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hk.NOSH - restaurant reviews
Chinese Dim Sum Lunch
The drill, the meal, the bill

Above: various "Dim-sum" dishes available in Hong Kong dim sum restaurants.

If you go for dim sum lunch, whether of your own accord or involuntarily, you might want to know the drill.

  1. Getting the table

    Getting a table for your party could be a challenge especially in popular restaurants. But fear not, many of them take reservations. However, some don't let you take the table until your whole party is there.

    If you don't have a reservation, at most restaurants you can get in the table line. A ticket with a number and your party size would be handed to you. Sorry, it's rare that a restaurant takes your cell number to notify you when your table is ready. Rarer yet is a pager for you to carry around. For some restaurants if you miss the announcement of your number by 5 (or whatever), you lose your spot in the table line.

  2. The table itself

    In some dim-sum restaurants, usually the cheaper ones, if your party is not big enough to take up a whole table, you are expected to share with other guests - just the table, not the food. And the city ettiquette is not to make eye contact with these strangers. But then you can still check out what they're ordering. Not a bad set up if you're new at ordering dim-sum!

    Other than the more expensive restaurants, tables are usually very close to one another, sometimes so close that the chairs from adjacent tables have to fit together like in a jigsaw puzzle. Hey, in Hong Kong, space is expensive!

  3. First thing first

    Once you sit down or as you're doing it, the waiter asks you what tea you would like - after all, drinking tea is the primary activity there. The locals all know what they want and I've never seen any printed list for you to choose from. The typical ones include Jesmine ("heung pin" in Cantonese), "sau may" (very dark), "tid goon yum", "po lay", etc. You can also ask for an extra pot of just hot water, to thin out your tea if it gets too strong, and for another purpose...


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