Beyond Pork Buns @ Tim Ho Wan

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Beyond Pork Buns @ Tim Ho Wan

Undoubtedly, Tim Ho Wan’s maiden opening in Manila a few months ago was a huge success with its long lines persisting even until my recent second visit. My first was part of the SM Mega Food Tour.

Tim Ho Wan Megamall

Tim Ho Wan Megamall

Having received a Michelin Star back in 2009 as a hole-in-the-wall eatery in HongKong, Tim Ho Wan has since been known as the world’s most affordable Michelin-star restaurant and expanded to other Asian countries including Singapore, and now the Philippines.

It’s most sought-after dish is the famous Baked Buns with BBQ Pork (P145 -3pcs), or commonly called “Pork Buns“. It’s a soft and crumbly pastry whose sweet and savory barbecued pork in the center reminds me of a good mini siopao asado. 🙂 As much as a lot of customers go to Tim Ho Wan in SM Mega Fashion Hall for the pork buns, the dimsum restaurant  offers a lot more equally good dishes. Let’s go beyond the pork buns and give the other equally-deserving dishes its own spotlight.

Pork Buns

Baked Bun with BBQ Pork aka. “Pork Buns”

Big 4 Heavenly Kings

Not known to many, Tim Ho Wan has a quartet ensemble of specialties which includes the Pork Buns. The other three are the Steamed Egg Cake, the Vermicelli Roll, and the Pan Fried Carrot Cake. These foursome are said to be comfort food classics fit for royalties. The first one I tried was the Pan Fried Carrot Cake (P145 -3pcs). Slightly crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, I was reminded of the Chinese radish cake. If I’m not mistaken, it is a variant of the radish cake. I’m just not so sure why it had the ‘carrot cake‘ in the name; perhaps they had carrots in the ingredients. Anyhow, it was a good one.

Radish Cake

Pan Fried Carrot Cake

This was followed by the Steamed Egg Cake (P85) which is a velvety custard topped with a hints of caramelized crunch. Although I find it simple and plain comparable to a dense sponge cake, it was worth the try.

Steamed Egg Cake

Steamed Egg Cake

Last in the list is the Vermicelli Roll with Pig’s Liver (P150 -3pcs). Inside its soft and silky sliver of vermicelli-wrap is a a tender and meaty slice of liver. This one I highly recommend. It brings back the expectation level Tim Ho Wan has earned from its pork buns. It was the best one among the three, at least for me.

Vermicelli Roll with Pig's Liver

Vermicelli Roll with Pig’s Liver

More Dimsum

Tim Ho Wan’s other dim sum heavyweights we got to try were the Dumpling Teochew Dumpling (P120 -3pcs), Steamed Pork Dumpling with Shrimp (P150 -4pcs), Prawn Dumpling (P160 -4pcs), Glutinous Rice with Lotus Leaf (P190), and Wasabi Salad Prawn Dumpling (P140 – 3pc).

Dumpling Twochew Style

Dumpling Twochew Style

Prawn Dumpling (Hakaw)

Prawn Dumpling (Hakaw)

Glutinous Rice with Lotus Leaf

Glutinous Rice with Lotus Leaf (MaChang)

Pork Dumpling Shrimp

Pork Dumpling with Shrimp

Wasabi Salad Prawn Dumpling

Wasabi Salad Prawn Dumpling

Chef Mak Kwai Pui

Chef Mak Kwai Pui w/ NomNom Club

All these were complimented by a refreshing dose of Barley beverage(without the barley grain at the bottom of the glass – P50).

Chef Mak Kwai Pui

NomNom Club‘s visit was also met by a rare opportunity to meet Tim Ho Wan founder and chef – Mak Kwai Pu. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Chef Mak Kwai Pui began by working for his uncle as an apprentice at a small restaurant in Hong Kong until he found himself in renowned hotels such as Le Meridian, Four Seasons, and eventually went on to set up his first restaurant – Tim Ho Wan – in Mong Kok.

Mak Kwai Pui

Chef Mak Kwai Pui with the Other Chefs

SM Mega Fashion Hall

Tim Ho Wan SM Mega Fashion Hall

He then took his famed dim sum overseas for the first time in 2013 in Singapore and now in the Philippines.

Did you know that Tim Ho Wan literally means to “add good luck”?

So the next time you visit Tim Ho Wan in SM Megamall, try their Big 4 Heavenly Kings (found on top left of the menu paper) aside from the usual Pork Buns. Catch them as well very soon at SM Mall of Asia!

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Jonel Uy is the EIC of and Managing Director of, a social media marketing agency. He is also an IT Instructor at Grace Christian College. Know more @

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