Header image courtesy of @duddellshk (via Instagram)
Originally posted by Sophie Pettit. Last updated by Beverly Ngai.
There is nothing quite as comforting as tucking into a bamboo basket full of hot, steaming dim sum and sipping on some jasmine tea. An iconic staple of the Hong Kong diet and its culture, dim sum is the perfect food for sharing with your nearest and dearest. With so many dishes to choose from—including the ever-popular fluffy char siu bao and soupy xiaolongbao—there’s something to satisfy all taste buds. So, in celebration of these little Cantonese treasures, we gather our chopsticks and check out the best dim sum restaurants around the city.
Affordability and Michelin stars are two things that do not usually appear together in the same sentence, but when they do, you know that something special is on the cards. Hailed as “the most affordable Michelin-stared restaurant in the world,” this Hong Kong-based dim sum franchise draws eager crowds at all times of the day. However, don’t let the lines deter you, as your patience will pay off when you bite into their famous baked barbecue pork bun ($22), a heavenly marriage of umami-packed char siu and sweet, flaky pineapple bun, or their succulent steamed beef balls with bean curd ($19), which are infused with fragrant dried orange peels and bursting with beefy flavour—just make sure you have a few napkins on hand to catch the juices dribbling down your chin!
If the beautiful emerald blue façade of Prince Dragon Dim Dum doesn’t immediately seduce you, its cheap and cheerful menu definitely will. With locations in Prince Edward and Causeway Bay, this stylish dim sum spot crafts its menu with both innovation and tradition in mind. Dim sum traditionalists can opt for the shrimp dumplings ($16 for two pieces ) and siu mai ($15 for two pieces). They are among the cheapest items on the menu and happen to be top-sellers, too!
On the other hand, trendy foodies will love the black truffle mushroom dumpling ($26) and the “not zhaliang” ($29)—a modern spin on zhaliang (炸兩; steamed rice roll with Chinese cruller) that swaps the fried dough filling with a delicious mixture of shrimp tempura, water chestnuts, celery, and crispy, deep-fried tofu skin!
When you’re craving Hong Kong-style French toast, you know to go to Chau Kee for their famed molten lava French toast, but you would be foolish to miss out on this spot’s savoury options. Apart from their renowned dessert, Chau Kee also whips up some of the tastiest dim sum in the city. Small and minimally adorned, this hole-in-the-wall eatery looks the part of a local, no-frills diner, but its menu is actually filled with modern and unique creations, like spring rolls with cheese & prawn ($36) and sesame shrimp toast ($42). Of course, you can’t go wrong with their classic fried turnip cakes with XO sauce ($43) and steamed pork ribs with garlic & black bean sauce ($28), either!
Chau Kee, Shop H1, G/F, Tung Lee Mansion, Water Street, Sai Ying Pun | (+852) 2559 2389
Bedecked with marbled tables, clean-lined wooden panelling, and the floor-to-ceiling windows, Social Place offers a comfortable and unhurried setting for diners to sit back with friends and savour contemporary Cantonese fare—somewhat of a rarity, given that dim sum culture is practically synonymous with bustling carts and loud chatter. The restaurant’s menu reflects its sophisticated yet playful atmosphere, featuring dishes that are both visually impressive and awash with flavour. Their signature roasted white king pigeon ($49) comes crispy, lacquered, and golden brown, yet is perfectly tender on the inside, while the truffle shitake buns ($49) touts an aromatic mushroom filling and a delicate dusting of black truffle powder that resembles the mottled pattern of actual mushrooms!
Set on the second floor of Sheraton Hotel, this well-appointed Cantonese restaurant is known for their elevated twists on classic dim sum delicacies; and though the options are not overly extensive, each dish is thoughtfully executed with culinary finesse. There’s not a loser in the lot, but while you’re here, we say you might as well splurge on the fancy stuff like the deep-fried glutinous dumpling with foie gras ($78) and shrimp spring roll with sea urchin ($118). Don’t forget to save some stomach space for dessert! They do a fantastic assorted dessert platter consisting of your favourite old-school Cantonese sweet treats, including egg tartlet with bird’s nest, deep-fried pumpkin puff, mango pomelo sago, and black sesame roll.
Celestial Court Chinese Restaurant, 2/F, Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers, 20 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2369 1111
Famed for its epic boozy weekend brunches, Duddell’s sits at the swankier end of the spectrum when it comes to dim sum dining, with uber-stylish interiors to match. Where else could you find braised bamboo pith with imperial bird’s nest and white truffle paste for $688 a pop? With these prices, it’s definitely worth going for the weekend salon brunch, which is offered in two separate three-hour sessions—12 pm to 3 pm and 3 pm to 6 pm—and gets you unlimited dim sum, snacks, rice and noodles, soup, mains, and desserts—plus free-flow wine or champagne for $788 per person. It’s a no-brainer, really. Just make sure you call ahead in advance to reserve your table as seats fill up fast.
