“It’s a one-star restaurant – just not the Michelin type.”
(OC Register, July 2019)

Tim Ho Wan restaurants in the U.S. are operated by WDI Group of Japan. (WDI does not operate the Tim Ho Wan in Hong Kong which received one Michelin star in 2010.) Health code violations have been reported at WDI-operated restaurants, including Tim Ho Wan in California, New York, and Hawaii.

New York

The Tim Ho Wan East Village was closed by the Health and Mental Hygiene Department on August 12, 2019, for receiving “47 violation points, five of them critical”, according to a news article (“‘World’s cheapest Michelin-starred chain’ forced to close due to ‘filth flies and mice’”).

On May 25, 2018, this same location was cited for 35 violations, including 25 critical violations, by the New York City Department of Health and was issued a “C” inspection grade. This inspection found:

  • Evidence of mouse activity present “53 fresh mice excreta were observed” throughout the restaurant
  •  18 “filth flies” were found throughout the restaurant, including “behind ceramics/plastic ware storage racks”

California

The Tim Ho Wan in Irvine, California, opened on May 8, 2019, and it was issued a re-inspection due pass by the Orange County Health Department on July 16, 2019.  A re-inspection due pass is issued when a restaurant has a violation that may cause a foodborne illness.

The inspection found:

  • “The high temperature dish machine did not achieve the minimum temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit at the plate level.”
  • “The dishwasher was instructed to sanitize all improperly sanitized utensils.”
  • “Observed the activity of flies throughout the kitchen area.”

The Tim Ho Wan in Irvine was inspected again on 7/23/2019.

Hawaii

A health inspection of Tim Ho Wan Honolulu was conducted on May 30, 2018 in response to a customer complaint. Even though no violations were found, the inspector reported that “management is aware of some termites coming out at night and does its best to prevent them from entering the outside dining area.”

On September 20, 2018 the Environmental Health Services, a branch of the State of Hawaii’s Health Department, issued Tim Ho Wan Honolulu a “yellow placard” for having two critical violations and one non-critical violation at the time of inspection:

  •  “Employee used bare hands to cut and plate rice roll before sending out for service”
  • “Employees using open beverage containers throughout the kitchen”
  • “Raw shrimp was being stored above cut lettuce in under counter refrigerator, and pork fat being stored above cooked mushrooms”

Hawaii Environmental Health Services has also issued three yellow placards to two other WDI-operated restaurants in Honolulu for health code violations.

Gen Korean BBQ, 02/05/2019

  • “Observed dishwasher rinsing gloves at 3 compartments sink after touching dirty dishes, employee then went and touch clean dishes”
  • “Observed food not being stored at 41F or less”
  • “Observed multiple 1 door deli top refrigerators with broken digital air temperature read outs broken”

Gen Korean BBQ, 02/26/2018

  • “Observed plates and equipment coming out dirty from mechanical dishwasher.”
  • “Observed food not being stored at 41 or less.”

TR Fire Grill, 05/24/2018

  • “Observed cooks not washing their hands after removing gloves and engaging in next food preparation”
  • Observed raw hamburger next cooked sausage in 2 door stacked fridge”
  • “Observed no sanitizer dispensed from mechanical warewashing machines”
  • Observed ice scoopers laid on shelf not protected from contamination”