Originating from the Cantonese and specifically Hong Kong, dim sum (literally translated as ‘touch the heart’) is a style of Chinese cuisine prepared as bite-sized portions of food served in steamer baskets or on small plates which is made up of a variety of sweet and savoury Cantonese dumplings, buns, and rolls, traditionally served from wheeled carts on small plates designed to encourage sampling and sharing. Traditionally, tea is drunk throughout a dim sum meal, which is why dim sum is sometimes referred to as yum cha – the Cantonese words for drinking tea. Here’s our pick of the best dumpling spots in Chinatown.

1. For Taiwanese Delicacies: Xu

The Run-Down: Taiwanese restaurant XU has launched a new ground floor teahouse, serving a new teahouse menu paired with specialty high grade teas rarely found outside of Taiwan. XU’s Afternoon Tea Ceremony features savoury and sweet bites, accompanied by the many varieties of XU’s teas such as the delicate and refreshing sparkling Hong Yu. For eats, there’s a variety of small yet refined Taiwanese inspired delicacies such as the Cheese Jian Dui using the finest cheese from Neal Yard Dairy, and Hei Tang Cake made with the darkest of brown sugars, which has been hand fried over Longan wood, sourced from Tainan.

Gimme More: Upgrade to the Sparking Tea Cocktail pairing for something extra special.

Where: 30 Rupert St, London W1D 6DL

2. For Modern Chinese Cuisine: Plum Valley 

The Run-Down: Plum Valley is for those looking to blow the budget. It’s consistently tasty with more than 60 handmade dim sum options made fresh by seven dedicated dim sum chefs every day. Specialities include Shanghai-style pork and crabmeat dumplings, egg yolk custard buns, crispy roasted pork puff pastry, scallops and spinach dumplings, and crispy grilled eel cheung fun.

Gimme More: Swap your classic Jasmine tea for one of Plum Valley’s beautiful flowering teas.

Where: 20 Gerrard St, London W1D 6JQ

3. For Szechuan and Cantonese Dishes: Orient London

The Run-Down: Orient London is a firm favourite for dim sum in Chinatown London, serving a fantastic selection of hot and cold dishes until early evening. Indulgent, modern dishes such as crystal king prawns with black truffle and X.O chilli sauce sit alongside traditional chicken claws marinated in Chinese wine and spicy jellyfish and cucumber. Their cheung fun is also some of the tastiest in town.

Gimme More: Don’t overlook the pan fried turnip cake – trust us, it’s delicious.

Where: 15 Wardour St, London W1D 6PH

4. For Traditional Dim Sum: Golden Phoenix

The Run-Down: Golden Dragon is the place to visit for a traditional Chinatown dim sum experience in Chinatown London. Located on bustling Gerrard Street, the restaurant is packed full of families from noon till 5pm. Pick from the extensive dim sum menu, wash it down with bottomless tea and enjoy the bustling atmosphere.

Gimme More: Dim sum is best enjoyed with a large group of people, and Golden Phoenix has more than enough to space to accommodate a crowd.

Where: 37-38 Gerrard St, London W1D 5QB

5. For All the Dim Sum: Dumplings Legend

The Run-Down: Available until 5pm, Dumplings Legend offers one of the most extensive dim dum menus in Chinatown with a huge variety of steamed, grilled and fried dim sum. The menu includes 47 variations of the much-loved dim sum in their open-plan, glass-walled, kitchen before your very eyes. Save room for its dessert dim sum, especially the durian puff pastry which is a Legend’s specialty.

Gimme More: Spicy pork makes up the filling of their unmissable heavenly Xiao Long Bao (Shanghai soup dumpling)

Where: 15-16 Gerrard St, London W1D 6JE

Photo Credit: Jade Sarkhel