Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Wed February 17 2016

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  • Worldwide Scott | February 17, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    Adventures in Street Eats: Hong Kong's Famous Tim Ho Wan

    Adventures in Street Eats: Hong Kong's Famous Tim Ho Wan

    Photos by Worldwide Scott

    While dim sum might not technically be “street food” in the strictest interpretation of the word — it's not typically sold on the actual streetside — it is cheapish, delicious, and fun, shareable food of everyday people, so I say it counts. Plus, every dim sum restaurant I have ever been to has been located on or directly near a street, so, there you go.

    For the uninitiated, dim sum is basically a sensational bite-sized smorgasbord of small Chinese dishes, many of them steamed like dumplings and soft buns. I know some foodie somewhere will probably kill me for saying this, but just think of it as "Chinese tapas."

    In Hong Kong, there is one name that stands above the crowd in the world of dim sum: Tim Ho Wan.

    Founded by a former chef at the Michelin-starred Four Seasons, Tim Ho Wan is a simple, small eatery that only holds around two-dozen people. A no frills kind of place for sure. With that in mind, it came as a surprise to many that it was awarded at Michelin Star of its own in 2010, and soon earned the nickname of the "World's Cheapest Michelin-Starred Restaurant."

    READ MORE: 6 Things To Do On A Quick Trip To Hong Kong

    While already grabbing headlines for its grub, this catapulted Tim Ho Wan into the street food stratosphere. Soon, everyone and their brother who had a TV food program was showing up, extolling its virtues to the foodie world, soon forcing the eatery to open multiple locations.

    Some arrive in Hong Kong with the thoughts of taking a harbor cruise, still others dream of watching the skyscrapers light up each night for their laser show or visiting Victoria Peak. We showed in this electric metropolis up with one thing on our mind: getting Tim Ho Wan's dim sum in our belly, and quick.

    Our first day in Hong Kong, we chose to go to the original Tim Ho Wan location in Mongkok (it has since moved) around lunch time, and were met be massive lines outside the establishment. This was a good thing though, because it gave us time to gather our wits and decide on what we wanted to order. You see, when we turned our name in, we were given a menu with check mark boxes for us to fill out while we waited. This way when we sat down, the dim sum could immediately be ordered.

    We scanned the menu posted on the walls outside, trying to guess at what would be good, huddling with other waiting tourists as well. "I read a blog where they said the pork buns are divine!" one would suggest, while another declared, "Bourdain says he'd kill a man for the turnip cake."

    READ MORE: Virtual Tour Takes You Into Hong Kong's Past

    Once called, we sat down inside Tim Ho Wan and presented our checked off menu to the waitress. She reviewed our choices, nodded as if to indicate that we chose well — or was she laughing at us? Oh well, we would have to wait until the dim sum was delivered to know for certain.

    When the dim sum came to the table, it was a glorious feast, living up to every bit of hype we had read. Soft buns stuffed to hilt with sugary, smoky barbecued pork ever-so-lightly crunched on the outside before revealing their hidden treasure. Shrimp and pork dumplings produced juices that danced in your mouth for minutes.

    We had chosen well, and we liked Tim Ho Wan so much, we came back again a couple nights later. If you're in Hong Kong, I recommend you do the same.

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Worldwide Scott The Adventures of Worldwide Scott

Worldwide Scott Born in the U.S.A like Springsteen but trying to see the world like Pitbull, Worldwide Scott is the voice behind the hard-hitting travel site of the same name. Employing a groundbreaking strategy of visiting destinations, coming home, and then writing things about them on the internet, Worldwide Scott only tackles the tough questions that other writers wouldn't dare touch: Is travelling fun? Are there pretty places in the world? Do people in other countries wear clothes? Does Europe really exist? And if so, what's the beer like there? Stick around, he's going places.
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