Dim sum is one of Hong Kong’s most time-honoured dining experiences, plugging into an older generation’s defining food memories, deeply rooted in a sense of family and tradition. When translated, the name means touch the heart, a reminder that despite the relatively small sizes of these bites, a lot of thought goes into each creation.
Hold up a piece of siu mai in between your chopsticks and you’ll witness the thinness of the dough. Bite onto a har gau and you’ll experience the freshness and purity of the prawn, along with a casing that’s just the right thickness and texture, pinched deftly into shape by an experienced pair of hands.
So you reckon you’ve been there, seen it, done it when it comes to dim sum? Well, you’re wrong. So wrong, in fact. Dim sum is one of the most popular kinds of meal in Hong Kong and the city’s chefs are constantly experimenting with new ideas and looking to one up each other. Try any of the following restaurants if you don’t believe us.
Truly a feast for the eyes, it’s impossible to descend into Mott 32 without doing a double take at the interiors — a sexy combination of colonial-style furnishings and warehouse aesthetic designed by Joyce Wang. It’s a feast for the palate as well; their South Australian scallop, prawn and hot & sour Shanghainese soup dumplings will make it hard to eat regular dim sum again (HKD95/4pcs).
The offerings here are innovative — for example,the soft quail egg, Iberico pork and black truffle siu mai with a caviar finish are guaranteed to send your umami sensors into overdrive (HKD70/2pcs).Another decadent indulgence is the garoupa, chopped chilli and Chinese cabbage dumpling, which hits the spot and dances on the back of your palate (HKD95/4pcs).
The complexity of flavours is superbly judged in their Australian Wagyu beef puff (HKD78/3pcs) and prepare to have your minds blown with the pan-fried minced lamb bun seasoned with cumin and onions (HKD80/3pcs). What’s not to love? All of these a la carte treats are available every day at both lunch and dinner.
Mott 32; Standard Chartered Bank Building, 4-4A Des Voeux Rd Central, Central; +852 2885 8688
Dim Sum Library
Interspersed with designer wear, sports and homewares stores at Elements Mall in Kowloon, there’s Dim Sum Library – a huge, inviting space decked out in luxurious dark wood. With a name like Dim Sum Library, you’d be expecting quite a comprehensive array of dim sum options and boy, does it live up to it!
You can see the black truffle through the translucent skin of the dumpling, as well as smell that sweet truffle aroma, making the black truffle har gau shrimp dumplings eminently desirable (HKD52/3pcs).Served in a hexagonal box, you’ll be enamoured by their signature dan dan xiao long bao — with just the right amount of texture from the meat and spice from the soup (HKD52/3pcs).
You’ll also enjoy the interesting mix of the lobster dumpling with Tianqi herbs (HKD62/2pcs). Equally as is impressive were the crunchy deep-fried taro puff with escargot (HKD68/3pcs). But what blew our minds were the pan-fried Sichuan cod bao, which you can’t leave without trying (HKD68/3pcs). Lucky for you, their delightful morsels are available from lunch to dinner every day.
Dim Sum Library; Elements Mall, 1 Austin Rd W, 1/F, Shop 1028B, Tsim Sha Tsui; +852 2810 0898
Man Ho Chinese Restaurant
For an exquisite Cantonese fine dining experience, dine in style at Man Ho which was recently renovated modelled upon a classic Chinese garden. Upon entry, the water fountain with lotus sculptures and wooden moon gate offers a sense of tranquility. At your table, you’ll be wowed by a delightfully aesthetic dish presented as goldfish — the steamed minced garoupa and coriander dumpling that tastes as good as it looks (HKD68/1pc).
If you’re into Chinese delicacies, look out for their baked South African dried abalone puff with wild mushrooms (HKD148/1pc). Adding a nourishing factor to the dish is their steamed fish maw, scallop, chicken and mushroom stuffed in bean curd sheet (HKD78/3pcs). Dim sum aficionados craving the classics will enjoy the steamed pork and shrimp dumpling with conpoy (HKD88/3pcs).
