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 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 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 Hong Kong.
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 its famous baked barbecue pork bun, a heavenly marriage of umami-packed char siu and sweet, flaky pineapple bun, or their succulent steamed beef balls with bean curd, which are infused with fragrant dried orange peels and bursting with beefy flavour—just make sure you have napkins on hand to catch the juices dribbling down your chin!
If the beautiful emerald blue façade of Prince Dragon Dim Sum does not immediately seduce you, its cheap and cheerful menu definitely will. With locations across Hong Kong, this stylish spot crafts its menu with both innovation and tradition in mind. Dim sum traditionalists can opt for the shrimp dumplings and siu mai.
On the other hand, trendy foodies will love the black truffle mushroom dumpling and the “not zhaliang”—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 are craving Hong Kong-style French toast, you know to go to Chau Kee for its famed molten lava French toast, but you would be foolish to miss out on this spot’s savoury options, as 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 and prawn and sesame shrimp toast. Of course, you cannot go wrong with Chau Kee’s classic fried turnip cakes with XO sauce and steamed pork ribs with garlic and black bean sauce, either!
Chau Kee, Shop H1, G/F, Tung Lee Mansion, Water Street, Sai Ying Pun
Set on the second floor of The Sheraton, this well-appointed Cantonese restaurant is known for its elevated twists on classic dim sum delicacies. Although the options are not overly extensive, each dish is 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 and shrimp spring roll with sea urchin.
Celestial Court does 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, The Sheraton Hotel & Towers, 20 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2369 1111
Bedecked with marbled tables, clean-lined wooden panelling, and 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.
Its menu reflects its sophisticated yet playful atmosphere, featuring dishes that are both visually impressive and awash with flavour. Social Place’s signature roasted white king pigeon comes crispy, lacquered, and golden-brown, yet is perfectly tender on the inside, while the truffle shitake buns tout an aromatic mushroom filling and a delicate dusting of black truffle powder that resembles the mottled pattern of actual mushrooms!
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 imperial bird’s nest with crab roe 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 $888 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 outlets dotted across the three major regions of the city, 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. Its executive chef 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 its dishes coming in at around $30. Dim Dim Sum’s 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, char siu bao, noodle and rice, and desserts.
Order the pan-fried stuffed eggplant with teriyaki sauce when at Dim Dim Sum, while the cheeky piggy custard buns provide the perfect sweet ending to your feast. The only downside is the potential queuing time, as the outlets are modestly sized, meaning you may have to wait outside. We assure you, though, that it is definitely worth it.
Dim Sum Library is a 1920s Art Deco-inspired eatery that serves contemporary dim sum dishes with a quirky twist that are not too hefty on your wallet. Sat among fancy bird cages, peacock-themed walls, and dim lighting, diners can tuck into delicious bites like the melt-in-your-mouth Wagyu puff with black pepper, black truffle har gau, and dan dan xiaolongbao—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.
Dim Sum Library, Shop 124, Level 1, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty
Playing with your food is exactly what’s in store at this “Instagram-worthy” restaurant. 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 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. With a large variety of noodles, 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 pretty good. Given that its dim sum offerings start at just $29 a pop, it’s totally worth going—do it for the ‘gram!
Yum Cha, Shop 1–2, 2/F, Nan Fung Place, 173 Des Voeux Road Central, Central
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 vegetarian dim sum 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 under a 50-foot-high ceiling and 10-foot-long crystal chandelier would rack up a pretty hefty bill, but the dim sum here ranges from $19 for small dishes to $68 for specialities. Rice and noodle dishes come in at around $120, so 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, steamed prawn dumpling, and egg custard bun featuring on the menu. You will, however, find some distinctively local dishes such as double-boiled pig lung with almond and steamed chicken feet with black bean sauce.
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