Once I walked in, I knew the dim sum here would be good. How? At 9am, it was PACKED and with old men reading newspapers, cute old ladies grabbing dim sum off the carts, and me thinking, “Can this be my life in 50 years?”
Lin Heung Tea House is one of the oldest dim sum restaurants in Hong Kong, and it was probably just as packed in 1926, when it first opened. When we went in July, it was loud and bustling and will give your morning a good jolt; any open seats are up for grabs, so you’ll most likely sit next to someone who’s got plenty of awesome life stories for you.
Looks can be deceiving though; I’ve been to plenty of packed restaurants and came out disappointed. We only ordered a few dishes since this was dim sum stop #1, but we ordered staples that are a good measure of dim sum worthiness. I’m not a huge fan of shumai, but my boyfriend devoured the 4 bundles of joy pretty quickly, so he can attest to the happiness they brought him. We both loved the beef changfen though, which made life difficult because they come in 3’s, and splitting one in half is sad since you only get one small mouthful.
My favorite of the 4 dim sum dishes we snagged off the carts was the pork buns. The inside was jam-packed with the sweet, tender, slow-roasted pork I grew up eating. Lucky for us, they probably just came out of the kitchen since it was piping hot, so the bun was smooth and chewy (and to my delight, bursting at the seams). I was also happy with the bun to pork ratio.
Finally, the often over-looked cousin at dim sum, the lo mai gai, otherwise known as sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf. Being the fantong that I am, this is one of my favorite dim sum dishes. Although it fills you up since there’s so much rice (you just have to work harder on stretching your stomach), it’s definitely worth it, especially when it’s good. And at Lin Heung, there was so much chicken and mushroom inside, I would’ve been happy ordering another 2 (or 3).
Also, remember when I said you’ll most likely be sharing a table and sitting next to someone your grandparents’ age? Well, we were lucky enough to be in the company of a woman well into her 70s or 80s. Unlike dim sum spots in the US, when the servers bring a giant pot of hot tea, don’t just pour the tea into your cup; we learned this through our awesome dim sum master. Pour the tea into your bowl and rinse everything thoroughly in it. (It’s pretty similar at lots of places in China, too, not sure how I forgot this). The woman was a pro and even hurried us to the carts once they rolled out of the kitchen; be vigilant, this is dim sum we’re talking about!