Food · Travel

Top Dim Sum Spots in Hong Kong

Dim Sum is an oh-so-addictive cuisine made up of scrummy bitesize eats. It has dominated my restaurant cravings for the last few years. I can’t ever get enough, and so every trip we take to Hong Kong is an excuse to cram in just a few more dumplings.

Dim Sum literally means “to touch your heart”, and that’s probably why it makes me feel so very happy.

So where do we like to go for our favourite dim sum in Hong Kong? Read on to find out:

Din Tai Fung

Located in Causeway Bay (and in locations worldwide…but not the UK) this Taiwanese chain is the best place to go for Shanghai style Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings). These are usually pork-based although there are delicious seafood versions too. A little broth is inside each dumpling and so beware, unless you pierce it with your chopstick and eat it with the spoon (or just put the whole thing in at once) you could end up with a spurt of soup down your front. Yes, I have done this a few times.

The Causeway Bay branch of Din Tai Fung is always busy but seems quite airy. I think it is the overzealous air conditioning.

If you have to queue, or if you’re just curious, you can watch the chefs at work behind the window. You’ll be amazed at how quickly they can craft such delicate little dumplings.

Our favourite dishes –

  • Xiao Long Bao – Steamed parcels of pork or seafood swimming in salty broth. Just be careful that they don’t pop en route to your mouth. Note – All the Xiao Long Bao here contains pork broth.
  • Cucumber with Chilli – A delicious side dish of cooked cucumber drenched in chilli and oil. It is a nice, spicy accompaniment and cuts through the other more meaty dishes.

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Tim Ho Wan

If you fancy eating a budget lunch cooked by a Michelin starred chef then Tim Ho Wan is for you. The original location is tucked away near the Lady’s Market in Mong Kok. It is very small, and very popular. Take a number and be prepared to wait a while. We went off to browse some stalls for 40 minutes and then returned to wait a little longer. Once you are in though, you’ll know why it is worth the wait.

You’ll be asked to mark your first round of food on the provided form whilst you are in the queue so they can take the order from you as you’re seated.

If you are on Hong Kong Island, you can visit the Hong Kong station/IFC location. This has a takeaway service as well as the tables inside.

Our favourite dishes –

  • BBQ Pork Bun – A light doughnut-esque casing hides a yummy pork in a Chinese BBQ sauce. They are utterly moreish!
  • Har Gau – Otherwise known as crystal prawn dumplings. The clear rice wrappers of these dumplings show you the plump pink prawns that await you inside. The covers are very sticky, and you’ll lose the inside of the dumpling if you go for two bites. Get it in your mouth in one and enjoy the slippery, seafood treat. A word of warning – The har gau at Tim Ho Wan are quite large so this may not be the spot for a first date…or maybe it is!?

Lin Heung Tea Room

A taste of old Hong Kong awaits you on the first floor or this tea house that has been serving Hong Kong for over 100 years.

Lin Heung is one of the only places where the dim sum still comes out on trolleys. These trolleys, pushed by no nonsense, matronly ladies, circle the tea room. If you are looking for a specific dish, you’ll need to jump up and intercept them as they trundle through the tables. If you are just there for pot luck, you can wait for one to come past. The waitress will show you what’s on offer. Pick something that doesn’t look or smell too scary and get stuck in!!

On our visit, we sat opposite a regular who was performing his own complicated tea ceremony with a bowl full of very dark leaves. We looked on, utterly confused, and then I worked my way through a much more British pot of jasmine tea.

We picked two dishes from the trolleys and hoped for the best. The first was a plain char sui bun with turnip. The fluffy casing was familiar, and the chunk of char sui pork was incredibly tender. I thought the turnip an odd addition as it was very drying inside the bun.

Secondly we picked some chicken in a little broth. It was obviously chicken skin wrapped around something and so I made the mistake of unwrapping it. Inside I found some chicken meat, some turnip and something gelatinous. I put it into my mouth but couldn’t quite face chewing it, so it was quickly removed and set aside. I think that if I’d tried it as a whole bite, it would have been fine, but on its own, the jiggly lump wasn’t appetising.

Our favourite dishes –

  • Roast meat – OK, so this is honestly a bit of a guess. Basically, next time I go back, I’ll get a plate of rice and roast pork. The guy sat opposite us had some and it looked very appetising. Of course we will still try things from the trolley, but just in case…

Maxim’s Palace

Note – Not to be confused with Maxim’s cafe on the outside of the building.

Maxim’s Palace is located above the theatre, of the city hall’s small building. Take the lift to the second floor and you will see a large, bright dining room with a nice view over the bay.

