You dim sum, you lose some! Cheap and cheerful tea houses, cute dim sum dishes (that are definitely Insta-worthy) and classic yum cha restaurants; there’s a reason that Hong Konger’s preferred dining style is a winner with the kids.
Dim sum. A Hong Kong classic. Whether you’re on the hunt for a snack for yourself or baskets to share around the family, there’s a piece to please everyone, especially when there’s a crowd (current COVID-19 restrictions aside). With its literal translation being “touch the heart”, it’s no wonder dim sum is enjoyed by young and old alike as Cantonese comfort food. Kids love it because it’s easy to handle and eat – the cute dim sum and quirky presentation in some restaurants is just another bonus! And with so many amazing Hong Kong yum cha spots (ranging from the fancy-shmancy to hole-in-the-wall), we’ve rounded up a few of our family favourites. Whenever you need just a little more heart in your life, you’ll know where to head to…
Sassy Mama tip: Adding MSG to Chinese food is common, as is using some sort of animal fat or broth, so call ahead to check if anyone in your family has serious allergies or dietary restrictions. English menus and English-speaking servers may be difficult to find in some of the more local restaurants, but with a little bit of gesturing and pointing to pictures of dishes, you will not only be able to get on, but quite enjoy the experience as well.
Chuen Kee Seafood Restaurant — Sai Kung Dim Sum
Few villages retain their old Hong Kong charm like seaside Sai Kung. There are plenty of traditional restaurants to choose from, but this one boasts a Michelin recommendation to go along with its waterfront location. We recommend filling your kids up on classic favourites like char sui bao, spring rolls and har gao before heading out for an island-hopping adventure.
Chuen Kee Seafood Restaurant, 87-93 Man Nin Street, Sai Kung, New Territories, Hong Kong, 2792 6938
City Hall Maxim’s Palace — Authentic, Trolley Dim Sum
Enjoy authentic yum cha by having family brunch with the family (or visitors) at Maxim’s Palace. The restaurant has many branches across Hong Kong, but we prefer the City Hall location. At City Hall Maxim’s Palace, you’ll see a large variety of traditional and delicious dim sum on offer, many of which will be paraded past your table on trolleys. One of our favourites is the wu gok (deep-fried taro puff) because of the perfect contrast between its outer crunch and soft pork and taro mash filling. With plenty of vegetarian dim sum options, everyone’s sure to find something here.
Crystal Jade — Reliable, Quality Dim Sum With Convenient Locations
Crystal Jade operates two restaurant concepts — La Mian Xiao Long Bao and Chiu Chow Kitchen. We’re big fans of the traditional La Mian Xiao Long Bao, which is conveniently located at shopping malls across the city for its tasty MSG-free options. Try the xiao long bao with hairy crab roe, pan-fried mini shrimp, yellow chive and pork dumplings and the sweet purple potato mochi with red bean paste too.
Crystal Lotus — Disney Family-Friendly Dim Sum!
If we are talking about fun and what kids love, how can Disney be far behind? Indulge your kids’ (and secretly your own) Disney obsession with the signature character dim sum like the Mickey’s Double-Layer Turnip and Taro pudding that’s available year-round at Crystal Lotus. For special occasions and anniversaries, there are innovative dim sum dishes added. Serving up food from the four major culinary regions of China with a contemporary flair, no tickets are needed (just be sure to call ahead to order your dim sum)!
Dim Dim Sum — Quick And Easy Dim Sum
If you’ve only got time for a quick bite while you’re out and about with the kids, Dim Dim Sum is the perfect place to hit up. With four branches around town, this no-frills eatery specialises in dim sum, but also offers up other more filling mains such as a variety of congee and steamed rice bowls. We recommend the black truffle xiao long bao and the “golden sand” little pig buns with sweet runny filling (a guaranteed hit with your little ones!). There are also meat-free options, so be sure to check those out if you’re looking for vegetarian dim sum!
Dim Sum Library — Familiar Dim Sum Flavours With An Innovative Twist
If you want to try a new take on classic yum cha dishes, look no further than Dim Sum Library. it’s the perfect option for a stopover while shopping with the family. Our favourite dishes include the black truffle har gau (featuring a hint of truffle wrapped in delicate rice paper) along with juicy, meaty shrimp. The Wagyu beef puffs are not to be missed as well.
Dim Sum Library Pacific Place, Shop 124, Level 1, The Mall, Pacific Place, Admiralty, Hong Kong, 3643 0088
Dim Sum Square – Best For A Cheap And Quick Lunch
If you’re simply looking for a local dim sum dining experience, opt for Dim Sum Square for its old-fashioned and wallet-friendly dumplings and other dim sum delights! Good for a quick lunch or midday bite, dim sum here is satisfying and definitely great value for money but be prepared to queue.
