Best Novelty Dim Sum Restaurants in Hong Kong and Macau

| © Crystal Lotus/Hong Kong Disneyland
Matthew Keegan

Seldom is food more Instagram-worthy than these creative twists on dim sum. Sometimes referred to as ‘cute dim sum’, it’s classic dim sum given a playful and cheeky spin. Here are five of our favourite places to try out these novelty wonders in Hong Kong and Macau.

Dim sum has been around for centuries in China. These popular bite-size dishes, usually served with tea, are traditionally eaten at breakfast or lunch. In an attempt to modernise dim sum, it’s becoming more common for chefs to experiment and put a playful spin on classic dim sum dishes such as BBQ pork buns and shrimp dumplings. Using traditional ingredients, they are given a modern twist – often inspired by fictional or cartoon characters, they’re a feast for the eyes as well as the belly.

1. Dim Sum Icon

Restaurant, Chinese

Dim Sum Icon Hong Kong
© Dim Sum Icon
Dim sum with a cheeky difference is the theme of this restaurant. They specialise in cartoon-inspired dishes that can perform on command. Think chocolate buns decorated in the style of iconic cartoon characters that can poop chocolate when squeezed, or angry pig-shaped buns that produce yellow custard snot from their noses when given a pinch – all in the name of fun and designed to bring out the inner child in you. Of course, highly Instagrammable, too.

2. Yum Cha

Restaurant, Chinese

Dim sum, traditional Chinese dumpling in bamboo steamer, pig and animal theme for kids. Street food for children in China, Hong Kong. Family dinner wi
© famveld / Alamy Stock Photo

The dim sum here looks good, is given a modern creative spin, but it’s not a gimmick – quality ingredients take pride of place. Standout dishes include the BBQ piggy buns, the hot molten custard buns and the doggy sausage rolls. Novelty dim sum without compromising on taste or quality.

3. Crystal Lotus

Hotel Restaurant, Chinese

Disney Dim Sum Hong Kong
© Crystal Lotus/Hong Kong Disneyland

Now you can sleep, breathe and EAT Disney – literally. Chefs at the Hong Kong park have specially created dim sum dishes that resemble some of the most popular Disney and Pixar characters. Available exclusively at the Crystal Lotus restaurant inside the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel, you can feast on unique dishes such as three little pigs barbecue buns, little green men pork and vegetable bun, and Mickey’s double-layer turnip and taro pudding.

4. Pak Loh Chiu Chow Macau

Restaurant, Chinese

Pak Loh Chiu Chow Dim Sum Macau
© Pak Loh Chiu Chow Macau

These sweet taro filling pastry in swan shape are about as elegant as dim sum gets. You’ll find these small works of art on the dim sum menu at Pak Loh Chiu Chow restaurant in Macau, along with several other traditional dim sum dishes given a modern twist. Perfectly executed with artistic flair, they are designed to demonstrate the restaurant’s expertise when it comes to combining food with finesse.

5. The Eight

Restaurant, Chinese

5. The Eight
© Grand Lisboa
The Eight is Macau’s only Chinese restaurant to be awarded three Michelin stars. They are renowned for their delicious lunchtime dim sum menu that offers over 50 different kinds, including a few animal-shaped surprises. Don’t miss the beautiful goldfish-shaped shrimp dumplings and hedgehog char siu buns (BBQ roast pork buns). Also, clawing its way onto the menu are the adorable crab-shaped baked tartlets with crabmeat in curry sauce. Not to be outdone are the river shrimp dumplings coated in a delicious puff pastry that come expertly crafted in the shape of a purse. Full marks for presentation and taste – worth every penny!
Hedgehog char siu buns (BBQ roast pork buns)

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