Village Voice reports that the beloved dim sum house is opening a location in New York—in the former East Village Spice location at Fourth Avenue and 10th St, to be exact. Set your (hopeful) opening watch for September.

Tim Ho Wan's Sham Shui Po outpost is a humble place, packed with diners using a tiny golf pencil to select dumplings and other delicacies from a paper menu. The restaurant staff—outfitted in lime green polo shirts—hustle around the restaurant, feeding the hungry masses. It’s a far cry from the typical Michelin-starred restaurant (no vintage French wine or Frette napkins here), but the quality of the made-to-order dim sum is what Tim Ho Wan is known for. Plus, the prices are incredibly affordable considering the work and quality that go into each exquisite bite; we’re talking less than $5 for many of the dumplings and dishes. That's also why there are typically two- to three-hour waits outside for a table, with many visitors to Hong Kong putting this place at the top of their hit list. (Expect the same in NYC, especially in the weeks after the new outpost opens.)

Chef-owner Mak Kwai Pui is renowned for making one of the best baked char siu bao (barbecue pork bun) in town, with a flavorful caramelized roasted pork filling encased in a pillowy, golden bun with a sweet, crumbly topping. Most people want to eat three each—to start. 

Other trademark dishes include their cheung fen (rice noodle/vermicelli roll) filled with your choice of meat, glutinous rice in a lotus leaf, steamed egg cake, pan-fried turnip cake, har gow, and egg roll with shrimp and egg white. No word yet about which of these dishes will be on the New York menu, but the chain is on the hunt for a noted New York dim sum chef who knows the local market well.

Tim Ho Wan has locations around the world, including Melbourne, Bangkok, Jakarta, and Taipei, but this will be the first U.S. location. Release the dumplings!

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