Literally meaning “to touch your heart”, when it comes to dim sum there’s a dish for everyone. Here’s where to go for the best dim sum in Hong Kong…
A Cantonese brunch tradition that sprang from the teahouses of Guangzhou, today dim sum encapsulates a stunning range– borrowed and adapted from various regional cuisines– of tastes, textures, ingredients and techniques. Here in Hong Kong, foremost dim sum destination of the world, communal gatherings, family reunions, and a.m. rituals extend over the flurry of small plates and ceaseless pots of tea. In other words, there’s no denying that yum cha occupies a special place in the city– and in our hearts.
So, measure out your day in stacks of steaming baskets. Let the morning and early afternoon lazily unspool, spirits soothed and bellies brimming. Here’s our guide to the best dim sum, in Hong Kong.
Read more: Your Guide To Local Hong Kong Desserts
Editor’s Note: The situation in Hong Kong regarding COVID risk and restrictions is constantly evolving. If choosing to dine out, please exercise your own judgement as to whether it is safe to do so, and comply with the latest social distancing regulations where applicable. Head here for the full list of current dining restrictions.
Dim Sum Library – Best For a Modern Take on Classic Dim Sum
From black truffle egg toast to tartufo gelato when the season is just right, the mantra seems to be when you’re feeling fancy, top it with truffle! At Dim Sum Library, truffle and other premium ingredients find new purpose in classic dim sum dishes. Encased in delicate layers of pastry, wagyu plays well with aromatic pepper in the beef puffs, while slivers of black truffle umami-fy always-delectable ha gao (shrimp dumplings). For an innovative experience, browse and sink your teeth into the expertly curated selection at Dim Sum Library.
Dim Sum Library (ELEMENTS), Shop 1028B, 1/F, ELEMENTS, 1 Austin Road West, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2810 0898
Dim Sum Square – Best for a Quick Lunch
Call it what you want! A spring roll by any other name– lumpia, popiah or chả giò– tastes as delicious. At Dim Sum Square, however, the traditional spring roll gets an upgrade: a blanket of silky rice crepe turns the perennial classic into a carnival of textures. Apart from the best-selling Spring Rolls Wrapped in Rice Rolls, this reliable restaurant delivers on the dim-sum must-haves including siu mai, ha gao (shrimp dumplings) and lo mai gai (glutinous rice with chicken swaddled in a large lotus leaf) – in winter, the latter cocoons a nub of maple-scented Chinese sausage. This spot successfully squares away any dim sum cravings.
Duddell’s – Best For Aesthetes & Brunch Fanatics
Even before the age of social media and the advent of “foodfluencers”, the adage held true: you eat with your eyes first. At the distinguished Cantonese dining room Duddell’s, which first earned a Michelin star in 2013, aesthetics are not an afterthought. The walls are graced with fine art, while the kitchen places an impressive emphasis on presentation, all while crafting exquisite bites invigorated by local and seasonal ingredients. Duddell’s popular brunch set includes some of the best dim in Hong Kong, accompanied by free-flow Champagne and a buzzy atmosphere.
Duen Kee – Best for Hiking Adventures
Nestled inside a village house on the slopes of Tai Mo Shan, Hong Kong’s tallest peak, Duen Kee is perfect for pre- or post-hike fuelling up. At this self-service dim sum restaurant, the atmosphere is cheerfully communal– and a dash competitive– as you hustle to acquire coveted dim sum dishes and scoop out dollops of tofu fa or soybean pudding from a giant barrel. Blanched watercress is the unexpected breakout star here: bright and vegetal with peppery notes, these greens are grown in the nearby fields and picked fresh for each service. Local and sustainable– done the down-to-earth way!
Duen Kee, 57-58 Chuen Lung Estate, Route Twisk, Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong, 2490 5246
Lin Heung Tea House – Old-School Classic
Historic, iconic and endearingly chaotic, Lin Heung is essential to the culinary identity of Hong Kong. This dim sum parlour has been around for nearly a hundred years, and we hope to see it thrive through the centuries beyond. Its name poetically translating to “fragrant lotus”, referencing the lotus seed paste that’s found in many a Chinese pastry, Lin Heung has featured in legendary films including The Longest Summer and Wong Kar Wai’s In the Mood for Love. With dim sum prepared in limited quantities and served by trolley, eating here will reawaken your hunter-gatherer instincts as you scramble for beef balls, chicken buns and the odd seasonal special with a zeal you didn’t know you could muster. A forever favourite that delivers impeccable retro vibes.