Duddell’s, 3/F, Shanghai Tang Mansion, 1 Duddell Street, Central | (+852) 2525 9191
With four outlets dotted across Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and the New Territories, you’re never too far away from Dim Dim Sum, and just as well, as this popular franchise has won numerous accolades for its excellent quality of food. This achievement is owed to the executive chef, who has been in the business for more than 30 years and has worked in five-star hotels and high-end restaurants.
Despite these impressive merits, the food is surprisingly reasonable in price, with most of their dishes coming in at around $30. The restaurant’s simple, no-frills interior hints that the focus is on the food rather than lavish décor, with the kitchen whipping up delicious staples such as rice flour rolls, steamed shrimp dumplings, and char siu bao, as well as several fried and baked dishes, noodle and rice, and desserts.
When at Dim Dim Sum, the pan-fried stuffed eggplant with teriyaki sauce ($26) is a must-order, while the cheeky piggy custard buns ($25) provide the perfect sweet ending to your yum cha feast. The only downside to dining here is the potential queuing time, as the outlets are modestly sized, meaning you may have to wait outside. We assure you though, it’s definitely worth it.
If you can get past that fact that you’re eating in a shopping mall, there are some excellent dishes on offer at Dim Sum Library. This 1920s Art Deco-inspired eatery serves contemporary dishes with a quirky twist that aren’t too hefty on your wallet. Sat among fancy bird cages, peacock tiled walls, and dim lighting, diners can tuck into delicious bites like the melt-in-your-mouth wagyu puff with black pepper ($92), black truffle har gau ($62), and dan dan xiao long bao ($72)—a spicy take on the highly popular dish. Each dish is beautifully presented and tastes just as intense as it looks, and if you fancy something a little stronger than brew, you can opt for a delicious tea-based cocktail!
You’re never too old to play with your food, and that’s exactly what’s in store at this “Instagram-worthy” restaurant. In fact, at Yum Cha, you’re encouraged to squidge, poke, and smash your way through the impressive selection of animal-shaped treats and googly-eyed faces that feature on the menu.
Fans of char siu bao will squeal with delight when the BBQ piggy buns ($49) arrive at the table, while big kids with a wicked sense of humour will jump at the chance to squeeze the gooey orange innards from the mouths of the hot custard buns ($49). With a large variety of noodle, rice, soup, and meat dishes on offer, there’s never a dull (or tasteless) moment at this quirky spot, and the quality of the food is actually pretty good. Given that their dim sum offerings start at just $29 a pop, it’s totally worth going—do it for the ‘gram!
For the ultimate cultural experience, head to LockCha Tea House in Hong Kong Park and lap up the soothing atmosphere and cultured environment as you indulge in a selection of vegetarian dim sum that is made fresh daily. This traditional Canton-style teahouse is the perfect place to relax during lunch, after work, or dinner—the only requirement being that you must choose a tea from a collection of a hundred in order to select dim sum from the à la carte menu. Which small noodle dishes and dim sum ranging from between $28 and $48, you have the luxury of choosing several without racking up a huge bill. Head there on a Saturday or Sunday and you will even catch some traditional Chinese music!
For a dim sum feast steeped in history, head to The Grand Stage in Western Market and admire the Edwardian Gothic architecture of this stunning century-old Grade I heritage building. You might suspect that dining in a two-storey banquet hall which boasts a 50-foot-high ceiling and 10-foot-long crystal chandelier would rack up a pretty hefty bill, but you would be pleasantly surprised. With dim sum ranging from $19 (for small dishes) to $68 (for specialities), and rice and noodles coming in at around $120, this definitely won’t break the bank.
Don’t expect to see anything too fancy on the menu though, as the emphasis is on well-executed modern Cantonese cuisine, with favourites like BBQ pork steamed rice rolls ($55), steamed prawn dumpling ($55), and egg custard bun ($48) featuring on the menu. You will, however, find some distinctively local dishes such as double-boiled pig lung with almond ($108) and steamed chicken feet with black bean sauce ($39). If you have regular yum cha cravings, The Grand Stage offers a Club One membership which gets you discounts on all menu items which is well worth signing up for. You might even be tempted to have a spin on the 2,000-square-foot dance floor afterwards!
The Grand Stage, 2/F, Western Market, 323 Des Voeux Road, Central | (+852) 2815 2311