The Top Dim Sum in Hong Kong, Picked by Star Chefs

From classic roast pork puffs to striking charcoal black custard buns, here are the best bites in the city.

(Bloomberg) — No place in the world takes dim sum more seriously than Hong Kong. The mainstay meal is everything, whether combative weekend sport or exuberant multigenerational family happening. It’s also the chance to celebrate culture for anyone looking beyond the overloaded Lazy Susan. Even just-paroled billionaires can’t resist.

Dim sum’s roots date back more than 2,000 years to the days when China’s Silk Road was a busy trade route, and the tea houses that lined it began adding small, restorative servings of food. (“Yum cha,” the Cantonese term for a meal of dim sum and tea, translates literally as “to drink tea.”)

“The classic Cantonese yeast-risen and stuffed buns, known as bao, and the pleated shrimp dumplings known as har gow, are often the first part of the vast dim sum repertoire a young Hong Kong child eats,” says Joe Ng, executive chef and partner of RedFarm and Decoy in New York.“They are both the very heart of dim sum.”

When we asked, “Where can you find the very best dim sum in Hong Kong?” our panel of passionate chefs pointed us to their favorites. The chosen spots include local canteens and multi-Michelin-starred fine-dining establishments where the rattle of pricey jewelry replaces the clatter of steam trays. There’s even TikTok-friendly chainlets where the whimsical buns are enough to make kids look up from their phone.

The list is by no means, comprehensive. Local experts also shout out Rùn in the St. Regis Hong Kong and the newly opened Merchants in Central’s Forty-Five experience space. In other words, this is merely the start of a dim sum exploration around Hong Kong. Just be sure to brush up on the rules.

Disclaimer: Dishes named below may be seasonal or specials that don’t always appear on the menu.

Lung King Heen

Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, 8 Finance St., Sheung Wan

Must order: Steamed lobster and scallop dumpling

Of course the dim sum at the world’s first three-Michelin-star Chinese restaurant is exceptional. Lung King Heen has a striking harbor view to match chef Chan Yan Tak’s food. It’s the pick of former Hong Kong-based chef Jowett Yu, who appreciates the intricate flavors in the restaurant’s seasonal dim sum selection. “There are different layers to this dumpling,” he says of the seafood-packed delicacy. “Each layer is distinct in its own right and it takes a tremendous skill to build a dumpling like this.” He’s also a fan of the baked abalone puff with diced chicken.

—Recommended by Jowett Yu, former chef-owner of Ho Lee Fook, Hong Kong

Yum Cha

2/F, Nan Fung Place, 173 Des Voeux Road Central, Central, and other locations in Hong Kong

Must order: Hot custard molten buns

Yum Cha offers dishes from all over China, though you wouldn’t know they serve anything but adorable buns if you’re going by social media. “There are great dim sum places, and there are dim sum places that make your Instagram-addicted friends happy. Yum Cha is both,” says May Chow, who runs the kitchens at local spots Little Bao and Happy Paradise. There are a few locations including one in the conveniently located Central with brick walls and high ceilings.

The photogenic animal-inspired dim sum include barbecue piggy buns, fashioned with little pink noses and ears, and doggy rolls anchored by a stick of Chinese sausage. But Chow’s top order is the hot custard buns, a wonderful play on the classic steamed white buns with a sweet filling. “The oozing custard buns with salted egg yolk are so good,” she says.

—Recommended by May Chow, chef-owner of Little Bao and Happy Paradise in Hong Kong


China Tang Landmark

Shops 411-413 4/F Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Central

Must order: Xiao long bao (steamed Shanghai buns) with crab coral

One of the world’s most stylish dim sum spots is this Cantonese restaurant designed by David Tang, with colorful hand-painted wallpaper and puffy, flower-printed chairs. Chef Mario Carbone calls it his favorite restaurant in the city. “They have locations around the world, but this is the one I love the most. Go for a long Friday lunch,” he recommends. The China Tang Landmark kitchen is renowned for luxurious, high-style dim sum such as steamed buns with black truffle or a luscious seafood bisque-filled pork bun, which Carbone also orders. “I like all the buns,” he adds.

—Recommended by Mario Carbone, chef-owner of Major Food Group, including Carbone in Hong Kong, Miami and New York

Lai Ching Heen

Regent Hong Kong, 18 Salisbury Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui

Must order: Lai Ching Heen trio

The restaurant formerly known as Yan Toh Heen has a coveted harbor view, but even that doesn’t distract from the dishes of two-Michelin-starred chef Lau Yiu Fai. “He deserves three,” says Ken Hom. “This is my favorite dim sum restaurant in Hong Kong, hands down.” He calls the food “some of the most innovative Cantonese cuisine in town. I am Cantonese, so I can’t help being a bit chauvinistic.”

Hom’s favorite version of the dim sum trio has three elements: golden crabmeat, mango and avocado in puff pastry; golden bun with duck liver and taro; and crispy rice paper roll with seafood, peach and almonds. “It’s dim sum for the 21st century cosmopolitan Hong Kong, China.”

