Hong Kong – the home of dim sum

10 Jun

Gourd stuffed meatballs – yum!

One of my first posts as I started this blog nearly a year ago was when I had “early tea” in Guangzhou.  “Early tea” is dim sum and it is something that Cantonese speakers throw themselves into with both hands (or rather both chopsticks).  I had had dim sum in Chicago before I moved to China and went down to Chinatown on the South Side to try things that I had never seen before – the carts sliding through the dining room with the steamer baskets and small plates – endless combinations – salty, sour, sweet, rich…

In Shanghai and when I had early tea in Guangzhou, there are no carts – there’s a menu and you order off the menu and the servers bring you your order.  This method works well as you don’t have to wait for your favorites and everything is hot and fresh when delivered, but it hinders trying new things or looking at something on the cart and saying – “What is that?  Let’s give it a try.”  You can get so full on your favorites (once you’ve had dim sum twice you’ll have favorites) that you stop looking for new favorites.

Famous Dim Sum restaurant

When I was in Hong Kong this time my friend Cory took me too one of the last hold-outs that still have the carts roaming through the dining room – a restaurant called Maxim’s which is inside a performing arts center.  We got there early and didn’t have to wait for a table, but when we left there was quite a line.  It was only the two of us, but we managed to sample many things – including a few that I had never tried before.

I took a few photos, but the smells and my stomach didn’t allow me to take many before I gobbled up the different dishes.  On this trip in addition to the standard (and excellent) shrimp dumplings and rice rolls I now have several new favorites.  These include: sesame balls stuffed with custard(I’ve had red bean and also pork, but the custard was a great foil to the sesame seeds); barbecue pork buns with crispy tops (similar to the pineapple buns I’ve had many times but stuffed with superb barbecue) and gourd stuffed meatballs – it was kind of like a zucchini hollowed out with a meatball in the middle.

Barbecue pork buns with crispy tops

Food is one of the benefits of travel and while I’m sure there is intense debate as to who does dim sum best, my Hong Kong Dim Sum is now at the top of my list – for now!

Any favorite dim sum restaurants or dishes?  Any that you just really think are weird?  I’d love to add some new spots/dishes to my list for next time.

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8 Responses to “Hong Kong – the home of dim sum”

  1. darrell June 10, 2012 at 9:54 am #

    I found that one too! We happened upon it before it opened and were like 3rd in line, all of the tables filled up within 10 minutes. Great place, great food and great location.

    • gkm2011 June 11, 2012 at 8:47 am #

      I agree – and very much like dim sum “should be” in my head as well. I had dim sum again while I was there that was also excellent, but it was ordering off a menu – just not the same feel.

  2. expatlingo June 10, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    My God, you’re making me hungry. I love BBQ pork buns!

    • gkm2011 June 11, 2012 at 8:48 am #

      I do too! Given that you’re in HK, I suggest you make a point to have one this week. 🙂

      • expatlingo June 11, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

        You’re right. Now it’s decided: the little one and I will go for dim sum tomorrow after our appointment at the Consulate.

      • gkm2011 June 11, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

        Sounds like a fitting tonic after a consulate meeting. Enjoy!

  3. sarahinguangzhou June 11, 2012 at 8:03 pm #

    Yes I know the place you mean. It’s hard to find anywhere with the carts now and it’s always easier than having to read a menu. My favourite dimsum is still in London’s Chinatown though, but having said that it’s been 10 years or so, since I went so it’s probably been made into a carpark or something by now.

    • gkm2011 June 12, 2012 at 7:51 am #

      It’s funny how favorite places stay with us. It may still be there but you’re not the same too – you’ve tried more things, maybe have a different idea about what’s authentic. Thanks for the comment.

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