Hong Kong's Tim Ho Wan to open its delicious doors in Kuala Lumpur


The hoardings are up... proudly proclaiming the soon-to-be opened dim sum eatery from Hong Kong. — Picture by Choo Choy May
The hoardings are up... proudly proclaiming the soon-to-be opened dim sum eatery from Hong Kong. — Picture by Choo Choy May

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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 18 — Dim sum junkies can rejoice as they don’t need to make a trip to Hong Kong for their fix of Tim Ho Wan. The revered dim sum masters will be opening their first outlet in Malaysia at The Boulevard, Mid Valley City. Previously, the outlet housed Blu Med Ristorante e Bar.

Tim Ho Wan made its mark in Hong Kong with its hole-in-the-wall Mongkok eatery that earned a Michelin star in its first year of operations. Its name means “add good luck” in Cantonese. 

The eatery is run by Mak Kwai Pui who learnt the art of dim sum from the age of 15 at his uncle’s restaurant. The 51-year-old rose up the ranks and was once the dim sum chef at the three Michelin-star Lung King Heen restaurant. 

Opened since 2009, the chain now has a total of six outlets all around Hong Kong. In the 2014 Michelin guide, their Northpoint and Sham Shui Po outlets have one Michelin star each, while their Tai Kok Tsui outlet has a Bib Gourmand accreditation.

Last year, the dim sum specialists caused a stir when it opened its first overseas outlet in Singapore to long queues. According to the Singapore Business Times, Mak was persuaded to franchise the operations of the dim sum eatery by a long-time customer and Hong Kong television producer, Robert Chua. 

The franchise for South-east Asia is owned by Singapore public listed company, Hersing Corporation, which is run by Robert Chua’s brother, Harry. In Singapore, they have opened five outlets in total. 

This year, outlets have also opened in Manila, Taipei and Hanoi. In the Philippines and Taiwan, franchise owners have indicated that there are plans to open many outlets within their countries.

According to CK Yap from ITF Associates, the interior designers of Tim Ho Wan in Malaysia, their targeted opening date is sometime in the middle of November. In a telephone conversation Malay Mail Online had with Yap, he also confirmed that there will be two more outlets opening at other locations.

These Baked BBQ pork buns at Hong Kong's Tim Ho Wan are absolutely delicious. — Picture by Lee Khang Yi
These Baked BBQ pork buns at Hong Kong's Tim Ho Wan are absolutely delicious. — Picture by Lee Khang Yi

Based on previous experience with their overseas outlets, expect to wait in line for your dim sum fix. The dim sum eatery practises a first-come, first-served and no-reservations policy. From past openings in Taiwan, Singapore and the Philippines, long queues formed once word got out about the start of business. In Singapore, the queues died down after more outlets were opened.

The menu in Tim Ho Wan Malaysia will feature their “Heavenly Kings”, the name given to their signature items. The four items are their baked bun with BBQ pork, pan fried turnip cake, steamed egg cake and vermicelli roll stuffed with pig’s liver. 

The entire menu in Malaysia may follow Singapore’s lead, where 80 per cent is from their Hong Kong menu with the balance being new dim sum creations, as previously reported by the Singapore Business Times.

In Hong Kong, Tim Ho Wan’s pricing is relatively cheaper than other one Michelin star eateries. This may not be replicated in Malaysia. In the Singapore Business Times, it was reported that the prices of the dim sum were slightly higher due to higher labour and rental costs. 

One of Hong Kong Tim Ho Wan's signature dim sum dishes — rice vermicelli roll with pig's liver.  — Picture by Lee Khang Yi
One of Hong Kong Tim Ho Wan's signature dim sum dishes — rice vermicelli roll with pig's liver. — Picture by Lee Khang Yi

In an article by Taipei Times, the prices of the Taiwanese franchise’s dim sum items were 40 to 50 per cent higher than at their Hong Kong outlets, due to the high cost of ingredients imported from Hong Kong.

Tim Ho Wan, Unit 27-G, The Boulevard, Mid Valley City, Lingkaran Syed Putra, Kuala Lumpur. For updates on the opening, follow their Facebook page.

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