—Recommended by Ken Hom, TV presenter, chef and cookbook author 

Social Place

2/F The L. Place, 139 Queen’s Road Central, Central

Must order: Charcoal custard buns

Walk past the Center office  skyscraper, and you’ll soon arrive at Social Place: You’ll know you’re there when you see the ping pong table that anchors the sleek dining room. The dim sum is creative and similar in spirit to the Pac Man dumplings chef Joe Ng is famous for in New York. “The Cantonese classic baos have been reworked into new-style buns,” Ng says of Social Place’s specialty. “Charcoal custard buns decorated with streaks of gold on their black tops, and shiitake truffle ones fashioned so they look exactly like mushrooms, down to the earthy sheen and the cross hatch on top, are my two favorites.”

—Recommended by Joe Ng, executive chef and partner of RedFarm and Decoy in New York

Maxim’s Palace

2/F, Low Block, City Hall, Central, and other locations in Hong Kong

Must order: Char siu sou (roast pork puff)

At the City Hall location of Maxim’s Palace, weekends are a time for Hong Kongers to line up for the chance to enjoy old-school dim sum, where the quality is good and the prices reasonable. “It is a grand setting, and I like the atmosphere,” says London-based chef Erchen Chang. “It’s so nice to be there and look at the carts being pushed around by old ladies.” She enjoys the char siu sou. “I really like it because it’s in between sweet and savory, with nice buttery, flaky layers. It’s very comforting.”

—Recommended by Erchen Chang, chef and co-founder of Bao restaurants in London


Mott 32

Standard Chartered Bank Bldg., 4-4a Des Voeux Rd., Central

Must order: Soft quail egg, Iberico pork, black truffle siu mai

The name of this modern Chinese restaurant references 32 Mott Street in New York, where the city’s first Chinese convenience store opened in the late 1800s. Chef Lee Man Sing’s Hong Kong restaurant has outposts from Singapore and Seoul to Las Vegas; co-founder Matt Reid recently announced that a branch would be opening in London.

TV chef Ching He Huang has a hard time narrowing her choice to a single dish but picks the pork siu mai with quail egg. “All the dim sum is fantastic,” she says. “But I’ve never had quail egg with Iberico pork and black truffle before. Every mouthful is rich and delicious—the nuttiness of the truffle, the soft creaminess of the egg and the melting pork. It’s amazing.”

—Recommended by Ching He Huang, TV presenter and cookbook author

Tim Ho Wan

Shop 12A-12B, Hong Kong Station Podium Level 1, IFC Mall, Central, and other locations in Hong Kong

Must order: Baked bun with barbecue pork

This dim sum chain started with a single Hong Kong restaurant over a decade ago, promising food that was made to order. There are now more than 80 locations worldwide thanks to the excellent quality-to-price ratio. London-based chef Andrew Wong always orders the signature baked barbecue pork bun. “It’s like a choux pastry with a sugary topping. They are sweet and salty at the same time, with lots of sauce and filling. Tim Ho Wan just churns them out, and they are not easy to make. I used to do them at A. Wong, but it’s difficult to get the consistency, so I gave up.”

—Recommended by Andrew Wong, chef-owner of A. Wong in London

Cuisine Cuisine

Mira Hotel, 118-130 Nathan Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon

Must order: Pan-fried wagyu buns with pepper sauce

On the third floor of a Kowloon hotel, Cuisine Cuisine boasts a resplendent forest green decor with an eye-catching glass chandelier; the Cantonese menu is vast and the wine list is award winning. Chef Jayson Tang at the JW Marriott Hong Kong favors the wagyu buns with pepper sauce from the dim sum menu. “The texture and flavor are a perfect match,” he says. “Those buns are pan-fried to crispy brown and inside remain soft, filled up with succulent waygu beef and pepper sauce, with a tiny bit of seaweed. It’s an exquisite dim sum that you don’t find anywhere else.”

—Recommended by Jayson Tang, executive Chinese chef at JW Marriott Hong Kong

Luk Yu Tea House

24-26 Stanley St., Central

Must order: Egg custard tarts

Buns and dumplings might dominate dim sum, but there are myriad dishes to try—including dessert. Chef Judy Joo has a favorite order at a singular spot in Hong Kong. “Try to get a local to take you to this historic teahouse. No trip to Hong Kong is complete without a visit here. The upper floors are strictly reserved for those who have standing reservations.” In fact, families have been meeting here for classic dim sum and tea since it opened in the 1930s. “The egg custard tarts are so good here—reminiscent of the Portuguese pastel de nata, but smaller and very light and flaky with a creamy filling,” she says.

—Recommended by Judy Joo, chef, TV presenter and cookbook author


Level 3, Shanghai Tang Mansion, 1 Duddell St., Central

Must order: Pork and shrimp dumplings with black truffle

Among the most fashionable eateries in Hong Kong is Duddell’s, which takes up a couple of floors of the Shanghai Tang Mansion. British chef Tom Aikens, who previously had two restaurants in Hong Kong, says he loves the pork and shrimp dumplings with black truffle that have been on the salon’s menu; here’s hoping they return. “I suppose it is the Chinese equivalent of surf ’n’ turf,” he says. “The sweetness of pork and shellfish just go so well together. These have finely chopped pork with a clear broth of shrimp and truffle on top. The case is almost translucent. They are just so well made.”

—Recommended by Tom Aikens, chef-owner of Muse by Tom Aikens in London


–With assistance from Kari Soo Lindberg, Venus Feng, Pei Li, Fion Li, Michael Sin and Keina Chiu.

(Updates with news about Mott 32 expansion; corrects Tim Ho Wan section to add approximate number of locations.)

More stories like this are available on

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.