Dim Sum Debrief: A Guide to Hong Kong’s Best Dishes
For many people arriving in Hong Kong, trying the local food is top of their bucket list. Chatteris’ own Amber Fransham gives a run down of her top 10 dim sum dishes.
To all the foodies out there, the one thing you must try, out of all of the amazing food available in Hong Kong, is dim sum. Dim sum (點心) is a traditional Chinese meal made up of small plates of dumplings and other snack dishes and is usually paired with tea; you might have heard it equated to Spanish tapas. Meaning ‘touch the heart’, the small portions were first enjoyed as snacks and now yum cha is an important (and delicious) part of Chinese culture. To make it even better, a full meal will run you about $70, perfect for the bank account! Dim sum is best eaten as a group, sharing each dish, and I recommend 2-3 dishes per person dining, depending on how hungry you are. I’m going to show you 10 of my favourite dishes to order, to give you an idea of what is available, including vegetarian and vegan options.
- BBQ pork buns – 叉燒包 (char siu bao)
A favourite of mine. You can find these in two different forms: steamed or baked. Steamed buns are like your typical bao buns and can be found in most dim sum restaurants. I have only had the baked version at Tim Ho Wan and personally I think these are better!
- Steamed egg cake -馬拉糕 (ma lai go) VEGGIE
Cake for dinner? This isn’t your normal victoria sponge. It is a Malaysian steamed cake that is possibly the lightest and fluffiest cake I have ever eaten. Top tip: order this dish along with everything else but cover it with another basket to keep it warm and it will be the perfect temperature.
- Siu Mai- 燒賣 (sui mai)
Another favourite of mine. Easily identified by the yellow dumpling wrapper that is only half closed. This is a steamed dumpling filled with both pork and shrimp. Trust me, it’s good.
- Rice rolls – 腸粉 (chun fun) VEGAN
Rice rolls have a texture that you learn to love. Most are meat options: BBQ pork, shrimp, minced beef. However, you will also find a veggie and vegan friendly option too: rice roll with deep fried dough sticks. These are a favourite among my non-meat eating friends!
- Har gow – 蝦餃 (ha gao)
This is a standard prawn steamed dumpling. Yummy.
- Mango rolls – 芒果沙津卷 (mong guo sa lut guen) VEGGIE
A yummy way to get some more fruit into the diet. This is a rice roll with fresh mango, custard and coconut inside. However, I’ve only found at One Dim Sum so far.
- Stir fried noodles with soy sauce – 豉油王炒麵 (see yao wong chao min) VEGAN
No explanation needed really.
- Veggie dumplings – 菜餃 (choi gao) VEGAN
Exactly as it sounds, who doesn’t love some noodles? A good addition to break up all the dumplings. I have had confirmation from my veggie friends that these are very tasty.
- Garlic vegetables with soy sauce – 蒜蓉炒菜 (suen yong chao choi) VEGAN
Sounds basic, but I can vouch that this always hits the spot when you haven’t seen vegetables for a while. Take the greens when you can.
- Chicken feet with black bean sauce – 豉汁鳳爪 (see jup fung zao)
I couldn’t write this post without including chicken feet somewhere! While it isn’t one of my favourites, I almost feel like you must try it once while living here as the locals seem to adore this dish. I tried it at Tim Ho Wan and would give it a 8/10 for sauce, 2/10 for feet.
Few dim sum restaurants to check out:
- Tim Ho Wan – multiple locations – best for veggie/vegan options (had a limited edition Impossible Meat menu too)
- One Dim Sum – Prince Edward – a good one for the basics
- Veggie Kingdom – Tsim Sha Tsui – dim sum is only available during lunch hours
- Dim Dim Sum – Mong Kok – I think this one is slightly overrated, but the custard buns are cute
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