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:
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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