Dim Sum Square, G/F, 88 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, 2851 8088
Din Tai Fung — Taiwanese Dim Sum Specialising In Xiao Long Bao
You cannot go wrong with this one! It was the first Taiwanese restaurant to earn one Michelin star in 2010 and its Silvercord branch continues to be recommended in the 2021 guide. Originating in Taiwan (but in locations worldwide), Din Tai Fung a dim sum favourite among locals and expats alike. Get there early (all branches in HK open at 11:30am) though you will still probably have to take a ticket and wait. Specialising in xiao long bao (soupy dumplings – steamed pork, green squash and shrimp or chicken are top faves), its other must-try dishes include the deep-fried yellow croaker, the pan-fried shrimp and pork dumplings, or for the vegetarians, the steamed mushroom vegetarian bun.
One Dim Sum – Local Dim Sum Favourite
A local favourite (and one of ours, too!), One Dim Sum is located in Prince Edward – perfect if you have taken the kids to see and experience the Flower Market. Take your pick from the classics like char siu bao (BBQ pork buns) and har gow (prawn dumplings). Be sure to leave space for the egg custard buns – we can’t ever leave without ordering some, even if we’re already stuffed to the brim. Just make sure to get there early! Doors open at 10am, but there’s always a queue at this popular spot.
One Dim Sum, G/F, 209A and 209 B, Tung Choi Road, Prince Edward, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2677 7888
Social Place — Healthy, Cute Dim Sum Dishes
Social Place prides itself on its contemporary Chinese cuisine created with healthier ingredients. Must-tries include its truffle shiitake buns that look like giant mushrooms themselves, and the “pears”, a cream soup-filled dumpling. Younger children might like the sweet potato piggy buns and the “turtle” barbeque pork buns, while the black and golden custard bun almost looks too good to eat! Reservations are recommended because it’s almost impossible to get a table at lunchtime otherwise.
Tim Ho Wan — Cheap, Michellin-Starred Dim Sum
This could possibly the world’s cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant! Tim Ho Wan in Sham Shui Po has one star, while the North Point branch and the Tai Kok Tsui branch both get recommendations in the Michelin 2021 guide. With a global presence peppered around Asia (and even in Australia and America) and several locations scattered across town from Hong Kong Station to Sham Shui Po, you have no excuse to not drop by. Queues start early (it opens at 10am) and there are no reservations but the wait is definitely worth it! We recommend the world famous crispy Char Siu Baos – the light-as-air buns burst with sweet, tender pork and BBQ sauce. The best part is the price – where else could you treat your children to a Michelin-starred restaurant lunch for $50 to $80 per person?
Yum Cha — Novelty, Kid-Friendly Dim Sum Dishes
No list of Hong Kong dim sum restaurants would be complete without a mention of Yum Cha! If you’ve got picky eaters on your hands, perhaps some cute little buns will do the trick. Home to the famous “vomiting” custard buns and an adorable cast of bao characters, young ones will have a blast playing with their food. Offering incredibly attractive options for lunch and dinner alongside its famous buns, its char siu bao and sweet and sour pork and pineapple Singapore vermicelli are sure to be a hit. Mamas will appreciate the no-MSG promise too.
More Hong Kong Dim Sum Restaurants
- Ah Chun Shandong Dumpling — Dumplings in Prince Edward, www.openrice.com/ah-chun-shandong-dumpling
- Ding Dim 1968 — Tasty dim sum in Central, www.dingdim.com
- dragon-i — During the day the restaurant dishes up all you can eat dim sum, www.dragon-i.com.hk
- Duddell’s — Upmarket dim sum dining, www.duddells.co
- Hutong —Up-market Chinese food, with an excellent family-friendly dim sum brunch, www.hutong.com.hk
- Lin Heung Tea House — Traditional dim sum with trolley service, www.sassymamahk.com/lin-heung-tea-house
- Man Mo Dim Sum — Contemporary dim sum on Upper Lascar Row, www.manmodimsum.com
- Madame Fù — Modern dim sum in Tai Kwun, www.madamefu.com.hk
- Mott 32 — A favourite Hong Kong dim sum experience, www.mott32.com
- The Night Market — Fresh, MSG-free dim sum, www.thenightmarket.com.hk
- Tien Yi Restaurant — Dim sum in Admiralty, www.tienyirestaurant.com
- Tin Lung Heen — Sky-high dim sum, www.ritzcarlton.com
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on 17, November 2017 and was most recently updated by Jess Mizzi in Janurary, 2022.