When it comes to chowing down on dumplings, the Mother City offers loads of options. Over the last few years, the Cantonese delight has burrowed its way into the hearts of Capetonian foodies and as a result, the amount of Cape Town restaurants serving Dim Sum has all but quadrupled. But beware, not all dumpling spots are created equal. If you’re looking for the best of the best dim sum in Cape Town, Long Street’s South China Dim Sum Bar is where you’ll find it.
This now-legendary dim sum restaurant has been delighting hungry customers for over 5 years now and continues to be one of my favourite Long Street eateries. While many dim sum bars have come and gone over the years, South China Dim Sum Bar has managed to stay top of mind with fickle Capetonian diners. But how do they do it? By keeping things simple, of course.
At South China Dim Sum Bar it’s all about finding beauty in the simple things. The menu is short and sweet and the food simple but oh-so-delicious. The décor is stripped down and understated, and the people behind it all are friendly and down to earth. The hero of this spot is definitely the food and I love that the eatery proves you don’t need all the trimmings to have a successful and popular restaurant.
Yellow colour-washed walls decorated with vintage kung fu posters and basic wooden tables and chairs lit by paper lanterns create a simplistic vibe with an unbeatable cool factor. It all kind of makes you feel like you’ve stumbled upon an underground restaurant somewhere in down-town China. This one-of-a-kind restaurant is cosy, a little bit loud, and down to earth. If you’re lucky enough to score a table for dinner (get there early, it’s busy!) you’ll find yourself sitting within high-fiving distance of absolute strangers but that’s what makes it so darn special.
Order something to eat from the menu and you’ll find that the food is truly exceptional. Everything on the menu is modelled around authentic street-food from Southeast Asia and is made from fresher than fresh ingredients from local suppliers. And, the great news is the menu changes often! The specials menu can be found on a blackboard in the front of the eatery and is updated daily with new things to sample. On the regular menu, you will find a selection of dishes including homemade noodles and homemade dumplings of all kinds (including wontons, pot stickers, har gao, char siu and sui mai) filled with delicious barbeque pork, beef, chicken, prawn and mushroom. If you’re a vegetarian you’ll be happy to hear that there are quite a few options available for you to order — even if the menu is small!
For my most recent visit with the boyfriend, we ordered a bunch of food to share — including the Beef Pot stickers with black vinegar, Chicken Wonton with Szechuan dipping sauce, Braised Beef short Rib and Rice, as well as the Hawker Noodles with sesame seed tofu. Everything was all simply delicious!
My favourite was the Beef Pot stickers which were cooked to perfection. The beef pot stickers at South China Dim Sum Bar are always served perfectly crispy, adding a wonderful texture to the otherwise soft and chewy dim sum. The Chicken Wonton, served with Szechuan dipping sauce was another favourite of mine. Packed with flavour, these little bites are little bit spicy, and a lot delicious. The food was more than enough for two people, and we couldn’t finish everything that was in front of us so it’s definitely affordable and I love the fact that the dishes are easy to share.
Widely regarded as serving “the best dim sum in town”, South China Dim Sum Bar is one of those places you’ll be begging your mates to go back to week-in-and-week-out. If you’re new to the world of Dim Sum, this is the place to test the waters but be warned, the food here may just ruin you for all other dim sum joints in the city.
Find South China Dim Sum Bar at 289 Long Street. For more information on specials, check out South China Dim Sum Bar on Facebook.
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After years of working as an Editor and writer for popular websites like Joburg’s Darling, Cape Town’s Darling and Joburg.co.za, Crystal left her sanity and an established career in lifestyle journalism behind to follow her dream of creating a website for the intellectual and discerning woman. Today she spends her time chasing the thrill of being the first to know about ‘the next big thing’. She’ll try anything once and has been known to put her body, hair and health on the line – all in the name of research.