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When Americans think of brunch, they usually envision hearty egg dishes and towering stacks of pancackes. But in Hong Kong, the brunch menu is devoted to dim sum (which translates to “heart’s delight”), or steamed or fried dumplings filled with vegetables, chopped seasoned meat, seafood and just about any combination of ingredients that will fill the tiny pouches. Families of several generations gather on weekends to dine on dim sum and sip hot tea, filling up on many kinds of dumplings usually selected from steaming carts presented tableside. Here are five of the best restaurants to experience Hong Kong’s version of brunch:
1. Harbourside Grill at the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Intercontinental Hong Kong hotel has all you’d want in a brunch buffet: An amazing view with very tall ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows, good service and excellent quality western and Chinese brunch cuisine. Their displays are elaborate to say the least, with both western and Asian dishes, a roast carving station and homemade desserts (ask your server about the cake of the day).
2. For more upscale (but no less delicious) dim sum, book a table at Lung King Heen inside the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong. Executive Chef Chan Yan Tak is considered a master of contemporary Cantonese cuisine, and the restaurant's weekend dim sum lunch (offered on Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., and on Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.) is a perfect opportunity to experience the talented chef's craftsmanship. Start off your day with dishes like steamed lobster and scallop dumpling, baked whole abalone puff with diced chicken, steamed Shanghainese pork dumplings with crab meat or crispy tofu rolls with shrimp and enoki mushrooms.
3. Refined Cantonese specialties and a handful of regional Chinese favorites are expertly executed at Summer Palace at the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Island Shangri-La hotel. Famous for its dim sum lunches, Summer Palace also features signature plates that include sliced barbecued suckling pig, hot and sour seafood soup and braised sea cucumber with garden greens in shrimp roe sauce. The dining room is open to midday diners from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, and 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday (throughout the week, lunch is served during the same hours as Saturday). The afternoon tea menu feature a wide selection of authentic Chinese teas, which your server will suggest according to your current state of health and even your mood.
4. The Ruinart Blanc de Blancs Champagne brunch at The Peninsula Hong Kong, a Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel, is almost too good to be true. The lavish affair is held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the hotel's iconic Lobby each Saturday and Sunday. While guests enjoy brunch classics like eggs Benedict or waffles, the sounds of live music fill the air (courtesy of The Lobby Band) and Champagne glasses stay filled with as much bubbly as you'd like.
5. At Grissini in the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Grand Hyatt Hong Kong hotel, you’ll feel as though you were transported to a fine dining room in Tuscany when you see the rustic décor, authentic Italian menu and the length of the wine list — it boasts more than 1,000 bottles. Floor-to-ceiling windows give diners a stunning view of Victoria Harbor to enjoy along with their meal. It’s the perfect backdrop for an Italian-style brunch in Hong Kong, with brunch service starting on Sunday afternoons at 12 p.m. and ending at 2:30 p.m. If the live pasta cooking station or the tantalizing antipasta and salad spreads don't whet your appetite, the homemade gelato, tiramisu and panna cotta will.
When you’re ready to give dim sum a pass, here are some of the best and most popular places for western style brunch in Hong Kong (some of which offer a lot more than just a hair of the dog).
Housed in a heritage building in Wan Chai, brunch at The Pawn has a definite British bent. If the full English breakfast or Sunday roast makes you thirsty, unlimited pours of Cava can be had for a supplement.
Forget Japanese minimalism: The sushi brunch buffet at this slightly faded, but still trendy Zuma has to be seen to be believed. Free flowing Veuve Cliquot is part of the deal.
Join the crowds at Oolaa, a bright and airy Soho spot that serves eggs how you want ‘em and strong espresso drinks. Book a table in the spacious dining room, or simply show up for a spot in the first-come-first-served café section.
For a Champagne brunch that’s more about the Champagne, book a table in the Lobby at The Peninsula, where your perfect eggs benedict comes with unlimited refills of Ruinart blanc de blancs.
Sitting above the Jumbo floating seafood restaurant in Aberdeen, Top Deck serves a something-for-everyone brunch buffet. What is lacks in finesse it makes up for in copiousness, and the al fresco setting is memorable.