This is your quintessentially Hong Kong nice dinner out. Bring a large group and take one of the big round tables with their blindingly white linen. There is a small dim sum menu full of classics, and a larger menu with a whole host of other traditional dishes.

Our favourite dishes –

  • Har Gau – I know we have already mentioned these but they are good here too. They aren’t as huge, but the prawns taste great.
  • Custard/Egg Yolk Buns – These are a sweet treat. The dough is fried but light, like a great doughnut. Inside you will a find a gooey, oozy filling. The combination of creamy egg yolk and coconut is irresistible.

Yum Cha

Do you like your food to be terribly twee, adorable and delicious all at once? Let me introduce Yum Cha! Here you will find many of your favourite dim sum nibbles, but with a bit of a twist.

Come for happy hour and stay all night. Traditionally dim sum is a cuisine eaten early in the day with copious cups of tea (Yum Cha means drink tea), however, the cocktails at Yum Cha are well mixed and during happy hour, well priced. This is definitely more like hipster glamour than tea house clamour.

Our favourite dishes –

  • Anything with a face!
  • BBQ Pork Buns – Nearly as good as the buns from Tim Ho Wan, these piggy buns are almost too cute to eat….almost.
  • Crab Roe Sesame Spinach – These are an interesting accompaniment to the heavier dumpling dishes. Little fishy pops, iron-rich greens and a sesame overtone. This is your average pile of spinach.

Dim Sum Icon

Could dim sum get any more kitsch than Yum Cha!? Well yes. Dim Sum Icon also makes very cute little bites, but check out their big selling point. “Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?” Your next meal, that’s who! Its the Spongebob Squarepants range

We started our meal with the crispy wontons. I felt they were a little pastry-heavy but they weren’t too greasy and the eyes were fun to eat. They had a slight hint of orange tictacs…?

Next we tried the prawn vegetable dumplings. You could taste the different veggies in the dumplings as well as the prawns, not always the case. The little rice paper wraps with the Spongebob characters on made me smile, but if you are a real Spongebob fan, you may worry about who to eat first and who to save until the last minute.

Our favourite dishes –

  • Anything with a Spongebob face, or in a pineapple, or really anything Spongebob related…. If you aren’t a Spongebob fan, you should probably just stick to Yum Cha.

Dim Sum Library

This restaurant is located within a mall, and that may be its only downside. You aren’t coming here for a cheap, or quick eat. These dishes are to be savoured and accompanied by an excellently mixed classic cocktail The whole place has as a dark and classy 1920s vibe and it’s mixology matches that perfectly.

When we arrived, we were a little peckish, but not starving. Oh how I wish we had been (and I fully intend to be on my next visit). I really want to try more of their dishes.

The main selling point of this dim sum spot is flavour. They have taken traditional dishes and given them beautiful new twists with less traditional ingredients. You can spot iberico pork and kimchi on the menu.

Our favourite dishes –

  • Black garlic pork sui mai – These were to die for. The black garlic is sweet and almost fragrant, the pork salty and melt in the mouth. Gah, take me back!
  • Leopard coral grouper dumplings – Similar to Xiao Long Bao, these contain a little broth. This is a spicy, gingery soup and it explodes with a huge bit of flavour that somehow doesn’t overpower the fish.

If you are travelling to Hong Kong, or if you live there, get stuck into the world of dim sum. You can head to our favourites, or find some of your own!

Please do let us know if we’ve missed anywhere that we really need to try. We would LOVE to give them a go!

Rosie xx

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24 thoughts on “Top Dim Sum Spots in Hong Kong

  1. What a delicious post. I love dim sum and eat as many as I can when I get a chance. I didn’t know the name means “to touch your heart”…no wonder they are so delightful to snack on! Yum..I’m hungry now 🙂

  2. Oh my!! What a visual and culinary delight this must have been!! Loved the photos.. especially the tiny pigs.. they were incredibly cute 🐷😂 such a great post.. thank you for sharing! 😊

  3. You have so many good places in here. After reading your post, I will need to grab something to eat. I love, love dim sum. I can eat it every day. I am lucky since I live in Southern California and there are several decent dim sum places around. We have Din Tai Fung too.

  4. Ok so I’m totally trying all of these when I visit my sister in Hong Kong! Thanks for doing the research for me! 😂

  5. I can’t believe I’ve been to Hong Kong and China and didn’t try Dim Sum in either! Headed back to HK in August and will definitely be bookmarking this post as a guide for food!

  6. My brother and his wife are visiting Hong Kong right now. Going to send them this link. I hope they eat at Tim Ho Wan. It sounds perfect! And you’re right, those BBQ pork buns are just too cute to eat.

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