Tim Ho Wan – Waikiki, HI

I like to think that when I try new restaurants, I can let you folks know if it’s good or not to save you time. Well, let me save you some time. I don’t think Tim Ho Wan is worth it. There’s a bit of hullabaloo because they are a Michelin-star restaurant. Does that apply to all their chain restaurants too? Not too sure…when I visited Hong Kong in December 2017, I got to try them for the first time: click here for that post. They pride themselves on being the most affordable michelin-star dining experience, I don’t think that translates too well in Hawaii. I’m sure the rent they pay here is high, I personally don’t think the dim sum is that great. You can get better in Chinatown. And guess what? Hot tea, it costs $1.50 PER HEAD. When is the last time you heard a Chinese restaurant charging for hot tea? I was a bit perturbed by that. Well, let’s get to the pictures!

A nice pictorial of some menu items (actually this is almost all the menu items)

Full Menu – You mark off what items you want (click on the picture for full size photo)

Steamed Rice with Pork Spare Rib and Chicken Feet • $5.25

Would the description be better described as Steamed Rice with Pork Spare Ribs and Chicken FOOT? Haha, yes, just one foot. I do actually eat chicken feet dim sum…but restaurants usually cut the nails off. That’s a bit off-putting. This dish was just okay, I was hoping for a deeper black bean flavor on the spare ribs – just a real basic bowl.

Steamed Shrimp Dumplings (Har Gow) • $5.25

Again, another basic dish. I thought it was good, but not $5.25 good. They have a nice skin (pi) for their dumplings though.

Steamed Pork Dumplings with Shrimp (Siu Mai) • $5.25

Okay, I didn’t realize it when I was dining there but it’s looking like each dish is at least $5 each. This was just alright, once again, I prefer the siu mai in our Chinatown restaurants. I feel like the good restaurants in Chinatown have perfected the recipe with juicy morsels of the pork, shrimp, mushrooms that are chunked so I can savor each ingredients with each bite. This one just mixes everything a little too well…with each bite becoming a bit non-descript in textures.

Steamed Shrimp and Chives Dumplings • $5.00

This was one of the better dishes, I really enjoy the skin they make for their dim sum. Look at how translucent that skin is! Perfectly soft, almost melt in your mouth kine skin, I would recommend this dish.

Steamed Rice Roll stuffed with Mince Beef • $5.50

Another dish that was average but not bad. Once again, they make some really soft noodles and so it was enjoyable but not memorable.

Baked BBQ Pork Buns • $5.75

I confess, I’m not a big bao person. Not a fan of char siu bao and if I am, it’s definitely baked over steamed. These buns are supposed to be one of their specialties and I can see why. None of my dining companions wanted to eat it (man, baos get a bad rap huh?). I just had to try the buns so I had to order it…and had to eat it all. Well, it was pretty good! The buns are so light and crispy and flaky, which was messy to eat but so nice to eat fresh. The filling is very saucy and a bit sweet, I think I enjoyed the flakiness of the bun coupled with the saucy char siu. I definitely recommend at least trying this if you’re at Tim Ho Wan!

Gochi Grill – Honolulu, Hawaii

Hey folks! Sorry for the unannounced and unexpected blog break, I guess I just needed a bit of time to relax. So…these food posts are a few weeks old! Although Gochi Grill is still considered a new restaurant! I was coordinating a quick order and I kept calling this a Korean restaurant. I don’t know why! It’s not. It’s more of a fusion Japanese/local plate lunch joint. I guess Gochi reminds me a bit of a Korean word and got mixed up from there. I think Gochi Grill is like a more high-end lunch plate. Things may have changed since I’ve written this…their take-out containers are NICE. Like, take home and wash it to reuse kine nice. They are located in downtown so there is absolutely no parking, I did a drive-by pick-up with a friend. They were apparently very busy…and while they have a phone number, they don’t answer it nor do they take lunch orders. Ha! Just like Tsukenjo, phone number that doesn’t work. If you find yourself in downtown, give them a try! They really put a lot of little touches in to make it delicious.

Gochi Lunch Set • $13.50
grilled chicken teriyaki with ginger scallion, yuzu miso salmon, okahara fried noodles, tofu salad and sushi

This lunch set wasn’t mine, but sounds ono yeah? Well, I’ve heard from two different people that the salmon is kind of mushy. I don’t know how to feel about that….better than dry? And they never got sick…so maybe that’s good?

Chicken Katsu • $10.50
brined chicken thighs, cocktail katsu sauce, shaved cabbage, rice and mac salad

Seared Meatloaf • $10.50
slow roasted and seared, with a truffle mushroom gravy, croquette, wilted kale, rice and mac salad

I had to get this. Meatloaf is totally my feel good plate lunch, and how can you go wrong with this description? The meat loaf tasted great, didn’t get too much truffle taste but I enjoyed it anyway. Their mac salad is good, not too mayonnaise-y and they add a nice tsukemono-ish veggie crunch to it. I would get this again.

Zaru Saimin • $7.00
fresh okahara saimin, cold truffled tsuyu, choi sum, hard boiled egg (no gray ring, yes!), tsukemono, green onion

Another dish I tried, I was in a truffle mood and wanted to give this a try. How was it? Well, I could taste the truffle in the dressing. Was it good? Eh…it was just okay. Tasted good but nothing memorable, I wouldn’t get this again.