Aucklanders are no strangers to the world of dumplings from all the eateries supplying us the little doughs filled with hot, steamy goodness. Dim sum is a traditional Chinese brunch where you sit down and enjoy dishes that go beyond the prawn and pork dumplings that we all know and love.
Think steamed buns, rice rolls and more exotic delicacies but just as tasty beef tripe, chicken feet and more. Don’t just stop at a tray or two, get amongst all of it and turn your table into an epic spread of different little dishes. So, take a break from the beloved smashed avo and get amongst a dim sum brunch experience.
Here is where to find Auckland's best dim sum.
Sun World Chinese Restaurant
Situated in Newmarket is Sun World Chinese Restaurant which is booming with people on weekend mornings and afternoons. Carts of different dumplings and dishes are flying out the door and come at you from every angle. It’s a bustling and fast-paced restaurant that does a mighty fine xiao long bao. If you like juicy dumplings, you’ll absolutely love these babies! The little doughs aren’t only filled with pork succulent but also hot soup and we mean HOT! Beware as they can burn your tongue but taking the risk is so worth it. You also need to get their durian mochi—it's truly a one of a kind.
That’s right, Newmarket isn’t home to just one of the top dim sum restaurants in Auckland, but two! Pearl Garden is tucked away on Teed Street and they’re serving up premium dim sum in their warm and welcoming restaurant. It’s smaller than Sun World so it’s more intimate and the dishes have their own magic. One look at the trolleys of dumplings coming out of the kitchen will blow your mind! Each little dumpling has been wrapped with delicate care to look perfectly round and stuffed with just the right amount of filling. Pearl Garden is a dim sum restaurant of absolute class so be prepared to feast.
Grand Park Restaurant
Grand Park is one of the most popular restaurants in Auckland amongst dim sum lovers. If you don’t book a table, chances are, you’ll be waiting in line to get a taste of their dim sum dishes but let us tell you that they are worth every minute. A staple dim sum dish is pork siu mai and you cannot leave a dim sum brunch session without this in your belly. For those who don’t know what this glorious dish is, let us give you a little explanation: think of it as a Chinese ravioli, a thin pasta-like dough stuffed with pork, prawns, steamed to perfection. Yum!
Staying true to its name, Imperial Palace really is the size of a palace fit for a king and queen! The spacious fit-out makes the tea sipping and brunching experience a slower pace which is perfect for taking your time to enjoy delicoius dim sum. With a ton of variety, the roast duck at Imperial Palace is an absolute must. The duck is tender with the crispiest skin and your squad won’t stop at just one plate!
Lucky Fortune Restaurant
Big portions, high quality and cheaper pricing—yup, that’s a Lucky Fortune in our books! Situated in Three Kings, Lucky Fortune Restaurant isn’t just big on flavour but also big on size as their dumplings are massive! There’s also an epic dish that you need to get amongst, it’d be criminal to leave Lucky Fortune without trying it...the fried dough wrapped in rice rolls and drizzled with peanut butter sauce is a crowd favourite and it’s about to be your fave too!
Empress Garden has become the go-to restaurant for satisfying your Peking duck craving and they also do a mighty fine job of providing some of the best dim sum in Auckland. Empress Garden’s ambience is quiet and intimate and tends to do more main meals like large sharing plates. But they have some traditional dim sum dishes that you just can’t go past! They have classic dumplings but their specialty is the hot and sour wonton soup. One of the rare dim sum eateries that give equal priorities to hot and sour, this is a punch of flavour!
Established for almost 20 years and still going strong, it’d be wrong for us to talk about dim sum and not mention Grand Harbour. Grand in size, quality and variety, there is something for everyone to enjoy at this Auckland dim sum restaurant! From vegetarian options like crispy tofu to the classic dim sum dishes of congee (a.k.a., Chinese porridge) and of course BBQ pork buns, there's something for everyone. If you have a sweet tooth, Grand Harbour has you covered with their dessert buns with sweet red bean filling, custard egg tarts and taro pastries!
Star Café Seafood Restaurant
People of the North Shore, don’t you worry as there’s a dim sum restaurant on your side of the bridge too! Star Café Seafood Restaurant is located in Wairau Park and this two-storey restaurant goes off on the weekend. The sticky rice at Star Café would have to be one of our favourites. The rice is wrapped in a bamboo leaf so all the flavours and moisture are trapped inside and the rice is filled with not only minced pork but traditional Chinese sausages too! An added bonus to Star Café is their generous parking spots which means no driving around in circles, because ain’t nobody got time for that.
Huami Chinese Restaurant
For those who have had the traditional dim sum experience, branch out and try a modern take of the Chinese brunch at Huami. With classic Chinese dishes with a contemporary and premium twist, the dishes served at Huami are unique and deeelish. Why not try the prawn dumplings with a bit of added truffle? A lot of us are familiar with the pork bun but Huami have a baked chicken bun which is hot and crunchy in texture with soft chicken. Add this one to the table and you’ll be thanking us later!
Image Credit: Alana Dimou