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Oct 28, 2013 06:40 AM

Tin Lung Heen v Lung King Heen - which is best for a dim sum splurge?


We'll be in Hong Kong in a few days, and we wanted to splurge on a special dim sum lunch on our way to catch a flight out. I've narrowed it down to Tin Lung Heen and Lung King Heen, firstly because it seems as if they both have amazing, innovative dim sum menus and secondly because both dining rooms offer great views out over the harbour and city.

Does anyone have strong feelings about which restaurant serves the best dim sum? Or is it more a matter of tossing a coin to determine my choice?

Any advice welcome!

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  1. Toss a coin quick - coz you need to book way ahead, whichever one you choose!

    1. If you can get a window seat, IMO, TLH's view from their 102F vantage point is more spectacular.
      Foodwise and service, I would give LKH a very very slight edge.
      Overall, it is like comparing BMW and Mercedes!!
      However, totally agree with klyeoh! You MUST book WAY AHEAD!!!!!! And, if luck is still with you, ask for a window table!!
      Good Luck!!

      45 Replies
      1. re: Charles Yu

        I think LKH is noticeably better than TLH. On the other hand, getting a table at LKH is no mean feat. Your best bet if you want to eat there is to stay at the FS. They usually leave a fair bit of open space for people staying at the hotel (and I don't blame them either).

        1. re: Charles Yu

          Charles, how way ahead? My daughter and I will be there in the second week of January and LKH is her special treat from me (she just turned 21) I don't want to miss out! I recall that when her father and I went in mid 2011, we booked once we arrived and it was all good?

          1. re: PixieM

            I managed to get a table at both with 10 days' notice! LKH could only promise me a seat near the door, though...

            1. re: PixieM

              If weekend, AT LEAST three weeks ahead. Week days may be a week less. With the request of a window table, add at least a week or two and even that, there's no guarantee since I know in the case of LKH a lot of the window tables are reserved for special regulars!
              Good Luck!! Since phone calls are relatively cheap nowadays, best to call and talk to a live person!

              1. re: Charles Yu

                Three weeks ahead for the weekend? You must be somebody important! Three months is more like it. I really don't get it, it isn't worth a three month wait, but it is what it is.

                1. re: Uncle Yabai

                  Hello 'Uncle'!
                  Wow!! Is it THAT long for TLH now? I know for LKH its in the months. But, when I tried TLH our reservation was 3 weeks. But again, Michelin hasn't given it 2 * at that time!

                  1. re: Charles Yu

                    I thought TLH only took bookings two months in advance?

                    1. re: Charles Yu

                      Called up today to reserve a weekend lunch at LKH. First available booking was October 18. Not a regular, and don't stay there, so probably at the tail end of the priority list, but still...

                      1. re: Uncle Yabai

                        Wow... I normally eat there on weekdays and I could easily grab a table if I called about one month in advance. And I am not a VIP or a regular there either.

                        Incidentally, I had dim sum lunch at LKH on a Sunday once and it was subpar... Perhaps the main chef is off duty on weekends? I'm not sure.

                    2. re: Uncle Yabai

                      My guess is its the exclusivity that makes it 'worth the wait', that one can seem important by scoring a reservation!

                      you get the best harbor view by riding the $2 star ferry. and most days its a bit hazy anyway.

                      1. re: ckshen

                        wow is it really that long? i havent been to the upscale places in a while

                        im making it a point to go next trip to show people in NY what upscale cantonese is (massive misconceptions on the NY board)

                        1. re: Lau

                          What do folks think upscale cantonese is on the NY board?

                            1. re: klyeoh

                              *shrug* You make do with what you have. There's nothing better than Hakkasan in NYC and frankly a lot of dishes at Hakkasan are excellent, as good or better than dishes I had at Sea Harbour, which is much more lauded and subjected to much less vitriol. That there is better food in Asia doesn't mean that Hakkasan is awful, anymore than the Guy Savoy in Paris makes Per Se crap.

                              It's frustrating in NY where on the one hand you get the "if it's not $8 a dish, it's inauthentic crap" and on the other hand you get the "if it's not as good as XYZ place in Asia, it's crap". I'm just glad we have a Chinese restaurant that serves great duck and I don't need to fly 18 hours, thousands of miles to get it.

