Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

There’s not much I’ll wait in line for. Even for the hottest new spots in the city. I’ll let the over-eager Instagram crowd wait in line and I know that once the hype dies down, I’ll be able to sneak my way into the hottest spot and see what all the fuss is about.

That’s what happened with Tim Ho Wan, the Michelin-starred dim sum chain. When they opened earlier this year, reports suggested three hour waits for dim sum. That’s crazy – who has that time?

As I suspected, if I stopped by at 4pm on a random weekday afternoon months after they had opened, I’d be able to eat without a wait. And it’s true. I was in and out in less than an hour.

So now I see what the fuss is about. 

The menu from the Hong Kong-based Michelin-starred chain is divided up into traditional cooking methods: steamed, baked, deep fried, etc. I was most interested in the steamed section and had a great rice roll with BBQ pork and delicatly plump steamed shrimp dumplings.

The other steamed item I ordered was the egg cake also known as Ma Lai Gao. This was clearly the first time I ordered this dish because I was expecting something closer to an omlette, but this was exactly as described. The emphasis on the word cake.

Served in a steamed basket (like everything else), this was moist, fluffy, and a bit sweet. It walked a very narrow line between full on dessert and a breakfast bread. But the springy texture and warm freshness made it impossible not to gobble up.

The food here is great and affordable. It was certainly worth the wait and I don’t mean the multiple hour wait outside the restaurant on a Saturday morning, but rather the wait of a few months while I went about my life so that the hordes of foodies eventually moved on to some other hot spot. That they’re probably waiting in line for as you read this. Price: $4.25

TIM HO WAN
85 Fourth Avenue (at East 10th Street),
East Village
(212) 228-2800
timhowanusa.com
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About the Author

Brian Hoffman is a classically trained actor who is now a full-time tour guide, blogger, and food obsessive. He leads food and drink tours around New York City, which not only introduce tour-goers to delicious food, but gives them a historical context. He also writes food articles for Gothamist and Midtown Lunch in addition to overseeing this blog and a few food video series, including Eat This, Locals Know, and Around the World in One City.

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