Google “Lin Heung Tea House Hong Kong” and you will find that this restaurant is always associated with adjectives and phrases such as “traditional”, “a bit of old Hong Kong”, “classic dim sum” etc. On time.com it even stated that “if you’re going to have dim sum only once during your stay in Hong Kong, this is the place.”
I thought hard on how to convey my true feelings about Lin Heung Tea House without sugar coating it, and I came to the conclusion that being honest is more important than being nice. No matter how much I respect other’s opinions on Lin Heung Tea House, personally, objectively speaking, eating at Lin Heung Tea House simply, grosses me out.
Going to Lin Heung, you first have to fight for your own table, no one will ask you how many or give you a number or even point you to a table. You just walk in and find you own seat, or stand behind your target and intimidate them as much as you can, until they leave. When you spot a dim sum cart, you see people surrounding the cart like vultures going after a carcass, if you act too slow, you won’t get any food, oh, and beware of the wet floor! Forget about service here, this is pretty much a self-service restaurant, so don’t worry about if you can speak Chinese or not. Overall it is old, it is messy, it is dirty, it is rude and it is chaotic.
Now, I don’t have any problem eating at nasty places, it is what it is, so please, don’t romanticize it by calling it cultural and traditional. When my American friends told me they went to Lin Heung to experience “traditional Hong Kong”, I told them the madhouse restaurant that makes everyone act like savages cannot represent the tradition of Hong Kong, or Hong Kong people. It’s filled with tourists anyways!
I think there are plenty of neighborhood dim sum restaurants across Hong Kong that are frequented by local residents, which never make it to the guidebooks and food blogs, because they are boring, regular looking restaurants. Sometimes “traditional” is not as exciting as one anticipated.
The one decent thing about Lin Heung is the dim sum itself. Although the dishes are rough around the edges, they do offer a large variety, and some are quite unique. The overall taste is above average, but not good enough to make me turn a blind eye to the “roadside restroom” like atmosphere.
Go to Lin Heung Tea House to experience the chaos of a restaurant, but don’t let it amplify the stereotypes that you were told of China, or the Chinese people.
Lin Heung Tea House: 160-164 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong; 852-2544-4556