Monday, August 2, 2010

HK: Dim sum at Sun Tung Lok 新同樂

Steaming hot bun
It was Day 2 of our Hong Kong trip, and I was determined to get my dim sum. Today's two pockets of free-and-easy time were precious, as they were our last chance to explore on our own. would be an eating marathon for me, as you will soon see in upcoming posts.

Sun Tung Lok is at The Miramar Shopping Centre
And with sooo many dim sum joints in Hong Kong, which one to go to? I found something right under my nose - Sun Tung Lok 新同樂 at Miramar Shopping Centre. Scroll down to the bottom of this "Best dim sum in HK" thread ( to see the latest replies singing its praises. OK, it's not inside The Mira hotel per se, but just a hop across the road.

There was one slight dilemma though. The restaurant opens at 11:30am, and I had to regroup with the other bloggers back at the hotel at noon as the Hong Kong Tourism Board was going to bring us across to HK island for lunch. But the Sun Tung Lok manager was very accommodating - they did their best to very quickly prepare and steam up their famous dim sum treats.

The interior is of understated elegance
Sun Tung Lok is actually a long-standing name in high-end Cantonese cuisine. It's been around since 1969, some forty years now. This restaurant used to be in Happy Valley but relocated to Tsim Sha Tsui not too long ago. I like their cool brown sombre decor with plush seating. The air is of understated elegance, with a touch of whimsical baroque in the wallpaper and lighting fixtures. The spotlight, of course, is on the food.

Steamed pork dumpling (siew mai) topped with minced Yunnan ham - 4pcs for HK$40
Steamed pork dumpling (siew mai) topped with minced Yunnan ham - 4pcs for HK$40.
This looks so perfectly molded, I only needed to take one shot. One bite into it and I was surprised to find a high ratio of lean meat (and not too much shrimp thankfully). So it's quite firm and not mushy. The siew mai skin is also very well made.

Steamed shrimp dumpling (har gow) - 4pcs for HK$42
Steamed shrimp dumpling (har gow) - 4pcs for HK$42.
What a succulent morsel. I read that they keep to their standard of 11 pleats or folds for the har gau! Most impressive.

Steamed shrimp dumpling (har gow) - such translucent skin!
Let me show you the other side of the har gau. Such translucent skin. The texture is gently chewy, and while the skin is delicate, it's also strong enough to hold the prawns within. The contents are not heavily seasoned either, possibly to allow the natural taste of the fresh prawns to come through.

Crispy bacon spring roll - 3pcs for HK$36
How do you resist something called Crispy Bacon Spring Roll? 3pcs for HK$36
However, note that it is the spring roll that's crispy, not the bacon within (which is more like blanched). This roll is quite appetising with a smoky flavour, from the bacon and the mushrooms. I think it comes with a sauce too.

Steamed minced beef ball - 2pcs for HK$36
This is one of their specialties here too. Steamed minced beef ball, very large ones too - 2pcs for HK$36. You can really taste the dried orange peel and chunks of chopped vegetables in the mince.

Steamed scallop and kale dumpling - 3pcs for HK$40
Steamed scallop and kale dumpling - 3pcs for HK$40.
The skin is again excellent, very similar to that of the har gau. It holds a lot of shrimp inside. For some reason, I didn't see any kale though. This is normally nicknamed the jade scallop dumpling, due to the green addition.

Sweet sesame and salty egg yolk bun - 3pcs for HK$30
Sweet sesame and salty egg yolk bun - 3pcs for HK$30.
This was more sesame than salted egg yolk. My curiosity about this was misplaced, as I was dreaming of the salted egg custard buns we have back home. Still, something new for me. The sesame is thick and dense.

Steamed rice roll (cheong fun) with shredded turnip, enoki and Yunnan ham (HK$40)
Here's the Steamed rice roll (cheong fun) with shredded turnip, enoki and Yunnan ham (HK$40). It comes with a small jar of soy-based seasoning for you to pour as you like. The cheong fun skin is very thin, encasing crunchy fried batter. Thick, generous chunks of turnip made this very juicy. Soft, hard, crunchy, juicy - lots of contrasting textures.

I have to say Sun Tung Lok does well-made dim sum, but I do notice that most of the food is not heavily salted or overly seasoned. For some, it may come across as a tad bland, but for others, it can be a welcome change. In our short stay in HK, we encountered food that's a bit too salty at quite a few places.