                            2. re: ckshen

                              ckshen - well basically they dont know just bc it doesnt exist in the US at all. you get all the arguments about "high end chinese" but generally its been arguments among people who have never tried it, so it just goes nowhere

                              klyeoh - umm sort of...

                              1. re: Lau

                                ahh. the impression that chinese restaurants should serve $8 plates of mongolian beef, sweet and sour pork, etc...

                                1. re: ckshen

                                  well i dont think its that per se (i.e. crap americanized chinese food), but i think people are conditioned to somewhat run down family style cantonese in chinatown. so there is some backlash where anything that is not a run down chinatown place is "not authentic" or there is an idea that the more expensive items at chinatown seafood places constitutes high end.

                                  the fact of it is that a) the quality of the ingredients simply doesn't exist here and b) many of the dishes / preparations don't really exist here either. So you end up just having these circular arguments about it from people that have never tried it. It's like me telling you what its like to live on the moon when its quite clear that I have never been to the moon

                                  1. re: Lau

                                    London Chinatown used to have this image problem as well - but the *original* Hakkasan (when it was owned by Alan Yau, not the conglomerate he subsequently sold it to) prompted a re-think of Chinese restaurants' "cheap eats" reputation. Nowadays, you have swish Chinese restaurants in London serving top-notch cuisine like Yauatcha, HaoZhan, Royal China Club, Pearl Liang and China Tang @ the Dorchester.
                                    My latest find this year was 1-Michelin-star Kai Mayfair:

                                    1. re: klyeoh

                                      interesting i dont know much about the london chinese scene (what ive had has been pretty ehh)

                                    2. re: Lau

                                      Lau - I would go further - I find it very puzzling that food from Asia (India to China) in the west must be cheap and served in basic restaurants to be authentic, and conversely anything expensive in decent surroundings is a pastiche of the real deal. Which in many respects is the opposite of the reality in the countries where the locals enjoy a fine meal in a nice place as people in the west, and both cheap and expensive food can be great.

                                      1. re: PhilD

                                        yah thats true except for japan which in the west has the connection with being expensive generally (probably bc of sushi)

                                        although japan has been affluent much longer than the rest of asia

                                        1. re: PhilD

                                          ??? Ah!! But What constitute 'authentic'??
                                          With old recipes being lost, old master chefs passing away, brain drains of their prodigies, food reviewers and critics getting younger and more inexperience towards 'genuinely authentic' extinct dishes. How are we or they to know and tell? Who are going to step up and create reference yardsticks?
                                          Just take a look at some of the postings on our chowhound boards! There are so many ' green and inexperience' contributors claiming to be experts and offering their opinion on dishes they thought were authentic when in fact those dishes were clones or mutated versions of the real things! People who raved about 'golf ball size' won-tons or Har Gaus are fine examples!!

                                          1. re: Charles Yu

                                            i'm still pretty young!! what you saying?? im just kidding

                                            hahaha golf ball size wontons and ha gow...very true, i dont get it! i mean if anything u would expect restaurants would want to save money on ingredients instead they put out these monstrosities

                                            i agree with you, the word "authentic" is the most overused and misunderstood word on chowhound and generally in food reviews.

                                            here's what i think alot of people dont get --> authentic does not necessarily mean good and vice versa. I've had plenty of food i like alot that was not authentic, but it was delicious.

                                            well then how do you define authentic? i define it as how people in a given country would prepare the food at anytime in history. What mean by that is like yah the food in chinatown in NY is authentic but its also prepared like its from the 70s or 80s. Also just bc its prepared how people in the given country would prepare it, it doesnt mean its prepared well. For example i think America makes the best burgers, but that does not mean every burger is good and thats not different with any other cuisine.

                                            1. re: Lau

                                              I'm sure Charles didn't mean you, Lau :-D

                                              But truth of the matter is, I noticed in HK, Singapore & Malaysia these days that there are too many young foodbloggers who're more interested in taking photos of the dishes than actually tasting the food. One too many times, I went to this-and-this KL restaurant because the local food blogosphere raved about it, only to find some expensive, tarted-up eatery with underwhelming food. I'm sure the situation's the same in many other countries.

