Who doesnt know what the above is? Hopefully, most Hong Kong residents do know it represents the quintessential Hong Kong dish, Dim Sum (點心) and for the more local crowd it is referred to as Yum Cha (點心). What started of as breakfast dishes, has now evolved into an art of eating small dishes alongside a cup of Chinese tea. Team LocalHood took the opportunity to look for some local Dim Sum places, some more local than the others.
1. Sun Hing Dim Sum: Eating the local way
Address: Shop C, G/F, 8 Smithfield Road, Kennedy Town
A local Dim Sum joint in the heart of Kennedy Town, one might say a hole in the wall. For a true Hong Kong style Dim Sum experience, one should definitely visit this establishment.
Visited by locals and foreigners alike, with a long queue outside this tiny place, it is an experience not to be missed. Opened till the wee hours late at night, don’t be expecting a serene breakfast atmosphere before stepping in here. All ready with my hand tissue in my pocket and mindful of practicing my “Cantonese” ordering skills, I lined up with with my local friend, who did rescue me when I needed help!
Stepping in, I was welcomed with tables and chairs packed from wall to wall.
Just as we are done scanning the leavehomesafe app and were about to grab our seat, the “waitress” asked us , “飲咩茶” which literarily means “What tea would you like to drink?”, and be prepared to answer this quick :). Sun Hing doesn’t provide a menu, they usually just shout out the dim sum type as it’s carried from the kitchen to the main table, as everything is made fresh and quick. Be prepared to react quick to get what you like and to use all of your senses, sense of sight, sound and the two most important ones for this trip, smell and taste.
Their dim sum selection had the usual Char Siu Bao (點心), Haa Gaaw (蝦餃) and not forgetting everyone’s favourite, Custard Bun (奶皇包) and some other new dim sum selection that I have never seen, with really affordable prices, Sun Hing is definitely the place to go for a very local Hong Kong experience.
2. Po Lin Yuen: Vegetarian Dim Sum experience
Address: G/F, 308 Queen's Road West, Sai Ying Pun,
I have been in and around Sai Ying Pun since I've been in Hong Kong which is about a decade. I regret having wasted so mush of time before being introduced to this gem of a dim sum place. Now it is my go-to dim sum place...and im not even vegetarian!!
If you go only by looks, then we suggest you avoid Po Lin Yuen. However, if you like to try out new local eateries or are a vegetarian and want to discover some dim sum then you'll love Po Lin Yuen. It has a huge range of vegetarian dim sum, as well as a large selection of main dishes, all of their food is super-fresh. Lastly and importantly this place is CLEAN!
You are sure to be surrounded by locals in the neighboring tables. Isn't that the best guage of the authenticity and tastefulness of the food? Don't take our word for it. Go check it out yourself.
3. Madame. Fu: A great place to celebrate with Dim Sum
Address: 3/F, Barrack Block, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central
A dear friend wanted to invite me to lunch. I was feeling like dim sum so she suggested Grand Café at Madame Fu “with a nice atmosphere and posh dim sum lunch set”. Hinting I had to make an effort to dress up.
Madame Fu, for those like me who didn’t know, is a relaxed, stylish but not in-the-face restaurant, serving a modern take on Cantonese cuisine with selected signature dishes from the Northern provinces and a healthy choice of the local dim-sum favorites.
“Touch the heart” is the literal translation of dim sum. And my heart was more than ready for getting slathered.
It was a very hot September day. As, I entered the Grand Café, I was hit by a sudden breeze of color and gaiety. I felt happy. Must have been the anticipation of eating my favorite local delight in an amply sized restaurant, tastefully decorated with colorful balls all over.
We selected a-la-carte menu over a free flow dim sum lunch option.
My friend ordered a selection of dim sum each with different fillings: Pork and Truffle oil soup dumplings (Xiaolongbao), scallions pancakes, shrimps in hand-rolled rice flour sheet, vegetarian mixed mushrooms in deep fried tofu sheet.
I order what I know best: wine. A decent glass of Red.
The assortment of dim sum was ideal to get a good taste of different fillings of Dim Sum. Each dish was tastier than the other, my absolute favorite being dim sum with shrimps –light and fresh. It’s a delicate dish which packs a punch and full of flavour. My friend’s preference was the char siu, which was tender and super tasty.
The truffle dim sum I must say was a bit disappointing. I love truffle and I couldn’t get a taste of it!!
The wine was a Pinot Grigio 2018 from Italy. Delicioso…marrying perfectly with our dim sum assortment!!
We had classic coconut balls with sesame seed paste, for dessert.
Excellent choice to end a great meal I was having in the company of a lovely friend.
4. Man Mo Dim sum: A trendy dim sum place in Sheung Wan
Address: G/F, Hollywood Centre, 233 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan
I have been to this restaurant a couple of times- mostly for lunch. Its is a dependable one for having a stylish, dim sum lunch or dinner.
Again, this place gives a modern twist to the traditional dim sum. Interestingly I learnt that the entrepreneur chef-owner of this trendy restaurant, the Swiss-born Nicolas Elalouf, doesn't want to be called a "chef". Surprising don’t you think for errrr….a chef!!
Anyway, moving forward, the restaurant is perfectly located on Hollywood road, Sheung Wan, minutes away from Man Mo temple and a short walk to Central main area.
This place offers a good variety of dishes, great service and a good value wine list served in a lovely environment, chilled and casual.
For a dim sum restaurant, I was actually quite amazed with their wine list! When I last went there with my partner, we felt in the mood for a cocktail- Torino Milano which was not on the list. We appreciated the fact that the manager, who seemed to be also the barman, obliged by concocting a good drink for us.
For starters, I made a great discovery of a exquisite, roasted snow peas. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the exact name of the dish and it was not in the on-line menu either. These roasted snow-peas already had me sold!
The food that followed was pretty good too: The sea bass dumpling and the Tom Yum Xiao Long Bao with tasty broth, were both good and very melt-in-the-mouth. The goats cheese spinach dumpling was lightly pan fried, tasty and well presented. The fois gras Xiao Long Bao was an explosion of flavours filling up your mouth. The portion of duck fried rice was largely enough for 2.
Only comment was that it’s not cheap. We were told there is no set lunch.
For those dim sum lovers like me, it might be worth it when you want more than just a regular dim sum for a meal.
On top of these three places that team LocalHood had the chance to visit, there are a few more Dim Sum restaurants around town that we do wish to recommend.
Dim Sum Library, Admiralty (https://dimsumlibrary.com.hk/experience)
Dim Sum Square, Sheung Wan (https://www.openrice.com/en/hongkong/r-dim-sum-square-sheung-wan-hong-kong-style-dim-sum-r161371)
Luk Yu, 24 Stanley Street, Central