How to ‘yum cha’ in Hong Kong
A dim sum trail in Hong Kong leads to fiery Sichuan dumplings and vegan skin rolls
In Hong Kong, dim sum doesn’t merely imply eating scrumptious dumplings (siu mai) and fluffy buns (char siu bao or the soupy xiaolongbao). Eating dim sum involves sharing dishes and spending quality time with family and friends. Historically, dim sum were considered to be accompaniment snacks with tea. Therefore, dim sum meals are commonly known as yum cha in Cantonese, which translates to drink tea. However, over the years, Hong Kong dim sum has emerged as a major culinary category, and today, the number and variety of Hong Kong dim sum restaurants is astonishing. They can be quiet and classy or bustling and lively. Here, we round up some of the best dim sum places in town.
For an authentic Taiwanese dim sum experience, head to the DinTaiFung Dumpling House, which has four outposts in the city. DinTaiFung’s Silvercord restaurant was awarded one Michelin star in 2010. At DinTaiFung, expect a first-class dining experience that is a combination of fresh dim sum, outstanding service and value for money. We love their XiaoLongBao (steamed pork dumplings), Steamed Pork Bun, and Spicy Vegetable and Pork Wonton.
Duddell’s is an amalgamation of an art gallery and a fine-dining restaurant. The in-house art manager organizes screenings, talks and exhibitions featuring modern and contemporary art. Duddell’s has a large garden patio, stylish interiors and a trendy ambience. The dim sum menu consists of classics, such as the signature shrimp dumplings, soup dumplings, pork buns, vegetarian dumplings and turnip pastry.
This tourist favourite Sichuan restaurant makes our list for its hot, fiery cuisine. Spicy is an understatement at Chilli Fagara. Its menu is based on the “Ma La Tang" concept for numbing (ma), burning (la) and neutral (tang) tastes of Sichuan food. The restaurant is cosy and intimate with dark wood furniture and bright red walls. The Crisp-Fried Mushroom Spring Roll and Signature Dish Ginger Beef come highly recommended. The numbing Sichuan peppercorn and the spicy chilli pepper in the dishes here make Chilli Fagara a must-visit.
Tim Ho Wan
Tim Ho Wan serves traditional dim sum at rock-bottom prices. It is widely considered to be the most affordable Michelin-starred restaurant in the world. You will be greeted with long queues, minimal décor, a tick sheet menu and unparalleled food. Get the famous Prawn Dumpling, Baked Bun with BBQ Pork, Steam Egg Cake and Shrimp and Pan Fried Carrot Cake. Chef Mak Kwai Pui, owner of Tim Ho Wan, was the dim sum chef of three-Michelin-starred restaurant Lung King Heen before he opened Tim Ho Wan.
Pure Veggie House
If you’ve struggled to find great quality vegetarian dim sum in Hong Kong, then Pure Veggie House is for you. This laid-back, elegant “farm to table" restaurant is known for its organic vegetarian and vegan dim sum that are served with no spices, MSG, dairy products or meat. Get their signature Matsutake Mushroom Pouch, Sichuan Style Wontons, bean curd skin roll, veggie dumplings and spinach siu mai.
Lung King Heen
Make a reservation well in advance to visit Four Seasons Hotel’s Lung King Heen restaurant. This chic three-Michelin starred establishment offers flavoursome Cantonese fare and delicious and innovative dim sum made with familiar Chinese ingredients. Our favourites include Baked Barbecued Pork Buns, and Steamed Vegetables Dumplings.