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Aug 17, 2006 05:05 AM

Best Dim Sum in Hong Kong

I'll be going to Hong Kong for the first time in the fall, and am hoping someone might point me in the direction of one of the better (best?) dim sum restaurants in the city. I'm particularly interested in knowing if there is a restaurant that offers an extremely wide selection of dishes, since I'd ideally like to sample things I can't easily get anywhere else (I like har gow, siu mai, etc., but I want to find new and creative offerings).

I don't care a jot about ambiance, old world charm, language issues, cleanliness of the washrooms, or service (as long as it's not so atrocious, it gets in the way of enjoyment) - it's all about the food for me.

Thanks for any suggestions!

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  1. Lung King Heen and Yan Toh Heen. I'll be posting a short review on Chopstix in the next week.

    1. Agree, the 4 seasons restaurant is the best. Not a big selection though.

        1. re: tk467

          I second Lee Garden. I usually go to the one at North Point. And they DO have creative dim sums as well.

          1. re: jennjen18

            hi jen,
            i'll be in HK for the next 3 wks visiting my grandmother. she lives in North Point. do you have recommendations for area restaurants? my grandmother can't cook b/c she hurt her arm and she doesn't trust my cooking so i'm trying to find as many good restaurants in her neighborhood as i can. thanks in advance!

        2. Luk Yu is good in central. Its been around for quite a while (maybe not that location). Its like old world dim sum atmosphere. I recommend going early. They still serve with these steamers they carry on their shoulder. Later in the day you order on paper. Its best to go early. I was there around 9am and it was not crowded. They serve a good dinner there too.
          This place is a classic.

          1. I was at Luk Yu Tea House yesterday for lunch. The place was packed. I was a bit nervous going by myself (first time) and not speaking the language. They couldn't have been more hospitable. The service was terrific. I had very crispy Calimari, Siew mai, and Choy sum. The food was delicious.
            When I visit HK, I always have a meal at Luk Yu.

            12 Replies
            1. re: Cerise 37

              I am glad you got good service at Luk Yu. My experience as a Chinese American has been less than stellar. Unless you are a regular there, you get down right rude service, including questions about how long you are going to take because you are sitting at a table for a regular who may show up anytime.

              1. re: PeterL

                Luk Yu is for wealthy old customers just like Fook Lam Moon and Yung Kee. There are many more good restaurants there as long as you are willing to spend. Yung Kee sucks as they always tell you to go there after 9:30 PM but Luk Yu is easier to locate a booth in the evening.They are in the same neigbourhood within short walking distance. Try Red Star on Wyham Street. It is much cheaper.

                1. re: 138ctf

                  I know this might not be that helpful, but I just want to say that despite all the nasty allegations which are unfortunately 100% true, Luk Yu can be spectacular if you have a connection with the restaurant and order their signature dishes. For instance, I think their sweet and sour pork (!) is phenomenal and something I just can't find anywhere else in Hong Kong (well, maybe at Sang Kee in Wanchai). Their chicken stuffed with glutinous rice, partridge porridge, pig's lung soup with almond essence, and prawn toasts are also incredible.

                  1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                    Agree! Luk Yu uses a 'secret ingredient' - Haw Berry tablets in the sweet and sour sauce!

                    1. re: Charles Yu

                      No wonder! A friend swears by - of all things - its cha siu bao.
                      I am a 3-rd generation Luk Yu regular. As for the statement "Luk Yu is for wealthy old customers", I am not yet old and not remotely wealthy. :-(

                      1. re: Parigi

                        We went to Luk Yu Teahouse for lunch today and it is bad. Quite frankly the worst dim sum of my life - and I don't just mean in HK..

                        We are used to navigating HK service and it took some persistence to get seated as all three floors were booked out. We ordered a reasonable selection including the standard test of har gow, these arrived first, the skins were thick and chewy and the prawn lacked that great fresh crunch you get with great ones. A poor start and the meal went further downhill with a giant steamed bun filled with rubber chicken, and some steamed duck rolls with the texture of shoe soles. The best dish was a BBQ pork pie, which I assumed was a mis-translation; it wasn't it came out as a nice little pie with quite sweet pastry (which was a bit thick).

