Tim Ho Wan, the world’s cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant, finally opens a franchise in the CBD today – almost a year later than planned.

It’s nothing like the hole-in-the-wall that first opened in Hong Kong in 2009. The original has a modest 20 seats, the Bourke Street site has more than 100. It’s big and bright, and there are buttons on every table for you to press when you want to call your waiter over.

But although it’s a larger operation the essence is the same. Like in Hong Kong the dim sum here is made to order. All the signature menu items are there too, including Tim Ho Wan’s famous barbeque pork buns, which are stuffed with char siu pork and baked (rather than steamed) until golden. At just $7.80 for three you’re unlikely to find Michelin-quality food for less.

Other standouts include the pan-fried turnip cake; light and airy spring rolls stuffed with egg white; and slippery pork and shrimp siu mai topped with an umeboshi plum (a small salty, pickled plum). There are larger dishes, too, including congee, and rice with beef and fried egg.

Chef Mak Kwai Pui was awarded a Michelin star for Tim Ho Wan a year after it first opened in Mong Kok, Hong Kong. Now, there are more than 20 outlets across Asia and Australia, including three in Sydney that opened last year.

Tim Ho Wan
206 Bourke Street, Melbourne

Daily, 10am–10pm