I didn’t grow up eating Dim Sum, although I consider myself pretty much exposed to different types of Dim Sum while living in various countries (My first encounter of Dim Sum was at Chinatown in London 17 years ago and I was literally awed by all those moving carts). My picks in this post don’t necessarily reflect the most famous or authentic Dim Sum experience in Hong Kong. Rather, they represent quite decent Dim Sum places offering quality ingredient in a child-friendly setting (Yes, my kids were always with us at Sunday Dim Sum feast).
1.The Square (Shop 401, 4F, Exchange Square 2, Central): This is our go-to Dim Sum place with its elegantly comfortable setting and various choice of Dim Sum. The menu at The Square tends to be upscale and quite pricey at regular menus, but Dim Sum here boasts surprisingly extensive menu at a good price. Seats in the back of the restaurant are more decorative and calm, which most of the time only go to patrons who made a reservation in advance. Leisurely stroll after a meal at the connected IFC Mall is a great way to digest Dim Sum calories, although you might end up spending more at this word’s renowned luxury mall. (Taste 4.5/ Ambience 4/ Service 4/ Price 3.5/Value 4.5)
2. Summer Palace at Island Shangri-La (Supreme Court Road, Level 5, Pacific Place, Admiralty): This opulent Dim Sum outpost at Island Shangri-La overwhelms patrons the moment they enter this place, making it especially suitable to impress parents/relatives or out-of-the-town guests visiting Hong Kong. Although price is not customer-friendly and the choice is rather limited, its shrimp Cheong Fun (aka shrimp rice noodle roll) alone is so memorable that I still long for a day that I will go back. Who can resist this lightly fried fresh jumbo shrimp elegantly wrapped in a roll? Summer Palace is definitely not quintessential Dim Sum experience in Hong Kong but a list to keep to broaden your Dim Sum choice. (Taste 4.5/ Ambience 5/ Service 4.5/ Price 4.5/Value 4)
3. Fook Lam Moon (Shop 3, G/F, Newman House, 35-45 Johnston Road, Wan Chai): It is in Fook Lam Moon where people can test how much money they can spend solely on food (Some of menu’s eye-popping price will keep you wondering whether you’re looking at a price for food or plane tickets to Europe). However, unless you go for something like “Exclusive dry aged abalone from Japan” or “Supreme Fish Maw/sea cucumber”, most of the safe Dim Sum choices are within fairly(?) reasonable price range and extremely superior quality of ingredients will make you nod why movers and shakers in HK come to dine here. Indeed, we had the luck to spot a table with celebrities near us. Although my inner instinct urged me to take pictures, I decided to leave them alone as this is THE place where celebrities want to enjoy their food quietly.
We haven’t gotten into the main dining hall (below is the less busier side, one floor up from main restaurant), which is more grandeur and luxurious, but this one was equally good as the tables were arranged really far each other and staff provided very attentive service, beyond the level that usual Chinese restaurants bother to. Finishing the meal with the ” Vermicelli with shrimp roe paste and mushroom sauce” was an excellent choice with its meat-free, light refreshing taste. We hope to go back in the near future for more fun experience here. (Taste 5/ Ambience 4.5/ Service 5/ Price 4.5~100: can go up as high as to an almost infinite level, depending on what you order/Value 4.5)
4. Dim Sum Library (shop 124, 1/F, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty): “Black truffle har gau-shrimp dumplings” or ” Prawn & mozzarella rice paper wrap” or “Hokkaido king crab & sea urchin spring rolls” doesn’t sound like typical Dim Sum dish. But this chic-hipster-fusion Dim Sum venue at posh Pacific Place draws huge crowd, making it almost impossible for us to eat here without reservation days in advance.
Those who initially scoffed at the notion of eating Dim Sum at such an unconventional restaurant with a price (including myself) soon succumbed to the charm of this place and they seem to like the fact that Dim Sum can be enjoyed with just couples or a small group in a refined setting. Try any of the chef recommended dishes including three above-mentioned ones and you can’t be more satisfied. (Taste 4.5/ Ambience 4.5/ Service 4/ Price 4.5/Value 4)
Although above-mentioned high quality Dim Sum places are always the safe bet, my fondest memories go to when I went with local friends and I was truly amazed by hustle and bustle of the scene. You can’t go wrong with following your local friends in terms of Dim Sum and I will post more quintessential Dim Sum places in HK later.
Verdict: The Square is always right with its vast menu options/reasonable price and the perfect place to get together as a group. Look no further than Summer Palace if you need to impress and treat visitors or you have the luck to eat when someone else picks up the tab. Head directly to Fook Lam Moon if you need some zest in your culinary life and have a deep pocket. As Dim Sum Library is all-day Dim Sum spot, you can literally go anytime when you have a craving for Dim Sum.