A Dim Sum Compendium

I recently read an article about a book called “The Paradox of Choice – why more is less”. Being quite an indecisive person when it comes to consumerism, I can relate to the authors premise that whilst choice is good for us, we are presented with too much choice nowadays. It can be psychologically disadvantageous and ultimately, makes us more unhappy. And so, faced with all of this choice, many of us do the simplest thing – choose the same option over and over, because we know it, because we’re comfortable with it.  While this is all a bit too serious as an introduction to dim sum, the logic is quite the same.  There are many choices in this city for Dim Sum – which one should we choose?

I have a long list of Dim Sum restaurants in my phonebook, a Dim Sum Compendium, if you will. Some are the good old favorites, some are the easier option, some take that extra effort to get there but are worth it, and some are on my “To Eat” list. All are worth trying – why choose, when you can have them all?

CENTRAL

Man Wah, The Mandarin Oriental
(My #1 Favorite!)

Xiao Long Bao

Xiao Long Bao

Who says you should leave the best for last? It is more expensive, but this is by far some of the best dim sum that Hong Kong has to offer in terms of taste and quality ingredients. If you are in a group of 10-14, request the private dining room, styled like an old Chinese pavilion warmly lit by Chinese lanterns. You can’t find a better setting for dim sum than this.

Recommended dishes: Xiao Long Bao (Shanghainese Soup Dumpling), Deep Fried Beancurd and Spicy Salt, Almond Milk dessert. In fact, all of their desserts are outstanding.

The ambiance: Old Hong Kong tastefully done. Pink tablecloths. A simply amazing panoramic view of the Central Harbour.

Price: Approx. $350-$400 per person

25/F, The Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 5 Connaught Road West, Central. Tel: +852 2825 4003

Peking Garden, Alexandra House

Pretty decent Siu Mai

Pretty decent Siu Mai

If you are stuck with no reservation on a Sunday and you are craving dim sum, Peking Garden will almost always have a table available for you.  With a limited dim sum selection that isn’t exactly top notch but will satisfy that craving, you can also choose from their extensive menu. The Peking duck is excellent and is what they are most known for.

Recommended dishes: Peking duck, Deep-fried Prawns in Sweet Sour Chili Sauce, Bean Shoot in Soup (上汤豆苗) – when in season.

Price: Approx. $300-$350 per person (for dim sum)

Shop B1, Basement 1, Alexandra House, Central. Tel: +852 2526 6456

City Hall Maxim’s Palace

Old School Trolley Service! Photot courtesy of

Old School Trolley Service!

This cavernous hall of round tables is always packed to the gills with locals and tourists alike. One of the few places in Hong Kong where you are able to experience trolley service,and there is plenty of choice! The only bother is that it takes no reservations, so try to show up by 11.45am, or else you may be waiting quite some time!

Price: $200-$250 per person

 2/F, Low Block, City Hall, Central. Tel: +852 2521 1303

The China Club

If you have a friend that can book a table for you at this Members club,  score! The Club itself is beautiful, with owner David Tang’s (of Shanghai Tang fame) design fingerprint all over it. Think old Shanghai with a teahouse style, with pops of bright block colours here and there. The collection of artwork there is amazing, and worth millions. It is an experience to visit at least once, and whilst the food is good, it’s not out of this world, and certainly not worth the price you pay for it!

Price: $600+ per person

14/F, Old Bank of China Building, 1 Bank Street, Central. Tel: +852 2521 8888

A beautiful setting for Dim Sum

A beautiful setting for Dim Sum

Razor clams

Razor clams

Dragon-I

Night Club dining

Night Club dining

You would never have thought to eat dim sum at what is essentially one of the most popular night clubs in town. Their all you can eat dim sum lunch (Monday – Saturday) offers a good range of dim sum classics at a very reasonable price. By the by, their Japanese dinner menu here is pretty good too!

Recommended dishes: Deep-fried Shrimp Dumpling w/ Mayonnaise, Deep-fried Crab Claw w/ Shrimp Paste, Chili Pork Dumpling.

Price: $188 (adults), $98 (Children)

UG/F The Centrium, 60 Wyndham Street, Central. Tel: +852 3110 1222

Causeway Bay

Dragon King Restaurant, World Trade Center
(My #2 Favorite!)

Pan Fried Pork Buns with Special Sauce

Pan Fried Pork Buns with Special Sauce

Hidden in one of the upper floors of the World Trade Center, this fabulous place is one of my favorites for the quality and choice of dim sum. The fare seems lighter, less oily, served in a bright and airy room with a view of the harbour at the Noon Day Gun. You will certainly be surprised by the value of your meal! Reservations are highly recommended, at least a few days in advance.

Recommended dishes: Pan-fried Buns with Special Sauce, Deep-fried Spring Rolls w/ Satay Chicken, Pan-Fried Rice Rolls in XO Sesame, Baked Buns with BBQ Pork, Deep-Fried Bean(curd) Cubes with Sesame.

To see my full post on Dragon King Restaurant, click here.

Price: $150 – $200 per person

12/F, World Trade Center, 280 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay. Tel: +852 2895 2288

WAN CHAI

Fook Lam Moon, Wan Chai
(My #3 Favorite!)

