For “authentic” Hong Kong food, you can’t go wrong at a dim sum restaurant. Although the origin of “dim sum” and the translated meaning is up for debate, food historian Yan-kit So described dim sum succinctly in 1992:
“Literally translated as ‘so close to the heart’, they are, in reality, a large range of hors d’oeuvres Cantonese people traditionally enjoy in restaurants (previously teahouses) for breakfast and for lunch, but never for dinner, washed down with tea. ‘Let’s go yum cha (to drink tea)’ is understood among the Cantonese to mean going to a restaurant for dim sum; such is the twin linkage between the food and the beverage.”
You can typically expect to order multiple small dishes to eat and share at a dim sum restaurant. The variety and flavors – from savory to sweet – attract locals and foreigners all around. So, to get the best of Hong Kong at a dim sum restaurant, we’ve rounded up a few suggestions below.
Tim Ho Wan
Awarded a Michelin star, Tim Ho Wan is one of the most famous Hong Kong dim sum restaurants. But don’t let their Michelin status scare you off – they are known for serving dim sum at an affordable price ranging around HK$20-40 for each dish. Tim Ho Wan’s most popular choices include a baked bun with barbecue pork, steamed egg cake and rice noodle rolls.
Their vision lies in the motto “freshly made to order,” and they pride themselves on being “the most affordable Michelin-starred restaurant in the world.” With six different locations in Hong Kong, including Central IFC and Olympic, and being available on delivery apps like FoodPanda, Tim Ho Wan is easily a top choice dim sum restaurant.
Three Virtues Vegetarian Restaurant
Established by Mr. Hui Kam-ting, a lay Buddhist, Three Virtues doesn’t serve ordinary dim sum – this is the go-to spot for vegan dim sum. While offering typical dishes like rice sheet rolls, har gow and others, Three Virtues employs meat alternatives to make the dishes vegetarian-friendly. Inspired by Confucian and Buddhist thought, the goal is to “produce food while lives are preserved.”
A typical rice sheet roll may usually contain shrimp, beef or pork, but Three Virtues uses a vegetarian meat paste and Enoki mushroom rice sheet roll, which emulate the flavor and texture of the original dish. With the end of the year approaching, Three Virtues also has specially madeChinese New Year puddings and cakes with no preservatives ready for your celebrations.
Address:1/F, 395 King’s Road, North Point
Sun Hing Restaurant
Open from 3 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day, Sun Hing Restaurant in Kennedy Town is a popular hot spot among night owls and early birds. Dim sum dishes arrive freshly made out of the kitchen, some favorites including the Siu Mai, barbecue pork buns and steamed custard buns. So whether you’re up late – or really early – Sun Hing is the perfect place to satisfy your dim sum cravings at all hours.
Address:Shop C, G/F, 8 Smithfield Road, Kennedy Town
Recognized as an Instagram-worthy dim sum restaurant, with “photogenic presentations and classic flavors,” Yum Cha says their chefs “take a playful and inventive approach to traditional recipes, while retaining the authentic flavors and original essence of each dish.”
Whether you order pretty dim sum dishes like the colorful crab roe and pork dumplings or cute, playful dishes like the BBQ Piggy Buns, Yum Cha makes sure to captivate and satisfy both your eyes and mouth. You can reserve seats in advance, or if you’re planning on walking in, be prepared for a wait!
Dim Sum Library
You’ll appreciate Dim Sum Library for its sleek aura, enjoying classic dim sum in a 1920s-style Chinese birdcage-inspired tea room. Their traditional and Western-fusion dim sum dishes are fit for a magazine spread.
Although it’s on the pricier side of the spectrum, with each dish ranging from HK$78-178, this is a date-worthy dim sum restaurant if you’re looking for a bit of elegance. Stay awhile to check out their selection of “classic cocktails, wines and spirits and bespoke Chinese tea cocktails served from a stunning chinoiserie cocktail bar.” Cheers!
Fresco Dim Sum
Despite the seemingly Western name, Fresco is a local dim sum favorite in the streets of Kennedy Town. Open from lunch to dawn, Fresco serves a variety of dim sum dishes affordably priced around HK$18-40. This small restaurant is usually packed with locals – so you know it’s good.
Their most popular dishes include the Chicken Feet in Black Bean Sauce, Crystal Shrimp Dumpling and Crab Roe Siu Mai. Make sure to stop by on weekday afternoons, when there is no extra charge for tea.
Address: Shop A, G/F, Fook On Mansion, 23-25 North Street, Kennedy Town
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