When I lived in Hong Kong a thousand years ago, my go-to for out of town friends and family was either City Hall or Luk Yu, both in Central on Hong Kong Island. I lived all five years in the New Territories and usually had dim sum on campus or sometimes in Shatin.
So when a friend recommended Lin Heung to me a few years ago, I put it on my list of places to visit the next time I was in Hong Kong. It took me a few trips to get there, but on this latest visit I went not just once, but twice!
I made plans to meet author Elsie Sze there the Sunday I was to fly off to Shanghai for the first time in 20 years.
We arranged to meet at 8:30 on a Sunday morning, which was super crowded. But Elsie arrived a little early and secured a table. Lin Heung has dim sum carts, but the culture there is such that people rush out to the carts before they have a chance to make their rounds. So it’s a survival of the fittest for food, but also for seating.
Seating is communal, which is the way it was 25 years ago when I first lived in Hong Kong. I love that! When I was with Elsie, everyone at our table spoke Mandarin, even as people rotated in and out. The staff at Lin Heung never rushed us, so we took our time and spent a leisurely 90 minutes chatting about writing, Hong Kong, and traveling.
The dim sum was tasty and offered varieties I hadn’t seen before. A steamer of beef siu mai might seem innocuous, but for someone who doesn’t eat the traditional pork variety, it was quite a treat.
It was such a lovely morning and so much fun to meet Elsie at an old-school dim sum place that has been around for almost 100 years.
The following weekend I was back in Hong Kong with my mom and friend Mary. So off to Lin Heung we went, this time meeting my friends Rita and Benson.
Our communal table was so much fun, but this time our new dining companions spoke Cantonese.
I don’t know if you noticed, but the siu mai photo showed standard tea pots. Rita and Benson ordered us tea cups with lids. The leaves were placed right in the cups and the lids were used to strain the water out into a smaller tea cup, all while holding the leaves in. It’s an art to pour it without dripping the liquid all over and after an hour or so, I kind of got it. The cups are in the photo above and below!
At the end of the meal, we tried Lin Heung’s famous lotus seed paste and egg yolk bun (like a mooncake, but in steamed bread) and Malaysian cake.
Almost as soon as I returned to the US, I learned that the Lin Heung building has been sold so the future of the restaurant is up in the air. I’m so glad I was able to go twice. The next time I make it to Hong Kong, it may not be there anymore.