Eating Hong Kong - Part 3

Day 3
Breakfast:  Lin Heung Tea House

     As a result of getting back late last night from busy Mong Kok, I forced myself to get out of bed at 5 in the morning to get ready for breakfast at Lin Heung Tea House.  Let me tell you that this is a must-go-to place in Hong Kong.  This 80-year old tea house is "packed from morning till night, whether on normal days or public holidays".  That  did not deter us one bit - it only made us want to go and see for ourselves what the big deal is about.  We took a taxi from the hotel as it was still too early for the first train.  When we arrived, there were still quite a few empty tables although the place was filling up quickly.  I looked at my watch - 6:35.  We breathed our sighs of relief as we walked to our table.  The ambience of a traditional tea house is apparent, and adding to the charm of it all is the non-ability of the staff to speak English.  They make no concessions for any tourist, so you'll have to deal with hand gestures and guessing what the dim sum ladies tell you as they push their trolleys past your table.
     The main reason for putting this in our (and hopefully, yours as well) early morning Hong Kong itinerary is the legendary dai bao or big chicken bun.  Big fluffy white bun with chicken, dried mushrooms and salted egg yolk inside.  Only 100 buns are baked every morning so it'll be a shame to miss this delectable treat.   
     As soon as I spotted one of the dim sum ladies, I immediately rushed to her to see if she already had the chicken buns.  Nope, she had beef noodle rice rolls.  They looked good enough to eat, so I got a plate.  

Beef Noodle Rice Rolls - slippery between the chopsticks but the noodles are firm enough so you can bite into it bit by bit; you won't have to worry about shoving the whole thing in.  The ground beef inside was a bit bland but I suppose that's what the salty-sweet soy sauce was for.   

     Another dim sum lady came out of the kitchen, pushing a newly-replenished cart.  I rushed to her and asked if what she had were dai bao's.  Why did I even bother asking when I knew she didn't speak any English?  I opened the basket and saw three buns.  Thinking those were dai bao's, I gave my ticket for her to stamp on and rushed to our table.  Hmmm,  the buns were smaller than I thought they should be.  My friend insisted they weren't dai bao's, and true enough, when we broke a bun in half it only had pork meatball in it.  Where were the dai bao's?  Did they even make them on Sundays?  I was starting to get worried. 

Pork Buns - I mistook these for the dai bao's.  I'm glad I got these as well because they're also good.  Same soft, fluffy bun but different filling.

     Just as I was getting resigned to the fact that the restaurant didn't make dai bao's on Sundays, the dim sum lady came out, this time with a big steaming dim sum basket on her cart.  As soon as I saw the basket, I knew.  I got up, gave my ticket and picked up two huge freshly baked hot buns.  This time, I kept my mouth shut.    

Dai Bao - Supersized fluffy bun with a generous stuffing of chicken (bone intact), mushrooms and salted egg which will undoubtedly get you ready for the long day ahead.  The chicken was tender and tasted like Hainanese Chicken.  The mushroom was nicely cooked, firm, and added a hint of earthy flavor.  The egg, not too salty - it was just right.   

                                My heart jumped every time she came out of the kitchen, in 
                                anticipation of the legendary dai bao.

                                Surprise, surprise.  You never know what's cooking until a 
                                dim sum cart passes your table. 

                                                           Lin Heung's morning regulars.

     Eating at Lin Heung shouldn't be a problem even though nobody speaks English.  Their food speaks volumes and although I tried only a few, I didn't need English or any other language to satisfy my appetite.  This restaurant is highly recommended for the food and ambience that indeed lets you have a true Hong Kong yum cha experience. 

Lin Heung Tea House
160-164 Wellington Street


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