Cantonese food is deservedly famous throughout the world, but if you ask most people what food they most associate with Hong Kong, they will tell you Dim Sum. But in a city full of Chinese restaurants, how do you know where to get the best dim sum in Hong Kong? Here we help narrow it down a little, and give you our pick of Hong Kong’s best dim sum restaurants (in no particular order):
Maxim’s Palace City Hall
Probably the most famous Hong Kong dim sum restaurant, Maxim’s Palace at City Hall offers the quintessential Hong Kong dim sum experience. Set in an enormous banqueting hall, Maxim’s Palace is big, bright and brash and crammed to the rafters with noisy dim sum goers. It is one of only a few restaurants left in Hong Kong where dim sum is still served the traditional way – from steaming carts, piled high with bamboo baskets, pushed around by surly uniformed waitresses. If you don’t know the names of the dim sum dishes in Chinese, just point and smile and hope for the best. If you can, avoid the weekends – or be prepared to queue for a long time.
Tim Ho Wan
Tim Ho Wan made world headlines in 2010 when it became the cheapest restaurant in the world to earn a Michelin star, although not so surprising when you learn that the chef came from 3-Michelin starred Lung King Heen at the Four Seasons. The prices at this dim sum restaurant in Hong Kong belie the quality of its food, and the baked Char Siu Bao with a crisp sugary coating are arguably the best in town. Unfortunately the original hole-in-the-wall joint in Mongkok (where I once queued for 2 ½ hours for dim sum!) is now closed, but there are four other locations around Hong Kong, including a handy outlet at IFC Mall. Tim Ho Wan has recently opened several branches in Singapore, and has also expanded into Australia this year, so they must be doing something right!
Luk Yu Teahouse
Luk Yu Teahouse is the most famous traditional teahouse in Hong Kong and is a great place to stop-off for a fill of Hong Kong dim sum if you are shopping or sightseeing around Central. Luk Yu Teahouse has been operating since 1933, and stepping through the doors here is like walking back in time to this era, as you are greeted by wooden panelling, marble countertops, stained glass windows and cosy wooden booths. I’ll be honest – the quality of the dim sum here is not the best, but the atmosphere of Luk Yu makes up for it. The Teahouse made headlines in 2002, when a Chinese businessman was killed by a hitman while dining with his family – but nothing like this has ever happened while I’ve been in here, so I shouldn’t worry too much!
Lung King Heen
Lung King Heen at the Four Seasons hotel was the world’s first Chinese restaurant to be awarded the coveted Michelin three-star rating, so you can be confident of trying some of the best dim sum in Hong Kong here. Their seasonal dim sum, goes beyond the traditional to give you such delights as Steamed Lobster and Scallop Dumplings, and Crispy Shrimp Spring Rolls with Crab Meat and Shrimp Roe. There is also a separate children’s menu, although with dishes such as Braised Bird’s Nest Soup with Minced Chicken and Steamed Egg Custard with Conpoy and Minced Pork, your kids will need a pretty adventurous palate. Note also they only allow children aged 3 and above. As you would expect, the setting at Lung King Heen is elegant and refined and they have a dress code, so don’t turn up in your beach gear.
Fook Lam Moon
Fook Lam Moon in Wan Chai is nicknamed “the tycoon’s canteen” as it is the Chinese restaurant of choice for many of Hong Kong’s high profile businessmen. This culinary landmark has been dishing up high quality Cantonese dishes to the rich and famous since 1972, and you will often find paparazzi lurking outside its front doors.
Inside you will find four stories of sleek modern décor filled with jam-packed tables of hungry diners. Dim sum here remains traditional in style, but with a Michelin star to its name, and the restaurant currently sitting at number 15 on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2015 list, you are pretty much guaranteed some of Hong Kong’s best dim sum at Fook Lam Moon. Dim sum is served every day of the week, although the weekends are the most fun when it is abuzz with large family outings, and the dim sum menu is extended.
