Elegant and yit lao dim sum places in HK
Born in Britain to parents from Hong Kong, I grew up with the tradition of having dim sum on weekends. The nearest Chinese restaurant was a 40-minute drive away, but that didn’t stop my determined father. These weekends taught me the delicate etiquette of dim sum: the slow pouring of gook-fa for others before yourself, and sharing of various dishes.
But when I did my yearly visit to Hong Kong during Summer breaks, I realised having dim sum wasn’t all quiet and elegant – it could could be noisy, rushed and overall crazy – but it was all part of a different charm, called yit lao, meaning “lively”, that I grew to be pretty proud of.
Here are my family’s 10 favourite dim sum restaurants in HK – both elegant and yit lao ones, that’ll allow you to experience the full spectrum of Dim Sum experiences.
1. Lung King Heen
Lung King Heen is a restaurant that will immediately impress you. Located on the fourth floor of Four Seasons Hong Kong, its dark polished woods and views of Victoria Harbour exude a quiet oriental elegance. As a 3 Michelin star restaurant, expect nothing less than the finest of ingredients crafted into Cantonese delicacies.
Their dishes perfected classics, and never stray too far from the original. Even a usual dish like the BBQ Pork Buns with Pine Nuts (HKD$84 / SGD15) are a crispy delight. One of the dishes that stands out the most is the Superior Pottage with Shredded Chicken (HK$310 / SGD$55) that’s bursting with deep, rich flavour.
Lung King Heen
Address: Four Seasons Hotel, #04, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong
Telephone: +852 3196 8888
Opening Hours Mon – Sat: 12pm – 2:30pm, 6pm – 10:30pm | Sun: 11:30am – 3pm, 6 – 10:30pm
2. Yum Cha
For something a bit different, head to quirky Yum Cha. They retain authentic flavours of each Cantonese dish, but spin a playful twist on them, making each a fun conversation starter.
You might have seen the BBQ Piggy Buns (HKD $49 / SGD$8) in a viral video, and they’re as tasty as they are adorable. The buns are fluffy and soft, while the BBQ pork inside is flavourful and tender. Following this cute animal theme, the Pineapple Puffs (HKD $49 / SGD$8) are shaped like birds, and even served in a delicate birdcage.
Yum Cha | Central
Address: Nan Fung Tower, #2, Nan Fung Place, 173 Des Voeux Road, Central, Hong Kong
Telephone: +852 3708 8081
Opening Hours: Mon – Thurs: 11:30am – 3pm, 6pm – 11pm | Fri – Sun: 11am – 4pm, 6pm – 11pm
Yum Cha | Tsim Sha Tsui
Address: 20-22 Granville Road, #3, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Telephone: +852 2751 1666
Opening Hours:Mon – Fri: 11:30am – 4pm, 6pm – 11pm | Sat – Sun: 11am – 4pm, 6pm – 11pm
3. Ding Dim 1968
Though small, Ding Dim 1968 offers a comforting and intimate Dim Sum experience. The chef remains anonymous, going under the mysterious pseudonym “Master Black”, with a background of preparing dim sum in the most renowned restaurants in HK.
A dish to try is the Xiao Long Bao with Pork & Crab and Black Truffle Topping (HKD109 / SGD19) – a modernised version of XLB. The skin is of a perfect thickness, complementing the flavourful broth with just a slight hint of ginger. Another dish with a twist is the Siu Mai with Quail’s Egg (HKD$39 / SGD$7), where the textures of the egg and meat are paired harmoniously.
Ding Dim 1968
Address: 59 Wyndham Street, Central
Telephone: +852 2326 1968
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri: 11am – 10pm | Sat: 11am – 11pm | Sun: 11am – 10pm
4. Mott 32
With mainly traditional Dim Sum on this list, a refreshing change is Mott 32 – an East meets West fusion restaurant that puts a new twist on old Cantonese favourites. It’s venue is huge, with a semi-open kitchen so you can see your food being prepared.
Predictably so, their menu includes siu mai, a classic of any dim sum meal – however, Mott 32’s rendition of the humble dumpling is anything but humble. The Soft Quail Egg, Iberico Pork, and Black Truffle (HKD$60 / SGD $10) is smooth and buttery, with the quail egg perfecting the whole dish. If you want something special, this restaurant offers a different take on the world of dim sum that makes it worth the dollar.
Address: Standard Chartered Bank Building, 4-4A Des Voeux Road Central, Hong Kong
Telephone: +852 2885 8668
Opening Hours: Daily: 12pm – 2:30pm, 6pm – 11pm
5. Lin Heung Kui
Established in 1926, Lin Heung Kui is one of the oldest dim sum parlours in HK, complete with traditional carts pushed around the tables. But be ready to leap up and grab a batch of your siew mai or har gao – the crowd is eager for these popular items, and will rush to get it.
Apart from your usuals, they also have a good reputation for their braised stuff duck (HK$150 / SGD $25), but remember to book in advance for this special dish.
