5 Conclusions About Late Night Dim Sum in Hong Kong

By Mark Wiens 11 Comments

The culture of late night Hong Kong Dim Sum is a manifesting statement that appears to have developed throughout all of antiquity.

It is through the lens of these ambrosial dumplings situated on bamboo steamers at uncommon hours where whole new worlds are cracked and observed from the depths of the concrete canyons of Hong Kong.

Late Night Dim Sum Restaurant

It was 3 am in Hong Kong and my metaphysical instinct drew me to naturally dwell upon one thing only; Dim Sum.  To my satisfaction there was an established restaurant on the bottom floor of my place of rest.

Here are my 5 empirical conclusions:

1. Humans

The most stochastic arrangement of men will make an appearance; groomed and gruffed, chunky and scrawny, athletic and disabled will begin to trickle into the dim summery starting at about 1 or 2 am for the great edible equalizer.

One posse of highly experienced men seemed to perfunctorily wake up from a deep sleep to pursue the unworldly flavors of dim sum.

After ingesting, they sat back, sloppily dragged on cigarettes and pulled pants to mid calf.  From habitual practice, they didn’t even bother to chat with one another but rather sat in silence, toking on tobacco and introspecting.

Another bed-headed straggler stumbled in sporting the most peculiar of all pajamas with a Shiatsu that resembled himself on a leash trailing him.

I made the assumption that steamed scents had seeped through his window cracks on the floors above to stimulate his unconscious slumber.

Another solo man was in a full orange jumpsuit as if he had escaped prison (on second thought, he was a garbage man) with the sole intention of seeking a meaty treat.

2. Pushcart

The days when steamed dim sum was push carted from table to table traditionally in Hong Kong have for the most part been eradicated.  Hints of the evolution of dim sum serving can be explained by the very city itself.

Concrete drab stacked buildings quite resemble bamboo steamers piled onto  communal tables, longingly waiting to be pawned off to the hungry consumers.

Dim sum in Hong Kong
Hong Kong and Dim Sum

3. Decisions

Pointing out the right edible decision can be intimidating.

People will probably be yelling and impatient.  The underlying proverb when choosing dim sum is: If it looks good, it is (period).
That being said, I can assist in directing your index finger with a  number of mouth stunners that I cannot get enough of:

  • lou mai gai– mochi (sticky rice) rice with chicken and sausage, wrapped in a green lotus leaf
  • har gau– shrimp dumpling
  • char siu bau– barbecue pork steamed roll
  • wu gok– deep fried mushed taro and pork dumpling
  • fu pei guen– seasoned pork wrapped in a bean curd wrapping
Mochi rice
Mochi Rice wrapped in Lotus Leaf

4. How To Pay

In order seek the final bill and tally of the total amount of dishes consumed one has to awaken the cashier with repeated physical (almost abusive) shakes.  The waitress will shout something along the lines of “GET UPPPP,” (in Cantonese) to the cashier with zero avail.

He will move on to flicker his eyelids and realize that his index finger is still on the calculator and he will conveniently add your bill up, head still resting on the counter.  You will stumble out of the restaurant thinking, “they need to hire a new cashier,” but then realizing how happy your belly is.

Dim sum in Hong Kong
Pure happiness

5. Enjoyment

It can be said with certitude that the smells from Dim Sum will arouse the least voracious lovers of food.

If the smells work that kind of wonder it is a sure fact that the flavors induced by Hong Kong dim sum will be enough to wake any rational person from a deep sleep in order to get a heavenly flavor.



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  • su sin

    4 years ago

    thanks for the article. im visiting HK in Sept..watched a lot TVB dramas but still don’t know what to expect. this helps!

  • Bette

    7 years ago

    There is only one thing better than shopping in Hong Kong, and that’s eating. From small noodle joints to upscale French restaurant, you will locate all sorts of restaurant, eating hall and snack stall on earth in Hong Kong. Here I found small amount of Hong-Kong-styled snacks online (yummiexpress.freetzi.com). This is definitely a good choice before I have $ for another trip.

  • Juno

    7 years ago

    Oh.. I remember this.

    har gau- shrimp dumpling was my favorite.
    I miss dimsum so much!!!

  • FC

    7 years ago

    Hello everyone!!!

    I’ve got a 12hour stopover (9pm-9am)coming up in HK next month, and would really appreciate it if anyone can provide me with the location of this little shop with its wonderful-looking food. Much thanks in advance!

    Regards,
    FC

  • Lauren Quinn

    8 years ago

    One of my travel goals is definitely to eat Dim Sum in the homeland. Like the parallel drawn in #2.

  • Kat

    8 years ago

    Doing great. 2010 started off great for me so I’m looking forward to more interesting things… starting off with another trip to Binondo. When you get back you should visit that place again hehe.

  • Mark Wiens

    8 years ago

    Glad to know you also love the mochi steamed rice! I had pretty delicious dim sum as well in Binondo when I was in Manila. Hope you are doing great!

  • Kat

    8 years ago

    I love lou mai gai, or as we call it here, ma-chai. My late grandfather (who looks like a little old Chinese man) was the one who introduced to me this wonderful food. The best one I’ve tasted (locally) are the ones my friend scored from Chinatown in Binondo. 😀