When dumpling sensation Tim Ho Wan opened in Hong Kong, it was a hole-in-the-wall with 20 seats. The Melbourne franchise is built on a slightly different scale: think 100+ diners, big open spaces, and buttons on every table that summon waiters, loaded down with steaming dim sum. It’s a good addition to Burke Street’s Chinatown scene, where you usually have to choose between quick and dirty dumplings (no judgement–they’re awesome) and yum cha-style trolleys, without a whole lot in-between.
The dim sum here is a bit different to your standard stuff. For one thing it’s made to order. For another, most Chinese restaurants haven’t earned a Michelin Star on the back of their celeb-status BBQ Pork Buns. Chef Mak Kwai Pui’s version are baked, not steamed, and come out of the kitchen golden brown and crispy, stuffed with tender char siu and a sweet BBQ sauce. We’re happy to say they live up to the hype. We may have to go back for further research…
The menu isn’t huge, but there’s enough variety for the average dim sum fan. The steamed prawn dumplings are plump and moreish, and the slippery pork siu mai (always the first ones to catapult themselves off your chopstick into the soy sauce) come with a tiny, pickled umeboshi plum on top. There’s braised chicken feet and century egg congee for the adventurous, but we recommend the pork belly bao: sticky wodges of pork belly with a light pickle, held in a pocket of pillowy bao.
Image credit: Tim Ho Wan