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More dim sum, please

Even prior to landing in Hong Kong, I knew what I wanted to eat – dim sum! There are a few dim sum places in Paris, some better than others, but I miss those that I get in Asia which somehow always tastes better and comes in more variety. I know, this could just be the biased Asian in me speaking. ;)

Dim sum

Dim sum

Four of my six lunches in Hong Kong constituted of just dim sum. The first among them was at a small place called Ding Dim in the Central district, and we were so glad to dig in our food that not even a single photo was taken. Two of the next three dim sum restaurants I went to were noticeably packed with Asians and barely a couple of token Caucasians. If they were, I’d hazard there have been a lot of cart peeking and dish pointing instead of ordering, unless they are long term residents in Hong Kong. Fun times!


***

Lin Heung Tea House in the Central district is well-established, nearly a century old, and many of the staff look like they’ve been there forever. If you’re a visitor passing by the shop, you’re unlikely to be aware of the busy restaurant upstairs, fronted by a bakery. The dim sum here is pushed out and around on trolleys, but occasionally I’ve noticed people swarming certain carts as soon as they came out from the kitchen; what were the coveted dishes that never made it by our table so I can peek at and order if I feel like it?

Dim sum

Dim sum

Dim sum

Dim sum

Dim sum

A and I shared a table with 6-7 others, some clearly regulars who have their own specific routines that the staff was well aware of. We kept our orders relatively simple – an order of cheong fan, an order of steamed bun but with lap cheong rather than the regular char siu, an order of siu mai, an order of steamed turnip cake, and a dish of stir-fry greens. A pot of pu’er accompanied our meal. Overall, good dim sum selection although not the best that I’ve had, but it’s the atmosphere that puts me back into “this is what dining in Asia is like” mode.

Lin Heung Tea House
160-164 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong

***

I badly needed rest one of the days – I was fed up with the cold that was bugging me – but still craving for dim sum, so I headed to Treasure Lake which is five minutes walk away from SL’s apartment. While it is not strictly a dim sum restaurant, it certainly is known by locals as a place that serves pretty good dim sum. Despite being on my own, I chowed down three dishes on my own – char siu cheong fun, lau sar bao (“silky sand bun”, aka salted egg custard bun), and steamed beef wrapped in tofu skin.

Dim sum

Dim sum

Dim sum

Dim sum

Lau sar bao was an interesting one that I’ve never had before, although I wished there had been more filling instead of the bun. The size was rather substantial, and there was three in a portion… I still ate them all anyway. I loved their steamed beef wrapped in tofu, cooked just to the right texture and full of flavour. I received a lot of looks from people at other tables, and I’m not sure if it was because I was on my own, or I was a girl on my own, or I was a girl on my own and wearing summery clothes because the Hong Kongers were wrapped up in coats at 20-22°C – I kid you not!

Treasure Lake
16 Hill Road, Shek Tong Tsui, Hong Kong

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An introduction to Tim Ho Wan is probably not needed. It was once known as the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world, but now boasts several branches in Hong Kong and across South East Asia (including, one of the latest openings, in Malaysia!). SL and I went to the branch in IFC Mall where we were duly given a waiting number and seated some 15 minutes later – not as bad a queue as I thought it may be. It is important that one does not take the clump of people waiting to constitute the queue: if you want to eat, go to the counter and get a number.

Dim sum

Dim sum

Dim sum

Dim sum

The must-have dish at Tim Ho Wan appeared to be the char siu bo lo bao, which is a version of baked char siu bao with a thin crusty layer to its skin. It was delicious and the filling succulent, but between the sweetness of the char siu and the sweetness of the skin, it can be a bit sickly sweet. We ordered seven other dishes on top of that, so I’d forgive you if you thought we’d just returned from a deserted island and not eaten for weeks.

What else did we get? Pan fried turnip cake (another good one), lotus-wrapped glutinous rice (disappointing, we wondered if it was an overnight reheated item), siu mai (pretty standard), chiu chow style steamed dumpling (excellent, would eat more if I could), seasonal vegetables (we love greens so why not?) and tomato-stuffed shrimp balls (although it was more like tomato-capped shrimp balls, and this was another excellent one, for the tomato actually tasted of something and not completely anorexic). To end, we had a dessert in the form of osmanthus jelly – unique but delicious.

Dim sum

Dim sum

Dim sum

Dim sum

As you can see, not every dish was executed perfectly but overall, it was still a top notch meal. We had mostly outstanding dishes, the service was efficient without any further fuss, and for the price given the quality, it was a bargain. I’d happily wait 30-40 minutes for a table here, but doubt I would stay in line for any queue longer than that.

Tim Ho Wan
Shop 12A, Hong Kong Station (Podium 1, IFC Mall), Central, Hong Kong

All posts in this series:
Hong Kong: What can I do in Hong Kong?
Hong Kong: First impression: Hong Kong
Hong Kong: More dim sum, please
Hong Kong: Postcards: The (Victoria) Peak
Hong Kong: Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden
Hong Kong: Wong Tai Sin Temple
Hong Kong: Po Lin Monastery and the Big Buddha
Hong Kong: Tai O fishing village
Hong Kong: Postcards: Stanley
Hong Kong: Chinese desserts galore
Hong Kong: Occupy Central with Love and Peace
Hong Kong: Hong Kong by night
Hong Kong: So many markets
Hong Kong: How to gain a few kilos in a week
Hong Kong: Once upon a clear sky in Hong Kong



Category: Asia, Food & Drink, Hong Kong, Travel

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4 scribbles & notes

  1. med says:

    AAarrggghhhhh lil. You are making me very hungry!!! Luckily I can still get quite decent dim sum here….its call yam cha here in melb though (mainly run by HK owners) and the funny thing is, it starts at 11am. Pretty late eh hahahah

  2. Chloé says:

    And now I am hungry too… As well as craving dim sum… Will try to convince my mum to hunt some in London next week-end ;)

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