Lin Heung Tea House
The Lin Heung Tea House dishes up a good dose of Hong Kong nostalgia, having remained largely unchanged since it first opened its doors in 1926. It’s cramped in here, and you will often find yourself sharing a table with strangers, but it’s all part of the Lin Heung charm, as are the surly trolley-pushing waitresses and the ancient waiters serving tea. If you have a squeamish Western palate, you will need to inspect the bamboo baskets on the trolleys carefully – Siu Mai topped with pork stomach, Cheung Fun with Pork Liver, Beef Offal and Duck Feet are all the rage here, but Lin Heung Tea House should definitely be on your hit list, if you’re looking to enjoy some traditional dim sum in Hong Kong.
Tin Lung Heen
Tin Lung Heen boasts one of the most stunning locations of any Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong, located on the 102nd floor of the Ritz Carlton hotel in Kowloon. This elegant Hong Kong restaurant has been awarded two Michelin stars for the last three years, and its dim sum menu reflects its dedication to high quality innovative cuisine. Expect some of Hong Kong’s best dim sum here, with fanciful offerings such as Steamed Rice Roll with Shrimp and Caviar and Steamed Golden Shrimp Dumplings with Bamboo Shoot and Asparagus. Service is slick and the views outside the window are sensational – save this Hong Kong dim sum experience for a special occasion.
Duddell’s is a stylish modern Chinese restaurant set over two floors in the heart of Central. This beautiful space includes a chic salon and an intimate timber-decked garden terrace, while its interior walls are given over to an ambitious art exhibition programme. Some of the best dim sum in Hong Kong is served here, as testified by its two-Michelin star status. Traditional Hong Kong dim sum is given a modern twist, resulting in unusual pairings such as Shrimp Dumplings with Capsicum, and Steamed Rice Roll with Beef and Tangerine Peel. The most exciting offering from Duddell’s though, is its Weekend Salon Brunch – unlimited dim sum washed down with free-flow Veuve Clicquot champagne. Now you’re talking!
Mott 32 is one of my all-time favourite restaurants in Hong Kong and serves up some of the best dim sum in Hong Kong. Located in the basement of the Standard Chartered building in Central, Mott 32 is super-stylish, with a convivial atmosphere and the dishes coming out of the kitchen are guaranteed to tantalise your taste buds. Dim sum offerings include their famous Kurobuta Pork, Crab and Caviar Shanghainese Dumplings, and South Australian Lobster & Yunnan Ham Har Gow, and they also claim to serve the best Char Siu in Hong Kong, using Prime Iberico Pork, served with Yellow Mountain Honey. My only criticism of this fabulous restaurant would be that its basement location means no natural light coming in, making it a dark choice for lunch. But the food quality more than makes up for this – and they also serve a selection of dim sum at their dinner menu, when you don’t mind sitting in the dark so much.
Above & Beyond
Located on the top floor of the Hotel Icon in Tsim Sha Tsui, Above & Beyond is a great choice for a Hong Kong dim sum lunch following a visit to the Science Museum or Hong Kong Museum of History. With interior design by Terence Conran, you are guaranteed a stylish setting for your dim sum experience, although this pales in significance alongside the views across the harbour of Hong Kong island. Chef Joseph Tse, formerly of the Mandarin Oriental hotel, is the man behind the menu of innovative dim sum dishes, such as Pork Dumplings with Halibut and Black Mushroom, Baked Goose Liver and Pineapple Puff, and Mushroom Dumpling with Pumpkin. Above & Beyond also offers a dim sum afternoon tea at weekends and public holidays.
Although I wouldn’t count it in amongst the best dim sum in Hong Kong, we recently checked out Crystal Lotus at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel, where they dish up Disney character dim sum – great fun for the kids! Thanks to LaJollaMom for the tip!
Where do you think is the best Hong Kong Dim Sum restaurant? Let me know in the comments below so I can go and check it out.
Don’t know your Char Siu Bao from your Har Gao? Check out our Beginner’s Guide to Dim Sum here.
Read more articles about Hong Kong here!