Must-Try Gourmet Dim Sum Restaurants in Hong Kong
Dim sum has a long history in China.
We all have an internal gastronomic GPS that links to the deep-rooted memory of homey flavours. For people in Hong Kong, that GPS no doubt will lead them to their favourite dim sum restaurant. Ask any Hong Konger for a recommendation – each will rattle off a long list of their top picks in town.
Dim sum has a long history dating back to the 10th century in China when tea houses served tea with small bites to weary travellers. Traditionally one cup of tea was served with two savoury or sweet items designed to complement the beverage. Nowadays, dim sum can take various forms: some are sticklers for tradition while others dare to be different. Here are our top picks.
Opened in March 2022 by the Mira Dining Group, Chinesology has already become the talk of the town. Boasting a panoramic view of the iconic Victoria Harbour and a vivid, colourful interior design, this restaurant led by chef Saito Chau offers an exquisite Chinese tasting menu featuring some classic dishes with an inventive twist.
The dim sum menu is also remarkable. Only available at lunch, all the dishes are not only pleasing to the eye but to the palate. Many are named after gemstones – and look nearly too beautiful to eat. The classic Har Gow with tiger prawn and pollock roe is beautifully presented and excellently made. Roasted goose puffs with mushroom, chicken and cherry sauce have a lovely ruby colour and multi-layered flavours. The A5 Kagoshima Wagyu in an edible crispy spoon is original, entertaining and scrumptious.
Saito Chau might look young but he has already been in Hong Kong’s culinary scene for a quarter of a century, having previously worked at the likes of Hutong, John Anthony and Dim Sun Library. Chinesology might not be your everyday dim sum eatery but is certainly one not to miss, especially for special occasions.
Woo Cheong Tea House
Located in a famous Grade II historic building known as 'Woo Cheong Pawn Shop' in Wan Chai, was originally built in 1888 by a local pawn trader, Woo Cheong Tea House opened its doors in December 2021.
A striking Chinese-style tenement building of four floors, Woo Cheong Tea House may look traditional but it is completely modern and contemporary at heart. The charming floral interiors are super instagrammable. The bar offers various tea cocktails and a pretty impressive list of whiskies and Burgundian wines. There are around 30 items on the dim sum menu, some are classics but there are a few ingenious flavours hidden among them, such as Bean Curd Sheet Rolls with Avocado and Black Truffle, Quinoa Rice Rolls with Mixed Vegetable Sauce and Baked Egg Tart spiked with Baileys.
House of Orient
House of Orient celebrated its first anniversary last month after opening in April 2021 during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic. The décor aims to showcase the glory of 19th century Hong Kong when it was established as a free port and trading hub between China and the West.
The restaurant offers all the typical items that are essential to any dim sum restaurant but the team are especially proud of their popular dish – radish cake. This savory dish is made of shredded radish and plain rice flour, which is freshly made daily on-site. It is soft and tender inside with a crispy outside and is a favourite of many regulars.
There are roughly 30 dim sums on the menu, which change according to the season. Unlike many local dim sum outlets where guests are often served mediocre teas, House of Orient takes tea service seriously. There are four types of carefully selected Chinese teas to choose from, which also change according to the season, and guests are served it in a professional manner and are shown how to brew and taste so they maximise their appreciation.
LockCha by famous tea master Mr. Wing-Chi debuted in 1991 as a small shop selling premium loose teas. In 2003 and 2018, two tea houses were opened, each boasting around 150 teas on the menu with 30 dim sums.
All the dim sums are made on-site and they are all vegetarian. Now after more than 30 years in the tea business, LockCha is not only the Mecca for tea lovers in Hong Kong but for anyone who wants to enjoy delicious vegetarian dim sums accompanied by a carefully-curated tea selection.
Roughly 95% of the tea is from various regions in China, so it isn't hard to find something to choose from the impressive list. One of the most popular pairings is Pu-erh tea with ginger pudding. Apart from tea and dim sum, LockCha is also known for its tea programmes and appreciation events that they host regularly.
Man Mo Dim Sum
Man Mo is not your typical dim sum restaurant. Located on Hollywood Road, one of the oldest paved roads in Hong Kong, the area is full of history and rightly filled with antique shops, art galleries, and the famous Man Mo temple, from which the restaurant takes its name.
You would perhaps imagine this would be an old-fashioned restaurant, given its surroundings. In fact, it’s anything but!
It was opened in 2013 by Swiss-born Nicolas Elalouf, whose vision is to reinvent Hong Kong’s dim sum scene. Given it's still going strong 10 years later, it seems both locals and expats are happy with his creativity.
The menu is indeed innovative. Nicolas makes the dumplings in the traditional manner but the fillings are unconventional. Some of the most popular items are foie gras Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings), pan-fried truffle brie dumplings, and crispy fried Nutella Balls.
While the menu is surprising, the wine list is less so. There are around 100 wines on the list to pair, including five Swiss wines!
Don’t we all miss the trolley service? Everything from airline trolleys to dim sum trolleys were locked away during the pandemic, but no longer!
There are only a handful of dim sum restaurants in Hong Kong that still offer the old-school trolley service. Traditionally, customers need to chase after the trolleys to get their favourite dim sums, creating a fun and exciting atmosphere. But those who aren't quick enough can risk not getting much to eat.
But at Metropal fortunately you don’t really need to run after the trolleys. They also keep the tradition of having staff in one station cooking various dim sum for you. This is a place for those who want to enjoy the authentic local vibe and delicious dim sum at the same time.
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