Dim Sum Restaurants Tours – Hong Kong, China

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Dim Sum Restaurants


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About this place

Dim Sum Restaurants (Cha Lau) 茶楼

In Hong Kong, many people have breakfast or lunch at Dim Sum Restaurants (cha lau – ’cha’ means tea, ’lau’ means building).  We call it ’yum cha’ (drink tea) in Cantonese. To some families, this is a once weekly event.  It can even be a daily activity for retired people or housewives.

How to dress:

In Chinese restaurants, especially those located in residential areas, it is not a surprise to see some male customers simply wearing their slippers and taking the horseracing newspaper and a radio with them for entertainment. However, if you go to a higher-class restaurant, then dressing in smart casual is more appropriate.

What to eat:

Aside from dim sum, these Hong Kong Dim Sum Restaurants also serve Chinese cuisine in their own style depending on the theme of the restaurant. However, in the daytime, people mainly order dim sum as main dish, coupled with fried rice and noodles instead of dishes on the menu. I think many Westerners are familiar with the word ’dim sum’ and have likely tried it before in their own country. It is a general term for the small steamed or deep fried dish usually served at 3 or 4 pieces.

What to drink:

In ’cha lau’, customers will be served with their preferred type of ’cha’ (tea). Commonly ordered types are:

Po Lay: Pu-erh – the most common type of black tea.  It leaves a taste of herbs that lingers in the mouth.
Sau Mei – peony, white tea with a slightly sweet flavour.
Lung Cheng – ’lung’ means dragon, ’cheng’ is a well, it is a kind of green tea which is light, tastes fresh and has a bit of ’grassy’ undertone.
Wu lung – oolong tea, the finest one has a ’peach’ like aroma and gives a long lingering effect.
Heung Pin: jasmine, floral tea

When to go:

As dim sum is part of the Hong Kong culture, you may wish to spend a morning visiting one of these Dim Sum Restaurants to enjoy the food. As competition among the restaurants is keener than before, many have extended their dim sum serving hours and added more choices so people can also enjoy it at tea-time. If you want to have a greater variety of choices of specialized Chinese cuisine, it is better to visit at dinnertime. Set dinner is also available at some restaurants.

How to order dim sum:

Nowadays most Hong Kong Dim Sum Restaurants use a dim sum order form for placing orders. You just need to check the boxes next to your choices and pass the form to the staff. They will then serve what you ordered within 10 minutes. In some restaurants, there are still ladies that serve dim sum on a cart with heater. They will yell out what they have loudly and customers can pick what they want as the cart passes by. The lady will mark the relevant price category on the record card. However, both the dim sum form and the signage on the dim sum cart are presented in Chinese. Also do not count on the menu on the table, as it just shows pictures of dishes instead of dim sum.  You had better learn how to order the basic and common ones direct from the waiter.

What to order:

Cha siu bao (叉烧包): barbecued pork bun
Har gou: steamed prawn dumplings with a translucent wrap
Siu my: steamed pork dumplings
Ngau yuk: steamed beef balls
Chun kuen: spring rolls
Cheong fun: steamed rice rolls (with different fillings such as prawn, scallop, beef, barbecued pork or vegetarian and more)
Cha siu so: baked barbecued pork pastry
Gin cheong fun: fried rice rolls
Gin law pak go: fried carrot cake
Har kok: deep fried prawn dumplings
Yau yu so: deep fried octopus
Law mei gai: sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf
Dan tart: baked egg tarts
Nine wong bau: sweet egg and cream bun
Yeung chow chau fan: fried rice with shrimp, ham and green pea
Gone chau ngau hor: fried rice noodle with beef
Gone siu yi min: vegetarian noodle stewed in soy sauce
Ha kou wor min: noodle with prawn, mushroom and vegetable served with soup
Where to go:

Maxim’s Chinese Restaurant
Luk Yu Tea House
Kung Tak Lam

Did you know:

There are several categories of dim sum, viz. small, medium, large, special, and top. Price is ranging from about HK$10 to HK$30 each.


Many Chinese restaurants give discounts if you check your bill before noon or if you visit after 2:00pm. Some even have special offers like ’unit-price’ for all categories of dim sum. Try checking with the restaurant staff when you arrive at the restaurant.

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By Tai-Te,

Have a fun trip!

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