Are you hungry for some Dim Sum? Happen to be wandering about Hong Kong (maybe in your imagination)? Jane tells us from her experience where to find the best Dim Sum in its motherland.
Written by Jane Cher, a student who was on Exchange in Hong Kong for 5 months (Jan 2014-May 2014). An explorer by nature, she spent a lot of time conquering the beautiful islands and scenic spots which Hong Kong is blessed with. A foodie by choice, she also had a wonderful time tasting the myriad of food choices Hong Kong had to offer. In this article, she shares with you the special connection she built with the Dim Sum restaurants in Hong Kong! Enjoy
What is travelling to you? For many people, travelling is about viewing old architecture, taking photos of picturesque views but for me, along with that, a lot of it has to do with good food. Food not only satisfies one (and his tummy) but also allows one to explore the culture of the country. In fact, many countries are promoting tourism by highlighting the national dishes. If I were to mention Kimchi, I believe the first country that will come to your mind is Korea. Now, what about Dim Sum? Yes, it’s Hong Kong. Despite being a small island of 80.4km2 , Hong Kong has numerous Dim Sum restaurants just waiting to be explored. However, with limited time and budget (oh, and stomach capacity), which of these Dim Sum places are worth the try?
In Singapore, famous Dim Sum places like Swee Choon are supper haunts for the youth but in Hong Kong, Dim Sum is consumed on weekends mornings when the families gather for breakfast. Consequently, numerous Dim Sum restaurants start operating early in the morning. One such prime restaurant is Lin Heung Tea House, which starts operating from as early as 6am onwards.
Lin Heung Tea House
What’s good: The atmosphere, definitely. It is one of the most old-school Dim Sum place I have been to in Hong Kong. The concept with which food is “served” is very unique- Lin Heung Tea House has an ordering system that is different from most Dim Sum restaurants. The employees move around the restaurant with push-carts which are carrying a variety of dishes. To order the Dim Sum dish of your choice, you can walk to the push-cart and pick up the dish. Aside from going traditional with the push-cart service, the decoration in the restaurant is also very customary. It makes the whole eating experience pleasantly different. Points for authenticity!
What’s not so good: The service and the cleanliness. You also must be prepared to make a dash to the push carts in order to get the food you wish to try.
Address: G/F 160-164 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong
Tim Ho Wan
I am sure Tim Ho Wan is familiar to all foodies in Singapore. For those less interested in the food scene in Singapore, you may have heard about the long queues at Plaza Singapura in 2013 when the first outlet of Tim Ho Wan was opened. Even though there are numerous outlets of Tim Ho Wan in Singapore today, I would still highly recommend you to visit Tim Ho Wan in Hong Kong.
The legendary BBQ pork bun from Tim Ho Wan
List of Tim Ho Wan outlets
What’s good: Being well known for being the world’s cheapest Michelin- starred restaurant, the price of Tim Ho Wan is definitely a draw. Moreover, Tim Ho Wan in Hong Kong is so much more authentic in taste and affordable than Tim Ho Wan in Singapore. Take a look at the price of the BBQ pork bun. In Singapore, a single BBQ pork bun costs you around S$1.50 but in Hong Kong it is only HKD$6 (around S$1). Is that a good enough reason for you to visit the Tim Ho Wan in Hong Kong? Other than being more affordable, the queue in Hong Kong is also shorter. Another good point about Tim Ho Wan is that there are multiple outlets in Hong Kong. One Dim Sum Many people may proclaim that Tim Ho Wan is their favourite Dim Sum restaurant but for me, the Dim Sum restaurant that I really like and recommend everyone to go to is One Dim Sum.
The exterior of One Dim Sum
Dough fritters in chee cheong fun skin which the locals call “zhar leong”
What’s good: Everything. I am serious, the food is good, the price is cheap (S$10 is enough for a good meal) and the service is excellent as well.
What’s not so good: Sadly, the only bad thing is that there is a long queue that forms outside the shop during meal times. Go early!
Address: Shop 1 & 2, G/F, Kenwood Mansion, 15 Playing Field Road, Prince Edward
Dimdimsum Dim Sum Specialty Store (Dimdimsum)
Comparing to Tim Ho Wan and One Dim Sum which are both Michelin-starred, Dimdimsum may pale in comparison on first sight. However, this Dim Sum restaurant does have its own fans as well. In fact, in 2012, it was featured in “101 best places to eat around the world” by Newsweek Foodie Awards.
How cute, a Custard Bun in the shape of the pig. But does it flow?
Well, it does flow!
Bolo bun with pineapple fillings
What’s good: The creativity of the dishes has attracted many customers (including myself). The cutely shaped Custard Buns that flow definitely taste good(and also look good on Instagram too). Other than the Custard Buns, they have other unique Dim Sum dishes like Bolo Bun with pineapple fillings and also fried eggplants. Dimdimsum also has multiple outlets in Hong Kong, making it convenient for its customers.
What’s not so good: The price of this Dim Sum restaurant is slightly steeper than the other Dim Sum restaurants mentioned in this list. Nevertheless, the price is still much cheaper than the price of Dim Sum in Singapore.
Hungry at midnight and you feel like having Dim Sum for supper? Fret not, you can always go to San Hing to fix your Dim Sum craving.
Custard bun, or more accurately known as “quicksand buns” or by Hong Kong locals as “lau sa bao”
What’s good: Definitely the custard buns. A visit to the restaurant and you will see photographs of Cantopop star Eason Chan, endorsing the Custard Buns. Wow, celebrity worthy Custard Buns. The Custard Buns not only look good but taste good as well. That hopefully convinces you to give them a go.
What’s not so good: The location of this restaurant is not very accessible. The rest of the Dim Sum restaurants on this list are walking distance from the nearest MTR (train) station but for San Hing, you have to take a bus from Central MTR station.
Address: 10 Hau Wo St., Kennedy Town, Hong Kong
Now, are you craving for Dim Sum? Go on and try these places (or other places) if you happen to visit Hong Kong and let me know how you feel about them. Before I end this, here are two tips for you that may be useful for you when you are enjoying dim sum in Hong Kong.
- The huge bowl/basin place in the centre of the table along with your utensils and a teapot is supposed to be for rinsing your utensils. And yes, you rinse your utensils with the tea.
- When eating Dim Sum, it is common to drink tea and thank the person who is filling your tea cup for you. You could do so by tapping your bent index finger against the table as it symbolises bowing.
With that, enjoy eating your way around in Hong Kong, the land of Dim Sums!