Dim sum (or “yum cha” as it’s called in Cantonese) is an iconic Chinese meal consisting of numerous small plates of food shared among friends and family and washed down with plenty of tea. Its origins are Cantonese and many consider Hong Kong to be the home of dim sum as well as the location of the world’s best dim sum restaurants.
The highlight of our time in Hong Kong was sitting down to sample dim sum at some of the most popular restaurants in the city. And while Hong Kong has plenty of world-famous 5-star dim sum restaurants, we were on the hunt for the best cheap dim sum eats in town. We dined on delicious xiao long bao (soup dumplings), spicy seafood stuffed peppers and savory BBQ pork buns all for less than $15 USD per person.
Want to know where you can find the best cheap Dim Sum in Hong Kong? We have put together this roundup of our 4 favorite dim sum restaurants in the city that will astound your taste buds without breaking the bank. Enjoy!
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Tips for Eating Dim Sum in Hong Kong
- Make sure you bring cash because none of these dim sum restaurants accept credit cards.
- Most dim sum restaurants in Hong Kong have a small cover charge of ~$4 HKD (~$0.50 USD) for unlimited green tea and water. You have to pay it even if you don’t drink any tea.
- All of these dim sum restaurants are extremely popular, especially in the morning between 10 am-noon. Give yourself plenty of time to wait in line. Expect a wait of 20 minutes to an hour depending on how large your group is and what time you arrive.
- It’s best to avoid these popular dim sum restaurants on Saturday and Sunday mornings as half of Hong Kong will be trying to eat dim sum at the same time as you.
- Ordering at dim sum restaurants is usually easy. You’ll be provided with a picture menu and a card to fill out with your order. If there is a long wait, you can sometimes fill out your card while you’re standing in line so that when you sit down, the restaurant can begin preparing your order immediately.
- When you run out of tea simply move the lid of your teapot so it is a bit ajar to subtlely request a refill.
- If the restaurant is particularly busy, you may end up sharing a table with another group. This is pretty common in Asia so just embrace it and make some new friends!
4 Delicious and Inexpensive Dim Sum Restaurants in Hong Kong
1. Tim Ho Wan
Tim Ho Wan is arguably the most famous dim sum restaurant in Hong Kong and is commonly referred to as one of the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurants in the world. When it first opened in 2009, it was just a 20-seat hole-in-the-wall restaurant in the Mong Kok neighborhood, and just a year later it had earned its Michelin star. Now Tim Ho Wan has six locations in Hong Kong and 48 branches worldwide.
When dining at Tim Ho Wan, you must try the baked BBQ pork buns. They have a unique flakey crust that is just slightly sweet and the BBQ pork filling is perfectly flavored. They are the main attraction at Tim Ho Wan and they are absolutely superb. We even decided to get a second order of them!
The baked BBQ pork buns are the first of four dishes that make up Tim Ho Wan’s “Four Heavenly Kings”. The other three dishes are the steamed egg cake, the beancurd skin with pork and shrimp, and pan-fried carrot cake. Of the Four Heavenly Kings, we only tried the BBQ pork buns… oops!
Our other favorite dim sum dishes at Tim Ho Wan were the steamed prawn dumplings (har gow) and the pork rice rolls. If you want to eat some famously cheap dim sum in Hong Kong that you can brag about to all your friends back home, then Tim Ho Wan is the best dim sum restaurant for you to visit.
Tim Ho Wan has six locations around Hong Kong (and dozens more around the world), but most people prefer the ones in Sham Shui Po or Olympic City.
Unfortunately, if you want to dine at the original location you’re out of luck. In 2013, the Mong Kok branch was closed and moved to Olympic City.
- Sham Shui Po: G/F, 9-11 Fuk Wing Street, Sham Shui Po
- Central (Hong Kong Station): Shop 12A, Hong Kong Station (Podium Level 1, IFC Mall), Central
- Olympic City: Shop 72, G/F, Olympian City 2, 18 Hoi Ting Road, Tai Kok Tsui
- Tseung Kwan O: Shop 49, G/F., POPCORN 2, 9 Tong Chun Street, Tseung Kwan O
- North Point: Shop B, C, & D, G/F, 2-8 Wharf Road, Seaview Building, North Point
- West Kowloon Station: Shop 1, Level B1M, Exit B1/F, HK West Kowloon Station
2. Dim Dim Sum
We actually kind of stumbled upon Dim Dim Sum. We were staying at a guest house in the Jordan neighborhood and a quick search on TripAdvisor showed it to be the top-ranking restaurant in the area. Upon visiting the small, unassuming dim sum restaurant, we discovered that Newsweek had named it one of the best 101 restaurants in the world back in 2012.
