Palate-popping flavours, easy eating and a down-to-earth vibe set this hidden gem apart from Cape Town's ever-changing restaurant scene.
Right at the end of a very Long Street lies an exceptionally well-disguised example of why less is more – and where freshly made food always comes first. South China Dim Sum Bar, situated just before Long Street becomes Orange, has been at the forefront of authentic dim sum in Cape Town for almost a decade and is showing no sign of giving up its crown. At the helm of this Capetonian institution is owner and chef, Ed Hung, who brings passion, honesty and utter deliciousness to the dim sum experience.
Despite being struck by loadshedding on the Friday evening we visited, when we stumbled into the cosy space we were pleasantly surprised at how seamlessly the lit candles blended with the vintage Bruce Lee film posters and chalkboard menus. The service was speedy and attentive, and soon we had our sake and a glass of wine, ready to tuck in.
What’s on the menu?
With small portion sizes and very reasonable pricing, the menu is perfectly structured for sharing – which means you could try absolutely everything without feeling greedy. There are various kinds of dim sum, such as dumplings and steamed buns, as well as noodle and rice bowls – all of which have vegetarian options.
From the dumplings, we recommend shiu mai (open-faced dumplings with pork belly and shiitake mushrooms), vegetable potstickers with nuoc cham sweet chilli sauce and beef potstickers with chinkiang black vinegar. The char siu bao (steamed wheat bun filled with honey-roasted pork and onion) is an effortless eat and don’t even think of leaving the restaurant without trying the braised-beef short rib and steamed jasmine rice – your taste buds will never be the same again. View the menu.
But wait, there’s more!
Just as I was coming to terms with the end of the meal, we had a “But wait, there’s more!” moment, like a well-timed Verimark ad. Delicious homemade cardamom and saffron ice cream served with gingersnap was the cherry on the top of an already-perfect experience.
My only complaint from the evening is directed at Eskom, as I would’ve liked to have that extra light to admire the food with.
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