I wish I got to try some other stuff (like the durian "sou" or puff) but time was running short. Probably a good thing too, as I had five other meals ahead of me!

Sun Tung Lok has been around for 40 years, since 1969
Service here is very good. They also served me a pot of vintage pu-erh tea that complemented the dim sum perfectly. I am very grateful for the restaurant's flexibility in meeting my needs - they not only worked fast, but also allowed me to order just one item of each, so I would not be overwhelmed as a single diner. There I was thinking I probably have to "tar-pow" or pack some takeaways!

For more dim sum photos, check out Peech's review!

Shop 4D (on fourth floor, which is full of restaurants)
Miramar Shopping Centre
1 Kimberly Road
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Hong Kong

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  1. don't think I have seen any sweet sesame salty egg bun in Singapore!

  2. Glad you made it to STL. I think it's time I visited them in TST. Looking at your pics made me hungry!

  3. Hi Catherine,

    I think in Hong Kong, there are really lots of tim sum restaurants around and I was rather disappointed that you are not able to find those old style ones. These are the ones you should really visit. I was watching this food series and they were shooting in this restaurant call - Yu Moon Fong. Selling tim sum. Perhaps if you have the time, you can try there. Also there's another one near Wai Chai Station. They have this really long bridge leading to the Expo Centre. Halfway through the bridge, there is also another really old style restaurant selling tim sum as well.

  4. Liverpool: yeah, never seen this bun before, but have tasted the filling before maybe in glutinous rice skin.

    Peech: I hope to see your pics and opinion of STL soon too!

    Ann: Thanks for your suggestions, but I guess you have not reading my posts properly.

    Firstly, I have said I am not familiar with Hong Kong. But I did state right up here in paragraph 2 that there are SOOOO MANY DIM SUM RESTAURANTS to choose from. I was at a loss, but I took my chance with Sun Tung Lok, after failing to find Tim Ho Wan.

    Secondly, almost all of our meals were hosted by the Hong Kong Tourism Board - and they brought us to unusual and fantastic places, just not dim sum. I certainly did not want to miss those, and I am glad I didn't.

    Thirdly, I had VERY LITTLE TIME throughout the trip. Two hours here, three hours there, that's it. Yet I have so many must-do's on my list.

    But most of all, and this is something I have not mentioned til now - I was strangely not in the mood for dim sum after reaching Hong Kong. How weird is that? Surrounded by best dim sum but not feeling like it? I put it down to the fact that I was dining alone when exploring places on my own. Dim sum is not something to eat alone. You can have a bowl of wantan mee alone, fine. You can have a bowl of congee alone, fine. But dim sum is meant to be savoured with good company. Minus that, and suddenly it's pointless. Would you, could you enjoy dim sum alone? And in rushed circumstances?

    I have not finished posting my series in Hong Kong, by the way. I did find Lin Heung Teahouse, an old style dim sum restaurant and I loved the atmosphere.

  5. 譽滿坊 - known in English simply as Dim Sum - is overrated. Yes, they stick to the "traditional" way of serving some dim sum items in twos (一盅兩件), but these days you will find a significant portion of their customers to be non-locals. This is because 1) their menu has English, Japanese + pictures; 2) the sizes are big so more ang mo/gweilo friendly.

    I find that their quality has suffered over the years, and my biggest complaint is that they over-steam items. When you over-steam dumplings, the skins become mushy and will break as you pick them up with utensils. Not very appealing. I live 2 blocks away from the place and I don't have much desire to have my dim sum there...

  6. I went to Sun Tung Lok yesterday after reading this post. I must agree it was a very enjoyable experience. The service was outstanding. There were 3 of us, and the waiter offered to give us 3 pieces of each order even some of the items came in 4 pieces. Everyone had a smile when serving. The quality of food was very good too. All were hits except for the sesame and salted egg yolk bun - the filling tasted more like gound peanut to me and had no taste of sesame nor egg yolk. But overall, very enjoyable and I will visit again with my friends.

  7. These guys now have themselves THREE Michelin stars... even though they weren't in the guidebook for the last two years.

  8. You're too cruel showing us this pictures. I am aware that I won't go ever to China to taste this amazing food.


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