Lin Heung Tea House – The Hunger Games

We were looking for some lunch but Saturday midday in Central means long queues for all restaurants.

We ended up in front of Lin Heung Tea House and decided it was a great time to give this very traditional tea house a try.

The first shop opened in 1889 in Guangzhou and the Hong Kong branch opened in 1926. It hasn’t changed since.

The experience was overwhelming but authentic and it gave us a glimpse of what dim sum in the 1960’s would have been like.

Upon entering the dining hall we had to pause a few seconds to take in everything that we saw: old fashioned décor, worn out chairs, dirty tables and noisy crowds.

We noticed that most customers were elderly regulars and a few tourists had dared to try their luck. Staff didn’t speak any English whatsoever.

Tables are communal and we had to find seats by ourselves. We shared our table with two elderly men who were obviously regulars. They didn’t seem too keen to have us at their table as they claimed some of the chairs were taken but nobody ever joined them.

Food is wheeled around the restaurant on little carts by ladies well over their 60s and no matter how much we asked them what was on offer, they wouldn’t reply. We then realised that only regulars got their food brought to them… everyone else had to stand up and chase after the carts to get the food before all of it was gone.

They should change the name of the restaurant to “The hunger Games” because this is what it was. No queue, no patience. Everybody aggressively trying to get food from the cart before anybody else could. The “aunties” who push the carts aren’t patient and will shove the cart into anyone who is standing in the way.


I found the food to be average and I was still a bit hungry when we left but it was worth it for the experience and the decor. Lin Heung Tea House is a must try but one should be mentally prepared!


Warning: poor quality photos from my phone


4 thoughts on “Lin Heung Tea House – The Hunger Games

  1. I love Lin Heung! Especially the steamed pork buns. But I go to the branch on Des Voeux West: it’s right by my apartment, and thus convenient. Same kind of chaos, same level of English (in other words: non-existent), but much friendlier clientele. Every time I take Westerner friends, we almost always end up sitting with some middle-aged Chinese couple where the husband is really excited to have Westerners sitting with him, and insists on showing us how to clean our dishes with the tea and practicing his English. Definitely a great place to get a taste of very local culture.

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