Lin Heung Kui
Address: Western Centre, 46-50 Des Voeux Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Telephone: +852 2156 9328
Opening Hours: 6am – 9:30pm
6. DimDim Sum Sum Dim Sum Speciality Store
With four branches of the famous DimDimSum across HK, you’ll be able to dine at this humble but popular restaurant without waiting for too long. Although the full name is quite the mouthful, expect good quality dim sum in a casual environment that’s great for kicking back and catching up with friends.
Predictably, the crowd pleasers are always the cutest dishes! Check out the Piggy Custard Buns (HKD$21 / SGD$3) which boast pillow-soft buns and oozy salted egg within. They do a very nice umami rendition of the Steamed Spareribs with Black Bean Sauce (HKD19 / SGD$3) too.
DimDim Sum Sum Dim Sum Speciality Store
DimDim Sum Sum Speciality Store | Jordan
Address: 26 – 28 Man Wui Street, Jordan, Hong Kong
Telephone: +852 2771 7766
Opening Hours: Daily: 10am – 1am
DimDim Sum Sum Speciality Store | Mong Kok
Address: 112 Tung Choi Street, Mong Kok, Hong Kong
Telephone: +852 2309 2300
Opening Hours: Daily: 11am – 2am
DimDim Sum Sum Speciality Store | Wan Chai
Address: 7 Tin Lok Lane, Bowrington, Hong Kong
Telephone: +852 2891 7677
Opening Hours: Daily: 10am – 12am
DimDim Sum Sum Speciality Store | Shatin
Address: Shop 108, 1/F, Citylink Plaza, Shatin
Telephone: +852 2285 8149
Opening Hours: Daily: 10am – 10pm
7. Tin Lung Heen
Literally bringing it up a few levels, you can dine on atas 2 Michelin star dim sum on level 102 of the Ritz Carlton. The interior is a stunning sight to see, with high ceilings and grand decor. There’s also an elegant contemporary-meets-traditional oriental theme throughout the restaurant.
The most famous thing here is their Barbecued Iberian Pork with Honey (HK$320 / SGD$57) by a long stretch. The pork is lightly charred, with just the right amount of sweetness that emphasises the tenderness. And when I mean tender, I mean it literally melts in your mouth. Although prices may be steep, this is a great place to celebrate a special occasion or event.
Tin Lung Heen
Address: Elements, International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Road West, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Telephone: +852 2263 2263
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri: 12pm – 2pm, 6pm – 10pm | Sat – Sun: 11am – 3pm, 6pm – 10pm
8. One Dim Sum
Like Tim Ho Wan, One Dim Sum is also a humble dim sum restaurant that earned a One-Michelin star. Although they didn’t manage to keep their Michelin status, their food is still high in quality and affordable too.
A safe bet is their Steam Shrimp Dumplings (HKD$26 / SGD$4) – their skin isn’t too thick, and the shrimp inside is always large and juicy. And your dim sum feast won’t be complete without a bowl of their smooth and silky Pork Meat Congee with Preserved Egg (HKD$18 / SGD$3) – with a flavourful salty kick from the preserved egg.
One Dim Sum
Address: Shop 1 & 2, G/F, No.15 Playing Field Road, Prince Edward, Hong Kong
Telephone: +852 2789 2280
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri: 11am – 12:30am | Sat – Sun: 10am – 12:30am
9. Dim Sum Square
Unlike other cheap dim sum restaurants in HK, this one comes with an English menu! So if you can’t read Chinese, you’ll save yourself lots of effort here. Food is cheap and cheerful, so you can properly afford to binge on some hearty dim sum here.
Their Beef Meat Balls (HKD$10 / SGD$1) are rather addictive, so it’s good that they come as large as they do. The minced beef is well-spiced, and has the perfect texture and chewiness. And with other affordably-priced dim sum classics like Siu Mai (HKD$16 / SGD2) and Bean Curd (HKD$18 / SGD$3), you can be sure to get your fill.
Dim Sum Square
Address: 88 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Telephone: +852 2851 8088
Opening Hours: Mon – Sat: 10am – 10pm | Sun: 8am – 10pm
10. Lin Heung Tea House
For a more authentic experience of yum cha – what the Cantonese call the Dim Sum experience – head to Lin Heung Tea House. You’ll be greeted with chaos and noise – everything a yit lao restaurant should be. You might even end up sitting with strangers too, which is normal in more popular dim sum restaurants.
Come here specially for the plump, juicy Steamed Beef Meatballs (HKD$16 / SGD$2) and soft Steamed Chinese Sponge Cake – most other dishes here are of average quality. But the reason why this restaurant made it into our top 10, is because it offers a raw, authentic experience of our dim sum gatherings in their purest form. Prices here are also super affordable compared to other eateries.
Lin Heung Tea House
Address: 162 Wellington Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Telephone: +852 2544 4556
Opening Hours: Daily: 6am – 11pm
Dim sum is more than just food
From elegant encounters that require the sipping of tea and hushed chatter, to the more boisterous and laughter-filled meal, eating dim sum is more than just to fill the stomach. It’s an important ritual that allows the expression of Hong Kong’s unique cultural identity.
Through this tradition, I’ve also learnt the importance of spending time with family. With every bite you offer, and each cup of tea you pour, you’re also bringing something very important – the love and care that binds families together.