For those who don’t know what dim sum is, I feel sorry for you. Dim Sum is a Cantonese style lunchtime affair, all about eating little bite-sized snacks traditionally served in small steamer baskets. It’s kind of like a Chinese version of tapas with a jug of sangria replaced by a pot of herbal tea.

Dim sum menus tend to include traditional bites such as stuffed dumplings, buns, spring rolls, egg plant, with more exotic dishes including things like duck’s feet and shark’s fin. Some dim sum menus will also include dessert options such as cakes, egg tarts, and fried ice cream, so you really can design you ideal oriental lunch.

Not only is dim sum delicious and a perfect lunchtime treat, the fact you get to choose so many dishes make it a great way to better explore the fragrances and flavours of Cantonese cooking. Bangkok also has plenty of Chinese restaurants serving a lunchtime dim sum menu, with some dedicated dim sum eateries. Here are a few of our favourites:

Hua Seng Hong (Yaowarat Road)

It may be part of a chain group but Hua Seng Hong is a popular Chinese restaurant in the heart of Bangkok’s Chinatown, and a great place for dim sum. This is actually the original and most visited of the Hua Seng eateries with its own variation on menu and decor.

Though it does tend to attract more tourists than locals it still has a very local feel and the menu is pretty cheap, making it ideal for newbies starting out in the world of dim sum. The shrimp dumplings are a must try.

Xing Fu Restaurant (Novotel Lotus)

The award winning restaurant, Xing Fu has gained a great reputation for its dim sum buffet. Located on the 8th floor of the Novotel Lotus hotel on Sukhumvit Road, this is a modern but simple Chinese dining room, with tradition round tables, pure white cloths, red chairs, and hanging lanterns.

Despite being a rather classy joint the dim sum buffet is available for under 1000 Baht, and unlike most dim sum restaurant they offer both a lunch and dinner selection. Signature dishes include the sautéed crab claws with xo sauce and steamed sand goby with sola sauce.

Silver Waves (Chatrium Hotel)

For one of the classiest dim sums in town head to the plush penthouse style restaurant, Silver Waves, on the 36th floor of the Chatrium Hotel. This is traditional Chinese banqueting meets Bangkok style rooftop dining, with floor to ceiling windows offering picture-postcard views of the Chao Phraya River and surrounding areas.

The dim sum menu is not huge but it does cover most of the classics such as har gao, shu mai dumplings, spring rolls, and Szechuan style hot and sour soup. It’s also surprisingly cheap for a five-star riverside hotel restaurant, with full silver-service at just 599 Baht.

Noble House (Swissôtel Le Concorde)

Located in the garden of the Swissôtel Le Concorde in Huay Kwang, Noble House is famed for its affordable lunchtime dim sum. This contemporary but cosy diner brings in a lot of Bangkok’s wealthy Thai families and well-off expats, though it is rarely packed.

The food is all freshly prepared with dishes continually brought to your table until you fashion a white flag of defeat or simply ask them to stop! Despite the hi-so cliental the dim sum buffet starts at just 550 Baht per person.

Maria (Ratchadamnoen Klang Road)

For a more unique dim sum experience, Maria is an aging diner which looks like it hasn’t been redecorated since the late 70s (that may well be true). Despite the bric-a-brac, heavy curtains, rustic tables, and spread of Thai artefacts, the chaos is somewhat comforting; it’s kind of like visiting a great Aunt you haven’t seen for several years.

There is a reasonably long list of dim sum dishes including shark’s fin, duck, and crab meat, and it’s hardly going to leave you broke with dishes starting at 40 Baht. A dedicated dim sum diner, Maria is only open for 3 hours, from 11 AM until 2 PM – you snooze you lose.

By Kim Loe.