Lonely Planet Writer

The world’s cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant has just opened an outpost in NYC

New York City is home to dozens of Michelin-starred restaurants, none of which would be considered budget-friendly, but last Friday the cheapest restaurant to earn a Michelin star opened its first U.S. location in the East Village neighbourhood. Tim Ho Wan will serve its celebrated dim sum during the soft opening, with a grand opening to follow on  18 January, 2017.

Crowds eat at Tim Ho Wan in Hong Kong, the restaurant is the world's cheapest Michelin star restaurant.
Crowds eat at Tim Ho Wan in Hong Kong, the restaurant is the world’s cheapest Michelin star restaurant. Image by Getty Images

Founded in Hong Kong by Chefs Mak Kwai Pui and Leung Fai Keung, Tim Ho Wan first opened in 2009 and drew the attention of the famed French guide the same year. New York City marks the 45th location worldwide, with outposts across Southeast Asia, Taiwan, Macau, and Australia.

Tim Ho Wan working in the kitchen of his Michelin Star Dim Sum restaurant
Tim Ho Wan working in the kitchen of his Michelin Star Dim Sum restaurant Image by Getty Images

Handmade dim sum like BBQ pork buns, steamed egg cake, and pan-fried turnip cake are on the menu, as well as some unique-to-NYC dishes, including deep fried vegetable spring roll and French toast with custard filling.

Not to be outdone by the wide range of food options, the beverage menu counts six premium hot teas (jasmine pearl, oolong, lychee black) as well as a mango slushie, beer and wine.

New York City seemed to be a natural fit for their U.S. debut. “We’ve decided to bring our dim sum to the East Village because of its diversity, energetic environment, and accessibility—qualities that we want to reflect in our New York and first U.S. location,” Mak Kwai Pui said in a statement. “Tim Ho Wan’s fast-paced atmosphere is the perfect match for the city that never sleeps,” added Leung Fai Keung.

In the short time since opening, Tim Ho Wan has attracted hordes of hungry New Yorkers waiting in multi-hour lines. It just may be worthwhile, though, since nothing on the menu costs more than $5.50. (i.e. the approximate cost of two bites of dessert in any of the city’s other Michelin-starred restaurants.)