Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lin Heung Tea House - Travel back to old Hong Kong dim sum dining for the everyday man

Street level entrance, proceed upstairs for the tables *

What I love about Hong Kong is that there's dim sum for all budgets and all levels of society. You can find these morsels at a 'dai pai dong' (open air food stall) or a six-star hotel and everything in between.

Large Chicken Bun had to be split into 6 to share
This 80+ year established reminds me of my very first dim sum experience. What a trip back in time! No reservations allowed. Washing dishes at the table because there might still be some bits of food stuck to my chopsticks. Groups of strangers sharing tables and the hustle and bustle of activity as people try to elbow each other to get to the freshest offerings.
Fried Egg pastry (Dan so) with golden syrup

Arriving with a group of 12, it was pretty dismal because at 10 o’clock in the morning, this place was ALREADY jam-packed. The waiters suggested we split up into two or three different tables and share with strangers. This well-intentioned advice was not well-received as my multi-national Cantonese class wanted to stick together.

At last one table was offered to us, what luck! This table (with a red Chinese character sign) is reserved for the wait staff. But they made me promise to return the table by 11. ‘OK, I will try.’ ‘No try, we MUST have it back by 11 to eat our lunch!’ ‘Yes, sir!’

Would you believe, we got INCREDIBLE service after that because they wanted this huge table of 12 to eat our lunch in 45 minutes and pay and leave! We got fresh chopsticks right away when one of the pair decide to escape. We got food fresh from the kitchen before anyone else got theirs. We even ordered 4 more baskets of Char Siu Bau(BBQ Pork Bun) steamed especially for our table. Excellent! This is definitely the way to go!

At this restaurant, one person from each party, armed with their paper ordering form, leave their table and descend upon the middle-aged ladies with the dim sum carts. The ladies show you what they have and you order and they stamp your card. Be quick because items often run out before the cart makes it to your table so it’s perfect acceptable to walk half-way across to restaurant and mob the kitchen door. Our table was special – we even got dishes that I didn’t even order. No harm done, we ate almost everything!
The waiter even advised us to order dessert as it was
approaching the magic hour.
Sticky rice in lotus leaf, the fragrance is intoxicating when you unwrap

Their signature dish is the Large Chicken Bun – it’s huge and filled with all kinds of goodies with un-boned chicken pieces and quail’s egg; the BBQ pork puff pastry got a nod of approval as well; the Shrimp Dumplings were quite large and the shrimp was large and fresh; Savory chicken and sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf was described as a Chinese tamale, very fragrant and the rice was hot and moist; Fried egg pastry was light and crispy but needed more syrup as it could be quite bland when served on its own.

For our table of 12 who ordered and ate non-stop and were full to the brim, the cost per person came to only HKD40! What a deal! (Take your order card and pay at the counter.) My companions said they would definitely come again. The food was standard fare, nothing fancy but fresh and tasty. My only gripe was that the Fried egg-shaped dumpling was cold. Otherwise, come for the history, for the atmosphere and for the good deal.

Lin Heung Tea House
160-164 Wellington Street

*Photo of restaurant courtesy of Allison Matthei

1 comment:

  1. Hong Kong is famous place in the world by its unique culture of food and living environment. Restaurants are widespread in all over the city as well as five-star hotels also Hong Kong Serviced Apartments, building towers, history museums and Hong Kong island are the main target of its popularity. The popular foods or dishes of Hong Kong are Stuffed roasted suckling pig at Kimberley, Beef brisket, and Snake soup are best.