Food that touches the heart.
I think you can quite easily say that Dim Sum = Hong Kong. 點心 ; Dian xin in mandarin (Dim Sum in Cantonese) literally means “Dot/point heart” but it means that its like a light soft touch, that touches your heart. I think it’s a rather apt name for something so small, delicate, light and delicious.
I came across this Dim Sum cafe on the last day of my trip, it was near the hotel we were staying in Hong Kong Island. It was just a great little cafe, nothing fancy but I really enjoyed it.
You can’t go to Hong Kong without eating Dim Sum, so of course it’s in your Top 10 things to do/eat and if it’s not, you’d better put it in. I know most people will hunt up and down Hong kong, stand long hours at the TIM HO WAN michelin star restaurant to sink their mouth into the char siew sou but I have the theory that any local shop is as good or sometimes better experience and taste than the multi star restaurant in town. Like eating a crepe in France from a random cafe is still awfully good, or a nice fish and chips in london. Why?
1. It’s the capital of Dim Sum, they are more accessible to the best & freshest ingredients for it, they have been feeding generations of Honkies and their recipes are probably passed down from generations or tweaked to perfection.
2. It’s the local flavour! I find that touristy restaurants catering to international tourist often tweak their food to takes more pleasing to the foreigners for them to accept. So the local Dim sum shop probably has no special sauce and taste like the real thing that locals eat.
3. Lastly the experience, I can’t tell you how waiting for hours at a queue and being rushed to eat my food has severely affected my experience eating at Tim Ho Wan.
I actually enjoyed my food more at this local Dim sum place because its feels more authentic, it’s quiet than Tim Ho Wan and I don’t have a dozen angry eyes staring at me because I didn’t swallow my food fast enough!! And after aimlessly queue around, that’s honestly the last thing you need. The person taking your order usually owns the cafe, the experience is more impactful (because they only speak canto) and I ended up wild guessing the menu and randomly ordering some stuff!
These steaming baskets stacked up high was what caught my attention while I was walking pass.
Ordered some usual stuff : Char skew rice rolls, Lotus paste buns, Char skew buns, Century egg & pork porridge and lotus leaf glutinous rice.
Old lamps hanging from the ceiling.
The menu plastered on the wall, it not only serves dim sum but also other common staples like wanton noodles or luncheon pork noodles. Most of the people eating were locals, ranging from the old men here to drink coffee, watch TV to the construction worker on his lunch break.
Dim Sum are typically cooked through steaming methods in specially made bamboo baskets. These baskets create a great head insulator for the food as well as give a fragrance to it.
Which kind of tourist are you? Do you like eating as local as possible or trying only the best dine-in places around town? Somewhere in-between? I loved to hear from you. 🙂