Hong Kong’s best: Inside the World’s Inexpensive Michelin-star Restaurant

Image source: flyingfourchette.com

Image source: flyingfourchette.com

Good things come to those who wait. It was what I said to console myself after patiently waiting for almost two hours for my number to be called. The Tim Ho Wan store I visited is strategically located in one of Hong Kong’s busiest places—in Central Station, Kowloon. I’ve heard only good reviews about Tim Ho Wan, but I did not expect to wait a long time to be seated.

I almost leaped for joy when the waitress called my number. I had my hopes up since Tim Ho Wan was awarded a Michelin star. The waitress handed me a checklist-style menu, which I thought was a convenient way of taking orders.

After about 10 minutes, my steamed pork buns and dumplings arrived. It was love at first bite. When I first tasted the buns, I finally understood why people had to wait for hours just to take a bite of their heavenly dim sum.

I spent around 120HKD on my meal, (around $15) including the takeout. Sadly, I was forced to leave the place immediately after my meal because they had to give my seat to another (growling) hungry customer.

I did more research about Tim Ho Wan after that heavenly meal. Chef Ma

Image source: tripadvisor.com

Image source: tripadvisor.com

k Kwai Pui founded Tim Ho Wan. The chef previously worked for Lung King Heen, a three Michelin-stared restaurant in Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong. Even with the quality of the food his restaurant offered, he refused to increase prices so he could deliver Hong Kong’s finest at an affordable price. Tim Ho Wan has expanded worldwide, with branches in the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

The next time I visit Hong Kong, I’ll make sure to brace myself for another waiting session. After all, patience is a virtue, and good food is worth waiting for.

Let’s talk about food and Michelin stars! Follow me, Allie Fremin, on Twitter.

Michelin Star

Merry Cooking! How To Prepare That Perfect Holiday Meal

Now that the holiday season is officially here, I am guessing all of us are busy shopping for presents and attending all those fabulous parties. And for us who are in-charge of whipping up savory holiday meals, I’m guessing, you are stressing out, too, thinking about all the preparation. I tell you, even though I live and breathe stress every day in my work as an executive chef, the anxiety I feel as cook for my family and friends is way off the charts. I don’t know, it is probably because I am cooking for the people I love, and I just want to serve them the best. These people also happen to be my harshest critics. Ha.

So, before we all start suffering from holiday anxiety, I am sharing to you two tips that will help you survive the cooking rush and have a truly merry meal:

  1. Plan, plan, plan. Pretty basic, right? But you will be surprised that most of us forego this very important part of holiday cooking and just throw caution to the wind. While doing so may have worked the last time, believe me, without any sort of plan, something will go awry, and that is the last thing you want to happen. So a month before the grand feast, sit down and write the meals you plan to prepare. Then list everything you need to buy (or grow) and keep that inventory with you always. (You’ll never know when you will have time to shop amid the holiday madness.) Another thing that can help us? Mobile apps.
  2. Have fun. Yes, I know this may sound mad, especially when you are at your wits’ end trying to figure out if you have perfected your granny’s Christmas casserole. But what’s the use really of getting frustrated if that ham doesn’t look “perfect”? Cheer up! Your family doesn’t require perfect-looking meals. What everybody looks forward is spending time together over dishes you lovingly prepared for them.


Hello! I hope we all survive the holiday rush. Let me know how it goes in your kitchen. Find me, Allie Fremin, on Facebook, and tell me all about it.


Fast and Healthy Breakfast Recipes for the Busy Individual

Image source: scrumpscupcakes.com

Image source: scrumpscupcakes.com

When you’re a busy, working individual, all you might think of in the mornings is how to escape the rush. You don’t really think much about what to eat because you don’t feel hungry after thinking about the stressful things you will face at work.

However, your health and eating habits should be a priority. If you think you have no time at all to spare, take a look at these fast and healthy breakfast recipes. These will take less than 15 minutes of your time.

Fruit parfait
Mix fresh cut fruits in a glass of white yogurt.

Scrambled eggs with vegetables
Cut a variety of vegetables in small pieces and cook them with egg as an omelet.

Fruit salad
Chop fruits (leftovers are okay) and put them in a small container. You can have it as a healthy mid-day snack, too.

Grilled cheese
Pop your bread in the toaster with cheese inside and season with pepper. You can even take it to the office if you are really in a hurry to leave.

