Tim Ho Wan and Happy Valley Horse Races

If you live in New York, chances are you’ve heard of Tim Ho Wan. Known for being the cheapest Michelin starred restaurant in the world, Tim Ho Wan opened its doors in Hong Kong in 2009 and now boasts 45 outlets across three continents with the first North American outpost opening in New York’s East Village in 2017.

The chefs, Mak Kwai Pui and Leung Fai Keung, opened the restaurant to bring delicious dim sum to the masses for an affordable price but realized they hit the jackpot after being catapulted to international renown when Michelin awarded them one star in 2010, making them the cheapest starred restaurant on the list.

With four locations in Hong Kong, you don’t have to worry about battling lines as you do in New York. But really, when are you ever not battling lines in New York? I headed to Tim Ho Wan for dinner on Wednesday to see if the hype was legit.

As my hotel is in the Wan Chai neighborhood, I decided to check out the Causeway Bay location. I hadn’t yet seen much of Causeway Bay so figured it’d be a great way to see a new neighborhood, eat a delicious meal, and make my way to the Happy Valley Racecourse after dinner…also quite nearby.

Tim Ho Wan has no english signage on the outside of the building. It is surrounded on the left and righthand sides by very similar looking restaurants and it took me a few minutes to figure out which was the right one.

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Looking back, I could have just spotted the ample newspaper write-ups and Michelin print outs posted on the windows…but at the time I didn’t see them right away…

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I was greeted amiably by the woman at the register who sat me by myself and poured me some tea. It was not crowded at all and people lounged over empty plates, chatting and drinking tea, and maybe picking off a few extra rounds of dim sum.

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Once again ordering everything I could fit on my table.

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Starting with roast pork buns. These were unlike any roast pork bun I’ve ever had. The dough was sweet and chewy, almost like a cake, enclosing the little package of warm, roasted BBQ pork. It almost tasted like dessert!

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Royal Hargow – shrimp dumplings.

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Fried Pork Dumpling

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Vermicelli Rice Roll with Shrimp

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Pork Dumpling with Shrimp

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The food was excellent. It came out quickly and tasted fabulous. Each bite was a dainty little parcel of flavor. And so cheap!!!! I would definitely recommend checking out Tim Ho Wan – whether in Asia or NY. You won’t regret it.

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Did you know that horse racing is incredibly popular in Hong Kong? I sure didn’t but here I was, on a Wednesday night, making my way to Happy Valley (I mean, how could I NOT go?? #PSU #pennstateforever!)

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Every Wednesday, crowds flock to the Hong Kong Jockey Club and Happy Valley Race Course for an evening at the races. Appropriately called “Happy Wednesdays”, the evenings consist of 10-12 horse races with about 30 minutes in between, a full beer garden, food stalls, mingling, and, of course, betting. All immaculately set against the skyscraper backdrop of the Hong Kong city!

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Horse racing was introduced by the British when they first came to HK in 1841. Since then, it has grown into a national past-time and a beloved favorite of locals and expats alike.

When the racing started in the 1800s, Happy Valley race course was built in the center of town. With such an early beginning, Hong Kong has had to grow around the race course as the city built up into the metropolis it is today. It is nothing short of uber cool to see the course set against the skyscrapers. Imagine seeing a racecourse in the middle of Central Park!

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Groups of young people drank beers and hung over the fences, cheering on their horses. The f&b stalls slung out beers, pretzels, and other small bite foods. There were even some game stalls, one with a virtual reality horse race with a mass of people eagerly waiting in line for their turn. The bets and payouts were super small which made it very easy to bet on lots of races! Didn’t feel like you were parting with too much money 🙂

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Proof that I did see a horse!

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It would have been a lot more fun with other people to enjoy it with but it was an awesome ambiance and I can only imagine the fun you can get into on a nice evening at Happy Valley Races!

Thank you to the random man who took my picture during my night out at the races!

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