Sunday, August 27, 2006

Dim Sum is Yum - Lin Heung

What's old is just plain old at lin heung. for what seems like a million years, this restaurant has had a no-bookings policy except at dinner, and there isn't even someone to point you to a free table. But maybe that's because there just aren't any around here.

this is only a quarter of the restaurant.
imagine the whole place this full...

a take-out bag i stole from them. apparently the
seal (glued closure) at the bottom of these bags
can only be done by hand, which is why
they're starting to disappear from restaurants
Lin Heung at yum cha hours is a bit like a train station at peak hour, but on steroids. to get a seat, you basically eye tables that you think are almost done and just stand next to them and wait. to get food when it comes out on a rickety trolley, you have to run towards the cart, pushing and shoving at the mass of like-minded diners and stick your hand into a couple of hot bamboo steamers (without really knowing what you're getting your hands into - quite literally) and force your little ordering card at the cart lady to be stamped. Phew.

Lucky that you'll have burnt a few more calories by then though, because there's so much worth eating here you wouldn't want to miss any of it. 

Dirty, noisy, cramped, it's basically WWII all over again. But I suggest you go, and go early, very early, on a weekday, because the food and the 'experience' is all worth it. (although next time I may just get take-out - you'll still have to fight your way into the carts though, I suppose)

There's been all this fuss about eating eels lately, but the report's not out yet, and it would be horribly pathetic if you let the terrific steamed eel pass you by (if I were meant to die of some unnatural cause, I know it would either be from food or wreckless driving). It's not just the usual black bean and garlic - that can be nice too but nonetheless a little unexciting. The sauce at Lin Heung is savoury and somehow manages to create a concentrate of the sauces that run out of the eel. it's fresh, but not fresh-out-of-the-sea, it's more like what cantonese people call seen ('fresh') - some soy sauces for example, despite having been fermented for goodness knows how long, exude that sort of 'freshness'. I guess it's just one of those things you have to try for yourself.

clockwise from top left
pork stomach siu mai dumplings; 'cotton wool' steamed chicken and steamed turnip cake; 'chicken bundle' gai tsaat and steamed eel (foreground); old-school lotus paste bun; fried egg twist with syrup and traditional pork siu mai dumplings (foreground); one of the waiters (it must be an employment requirement here that they must all be at least aged 50+) pouring hot water from a mile away into our teacups.

Lin Heung Lau 

160-164 Wellington Street
Hong Kong
+852 2544 4556


my photos won't appear!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have to say, the layout on Blogger is so much more aesthetically pleasing, but so much less user friendly (maybe I'm just slow to adapt). I'm staying on Xanga. Sorry...!

19.08.2008 edit: seems that Blogger has made itself more user friendly in the time that I haven't touched it... testing the waters cautiously now...