It’s been almost 2 months since we’ve been back from our Hong Kong trip. Until now I have not eaten a single Dim Sum item back here and that’s because we really had our fill of that while in Hong Kong! Of course, everyone must eat Dim Sum while in Hong Kong because that’s their national culture! I’m not even saying it’s their national food or cuisine, because having Dim Sum, or “Yum Cha” is Hong Kong is really akin to their culture – it’s the whole experience of sipping Chinese tea and enjoying (sometimes even fighting over) those delectable morsels that “touch the heart” while catching up with your family/friends at the table.
Traditionally, Dim Sum is served from early morning till mid-afternoon. In Hong Kong, many of the restaurants continue to serve Dim Sum until early evening and they call this “Hah Em Cha”… something like High Tea, I would say. But what’s interesting is that in most HK restaurants, the “Hah Em Cha” dim sum is offered at a 20-30% discount! Now that’s really good value-for-money. I guess, besides making more money, restaurateurs there just want to finish off their dim sum offerings for the day so that new fresh ones can be served the following day.
Here’s a run-down of our Dim Sum experience in Hong Kong.
We had our first “Hah Em Cha” session on the very first day that we arrived in Hong Kong. After checking in to our motel, we went in search for food and boy, were we ravenous! It was already 3pm and we have not had any lunch yet. We had a few recommendations for our “Hah Em Cha”… well, that’s a plus point for staying in the Jordan area – there’s no lack of eateries!
We made our way across the road to Kam Shan Seafood Restaurant as I remembered reading some review of this place on the internet. It was way past 3pm by the time we entered the restaurant. We didn’t mind that the restaurant was half empty… we placed our orders with the helpful waitress who read out her recommendations from the menu (which was all written in Chinese). Food came almost immediately and we happily chomped down!
Our favourite here was the Special Rice Rolls…there were shrimp paste and some crunchy crullers rolled inside smooth sheets of steamed rice rolls.
We also tried their Fried Hor Fun with Beef Slices… for something more “substantial”…
Generally, food here is slightly above average… but we didn’t mind that too much as we were so hungry then and service was superfast. This would be a good choice if you are in the Jordan area, extremely hungry and have no time to waste!
Kam Shan Seafood Restaurant
7/F Chuang’s London Plaza
219 Nathan Road. Kowloon
On Day 2, before making our way to Disneyland, we headed out for breakfast. This time we went to Shamrock, which according to friends, is one of the older Dim Sum place in right where we were staying. It seems the restaurant & hotel had a fire not too long ago and they have refurbished the place. We joined the pretty large breakfast crowd at just before 9am. Dim Sum served here is traditionally hearty and they pretty much stick to a basic no-frills menu. DL and LL always go for the fried items… the Fried Wantans here were really huge!
A clear favourite here was the “Ham Sui Kok” – glutinuous rice pastry with meat & vegetables filling… they did this very well – the slightly chewy pastry was crispy on the outside without being oily.
Me… I always prefer the steamed dim sum…
I like their Dace Balls … this popular fish makes the best balls, I would say – flavoursome and bouncy!
Another favourite was the “Yee Piu” Rolls… a yummy combination of textures: spongy fish bladder (Yee Piu), soft powdery yam and well-seasoned succulent pork!
Prices here are average, ranging from HK$10.80 to HK$17.80 per item and the servings are pretty generous.
Shamrock Seafood Restaurant
223 Nathan Road
Listed as a 1-Star Michelin restaurant in Hong Kong & Macau, Lei Garden is no stranger to fans of fine Cantonese cuisine. The Lei Garden Restaurant Group spans Hong Kong, Macau, China and Singapore. We were told that it’s impossible to get a table if you didn’t make any reservations. So, dutifully, a reservation was made 2 weeks in advance at their IFC outlet, just so that we could sample their dim sum.
With a reservation down pat, we were ushered to a corner table. We started off with some fried items – guess who made those choices?
Portions here were dainty and more “refined” but I wouldn’t say they tasted very exceptional. Service was kinda lacklustre, bordering on snooty. Requests for a fork took a mighty long time to be fulfilled and we had to refill our own teacups… although there was an assigned staff (who was kinda sullen-looking) at our corner.
We ordered a few steamed baskets and only this Vegetable Dumpling in Crystal Skin stood out…
The staples – Har Kow and Siu Mai… were just average…
We were a bit uncomfortable dining at this place because we were very conscious of the time. When we made the reservation for 11.00am, we were told that we had to “return the table” at 12.45pm… in other words, we have to vacate by then!
We quickly finished up the Malaiko and Egg Tarts before calling for the bill at 12.40pm.
I’m not sure if their regular dishes are much better but what we had for Dim Sum that day weren’t really Michelin-star quality. Perhaps they are a bit over-rated… and their service needs to be improved.
IFC Lei Garden Restaurant
Lot No.3007-11, 3/F
International Finance Centre
Central, Hong Kong
Feeling unsatiated and a bit miffed, we were then whisked off to Wanchai by Xara’s cousin, Patty for our 2nd round of Yum Cha that day! Weaving our way through the busy streets filled with shoppers, we found our way into U-Banquet. This leading group of restaurants has outlets all over Hong Kong, it’s a popular place with the locals. As the name suggests, they are focused on celebratory events like weddings and their huge venue is perfect for banquets.
What a pleasant difference it was when we entered this restaurant – we were welcomed with warm smiles and enthusiastic greetings. The moment we were seated, 3 pristine-white teapots were placed on our table.
The food came fast and furious!
I’ll just let the visual feast tickle you…
For a restaurant which is focused on banquets, they didn’t do too shabbily on their Dim Sum. From the amount of dishes we ordered, I could hardly fault any.
Service was fast and friendly with no pressure to “vacate”… in fact we lazed and chatted for at least 2 full hours there. Even when we protested that we were too full to eat another bite, the captain insisted that we try this plate of complimentary fragrant Osmanthus Jellycake…
They have outlets from Causeway Bay to Tsim Sha Tsui – you can check out their website here.
With this Dim Sum overload, is it any wonder that I’m staying away from it… for at least, another month?
3/F Emperor Group Centre
288 Hennessy Road