                                              As for golf ball-sized dim sum - well, there are two sides to the coin: the old dim sum joints in Singapore's Chinatown (e.g. Nam Tong) *used* to serve siu-mai and har-gau of this size. It's to provide sustenance to the blue-collar, working class labourers who craved a substantial meal to start their day with. Dim sum joints like Nam Tong started their breakfast service at 4.30am-5am, as these labourers start their day *very* early. As Chinatown gentrified through the years, the size of dim sum dumplings at Nam Tong (which reincarnated as Sin Nam Tong in the early 90s) began shrinking to what locals called "Hong Kong"-sized dim sum eventually :-D

                                              But in rustic areas of Guangdong, you still do find Godzilla-sized dumplings in some eateries :-D

                                              1. re: klyeoh

                                                Klyeoh: Totally agree with you about 'young' foodbloggers! Posting photos is one thing - almost anyone with a smart phone can do it. However, making educated and correct critique of a dish's composition and taste requires a seasoned and well-tuned palette.

                                                1. re: Charles Yu

                                                  Which is precisely why I sometimes felt that young Singapore food bloggers don't really know what they are talking about - they *never* had the opportunity to taste "real" Singapore hawker food, before the advent of high-rents, centralised food processing plants, use of bottled/canned ingredients and condiments, etc. Singapore hawkers these days eschewed traditional cooking methods using wood-fired or charcoal-fired stoves and braziers, they opt for powdered/canned coconut milk instead of fresh ones, they use vegetable oil instead of lard for "health reasons" as promoted by the S'pore government so tastewise, the hawker foods would have changed, and they use shortcuts and shorter cooking times. In the 70s, rojak or mee rebus sellers boil sweet potatoes to thicken and flavour their sauces. These days, they used bottled ketchup, cornstarch and red colouring.

                                                  Modern-day hawkers economize their operations to make up for the high costs they are faced with nowadays, to eke out a decent living.

                                                  In short, young Singaporeans don't have the slightest clue what "real" Singapore hawker food used to taste like - they simply did not have the opportunity! What I taste today in Singapore's food centres bore little resemblance to how I remember what those dishes used to taste like.

                                                  This is totally unlike in, say, Ipoh in Malaysia, where the famous Ipoh hor fun which I first tasted in 1972 actually still tasted *exactly* the same in 2012 (40 years later) although the current chef is the grandson of the first chef who's cooking I'd first tasted. It was *amazing* - after 40 years, the dish even *looked* exactly as I remembered it to be.

                                                  1. re: klyeoh

                                                    The funny thing about Asia with blogging is that Asia has been more serious about food media for a long time. You guys have had food shows, food shows up on the news, shows up in newspapers. Whereas food media is a very new thing in the US. I've always thought culturally food was taken much more seriously in Asia than in the US, I used to bitch about that all the time (this was a while ago) whenever I'd come back from Asia (personally prefer the food in Asia alot more)

                                                    Anyhow, the other side to this also has meant that being a food blogger has carried alot more weight than it does it does in the US if you have a popular food blog which can be good or bad. I dont know any blog that carries the weight that ive seen bloggers carry in HK and Singapore. they get sponsored by restaurants, hotels etc, regularly show up on TV, have their own TV show in some cases!

                                                    And I agree with you klyeoh / charles yu that I think some of them have no idea what they're talking about and i strongly disagree with their reviews in some cases. For some it seems like they are just fishing for more hits for their blog and churning out content and pretty pics just to do it. i think i'm pretty well aware of how i could really churn out more content if i really wanted to since ive run a food blog for years and you could actually make alot more money like that

                                                    1. re: Lau

                                                      "For some it seems like they are just fishing for more hits for their blog and churning out content and pretty pics just to do it." EXACTLY MY SENTIMENTS!

                                              2. re: Lau

                                                I wish I hadn't used the "authentic" word - but I agree with Lau that authentic does not mean good and that its such a misunderstood. Hence, the comment about low cost and shitty surroundings being the essential ingredient for authentic, real, and genuine food in the west. After all that's how all those Chinese people eat so it it must be good...!

