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Lin Heung Tea House

Posted date:  November 24, 2009

Old-school dim sum dishes at Lin Heung Tea House, a dim sum restaurant in Hong Kong

I’ve always liked the idea of dim sum — countless small Chinese dishes served with an endless flow of green tea (one of my favourite things to drink) sounds wonderful to me — but I’d yet to encounter a version that I truly enjoyed. My first authentic dim sum meals in Macau and Malaysia were fun, but too meaty and oily for my taste, while much of the dim sum I’ve come across in Thailand has been processed and flavourless (in addition to being meaty and oily). I thought for sure that I would finally meet my fantasy dim sum in Hong Kong, a city virtually synonymous with the dish, and to a certain extent, I did. In Lin Heung Tea House I found a restaurant that fit my preconceived notion of how a dim sum place should be: a great old hall complete with grumpy waiters, creaking trolleys, old men reading newspapers, lazy ceiling fans and lots of cigarette smoke and tea. But as with previous attempts, I was let down by the food.

Don’t get me wrong; there was nothing wrong with the dim sum at Lin Heung Tea House, but the dishes were just as meaty, oily and heavy as those I’d had before. Arriving late one afternoon we were given some of the restaurant’s ‘special’ dishes: shown above at 6 o’clock is fish maw and minced pork wrapped in tofu skin and steamed, at 9 o’clock a type of pig stomach, at 12 o’clock a type of sweet bun called ‘Malaysian cake’, and at 3 o’clock, pork liver fried in an oily garlic sauce. The volume of meat and oil made the cleansing properties of extremely strong tea a necessity:

Pouring tea at Lin Heung Tea House, a dim sum restaurant in Hong Kong

and effectively marked the end of my search: dim sum is what it is, and I should stop looking for a salad in a steak house.

Lin Heung Tea House
160-164 Wellington Street, Hong Kong
+852 544 4556

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6 Comments for Lin Heung Tea House

I’d direct you to shrimp and scallop dumplings and lotus paste-stuffed buns but it sounds like I’m too late. However I do agree that it is very difficult these days to find dim sum that lives up to the hype — be it in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Bangkok, San Francisco, or Sydney.

i think that’s the reality of dim sum. alot of dumplings that taste like pork and seafood. and to think that we eat it to start the day! despite all that porky heaviness, i’ll give my first born child just to have what you had at lin heung.

am a huge fan of dim sum and i’ll be going to guangzhou in a few weeks time on way to hk just to check if dim sum there is actually better. i hope i won’t be disappointed given that guangzhou is where dim sum originated.

i agree that sum of the dim sum at lin heung can be a bit overwhelming but most customers eat 3 or 4 dim sums over an hour rather than scoffing them within 10 minutes. what i like most about lin heung is the type and variety of dim sum available which is very rare to find anywhere else in hk.

that aside, have you ever tried this unassuming restaurant on soi samsen that only serves pad thai? i can’t say i’ve tried many pad thai but i be surprised if it beats this place. 25bht per serving and there’s always customers waiting in and outside the shop, with a minimum wait of 20mins usually, quite often longer. it’s all made by a single female lady. i don’t know how she cope.

if you’re interested, on western end of khao san, head north over the bridge, along soi samsen for about 100 metres. pad thai place (don’t think they have a name) is on the right hand side just before the petrol station. they open for lunch and dinner time with last orders around 8.45pm. Would be great to see photos and a review if you do decide to try!

[…] my previous tirade, I was still willing to subject myself to more dim sum.  This was partly for nostalgic reasons, as […]

unfortunately, old-skool dimsum is almost always heavy with meat and grease…
u’d need to go to fancy restaurants to get haute-dim-sum. 🙂

Greasy as they may, dim sum still remains as one of the most favourite breakfast all over the world.
I’m staying in a small city named Ipoh in Malaysia, whereby my hometown’s famous for its brand of dim sum. Ask any Malaysians and they’ll tell you that.
Though in comparison to Hong Kong’s version, I still feel that the latter’s miles ahead, probably the freshness of the ingredients.

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