Char Siu

Char Siu

This restaurant always has Bentleys and Mercedes parked up out front, so you know that it’s in the good books of the Hong Kong heavies. Whilst the choice is not all-encompassing (big boo – they have taken their hairy crab xiaolongbao off the menu!), great detail is taken to make the dishes absolutely right. The Quick Sand Buns here are out of this world (see below) – piping hot and deliciously creamy and salty-sweet.

Recommended dishes: BBQ Pork (Char Siu), Yellow Custard Quick Sand Buns.

Price: $300-$400 per person

35-45 Johnston Rd, Wan Chai. +852 2866 0663

Lau Sa Bao - yellow custard "quick sand" buns

Lau Sa Bao – yellow custard “quick sand” buns

Victoria City Seafood Restaurant, Wan Chai

Xiao Long Bao

Xiao Long Bao

If you like baked BBQ Pork Buns, the ones with the sweet crust on the top, then this is the place for you. They are the best here, and always are the first thing to be sold out, so make sure you order them the moment you sit down. This place is quite local, noise levels are high and for some reason the air-conditioning is always set to sub-zero temperature, somake sure to bring a sweater. For those driving, it has free valet parking. There is no view, but boy those buns are worth it. There is another branch in the Admiralty area.

Recommended Dishes: Baked Buns with BBQ Pork, Xiao Long Bao.

Price: $200 per person

2nd floor, Sun Hung Kai Center, Wan Chai. Tel: +852-2827-9938

HAPPY VALLEY

MOON KOON

A fantastic view of the racecourse

A fantastic view of the racecourse

For the best dim sum view, Moon Koon definitely wins first place.  The restaurant is located at the Hong Kong Jockey Club racecourse, but not many know that on non-race days, non-members can dine. So this is a little secret from me to you! Whilst the selection is relatively limited, it still has all of the favorites and the taste is among the freshest. The fried rice here is the best, with big plump shrimp and lots of flavour. Reservations a few days in advance recommended. Credit cards accepted.

Recommended dishes: Yeung Chow Fried Rice, XO Turnip Cake.

Price: $250 per person

2/F Happy Valley Stand, Happy Valley Racecourse Tel: +852 2966-7111 

DIM SUM

No beating around the bush here, when you go to this restaurant, you know what you’re getting – possible one of the largest selections of less conventional dim sum options, served day and night. Forget siu mai, how about a sheung jee jor? They look the same, but have scallop, crab roe and shrimp. Or perhaps you’d like to try one of the hugest har gau in the history of har gaus? They are pricey at $40 for two, but they are full of real shrimp! One thing that was a bit surprising was that the English menu had sharks fin written EVERYWHERE. Whether they were after prestige or there really is sharks fin I don’t know, but rarely do I frown so much looking at a menu. No reservations on weekends, so get there early.

Recommended dishes: Deep-fried Prawn and Vegetable Dumplings, Har Gau, Law Mai Chee (fresh mango dumplings).

Price: $150 – $200 per person

G/F, 63 Sing Woo Road, Happy Valley. Tel +852 2834 8893

The Hugest Har Gar

The Hugest Har Gar

THE DARK SIDE

TIM HO WAN, Sham Shui Po/Mong Kok

One Michelin Starred dim sum, the most affordable prices that you will find for the most amazing food – you’ll want to order one of everything on the menu. Their baked pineapple buns ($15) are fluffy clouds of sweet pastry and BBQ pork. Opened by Mak Pui Gor, formerly of Lung King Heen at the Four Seasons Hotel, there are now three outlets, including one in Hong Kong Station.There are no reservations ever, so get there early – it’s worth it.

To see my full blog post on Tim Ho Wan, click here.

Recommended dishes: Baked Char Siu Buns, Malay Cake, Chiu Chow Steamed Dumplings, Baked Rice dishes.

Price: $50-$100 per person

Mongkok Branch: Shop #8, Tsoi Yuen Mansion Phase 2, 2-20 Kwong Wah Street, Mongkok. Tel: +852 2332-2896
Sham Shui Po Branch: G/F, 9-11 Fuk Wing Street, Sham Shui Po. Tel: +852 2788 1226

Baked Char Siu Buns

Ma Lai Gao – Malay Cake

♥♥♥ Now go eat some dim sum! Enjoy♥♥♥

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5 thoughts on “A Dim Sum Compendium

  1. Hi Miriam, you’re absolutely right, I’m terribly unadventurous!! Thanks so much for your suggestions – the main problem is that I never really know where to go over there, I don’t know the Dark Side well at all! Thanks so much for your suggestions, they all look great and I’ll defo go check them out. Is Spring Deer better for dim sum or for dinner? Thanks!

    • Spring Deer is definitely a “must go” for anyone who is living or visiting HK. They don’t serve regular Canton Dim Sums; instead they serve shanghainese/pekingese style dumplings, buns and noodles for lunches on Saturdays and Sundays. Everything is wonderful…..their dinner dishes are superb! But, do remember to make a reservation ahead of time, especially for dinners on weekends. Enjoy and let me know what you think! 🙂

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