                                                I see it with visitors to HK, they shun TLH, or LKH or the Langham etc etc in favour of the real deal at the hole in the wall, or head to Tim Ho Wan - "did you know its the cheapest Michelin starred restaurant?" - nothing wrong with these options and they have their niche. And they are authentic, in as much that its where locals eat. But equally LKH or TLH and all the other expensive places are just as authentic as they are also where the locals eat.

                                                And authentic isn't just a proxy for traditional, old style, or old fashioned, a modern Cantonese chef pushing the boundaries is just as authentic - to me authenticity is about the passion, knowledge and skill and grounding in the ethos of the food. So modern Basque is just as authentic as old school l Basque, just as modern Cantonese is as authentic as the best old style Dai Pai Dong.

                                                1. re: PhilD

                                                  i agree with that, food changes over time clearly and what locals eat in hong kong is authentic regardless of whether its super old school or brand new

                                      2. re: Lau

                                        Couldn't agree with you more!
                                        There is no fine dining Chinese cuisine here in New York.
                                        I am moving to Hong Kong again and I am so excited to be able to have all the great fine dining Chinese dishes again!

                                        1. re: kosmose7

                                          kosmose7 - ah lucky when u going back? please post on the hong kong board, we need a more vibrant asia board!!

                                          1. re: Lau

                                            Tomorrow will be my last day in New York.

                                            Ha ha yes, I will write some Hong Kong postings from now on. I will get New York culinary news via Lauhound! :)

                                            1. re: kosmose7

                                              Welcome back to Asia, kosmose7 :-)

                                              1. re: klyeoh

                                                Thank you very much klyeoh! I am excited! :)

                                                1. re: klyeoh

                                                  Agree welcome back - it will be good to get more HK on the board - it will make a change from all that KL and Penang stuff ;-)

                                                2. re: kosmose7

                                                  ahh well g'luck in HK!!

                                                  maybe we'll meet up to eat next time im there!

                                                  1. re: Lau

                                                    Thanks Lau.
                                                    And definitely!!! Drop me a line when you come to Hong Kong next time. My email address is my ID

                                                        1. re: kosmose7

                                                          btw you should go write a review on chowhound of an upscale chinese place in HK then u could just settle it once people see the pics etc haha...ill do it myself at some point but you're going to be there before i will

                                                    1. re: Pookipichu

                                                      I will miss New York and the chowhounders on the NY board. I also got a lot of great information from your postings! :) Thank you!

                              2. I like both in terms of food, but I much prefer Tin Lung Heen's window seat!

                                1. I haven't tried these yet, but I'm going to recommend Ming Court. It doesn't have a great view, but it also has an innovative dim sum menu, and it has some of the best dim sum I've ever tasted.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Sirrith

                                    I totally concur with your suggestion of Ming Court!
                                    Had an amazing Dim Sum experience there a few months ago!

                                    1. re: Charles Yu

                                      I have to disagree, Charles. Hands down, Yan Toh Heen takes the cake for best dim sum in Hong Kong.

                                      Natasha if you have set your heart on choosing between Tin Lung Heen and Lung King Heen, I would recommend Lung King Heen. We found the dim sum at Tin Lung Heen disappointing comparing it against Lung King Heen, Ming Court and Yan Toh Heen.

                                      1. re: blownd

                                        To each its own!
                                        I too have eaten at YTH many a time. Very tough call. As I eluded to previously, like comparing Mercedes with BMW.
                                        Actually, to a lot of hounds and locals, their best is very often ' Fook Lum Moon '.
                                        However, I think it all boils down to what one orders and whether the 'forte or house specialties' are picked. eg., Fu Sing's Dim Sum was above average to good, however, their ' Pineapple BBQ Pork buns ' was the best in HK until other people started to clone it and came out with better versions.

                                  2. Strangely, IMHO, I think dim sum @ the original Sun Tung Lok at Miramar Shopping Center (not the Central branch) is better than the one at Lung King Heen or Tin Lung Heen. I love their steamed spareribs with black bean sauce (鼓汁排骨蒸津絲), among others.