Yum cha, or dim sum as it’s known in the West, refers to the act of taking tea. Here’s a countrywide dim sum restaurant round-up to satisfy your cravings for these moreish bites. Written by Ishay Govender-Ypma (@IshayGovender) for Financial Mail.

dim sum

dim sum

Dim sum has its roots in the Cantonese morning tradition of consuming often-delicate morsels with a pot of tea. Frequently referred to as Asian tapas, in its most contemporary form it’s fused with local ingredients – think of the one-star Michelin restaurant Yam’Tcha in Paris that adopts a Franco-Chinois model. Cape Town food blogger Ming-Cheau Lin says: “Dim sum is appealing because of the variety of textures and flavours – sweet and savoury. It’s like brunch tapas. If you don’t like one, there’s definitely another you will.” And what can you expect? A starting point would be pan-fried potstickers, feather-light pork and leek wontons steamed or served in fragrant broth, delicate siu mai filled with succulent prawns, served in steamer baskets, fluffy white bao [buns] encasing hoisin and five-spice flavoured roast duck or pork. Locally, dim sum can be orderd as a full lunch or dinner. Outside traditional restaurants, it’s served with beer, wine and soda instead of tea.

Cape Town 

He Sheng

An authentic, no-frills Chinese restaurant, this Cape Town classic serves large family-style portions. Try the scallion pancakes, pork and prawn dumplings and beef egg rolls (like thicker spring rolls).

269 Main Rd, Sea Point, 021 433 0739

South China Dim Sum Bar

Based on the casual Asian street food concept, here the seating in basic and set against vintage martial arts posters. Eddie Hung mans this Long Street kitchen serving hawker noodles, dumplings, pan-fried turnip cakes, braised beef short rib and Shanghai iced tea. Booking is essential.

289 Long Street, CBD, 0788463656


Opened in 1995, Haiku, an upmarket establishment with two outlets (the original is in Burg Street) is a stalwart in the east-meets-west tapas concept. While they serve robata, sushi, wok dishes and elaborate tasting menus now, the dim sum has garnered a solid fan base. Pillowy duck bao, translucent steamed spinach and…

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