Update: As of January 2020 the restaurant had discontinued happy hour.
“Affordable” and “Waikiki” are seemingly mutually exclusive. Well, Tim Ho Wan Waikiki just launched a happy hour and it’s pretty affordable.
This happy hour menu debuted Aug. 5 and will hang around until Wednesday, Nov. 27, the day before Thanksgiving. Happy hour discounts are only eligible for dine-in customers from 2 to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday (not including weekends or holidays).
Here’s the deal: Each item is just $5.
You can dine in the cool, air conditioned restaurant or outside on the patio. If you have a go-to dish like those famous baked barbecue pork buns or sticky rice in lotus leaf, you can still order off them off regular menu.
Let’s start with the $5 drinks. The beer selection includes Maui Bikini Blond, Heineken, Sapporo and Tsingtao Lager; they all are normally $7.50 each. House wines include a chardonnay, cabernet and merlot and normally run $8 each.
While this chain's Hong Kong flagship was once known as the most inexpensive Michelin-starred restaurant, dim sum at this Waikiki location can cost $5.25 to $6.50 a basket. The happy hour menu features a combination of Tim Ho Wan's most popular dishes with saltier, fried delicacies that are meant to pair up nicely with beer or wine. I recently got to taste some of the new happy hour dishes at a hosted media event.
This siu mai is one of Tim Ho Wan’s signature items so it’s nice to know at least one of the popular dumplings is available during happy hour. In case you were wondering, the happy hour portions are the same as those on the regular menu.
Succulent and flavorful, these pork dumplings never disappoint. The chili sauce has a nice kick but it isn't super spicy – iff you want to up the heat, you can always add more.
The steamed pork spare ribs is another one Tim Ho Wan’s menu highlight and I’m thrilled it’s available for happy hour. The spare ribs are always so flavorful and meaty. Now that it’s available for happy hour, I get two orders without thinking twice about it.
The deep-fried spring rolls filled with egg whites and shrimp are delicious but this shrimp dumpling fried to a delectable golden brown is a winner. It satisfies that seafood craving and the crispy, crunchy exterior begs to be eaten with any beer or wine from the menu.
There's also a featured special of the month and August's dish is cucumbers with spicy sauce. This will change for each month until November.
So is Tim Ho Wan's happy hour worth it? While you only get about $1 off regular food prices, the drink discounts paired with the dim sum selection gives this happy hour menu a pretty good value. It may not be as cheap as Chinatown dim sum but it's quite good for Waikiki. I wasn't over-the-top full but I left satisfied without a huge dent in my wallet. I don't think I'm going to pay full price for dim sum here again.
The Royal Hawaiian Center recently started a parking validation program that offers two hours of free parking with a minimum $10 purchase at any of its shops and restaurants. That means you no longer have to rush through your next meal stressing about having to pay for parking.
Tim Ho Wan Waikiki
Royal Hawaiian Center
2233 Kalakaua Ave.
Happy hour Mon-Thurs, 2-5 p.m.