Serendipitously, we arrived mid-afternoon to find there was no queue to get a table and it was happy hour.
All of the dishes, we sampled at Dim Dim Sum were amazing and the portions were quite generous. Our favorites were the pan-fried stuffed eggplant with teriyaki sauce, seafood-stuffed hot peppers, shanghai soup dumplings (xiao long bao), and pork dumplings (siu mai) with crab roe.
Also, make sure you save room for dessert; pineapple buns with pineapple custard filling. Or if you prefer something more Instagram-worthy, try the piggy custard buns.
Dim Dim Sum was our first dim sum dining experience in Hong Kong, but it turned out to be our favorite inexpensive dim sum restaurant in town!
Dim Dim Sum has four branches around Hong Kong in the neighborhoods of Jordan, Mong Kok, Wan Chai, and Sha Tin.
- Jordan: 26-28 Man Wui Street, Jordan, Kowloon
- Mong Kok: 112 Tung Choi Street, Mong Kok
- Wan Chai: 7 Tin Lok Lane, Causeway Bay, Wan Chai
- Sha Tin: Shop 108, 1/F, Citylink Plaza, Sha Tin
Come for happy hour and get 20% off your entire order between 2 pm and 6 pm.
3. One Dim Sum
One Dim Sum is another crowd favorite with local Hong Kong dim sum connoisseurs. And while One Dim Sum does not currently hold a Michelin star, it received one from 2011-2012 so we knew we had to try it during our trip to Hong Kong.
We arrived at One Dim Sum just shortly after opening time to find a large queue of people already waiting for tables. Luckily, being a small party of just two, we were able to get seats within about 20 minutes.
The deep-fried shrimp wontons were perfectly light and crispy and the steamed meatballs were delicious. We also liked the deep-fried dumplings with salted meat even though we weren’t exactly sure what we were eating.
In fact, all of the dishes we tried at One Dim Sum were excellent and the dim sum was quite affordable. To our surprise, One Dim Sum turned out to be our second favorite cheap dim sum restaurant in Hong Kong, just behind Dim Dim Sum.
For dessert, make sure you try the mango custard rolls. They’re the perfect sweet ending to a delicious dim sum experience. We preferred them to the deep-fried sesame balls.
Address for One Dim Sum: Shop 1 & 2, G/F, No. 15 Playing Field Road, Prince Edward
4. Lin Heung Tea House
Lin Heung Tea House is completely different from the three previous dim sum restaurants in Hong Kong we have recommended. It’s a much more traditional experience. You can forget everything we have told you about how easy it is to order dim sum. If you don’t speak Cantonese then nothing about eating at Lin Heung Tea House is easy, but that’s the fun of it!
At Lin Heung Tea House, you can expect very little English and no menu at all for the dim sum. Instead, dishes are rolled out on carts by little ladies and diners quickly descend on them in a mad rush to secure the best dim sum.
When you arrive you’ll either be indicated to grab whatever empty seats you see available. Or, if you’re lucky, one of the waiters will give you a spot at a table after a quick wipe-down and motion for you to sit.
First, they’ll bring a steaming pot of tea of your choice with a cup, and a bowl of hot water to clean and warm up your teacup. You’ll also give an ordering card that is a nondescript list of numbers.
Traditional Cantonese dim sum is available from 6:30 am until 2 pm. But, make sure you arrive before noon if you really want to have the full experience. After mid-day, most of the steamed dumplings and more popular dishes will be sold out. You’ll probably be stuck staring at dim sum trolly after dim sum trolly of steamed sponge cake. It’s good, but probably not what you came for.
Address for Lin Heung Tea House: G/F 160-164 Wellington Street, Central
Do you have a favorite cheap dim Sum restaurant in Hong Kong? Let us know in the comments below!
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