International dim sum specialists Tim Ho Wan open their first-ever California location at Irvine’s Diamond Jamboree Shopping Center—also the first U.S. location to offer a dedicated takeout window. A grand opening ceremony with a lion dance and ribbon cutting took place on May 18 at 5 p.m., based on a time and date on the Chinese lunar calendar predicted to bring good fortune to the restaurant. In the interim, soft opening hours are 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m. (12 a.m. Friday).
What began 10 years ago as a humble, 20-seat restaurant in Hong Kong has become a worldwide sensation known for authentic Cantonese dim sum in modern, convivial surroundings. Founded by chefs Mak Kwai Pui and Leung Fai Keungin 2009, the original Hong Kong location earned a Michelin star within its first year of operation and gained a cult following as the world’s cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant at the time.
ALL THAT AND DIM SUM
Tim Ho Wan’s signature dim sum-focused menu features a variety of pan-fried, baked and steamed specialties, all of which are handmade to order using fresh ingredients. Items exclusive to the California market include Shrimp Toast and Deep-Fried Bean Curd with avocado, shrimp and golden chive. Other highlights include Baked BBQ Pork Buns, Steamed Shrimp Dumplings (Har Gow), Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf, Pan-Fried Turnip Cake and Steamed Rice Rolls with BBQ pork, minced beef, or shrimp and Chinese chives.
Situated at the front of the restaurant, Tim Ho Wan Irvine’s takeout window offers a selection of the brand’s most popular dishes to-go, with a glass-enclosed dumpling-making station giving a peek into the kitchen.
Beverage options include signature slushes, premium teas, draft beers and eco-friendly wines. Two flavors of privately labeled sake are scheduled to launch this summer.
THE OPENING SET
Designed by Hajime Nakajima of HWG Group, the 6,000-square-foot restaurant seats up to 125 guests with an expansive dining room, 12-seat bar and three private dining rooms accommodating parties of various sizes. Lucky Cantonese colors pop against light wood flooring and white walls, while an emerald green lattice ceiling and tiles embossed with Tim Ho Wan’s golden yellow emblem juxtapose with red leather booths, overlooked by watercolor paintings of Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour.
Tim Ho Wan Irvine does not accept reservations; however, a waitlist is available via the Yelp app.
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