Hong Kong’s Top 5 Dim Sum Restaurants
Try our favourite five dim sum restaurants and your taste buds will thank you.
Dim Sum 101
Dim sum, literally “touch heart”, is Hong Kong’s local cuisine with a variety of flavours and textures, both savoury and sweet. Most often had by locals for breakfast, dim sum is a staple that you can find just about anywhere. The two most popular dishes that you are likely to come across are char siu bao (bbq pork buns) and siu mai (steamed shrimp dumplings). There are other lesser known dishes (at least to those not from Hong Kong) that deserve just as much hype, like lo mai gai (steamed sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf) and cheong fan (rice noodle rolls with meat or shrimp).
Dim sum is all about sharing, so going with a big group is a great way to try a range of dishes. Tea is served the moment you sit down (some restaurants have a minimal tea charge) and ordering varies between restaurants; the traditional restaurants serve their dim sum in trolleys that are carted around past tables, while others will give you a menu and pencil for you to check which dishes you’d like. Happy eating and don’t forget to order daan taat (egg tart) for dessert!
1. Tim Ho Wan 添好運點心專門店
Known as the world’s cheapest Michelin-star restaurant, Tim Ho Wan is a Hong Kong favourite for both locals and expats alike. Aside from the prestigious title awarded to this restaurant, people flock here for the Baked BBQ Pork Buns, which are unlike the pork buns found at other dim sum restaurants. The pork buns at Tim Ho Wan are baked in a crispy, almost sweet pastry, as opposed to being steamed. Service is prompt, albeit a bit rough around the edges (especially for those who do not speak Cantonese), and you should expect a queue when you arrive if you’re there on the weekends.
Insider tip: grab Tim Ho Wan takeaway in the basement of the IFC and a few drinks, and take them up to the roof near RED Bar to enjoy some deliciously cheap dim sum washed down by some equally cheap drinks, all while overlooking the harbour.
Must-try dish: Baked BBQ Pork Buns, 3 for HK$16
Price: dim sum dishes start at HK$11. A generous meal for two will cost roughly HK$150
Tim Ho Wan, the Dim-Sum Specialists Shop 12A, Level 1, Hong Kong Station (IFC Mall), Central
Tim Ho Wan, the Dim-Sum Specialists Shop B, C, & D, G/F, 2-8 Wharf Road, Seaview Building, North Point
Tim Ho Wan, the Dim-Sum Specialists Shop 49, G/F., POPCORN 2, 9 Tong Chun Street, Tseung Kwan O
Tim Ho Wan, the Dim-Sum Specialists Shop 72, G/F, Olympian City 2, 18 Hoi Ting Road, Tai Kok Tsui
Tim Ho Wan, the Dim-Sum Specialists G/F, 9-11 Fuk Wing Street, Sham Shui Po
2. DimDimSum 點心專門店
Another popular local dim sum shop is the DimDimSum Dim Sum Specialty (try saying that five times fast!) restaurants. What makes this shop unique and more appealing for some is their range of traditional dim sum dishes alongside modern fusion dishes that are both very cheap and exceptionally executed.
Service at DimDimSum is efficient and you’ll likely see a good mix of both locals and expats inside (at the Wan Chai location, anyway). If you’re a fan of edible cute things, the Piggy Custard Buns are a must – just be sure to eat them right away as the custard will start to solidify as they cool down.
Must-try dishes: Pan-fried Stuffed Eggplant with Teriyaki Sauce, 3 for HK$21 & Piggy Custard Buns, 3 for HK$20
Price: dim sum dishes start at HK$16. A generous meal for two will cost roughly HK$170.
