First Hot Star, then Ippudo and now one of Hong Kong's favourite names in yum cha: the enthusiasm of Australian diners is proving a magnet to expanding Asian restaurant groups. The latest to stake a claim Down Under is Tim Ho Wan, which is opening a branch on Sydney's north shore in February.
The dim sum specialist first rose to international recognition when its original 24-seat location in Mongkok was billed as the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world, appearing in the guide rouge in 2009. Since then the brand has expanded within and beyond Hong Kong; the Sydney 100-seater, opening at The Interchange in Chatswood, will be the first outside Asia, with more Australian outlets to follow.
The secret of its success? Perhaps it's the focus on freshness. Founder Mak Kwai Pui, who opened the business after leaving the three-starred Lung King Heen, insists on every piece being made fresh the day it's sold - an increasingly rare thing, even in Hong Kong kitchens.
Though details of the Sydney menu are still to be confirmed, it's safe to assume that the Big Four Heavenly Kings, as Tim Ho Wan calls its signature dishes, will be front and centre. The best known of them, a baked pork bun, is notable for its delicacy. Our favourite, the pan-fried turnip cake (aka carrot cake), numbers among the remainder, along with a vermicelli roll with pig's liver, and a fluffy, sweet steamed egg cake.
The Hong Kong outlets are famous for their queues - something that Sydneysiders, being past-masters of the no-bookings restaurant, should find perfectly familiar. We'll see you there.
Looking for more Sydney dining options? Check out our list of the best restaurants in Sydney.