A Hong Kong Michelin-Starred Export Arrives in So Cal - Tim Ho Wan (Irvine) Grand Opening [Thoughts + Pics]



Thanks for the early appraisal, as always. I’m gonna think of THW Irvine as a one-trick pony (baked BBQ bun) for now.

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Sounds exactly like the Central HK location with the hits, misses, and wait time. By my 3rd visit, all I got were the bbq pork buns (multiple orders of it, via takeout).

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The shock of the old! Shrimp toast is one of the gross fried items I always tried to talk white-bread types out of ordering.

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@Chowseeker1999 You are a brave soul for trying this opening day. I was in the neighborhood, but was too terrified of the crowds to even try. Thanks for the great recon.

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Great report! Having been to the Tim Ho Wan branches in Hong Kong Central and Manhattan East Village I think a reasonable presumption is that the Irvine baked bbq pork buns would be on a par with the New York branch. On that scale, Hong Kong would be significantly ahead of Dragon Beaux, which is noticeably ahead of the Hong Kong Lounges and Lai Hong Lounge in SF and Pacific Lighthouse (Alameda) which are slightly ahead of Tim Ho Wan Manhattan, which is way ahead of anything in LA since Xiang Yuan Gourmet closed down and stopped serving their green topped buns (which leaves Lunasia off menu, China Red and a slightly different version at Sea Harbour), which are better than Mr. Jiu’s take in SF Chinatown. Got that?


I visited the OG THW in HK and believe I waited around 1:45 to eat. Thought it was good but not anything better than we can get in SGV. Then more recently, had the chance to visit THW in Melbourne, Australia and thought it was significantly better. Odd, but that’s how I recall.

I would give THW Irvine some time to get their groove together before making a judgement.


I’ve only been to the one in Manhattan. The BBQ pork bun was good, rest of it was not memorable. It was a one-and-done visit for me - box checked. Doubt I’ll ever visit the OG branch in HK, just too many other more compelling dining options.

@Chowseeker1999 you’re a brave soul to visit Day 1 !!!


but it’s RIGHT THERE when you get on/off the train to go to the airport. so hard to resist…

(well not the OG branch but…)

Still NO, limited dining window + digestive real estate, need to judiciously indulge. When traveling I get really pissed off when I waste a meal on crappy food.

Presently on a cauliflower diet due to dining out too often :pensive:


solution is to eat before you get there, snack on some pork buns while you go to the airport, hit up tasty garden for some chowfun while you’re at the airport, before finally getting 1 last bowl of wonton noodles at the b.class lounge.


:rofl: that’s actually a great plan. BBQ buns only I can handle. They do offer a fine bowl of wonton noodles at HKG!! Especially now that Noodle boy has shuttered - nothing stateside that’s decent.

hah, I had to dig out my HK photos

“line” @ Central location

overcooked egg

b.class wontons


I prefer https://www.hongkongairport.com/en/shop-dine/dining/ho-hung-kee at arrival area.


Thanks for the visit/report!!

I think I’ll wait until they have a to-go window for the pork buns


Seriously that’s the only good thing there but also the steamed browned sugar cake is one of their signatures in Hong Kong.

Overall I’ve never been terribly impressed with the locations in Hong Kong but the prices are really good. I would never pay inflated prices here unless someone drags me down there. At $38/pp I’d rather skip the drive and go to Lunasia or Sea Harbour.

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Mr. Jiu’s shrimp toast, on the other hand …

@Sgee @Ns1
Can you kindly go to the Asia board and look at the latest post on HK recommendations? I am adding some of these suggestions but would love your opinions.

Thanks @J_L. Yah what you’ve surmised and what @Ns1 said is what my friends from Hong Kong told me as well (they just go to Tim Ho Wan in Hong Kong for the BBQ Pork Buns and after doing it a few times, they just stopped going).

Not to minimize the rest of Tim Ho Wan’s Hong Kong menu, though. While not as transcendental as the higher end dim sum places in Hong Kong, I prefer it to anything in Los Angeles. However, it’s clearly a one trick pony in the US as the rest of its dim sum doesn’t even stand out in New York, where the dim sum bar is very low.

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