Dimsum delights in Hong Kong

Pia Ranada
From dimsum to congee to noodles, these suggestions will keep your Hong Kong food trip covered

EVERYDAY DIMSUM. Shrimp siomai at Tim Ho Wan in Hong Kong delight any foodie. All photos by Pia Ranada

HONG KONG – One of the best—and cheapest—things to do in Hong Kong is to eat.

Any seasoned Hong Kong traveler will tell you that the best restaurants are found, not in its swanky premiere shopping districts, but in the seedier downtown streets where smells and sounds are more varied and signs in English are nowhere to be found.

With a smattering of Cantonese and Google Maps, you may find yourself in one of these hole-in-the-wall gastronomic paradises where, after pushing back curtains of dimsum-infused steam and brandishing those (now plastic) chopsticks, you prepare for a taste of heaven.

Dimsum delights at Tim Ho Wan

Location: 9-11 Fuk Wing Street, Sham Shui Po (10-minute walk from Sham Shui Po MTR station)
Opening hours: 8 AM – 9:30 PM

MICHELIN STAR. Tim Ho Wan has earned  reputation for being the "cheapest Michelin Star restaurant in the world"

Probably the most famous dimsum restaurant in Hong Kong, Tim Ho Wan has earned One Michelin Star, hence its reputation as “the cheapest Michelin Star restaurant in the world.”

Michelin Star is a hallmark of fine dining quality awarded in a scale of 0 to 3 by anonymous reviewers who judge based on the quality and consistency of the food and the mastery of technique in food preparation. Michelin (which funnily enough began as a French tire company) has been anonymously reviewing the world’s restaurants since 1900.

HEAVENLY. Baked Bun with Barbecued Pork is a bestseller at Tim Ho Wan

GOODNESS MADE EDIBLE. Tim Ho Wan's bean curd roll bursts pleasantly with flavor in your mouth

Truly great dimsum doesn’t come cheaper than at Tim Ho Wan with everything in the menu under HK$20 (around P105).

A must-try is their signature Baked Bun with Barbecued Pork, a bun with a soft, fluffy, sweet shell encasing saucy char siew pork almost oozing out.

Then there’s the Deep Fried Dumpling Filled With Meat, a chewy, rice-based ball very similar to buchi with steaming-hot pork bits inside: absolute goodness made edible.

LIKE BUCHI WITH MEAT. Deep Fried Dumpling Filled With Meat is half buchi, half pork siomai

HOT FILLING. Pork inside the fried dumpling symbolizes hidden wealth for the Chinese

To try all the classic dimsum dishes in Tim Ho Wan is to taste them in their quintessential form. Tim Ho Wan’s pork and shrimp siomai have found the perfect balance between soft and chewy. Unlike in lesser dimsum restaurants, its doughy wrapping is perfectly melded to its meaty filling, blending the flavors of all the ingredients seamlessly.

Note: There are many branches of Tim Ho Wan scattered all over Hong Kong but the best ones (the ones that have scored a Michelin Star) are the branches in Sham Shui Po and Mongkok.

Congee craze at Nathan Congee and Noodle

Location: 11 Sai Kung Street, Jordan
Opening hours: 7:30 AM – 11:30 PM

FEEL-GOOD CONGEE. Nathan Congee and Noodle serves steaming hot congee to start your day. Photo from Trip Advisor

FRIED BREAD. This serves as both appetizer and congee ingredient

The best time to eat at Nathan Congee and Noodle is in the morning. Its congee, the best I have ever tasted, is the perfect breakfast dish. Not too watery, not too gooey, its rice flakes melt in the mouth like snowflakes (if they were steaming hot). Adding subtle and delightful contrast to the porridge is the salty chewiness of the chicken chunks inside. Don’t forget to mix in the twisted, oily bread cones that are also yummy on their own as appetizers.

HEART-WARMING. No Chinese food trip is complete without a glass (or two) of hot tea

NATHAN CONGEE AND NOODLE. Patrons of the restaurant wake up bright and early for good food

Noodle nights in Hoi Tin Tong Restaurant

Location: 20 Hankow Road, Tsim Sha Tsui (5-minute walk from Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station)
Opening Hours: open 24 hours

THE BEST BROTH. Beef noodle soup served the way it should be in this tiny restaurant in Hankow Road

NOODLES ANY TIME. It's never too late for seriously delicious noodle soup

If you’re craving for excellent noodle soup at any time of the day, visit this tiny restaurant perpetually hidden by a cloud of steam from its simmering vats of noodles. Its beef wanton soup has the best broth, as if the beef and vegetables were stewed for such a long time that all their flavors have been fused in the soup. The stringy noodles are thin, chewy and tough at the same time. Beef chunks are served in generous proportions so that you will always emerge from the meal with a full-to-burst stomach.

What are your favorite Hong Kong eats? Share them with us here. – Rappler.com 

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.