What is it about Lin Hueng?

Price: 50HKD per head
Wait time: 20 minutes
Dined at: breakfast time
Rating: 10/10

Every self respecting local knows about Lin Hueng tea house in Sheung Wan, HK Island. One of Hong Kongs oldest dim sum tea houses still in operation. 

What used to be a well kept secret to locals, however has become a bit of a tourist draw. Lin Hueng is mentioned in every travel guide from lonely planet to trip advisor, all of which pretty much say the same thing.

"...don't go unless you're a local..."

Eurgh. Why mention it then? I'm sure some tourists might see dining at Lin Hueng as a bit of a challenge but its the wrong approach. Unlike tourist draw restaurants like Tim Ho Wan, the staff at Lin Hueng don't trade on their venerable reputation to draw a tourist crowd. They are strictly no-nonsense, good dim sum. Get in their way, and be prepared to face the wrath of their threatening cantonese (hey, even I got a 'lei wan ye ah?' from a trolley lady). 


My fist time at Lin Hueng was with some cantonese speaking friends, to be honest though we didn't really need the language. Lin Hueng still pushes food on trolleys, which is a bit of a throwback. As a result, as soon as the screaming 90 year old comes out of the kitchen yelling "SIU MAI, HAR GOW" everyone unashamedly swarms to get what precious food they can lay their hands on. Apart from this no real interaction with the staff is necessary. Just don't get in their way. 

Oh, right, the food. Fucking out of this world good. I like to think that I eat a lot of dim sum and good dim sum at that. Lin Hueng was such a nice change. Everything was extremely heavily flavoured and intense unlike the more subtle approaches of other dim sum joints. The ngau yuk mai (steamed meatballs) were awesome, with strong cardamon and star anise flavouring (something you usually never taste in dim sum). The siu mai were also interesting, with a very noticeable flavour of ginger. Har Gow were thin skinned and juicy. Chicken feet as well, which usually I refuse to eat, were too good to resist.


Lin Hueng is a really special place. Its dirty, you sit next to people you don't know (and who will give you dirty looks), but it's a total throwback to old hong kong. No, don't go if you're some dumb tourist who can't read or speak chinese, or if its your first time doing yum cha. Go if you're seasoned, and want to see what dim sum should be like. Lin Hueng is the daddy, and I hope it stays that way. 






2012/09/05