Finding the best dim sum restaurant in London Chinatown should be easy. But spoilt for choice in Soho & Mayfair, choosing a place becomes a tough decision.
London Chinatown alone is home to over 20 specialised restaurants with even more spread across Soho, Mayfair, Knightsbridge and further-out. Here, we’ll tell you where to go for the best dim sum in London Chinatown and some restaurants outside the popular district.
We’ll also tell you exactly what to order when you’re there so get ready to yum cha (enjoy tea)!
Best Dim Sum in London, Chinatown
Chinatown London is probably the most iconic and accessible spot for many people wanting to try out the best dim sum in London. Here are our favourite restaurants to visit for some truly authentic Cantonese bites.
Joy King Lau (醉 瓊 樓)
Serving the loved small plates for over twenty years, many British Born Chinese will have visited the long-established restaurant during their childhood. Located on Leicester Street, Joy King Lau is a no-frill authentic Cantonese restaurant. Find a wide range of Guangdong style variety including Chiu chow dumplings and spicy chicken feet. Another item to order is wu gok! Their taro croquettes are crispy and grease-free (they don’t leave a mark on the paper)!
Be warned! If you visit on the weekend during rush hour, Joy King Lau is very much a fast-talking, fast-moving restaurant! But for some of the most authentic and cheap dim sum in Soho London, we’d say it’s worth going!
Joy King Lau
3 Leicester St, London WC2H 7BL
Dumplings’ Legend (小笼皇)
Dumplings’ Legend is another well-patronised restaurant in Chinatown by the local Chinese community. Located on the main street of Chinatown, the restaurant is busier during the evening for their expansive dinner menu; they are relatively quieter during the lunch hours.
They are best known for their soup dumplings. Chefs’ at Dumplings’ Legend have also taken a new twist on the classic dish. Try their mala spicy pork soup dumplings for a flavour punch!
15-16 Gerrard Street, London, W1D 6JE
Bun House (品屋包子铺)
Step into old Hong Kong at Bun House in Soho London. One of the newer and more sophisticated dining places to join the Chinatown complex. Take a seat at the marble dining tables tops, and marvel the colonial-style interior whilst you enjoy some tea and small plates. For small groups or solo diners, Bun House Soho is the perfect place to go for brunch. We say this because the dim sum dishes are a filling portion for one but are equally good to share with another person!
The tearoom serves a selection of delicious steamed buns as well as classic Cantonese dishes such as Cheung fun and egg tarts. Other than their signature char sui pork bun, try their Chilli Lamb Bun and Daikon Pickled Pot.
To add, Bun House has a good selection of vegan dishes including their veg bun, smashed cucumber and spicy glass noodle salad. For dessert, order a salted egg yolk custard bun. These come with a runny centre when you bite into it!
Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐)
With over 160 branches worldwide, Din Tai Fung has a well earned global reputation for making some of the world’s best soup dumplings. In late 2017, Din Tai Fung opened its first Europe branch in Covent Garden, bringing their 60 years of expertise in the traditional cuisine to London. In addition, the global chain is planning to open a second London branch in 2020.
Don’t leave without trying their signature xiao long bao (steamed pork dumplings or soup dumplings) and chicken noodle soup.
Din Tai Fung
5 Henrietta St, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8PT
Best Dim Sum Outside Soho London
There are a few Cantonese restaurants scattered outside the lively Chinatown district. These restaurants are not located in the most popular tourist spots and are sometimes further to reach. However, their survival over the years is a testament to the authentic dishes crafted by these experienced chefs.
Here are a few restaurants to try the best dim sum in London, outside of China Town.
Wing Tai Restaurant (榮泰大酒家)
Wing Tai is a long-standing restaurant in Cricklewood, North London. Located inside of Wing Yip supermarket, the restaurant is well patronised by not only the local Chinese community but also other restaurateurs. Many Chinese takeaway owners will go to the supermarket to buy bulk supplies and stop by Wing Tai for brunch.
If you’re looking to visit on the weekend, be prepared to wait for at least 30 – 40 minutes and share a table with other diners. To avoid the crowd, go to Wing Tai during the weekdays or after the weekend rush between 2:30 pm – 3 pm. Some authentic Chinese dishes to try when you’re there include their crispy prawn dumplings, century egg with chicken congee as well as their freshly made Chueng fun.
Wing Tai Restaurant
Unit 2, 395 Edgware Rd, London NW2 6LN
Phoenix Palace (鳳凰閣大酒家)
Describing themselves as an authentic oriental gem in Marylebone, Phoenix Palace is exactly that. Decorated with historical paintings, intricate wooden carvings, and gold lacquered walls, you’ll feel transported to Imperial Qing China.
In this oriental ambience, sample some of the best small plates in London. A must-try dish when visiting Phoenix Palace is their delicious har gow dumplings. Its translucent pleated skins are thin, stretchy yet perfectly wraps around the shrimp filling; giving it an overall pleasing bounciness with each mouthful.
5 Glentworth St, Marylebone, London NW1 5PG
Kam Tong Restaurant (金唐酒家)
Located in Queensway, Kam Tong Restaurant is another old-time favourite amongst locals. Offering an extensive dim sum menu in London and serving until 5 pm, it’s a great alternative if you want to avoid the crowds at China Town.
Along with classic dishes like har gow, siu mai and char sui buns, Kam Tong also offers their own contemporary twist on the menu. Try their Assam curry chicken puff or Phoenix prawn siu mai for something different. Our favourite at Kam Tong is definitely their fried turnip cake. At Kam Tong, their turnip cake is fried until both sides have a crispy golden brown exterior, while the inside is still soft and chewy. This traditional savoury dish is filled with umami coming from the dried shrimps and scallops. The use of freshly grated daikon cuts through each bite. Pair this with hoisin sauce or chilli sauce and you’ve got one incredibly moreish dish!
Kam Tong Restaurant
59-63 Queensway London W2 4QH
All You Can Eat Dim Sum
To cater for the hungry restaurant-goer, some contemporary restaurants have introduced the concept of all you can eat dim sum in London. While this isn’t the norm for most of the traditional restaurants, here are some places which do this style of brunching.
With over six branches spread across central London, Ping Pong is arguably one of the most accessible places to try a variety of small Asian bites for a reasonably cheap price. Serving bottomless brunch on Sundays, go to Ping Pong for their all you can eat option. Plus, all the dishes are clearly labelled as Vegetarian, Vegan and Gluten-Free. This definitely makes it a lot easier to navigate through their small plate menu for first-timers.
Leong’s Legend (梁山好汉)
Named after the protagonists in the Chinese fiction classic, Story of Water Margin, Leong’s Legend is a quirky restaurant located in the centre of Chinatown. Serving up traditional Taiwanese bites such as Taiwanese pork buns and oyster omelettes, Leong’s Legend is one of the best Chinese restaurants in Chinatown London. They also offer an all you can eat option during lunch hours.
39 Gerrard St, London W1D 5QD
A Roundup of the Best Dim Sum in London
- Joy King Lau (醉 瓊 樓)
- Dumplings’ Legend (小笼皇)
- Bun House (品屋包子铺)
- Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐)
- Wing Tai Restaurant (榮泰大酒家)
- Phoenix Palace (鳳凰閣大酒家)
- Kam Tong Restaurant (金唐酒家)
Think we missed your favourite restaurant on this list? Let us know in the comments below!
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