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  • Writer's pictureDavid Cheung

A Guide for Yum Cha in Hong Kong


Hong Kong is a city renowned for its vibrant culinary scene. One culinary tradition that you must not miss is Yum Cha, a popular dining experience centred around delicious dim sum and Chinese tea. In this guide, we will introduce you to the world of Yum Cha and provide essential information to make the most of your Yum Cha adventure in Hong Kong.


What is Yum Cha?


Yum Cha is a Cantonese tradition that translates to "drink tea." It involves enjoying a leisurely meal of bite-sized dim sum dishes accompanied by a variety of fragrant Chinese teas.


Yum Cha is not only about the food; it is a social and cultural experience that brings people together.


Finding the Perfect Yum Cha Restaurant

Hong Kong offers numerous Yum Cha restaurants, ranging from traditional teahouses to upscale establishments. Here are a few popular options to consider:


  • Tim Ho Wan: Known as the world's cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant, it offers affordable and delicious dim sum.

  • Lin Heung Tea House: A historic teahouse with a lively atmosphere, where you can experience Yum Cha in a traditional setting.

  • Dim Sum Square: This small, cosy restaurant is known for its authentic flavours and affordable prices.


The Dim Sum Delights

Dim sum is the star of the Yum Cha experience, featuring a wide array of bite-sized dishes served in bamboo steamers or on small plates. Here are some must-try dim sum dishes:


Har Gow: Steamed shrimp dumplings with a translucent wrapper.

Siu Mai: Pork and shrimp dumplings with an open top and a yellow wrapper.

Char Siu Bao: Steamed barbecue pork buns with a fluffy and slightly sweet dough.

Cheong Fun: Steamed rice noodle rolls filled with ingredients like shrimp or barbecued pork.

Egg Tarts: Sweet pastries with a flaky crust and creamy egg custard filling.


Tea Appreciation

Tea is an integral part of Yum Cha, and it plays a vital role in cleansing the palate and enhancing the dining experience. Traditional teas like Jasmine, Oolong, and Pu-erh are commonly served. The tea is usually brewed by the restaurant staff, who will periodically refill your teapot with hot water.


Yum Cha Etiquette:


  • Sharing: Yum Cha is a communal dining experience. Dishes are usually shared among the diners, allowing everyone to taste a variety of flavours.

  • Tea Etiquette: When someone refills your teacup, tap the table with your fingers as a gesture of thanks. If you don't want more tea, leave your teacup cover slightly ajar.

  • Chopstick Etiquette: Avoid sticking your chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice, as it is associated with funerals. Instead, place them horizontally across the bowl or on a chopstick rest.


Peak Hours and Queues

Yum Cha is particularly popular on weekends and public holidays, leading to crowded restaurants and long queues. To avoid waiting, consider visiting during weekdays or arrive early in the morning.


Trying New Things

Be adventurous and explore beyond the familiar dim sum dishes. Hong Kong's Yum Cha scene offers a vast range of innovative and modern interpretations of traditional dim sum. Don't hesitate to try new flavours and combinations.


Yum Cha is not just a meal; it's a cultural experience that allows you to immerse yourself in Hong Kong's culinary traditions. From the delightful dim sum to the aromatic teas, Yum Cha offers a journey of flavours and textures. Embrace the communal spirit, savour the exquisite

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