Website: www.dimdimsum.hk (Cantonese only)
DimDimSum Dim Sum Specialty Store 21-23 Man Ying Street, Jordan
DimDimSum Dim Sum Specialty Store 112 Tung Choi Street, Mong Kok
DimDimSum Dim Sum Specialty Store 7 Tin Lok Lane, Wan Chai
DimDimSum Dim Sum Specialty Store Shop 108, 1/F, Citylink Plaza, Shatin
3. Maxim’s Palace City Hall 美心皇宮
If you’re looking to get more of a true Hong Kong dim sum experience, Maxim’s Palace is the place to go. Though there are a handful of branches in Hong Kong, the most well-known branch is located at City Hall in Central. Varying drastically from the previous two dim sum shops, Maxim’s Palace City Hall is a banquet-style restaurant that seats over 600 diners surrounded by ornate decor. Expect to see little trolleys being carted around – have a peek as it passes your table and grab whatever dish suits your fancy.
Just remember to be quick and have a bit of patience, as the staff aren’t exactly friendly. Thankfully, for all us non-Cantonese speaking diners, the trolley has English writing on it (though there are no prices listed), so you know what’s coming. Insider tip: given its popularity, it’s best to go early in the morning (Maxim’s Palace opens at 9:00 am on Sundays and 11:00 am the rest of the week) to avoid hour-long queues.
Price: dim sum dishes range from HK$33 – HK$53.
Location: Maxim’s Palace 2/F, City Hall, 5-7 Edinburgh Place, Central
4. Social Place 唐宮小聚
For contemporary dim sum done right, check out Social Place. The restaurant boasts a spacious dining area with modern chic decor. In the centre of the restaurant you’ll find a large ping pong table that is used as a dining table, or, if it’s not too busy, perhaps you can have a quick game before your food comes out. Unfortunately, some of the dim sum items are available for lunch only, so be sure to check out the lunch and dinner menu before heading over.
Try the popular vegetarian truffle shiitake buns that look identical to a steamed mushroom, making it an Instagram-worthy picture. For something a little more westernized, opt for the sweet and sour pork with fresh pineapple, which will not disappoint. Social Place also offers dim sum workshops, which is perfect for those who enjoy cooking food just as much as eating it.
Must-try-dishes: Truffle Shiitake Buns, 3 for HK$49 & Piggy Custard Buns, 3 for HK$20 & Sticky Lemon Prawns, HK$119
Price: dim sum dishes start at HK$28. A meal for two (excluding drinks) will cost roughly HK$300.
Location: Social Place 2/F, The L. Place, 139 Queen’s Road Central, Central
5. Duddell’s 都爹利會館
Two words can often sum up people’s weekend in Hong Kong: champagne brunch. While we all love a good boozy weekend brunch, there comes a time when the standard western buffet just doesn’t cut it anymore and you need to switch things up. Cue Duddell’s Weekend Salon Brunch available Saturday, Sunday, and public holidays.
The salon is very hip and chic, and many of the dim sum dishes also reflect this in their presentation. Aside from the salon, you can also eat outside in their beautiful outdoor terrace, making it a perfect spot to dine on a warm, sunny day. Though the price tag is not exactly wallet-friendly, dim sum brunch at Duddell’s is a fun, enjoyable experience that should be tried at least once.
Insider tip: Duddell’s also offers an a la carte dim sum menu if you’re just looking to grab drinks and nibbles in the bar after work.
Price: HK$480 per person (free-flow fresh juices, soft drinks and water) or HK$680 per person (free-flow Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label, That’s What She Said, Jack Jazz Rabbit and Green Beast cocktail, red and white wine and soft beverages as above).
Location: Duddell’s Level 3, Shanghai Tang Mansion, 1 Duddell Street, Central
thisgirlabroad is a Canadian expat who found herself packing her life up in the Great White North to move to a city filled with skyscrapers, dim sum, and 7-Eleven’s. She’s been living, loving, and eating her way through Hong Kong for the past four years without any plans to slow down. Between working full time, managing her blog, and freelance writing, you’ll likely find her with a strong cup of coffee in one hand and a jar of crunchy peanut butter in the other.