                        Was this a hearty winter menu designed to line the stomach and keep out the cold (it is bloody freezing here this week), or did they let the washer-up have a go at making the dim sum as an experiment, or is it really a place for regulars where the food is incidental?

                        1. re: PhilD

                          @ PhilD: LOL!!! I was surprised to read your post on Luk Yu! A serious foodie like yourself falling into the tourist trap! Man! This place is so ooooooold school. My Grand Pa used to frequent the place years ago for the atmosphere, the birds singing in cages and a place to read the newspaper whilst having dim sum in a steamer or two to munch on. Its not unlike going to Les Deux Magots in Paris for the 'experience rather than bistro food'!
                          Better luck next time!!

                          1. re: Charles Yu

                            Yes convienience got the better of us as we were heading to the hardware shops on Wellington Street to try and insulate our windows to keep the freezing weather at bay. I did feel quite sorry for the all the "happy" tourist couples who were arriving as we left. What really mystified me was the number of locals obviously entertaining visitors: why there...! My dinner yesterday was also less than stellar - more sbout that on another thread.

                            1. re: PhilD

                              My first time in Luk Yu was in the 1960s, as a wide-eyed 6-year-old accompanying my parents (we were holidaying in HK), hosted by our HK uncle & aunt. Luk Yu was so posh then, A line of Rolls Royces were parked outside, regulars in checked jackets inside sipping tea, old-school dim sum borne out to the dining room by stout waitresses on trays, each announcing what they had in a sing-song voice. What stuck in my mind then were the brass spittoons on the floor for customers to clear their throats in-between their sips of tea and nibbles of dim sum (yech!). The place was posher than anything we had in Singapore then.

                              The very last time I went to Luk Yu was in 1992 (Gawd, has it been 20 years now?!). Still a line of Rolls & Bentleys of the regulars parked outside. You'd recognize the owners of the cars inside the restaurant sipping their morning tea over their newspapers - as the waiters would be fawning all over them whilst pretty much ignoring the rest of us Plebeians (much like how Yung Kee treats people *today* actually). Spittoons were still there, though more decorative than for actual use. The dim sum, borne by elderly waitresses - heck, the women could still had been the same ones from my first visit, but aged significantly thence - were, even then, not really the best in town: they were large - almost golf-ball-sized, but lacked the lightness & subtlety in taste that we looked for in good dim sum. I went there then to re-visit a little part of my childhood. My more adult tastebuds then revealed to me Luk Yu's kitchen shortcomings. I'd never gone back there again since.

                              P.S. - I think locals still bring visitors there just to experience the old HK teahouse, albeit a rather posh one, atmosphere.

                            2. re: Charles Yu

                              Better than Deux Magots !
                              Bird-song contests ! That is one thing that has disappeared in tea houses, along with the large dimsum platter strapped on long strap around the waitresses' neck, much like the cigarette girls' dégaine in Bogie movies.
                              Men of leisure - obviously, since they spent all morning there, - would bring their bird in an ornate cage, and the birds would engage in a singing contest.
                              Now in London there are antique dealers specializing in those vintage bird-cages.
                              Last time I went to Luk Yu, the bras spittoons are there. But don't, I repeat DON'T, spit into them ! They are now used for storing the bill for the meal.
                              And the Sikh doorman was still there too.

                      2. re: hong_kong_foodie

                        "For instance, I think their sweet and sour pork (!) is phenomenal and something I just can't find anywhere else in Hong Kong"

                        Purists swear by:

                        得龍大飯店 (Tak Lung Restaurant) in Sun Po Kong


                        very famous for their 50+ yr old classical sweet and sour pork receipe (along with 金錢雞 (chicken liver wrapped with cha siu), 古法太爺雞 (tea leaves smoked chicken) etc.

                        But yes, those are indeed the best dishes you mentioned at Luk Yu.

                        1. re: K K

                          Tak Lung is indeed very good if you are looking for very traditional Cantonese food though the location is very inconvenient for most visitors, or even Hong Kong residents.
                          But the best "sweet & sour pork" I had is at Tim's Kitchen in Macau!