While meat-lovers will happily gorge on their tender yet tantalisingly steamed barbecued pork buns (HKD78/3pcs). Amongst the luscious array of dim sum flavours, another equally irresistible one is their steamed mushroom and kale dumplings (HKD78/3pcs) — so head on down for lunch over the weekends only!
Man Ho, JW Marriott Hong Kong, 88 Queensway, 3/F, Admiralty; +852 2810 8366
The Chinese Library
Housed in a stunning colonial building, The Chinese Library’s vibrancy from its art-deco-style accoutrements everywhere you look to their plush velvet boothsthat encapsulate diners. Different from its counterparts, they’re shaking things up with an unlimited weekend dim sum lunch for an all you-can-eat within two hours (HKD328).
While it’s certainly a challenge to find something you don’t love from their menu, here are some highlights from the 16 dim sum selections. Dig into as many laksa xiao long bao as you want for that fiery kick. For the ultimate siu mai, you’ve got to try Chinese Library’s version with black garlic, prawn and, of course, pork.
Pan-seared just perfectly, their turnip cake with Hunan preserved Parma ham definitely tickles the tastebuds. If you’re in the mood for luxe ingredients, try out their racing crab dumpling with steamed black cod and egg white. And unlike the usual cheung fans, the steamed mandarin fish cheung fan here served with chilli peanut sauce will have you in a food coma. We bet you’ll be giddy from this doozy of dumplings and booze.
The Chinese Library; Police Headquarters Block 01, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, 1/F, Central; +852 2848 3088
Tin Lung Heen
For a heightened — in both senses of the word — dim sum experience, dining at Tin Lung Heen, 400 metres above Victoria Harbour atop the ICC, takes some beating. Tuck into the steamed spotted garoupa dumpling with dried tomato — so delicate you can actually taste the freshness (HKD110/3pcs).
Although pricey, as you’d expect with any premium ingredient, the baked Middle East Yoshihama abalone puff is a must-have treat meticulously prepared with roasted goose (HKD162/1pc).Another small bite of heaven are thesteamed scallop dumplings topped with salmon roe (HKD110/3pcs).
Among their catalogue of amazing bites, don’t miss out on their flavourful pan fried lamb dumpling with shiso and conpoy (HKD110/3pcs). Vegetarians, on the other hand, will marvel over the steamed omnipork dumpling with vegetables and pine nuts (HKD110/3pcs). However, do take note that these a la carte dim sum options are only available for lunch over the weekends and public holidays.
Tin Lung Heen, Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, International Commerce Center, 1 Austin Road West, Level 102, Kowloon; + 852 2263 2270
Lung King Heen
Lung King Heen in the Four Seasons hotel was the first Chinese restaurant to be awarded three Michelin stars. Well, doesn’t that say it all? Overlooking superlative harbour views, you’ve got to start off with their signature baked whole abalone puff with diced chicken which is an absolute melt-in-the-mouth bite (HKD82/1pc).
Next up, order their baked barbecued pork buns with pine nuts to relish how the sweet crust on top balance the saltiness of the barbecued pork whilst the pine nuts add a touch of crunch to the bun (HKD99/3pcs). If you’re lucky, the steamed lobster and scallop dumpling is a seasonal item to savour the flavours from the sea (HKD78/1pc).
And the steamed Shanghainese pork dumplings with conpoy leaves a desire for more (HKD99/3pcs). Here, the chef has used scallop for a luxury filling instead of the regular minced pork. While upholding a traditional Cantonese dish as a dim sum filling — their steamed lobster dumpling with vegetables and fermented bean sauce (HKD78/1pc) has made its mark as one of the most popular dim sum on Lung King Heen’s lunch menu over the weekends and public holidays.
Lung King Heen, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong; 8 Finance St, Sheung Wan; +852 3196 8888