Sep 10, 2020
Photo courtesy of Mott 32.
IT’S BEEN A LONG TIME since rolling carts and loud leng lois were a prerequisite for delicious dim sum. While there’s a lot to love about the authentic, frantic, mom-and-pop-shop ambience, Hong Kong’s fine-diners are where it’s at for innovation. A glance around more upscale establishments in Central reveals nouveau-Cantonese delights not even a pandemic can quash—indeed, the city’s intermittent 6 p.m. dining curfews may even enhance the appeal of this early-day meal.
Photos courtesy of Mott 32.
Descend the glamorous staircase of Mott 32 Hong Kong and you’re in for a stark contrast to the aforementioned typical dim sum joint. Opulent contemporary interiors by design studio Joyce Wang and decadent, modern dim sum are the name of the game here, with chef Lee Man-Sing, who previously worked at Mandarin Oriental’s Michelin-starred Man Wah, doing siu mai and xiao long bao updated with a Western touch—think: stuffings of Iberico pork and premium truffles.
During multiple lockdowns, Mott 32 got to flex its culinary muscle by turning its menu into decadent takeaway, with set dinners for up to eight people, and lunch “Bento Boxes” full of goodies like barbecue Iberico pork buns, mushroom taro croquettes and their famous 42-day dry-aged Peking duck.
Madame Fù, purveyor of photogenic Chinois allure, has long attracted fashion-forward dim sum fans, particularly to its velvet-draped Insta-ready Pink Room. The Shanghai-inspired eatery never rests when it comes to wooing, continually adding to its East-meets-West menus with gorgeously plated/basketed dishes. The latest items to get excited about include Impossible vegan pan-fried buns, a theatrical Lava Prawn Toast from the new summer menu, and a beauty collab for their L’Oréal Paris X Madame Fù High Tea.
LUNG KING HEEN
As the first Chinese restaurant in the world to attain three Michelin stars, Lung King Heen should rightly be at the vanguard of Hong Kong Cantonese. Helmed by executive chef Chan Yan Tak, the restaurant’s menu changes seasonally, if not daily, often with a delightfully global twist—this season’s tasting lineup has cameos by quinoa and baked avocado. Dim sum also switches up quarterly, with the perennial favorites being the Shanghai pork dumplings and the baked abalone puffs. Best way to try them all? Weekend brunch, of course.
On a high-culture tangent, the one-Michelin-starred Duddell’s, pairs traditional dim sum with modern art. Local artist–curated exhibits grace the walls while truffle-fried pork dumplings and crispy salted chicken adorn the tables. Experimentation in dim sum brings us full circle here with a cute tea set of retro favorites and forgotten street food of 35 years hence, the popularity of which has led to booked-out all-you-can-eat “Back to the 80s” nights. Proof that no matter how avant-garde dim sum might get, there’s always room on the table for nostalgia.