Tim Ho Wan: Mongkok vs IFC

I didn’t plan this I swear, but in my HK trip I got to go to two of the Tim Ho Wans in Hong Kong, first the one in IFC and then the original one in Mong Kok.  For those who don’t know, this is The cheapest Michelin Star place in the world, serving dim sum to locals and tourist alike in their small stores.

添好運Tim Ho Wan Mong Kok
Flat 8, Ground Floor, Phase 2, Tsui Yuen Mansion, 2-20 Kwong Wa St, Mong Kok, Hong Kong
(852) 2332 2896

(New Update: Tim Ho Wan at Mong Kok no longer exists.  They are now at the Olympic station, apparently it’s not as good though.  But hkepicurus.com said if you want to visit, you need to walk through the fire escape back doors and it’s outside the shopping mall facing erm… Nothing.. This is the new address:

Phase II Olympian City,  Hoi Ting Rd,  tai Kok Tsui

2332 2896


添好運Tim Ho Wan IFC
Shop 12A, Hong Kong Station (Podium Level 1, IFC Mall), Central
(852) 2332 3078

The one in IFC, I was lucky that I didn’t have to wait for long.  My friend Esky started queuing up at 11:50am and by the time I got there at 12:20pm we only have to wait another 10 mins before getting a seat.

With the Mong Kok one, I was not as lucky.  I got there at about 9:40am for their 10am opening, but the line is already long.  The waitress aid the estimated wait time ( for one person, mind you) is half an hour.  But it was 11:10am before I got to eat my yummy yum cha!

So which Tim Ho Wan is better?


Char Siu Bao @ IFC

I ordered pork buns char siu bao) in both stores.  The IFC ones came out hot, with bigger pieces of cha sius than its Mong Kok (hereby known as MK) counterpart.  The crust is sweeter and the bun is also slightly bigger than MK.

That being said, I felt that the MK char siu bao was more delicately made, the crust is only slightly sweet which is appropriate for a savory dish.  The char siu filling was also tastier but the downside is that these char siu buns are not as hot as the ones in IFC.


Beef Steam Rice Rolls @ IFC

We ordered Beef steamed rice rolls and pork liver steamed rice rolls in IFC, and I ordered BBQ steamed rice rolls in MK.  The steamed rice rolls in both stores were freshly made, with awesome silky textures that a good steamed rice rolls should have.

The Beef Cheong Fun at IFC was good but I reckon there were too much fatty beef inside so the texture and flavours were not as yummy as it could have been.  The pork liver one… Eck, I won’t comment on that because I don’t eat pork liver, but Esky thought it was friggin awesome.

BBQ cheong fun at MK was fantastic.  Nestled inside the rice rolls were flavoursome, succulent pieces of Char Sius (BBQ Pork) and coriander.  The coriander really lifts the fattiness and added another dimesion to the flavours.  I thought I wasn’t gonna finish it, given that there was only one of me and several more dishes to come, but I just can’t help it.


Esky ordered beef balls in IFC, I thought it was once again a bit too fatty and nothing special but Esky liked it.

Also ordered turnip cake in IFC.  Now THIS is a fantastic turnip cake!  Perfectly pan fried so it’s crispy on the outside and FUll of shreds of turnip on the inside, it’s light and moreish.   I made a very hard decision when I am in the MK store not to order that so I could try something else but this is definitely highly recommended.

There are a few items on the menu that are different between the two stores and the following item was one of them.  In the MK store I ordered dumplings and since I want something different from the usual prawn dumplings (plus I don’t eat prawns), I ordered a garlic aramanth dumpling.

Aramanth in this definition is a type of Chinese spinach, which has a subtle metallic flavour.  This dumpling is really yummy and garlicky, the glutinous skin is slightly chewy but perhaps just slightly too thick for my liking.  Nonetheless I would highly recommend this if you wanted something different.


In IFC we ordered Mango Lo Mai chi (glutinous rice balls).  You know when the Lo Mai Chi is fresh because is pillowy soft, just like this one.  As with all glutinous things it was slightly chewy in a yummy kind of way, but my only complaint is that the mango in the Lo Mai Chi is not fresh.  I think it’s made with mango and condense milk?  Not as yummy.

In MK I had their famous Ma Lai Go which is a steamed brown sugar sponge cake.  As you can see in the pic, it has a slightly darker colour than the ones in Australia.  It has a subtly sweet caramelly flavour.  It was so so soooo good, nothing like the soggy ones we have over here.  Uurrrghhhh.  I guess that’s the difference between freshly steamed and being in the cart for wayyy too long.

I guess it’s slightly unfair to compare the two cos I have a few different dishes, but overall I would definitely recommend going to the Mong Kok store.  The dim sums made there are more delicate and tastier.

Oh by the way, the rumors are not true about missing your number and having to queue up again.  Well, at least in Mong Kok they told us that if we miss our number we didn’t have to requeue, but certainly check with the door chick just in case.

A lot of people asked me:  Was it worth the wait?  Well, that’s the million dollar question.  Or HKD$64 (AUD$8) in my case in Mong Kok.  Seriously the food IS fantastic and it IS value for money for what you get.  It is not some fancy yum cha place where your char siu bao looks like a Walt Disney character or your turnip cake to have some gold flakes on it, but what you get is high quality ingredients and a good feed.

If you are a tourist, you probably have limited time in HK.  If you are not counting your pennies I would recommend you to pay double and try some fancier yum cha place you can book and don’t have to wait on a weekday.  But if you really want to come, I would suggest for the IFC store to go at about 11am, and for Mong Kok, go at about 9am to queue up.  Unless you wanted to grab a number, go shopping/ eat something then come back to maximise your time in Hong Kong 🙂

Next tip: if the queue is too long, buy takeaway.  I think the max you would wait is 30 mins for takeaway.

Last tip: Here is how you get to Tim Ho Wan (now can I just say I am sure there’s a better way, but mine has pics!)

    1. Get to Mong Kok MTR station
    2. Find Exit A2, when you get out, you are on Pitt St
    3. See that building with the circle and a cross? Walk towards it
    4. When you get to the intesection of Pitt and Waterloo road, turn left and keep walking- there should be a hospital on your left called Kwong Wah Hospital
    5. At the Waterloo x Dundas Intersection, turn left again
    6. Not too far on your right, there should be Kwong Wah Street- Good luck!

For more yumgasmic Hong Kong eatz, please click here