Lock Cha – Best for Vegetarian Dim Sum
Dim sum is a Hong Kong staple, and thanks to Lock Cha Tea House, those following a vegan or vegetarian diet don’t have to miss out! Enriched by the region’s vast history of ingenious mock meats, this dim sum spread takes veggies seriously. From pickled beancurd skin to fungi-forward designs, the menu inspires with creative twists on typically meaty morsels. With the tea list triple the length of the food menu, “cha” takes the leading role it deserves in this yum cha affair par excellence. All diners must order an individual pot of tea, and the helpful staff will then show you how to best brew your loose-leaf of choice.
Man Mo Dim Sum – Best For Fusion Dim Sum
Is it just to swap pu-er tea for a glass of Puligny-Montrachet? What are the ethics of enfolding foie gras in xiao long bao? Perhaps most pressingly, does involving cheese in a dim sum degustation constitute pure heresy? Contemplate these complex philosophical questions at Man Mo Dim Sum. A walk-in only (for parties under eight) wine bar and restaurant with a sister location in Bordeaux, there is some method to the madness of the menu here: chefs from Din Tai Fung and Robuchon put it together after months of tinkering. Not one for the traditionalists, the offerings here conjure a brand of “East-meets-West” dining with unorthodox pairings and explosive flavours.
Man Mo Dim Sum, Shop 05-06, Hollywood Centre, 233 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, www.manmodimsum.com
One Dim Sum – Best for “No Frills”
Hold the Hokkaido scallops and Périgord shavings– One Dim Sum isn’t about reinventing the wheel. Instead, this wildly popular dim sum-eria in Prince Edward is committed to the classics. Be it celebratory lo bak go– lightly crisped turnip cake perfumed with the loveable funk of dried shrimp– or comforting lo mai gai well-suited to cooler days, most dishes on the menu are prepared remarkably well, especially considering the agreeable price tag. End on a high, sweet(er) note with the sweet egg twists or dan san, dusted with crushed peanuts and coconut flakes, then drizzled with condensed milk.
One Dim Sum, G/F, 209A – 209B Tung Choi Street, Prince Edward, Hong Kong, 2677 7888
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Seventh Son – Best for Special Occasions
Top-tier ingredients and traditional cooking methods harmonise at Seventh Son, an elevated, classically-oriented Cantonese eatery recognised by the Michelin Guide and Asia’s 50 Best. Established by the seventh son of reputed Fook Lam Moon founder, Chui Fuk-chuen, heritage and history run deep at this restaurant. What should you expect? Paradigmatic dim sum executed to perfection, with a focus on highlighting natural flavours and freshness. Think plump siu mai, tenderly sweet Malaysian sponge cake (ma lai go) and glutinous dumpling with red bean paste ensconced in leaves.
Sun Hing – Best for Late-Night Dim Sum
Open daily from 3am to 4pm, Sun Hing draws in the late night and daybreak crowds. This bustling Kennedy Town spot’s clientele spans the spectrum of post-LKF carousers, taxi drivers finishing the night shift, and HKU students in need of a study break with a tasty bite. They all congregate here for one thing: traditional dim sum, served in frenzied abundance. The pork and mushroom siu mai and curry honeycomb tripe are popular picks, but no one can pay a visit to Sun Hing without trying the salted egg yolk custard buns. Golden sunlight bursts forth from the pillowy soft dough– a hallowed experience that feels all the more sacred in the small hours of the morning.
Sun Hing, Shop C, G/F, 8 Smithfield Road, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong, 2816 0616
Editor’s Note: COVID dining restrictions are currently in place, with no dine-in service past 6pm. Head here for the full list of rules.
Tim Ho Wan – Best Value Dim Sum
From perfectly plump dumplings by the dozen to bamboo noodles or jook-sing min banged out in an athletic feat, our notoriously expensive city is home to numerous wallet-friendly delights. In the dim sum department, one of our tried-and-true reasonably priced favourites is none other than Tim Ho Wan. Once known around the world as one of the most affordable Michelin starred restaurants, yum cha enthusiasts flock to its locations across Hong Kong– and now across the globe, with its several international outposts– for its uncommon balance of taste and value. All the classics are made fairly well, but the baked char siu bun– crisp and crackly outside, jammy-sweet porcine goodness inside– is what it’s all a-bao.
Yum Cha – Most Instagrammable Dim Sum
The common wisdom? Don’t play with your food. But at Yum Cha, fun and games are intrinsic to the dim sum. Here, you’re more than encouraged to nurture your inner child and engage with the multi-sensory dim sum. The steamed char siu bao (BBQ pork buns) land on your table dressed as three little pigs, while the famous custard buns tease your twin senses of disgust and delight with their oft-Instagrammed ooze or “vomiting”. Arrive with an appetite for play and and picture-perfect provisions alike.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in November, 2017 and was most recently updated in January, 2022 by Aarohi Narain.