There’s nothing worse than waiting in line when you’re hangry for dim sum. Check out these lesser known gems for an awesome, off-the-beaten-track yum cha experience. These are Hong Kong dim sum restaurants at their best.
Sitting just at the corner of Water Street and Des Voeux Road West, Chau Kee is a cozy CCT and dim sum joint crossover that’s been drawing crowds for its next-level Hong Kong-style French toast — filled with a piping hot, molten egg custard. But equally worth your time at Chau Kee is its freshly made dim sum, available all day. Siu mai and har gau are juicy, large and generous, not to mention cheap! Among the usual suspects, you can also round out your meal with a plate of “silver needle” noodles stir-fried in XO sauce, and a variety of sweet steamed buns that are also filled with a swoon-worthy molten center.
Shop H1, G/F, Tung Lee Mansion, Water Street, Sai Ying Pun, 2559-2389.
Kowloon City may be known for its Thai grub, but this no-frills dim sum diner is a neighborhood gem with two branches right next to each other. The first Ka Fung specializes in congee while the other seats customers for dim sum, although the kitchens are connected. Congee here is done right: bubbling hot and soft, with a subtle rice aroma complementing your choice of toppings. As for dim sum, you’ll find old favorites such as custard Malay sponge cake, as well as heftier-than-usual baskets of siu mai and har gau. Try the fat, succulent spinach dumplings: they’re brimming with moreish, garlicky flavor. Got a late night craving for dumplings? Ka Fung is open until 2am every night.
G/F, 19 Kai Tak Road, Kowloon City.
This Mong Kok old favorite may not be the first to run through people’s minds when they go for dim sum. Located just outside Mong Kok East station, Lo Dim (meaning “Old Spot”) is known for its aromatic rice dishes steamed in bamboo shoots, but its dim sum is well worth your time as well. All your favorites are served with an updated twist: cheung fun is neatly cut into slurp-sized pieces, siu mai and har gau come in bamboo boxes rather than traditional steamers, and other trendy dishes such as cheesy prawn balls, sliders and pandan cake help lift the menu.
Shop A, G/F, Lisa House, 12-14A Yim Po Fong Street, Mong Kok, 2398-9992.
Open from 3am to 4pm daily, Sun Hing is popular with K-Town residents as well as uni students with nocturnal schedules. The lau sa bao (lava custard buns) are always the first to go, and the deep-fried crispy milk is another customer favorite. The dim sum here is extremely reasonably priced, averaging around $14 a dish.
Shop C, G/F, 8 Smithfield, Kennedy Town, 2816-0616.
Everyone knows about Lin Heung Lau on Wellington Street, but lesser known is sister restaurant Lin Heung Kui on the border of Sheung Wan and Sai Ying Pun. Expect the same old-school teahouse vibe here, with dim sum steamers being pushed out to the tables and tea being poured into giant bowl-like cups.
2-3/F, 46-50 Des Voeux Road West, Sheung Wan, 2156-9328.
Tim Ho Wan Hack: Too intimidated by lines to brave Michelin-starred Tim Ho Wan (好運)? Worry not: Check out the chain’s latest branch at Olympian City for low to zero queues, so your mind can focus on stacking plates of the former Lung King Heen chef Mak Kwai-pui’s famous silky cheung fun, pineapple-bun-style char siu bao and steaming fresh dumplings.
Shop 72, G/F, Olympian City 2, 18 Hoi Ting Road, Tai Kok Tsui, 2332-2896.