‘Yum Cha’ meaning ‘tea tasting’ is an old tradition that started in rural teahouses along the roadside in China. It became a way to socialise and relax for farmers as well as travellers. Eventually they added light snacks to the menu, which were shared amongst diners.
The ritual of dim sum became the popular custom that it is today in Guangdong, a southern province in China. What began as a simple Chinese snack has since then evolved over thousands of years throughout the world. Most common and diverse in Hong Kong, it is usually served from 5 a.m. until mid-afternoon, and is popular as a take-out option but more so as a social dining experience to be shared with friends and family.
Literally meaning ‘to touch the heart,’ dim sum carries this virtue throughout the entire process. From preparation, where chefs take great care due to the intricacy of each dish, to the part where everyone eats! No matter where you are in Hong Kong you will see how much both locals and tourists truly enjoy this cultural practice.
LUXOS travelled all over Hong Kong to find you the very best dim sum. We decided that the total experience should include atmosphere, a mix of locals and tourists, a touch of history, pristine service and of course the most delicious delicacies. Here’s what we found:
Lung King Heen
The first Chinese chef in history to be awarded three Michelin stars, we were particularly excited to see what this restaurant had in store for us. Focusing on pure Cantonese cuisine, Chef Chan Yan Tak updates each dish and uses only the freshest of ingredients. So what did the chef have to say about his creations? “(They) reflect the familiarity and variety that guests and locals alike are looking for in authentic Chinese cooking.” Each dish arrived perfectly presented and looking as tempting as the one before, although there were definite standouts. First, a more traditional choice, the ‘steamed rice rolls with lobster and black bean sauce’ had the most tender lobster, the combination of complex flavours was truly delectable. For something more original, the ‘crispy scallops with fresh pear’ were light with a crisp flavour, a good way to end if you aren’t staying for dessert. Also outstanding were the ‘steamed Shanghainese dumplings with crab meat.' And for dipping, be sure to order the chef’s famous, home-made X.O. Sauce which is exclusively served here.
Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong
8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong
Tel. +852 3196 8888
Having been awarded specifically for their dim sum, the selection at Ming Court was by far the most original and imaginative we have seen in Hong Kong. Chef Tsang’s choices are truly surprising and not only a treat for visitors but also for the locals at the next table. We later discovered that the diversity of each dish was largely due to the chef’s international career spanning over 30 years. The ‘pan-fried sliced chicken stuffed with minced chicken and black truffle’ was colourful and intense with flavor, a true delight and the perfect contrast to our other favourite dish, which was simpler. The ‘stir-fried sliced giant garoupa stuffed with shrimp paste’ is the perfect light summer choice as it is not as dense as other more common dim sum. A final note for this choice, do not leave without sampling the dim sum dessert menu!
Langham Place Mongkok, Hong Kong
555 Shanghai Street, Mongkok, Kowloon, Hong Kongâ€¨
Tel. +852 3552 3388
Another award-winning restaurant (we just couldn’t resist), the dining room at T’ang Court is the most traditional as is the menu featuring many Chinese specialties. The first thing we read is that if we’re having trouble deciding, the executive chef will tailor an individual menu so of course, we went with this option! We discovered that he was an absolute master of pastry dim sums such as the ‘baked pastries with whole abalone and diced chicken’ which we tried in other places but was definitely the best here. Another interesting delicacy was the ‘bird’s nest pastries’ which took a little convincing as its filling is made from the saliva of a swiftlet, however the chef was adamant and with having gone to so much trouble to obtain the ingredients (as the nests are located on dangerous cliff sides), how could we say no? One tasty bite later and we were sold. At the end of our meal we learned that many celebrities including Jackie Chan dine there and hey, if it’s good enough for Hollywood's karate master, then it's worth checking out.
The Langham Hong Kong
8 Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Tel. +852 2375 1133