Image source: cassandrebeccai.com

Image source: cassandrebeccai.com

Plain oatmeal can be boring, but it can be fun if topped with cereal, fruits, and even veggies.

Blend your fruits with yogurt or milk, and chug on your breakfast.

Hi, I am Allie Fremin, and I dream of becoming a Michelin-star restaurant owner some day. Check out this blog for more easy cooking ideas.

Michelin Star

Celestial Dining: Dreaming Of a Michelin Star

Family, friends, and colleagues are aware of my dream of running a Michelin-star restaurant. I believe the coveted top honor is a sign that one has succeeded at the highest level as a chef.

But before I proceed any further, here’s a brief background on the origin of the Michelin star:

Allie Straw1

In 1900, Michelin (yes, the tire company) brothers Ándre and Édouard started the Michelin Guide, a sort of travel guide for motorists who might be in search of places to stay and to dine during their travels. As the tire company rose to prominence, so did the guide. The brothers then added restaurant recommendations, independent of hotels.

Then in 1926, the Michelin star system was introduced, which examined not only the services of a hotel but the caliber of its kitchen, too. Eleven years after, the Michelin Guide was devoted purely to gastronomy. Today, there are 24 guides for 24 different countries. In the U.S., the Michelin Guide was first released a decade ago, zeroing in on New York restaurants. Chicago and San Francisco guides soon followed.

Allie Straw-

Although some of the world’s most famous chefs don’t want a Michelin star (there is after all the immense pressure of keeping the top honor), I continue to long for it. Dreaming of a Michelin star is one way for me to keep honing my skills as a chef. With that goal in mind, I work extra hard in delivering not only delicious food but one-of-a-kind dishes that will make my customers talk about their meals days, even weeks after they had them. So I guess I will continue to wish upon that Michelin star and hope that one day, all the hard work, sacrifice, and long hours I put in the kitchen will all pay off.

Hey there, Allie Fremin here. Follow me on Twitter for some of the most delectable tidbits about the culinary world.


Scrumptious Sicily: A Guide To The Region’s Traditional Desserts

Situated in the heart of the Mediterranean, Sicily’s strategic location and natural beauty enticed travelers from all over the world to make this island their home. Sicilian cuisine has been shaped by all the cultures that have established themselves in Sicily over the past 2,000 years.

While Sicily is perhaps best known for spaghetti, desserts are also a specialty. The following are some of the region’s traditional desserts and their history.


The granita is a semi-frozen concoction of ice, sugar, and juices. In the Middle Ages, when refrigerators were unheard of, laborers called the “nevaroli” gathered ice from mountain tops in the summer months. Members of the nobility would add fruit juice, coffee, and even edible flowers to the ice to make a delicious dessert. It is said that the granita came about as a result of Arab settlers, who brought with them their love for sharbat (sherbet.)


The cannolo is probably Sicily’s most famous dessert, and one of the world’s oldest. It is of Arabic origin and has been traced to the Emirate of Sicily, a period wherein Sicily was an Islamic state.

Cannoli are deep-fried shells of pastry dough, which are traditionally filled with sweetened ricotta from sheep’s milk, unlike modern cannoli that are filled with mascarpone or vanilla-flavored frosting made with sugar and milk. Pistachios, chocolate chips, candied cherries, and other toppings are often added for variation.

Cioccolato di Modica or Modican chocolate

Chocolate was brought to Modica, Sicily in the latter part of the 16th century by Spaniard settlers. Cioccolato di Modica is said to be inspired by an ancient Aztec recipe for Xocolatl. Modern chocolatiers in Modica and elsewhere in Sicily still make it in the traditional way, cold processed and flavored with vanilla, cinnamon, or hot chili peppers. However, some modern candy makers use other flavorings, such as sea salt, citrus, and nutmeg.

Unlike Western chocolate, Modican chocolate does not contain added cocoa butter, milk, or soy lecithin; it is made from pure cocoa. The texture is crumbly and crunchy. While you can certainly eat Modican chocolate on its own, it’s also a very versatile ingredient that can be used for savory dishes, such as rabbit or hare cooked in chocolate.

Hi, I’m Allie Fremin, a chef and food blogger. For articles on Italian cuisine, recipes, and more, subscribe to my blog.