Lonely Planet Writer

Dine at one of the world's best restaurants - for less than $2


Next time you've got your nose pressed up against the window of a fancy restaurant, feeling like Holly Golightly at Tiffany's, don't worry. Help is at hand. With a few dollars, you can dine at a Michelin-starred restaurant if you know where to go.

Tim Ho Wan in Hong Kong has just become the world's cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant, keeping company with restaurants like Spain's celebrated (and credit-card melting) elBulli – but Tim Ho Wan sells its baskets of dim sum or trademark pork buns for less than $2 a serve.

To be fair, the chef of Tim Ho Wan used to work at a high-ranking restaurant but decided to open this one to make fantastic food more affordable. But it still brings home one of the greatest adventures of travel, be it overseas or in your own home town: when it comes to dining out, you can never judge a book by its cover. That element of surprise is as refreshing as a cold G&T at a hidden rooftop bar.

Nothing beats taking a chance on a ramshackle dive or a poky corner café, and if the place is packed and the food is flying fast, chances are it's going to be okay. And hey, what's the worst that can happen? You lose a couple of bucks and spend the next twenty minutes accosting strangers with charades of 'where's the nearest bathroom?' Or you come away with amazing memories and the joy of discovery.

My personal favourites? Hutong Dumpling House (dumplings made fresh right before your eyes) and Fanelli's (heartwarming soup on the corner of a busy SoHo intersection).

What are your favourites? Share them right here (unless you want to keep your gems super secret – it's okay, I understand) or find them on our site and post your review.