The Best Dim Sum in Bangkok – and it’s not in Chinatown!
I stumbled across this little dim sum restaurant while I was wandering up the Sathorn end of Charoen Krung Road, which of course is the same road that runs through Bangkok’s Chinatown some 6km back in the opposite direction. I love strolling through this side of town, there’s still a massive Chinese influence here, which means you can get incedibly good food without having to deal with the massive crowds that frequent the other end of Charoen Krung and Yaoworat road that makes up the bulk of the city’s official Chinatown.
It was just after 9 A.M on Saturday morning when I noticed the steam pouring out of dozens of traditional bamboo baskets in front of a traditional little shophouse restaurant.
The Thai name for the restaurant is Tuang Dim Sum. There’s no sign in English, but you can’t miss it with everything that’s going on outside. Come on the weekend, and they’ll be a queue of people waiting outside for their takeaways. After being seated, I found out that the owner, head chef and general big boss man, Mr. Yip, used to work for some of the five star hotels in Bangkok including the Shangri-La. Thankfully, he decided to pack that in and open an altogether more wallet-friendly place where everyone can enjoy his incredible dim sum; five star quality for one star prices!
To order your dim sum, you have to mark down what you want on paper menus that have English, Thai and Chinese translations. If you’re not sure what the dishes are, you can consult the pictures outside!
I pondered what I was going to have while I was waiting outside to be seated. I decided to go for the pork and mushroom sui mai (steamed dumplings), prawn har gow (steamed crystal skin dumplings), chee cheong fun with bbq pork (rice noodle rolls) and steamed pork spare ribs.
I got seated within five minutes, and the food came almost instantly.
One thing you cannot come to Tuang Dim Sum and not order is the Sha Long Bao (Xiaolongbao), which are pork and soup-filled dumplings, made famous worldwide at Din Tai Fung in Taipei. The Sha Long Bao here is as good as anything I had in Taiwan and are easily half the price of the Din Tai Fung branch in Bangkok’s Central World. As soon as you bite into it, the dumpling explodes, and your mouth fills up with the soup that coats the gingery pork inside. I’d say this is the best dish at Tuang.
The sui mai were massive with the pork spilling out of the sides of the wrappers. They are nothing like the generic ones you find scattered all over town here, they’re packed with succulent, fatty pork and have a nice earthy flavour from the dried shiitake mushroom pieces mixed in.
Har gow is always a must for me when I have dim sum, and it didn’t disappoint here. Razor thin skins packed with fresh juicy prawns – definitely the best I’ve had in Bangkok. It went perfectly with the house-made chilli oil.
The prik pao, or roasted chilli oil, was one my favourite thing about the meal (I’m a chilli addict!). Pounded dried chillis with chunks of fried, sticky garlic in oil – what could be better? It was great mixed with a little of the soy and vinegar at the table for dipping all the little steamed goodies.
Next up was the chee cheong fun.
The bbq pork rice noodle rolls were the highlight for me. They are stuffed with tasty red pork that isn’t overly sweet and served in a thin soy and oyster based sauce. This is the traditional style in which they are served Hong Kong, unlike in Malaysia where they often come with a thicker, sweet sauce that I’m not too fond of; these are a must here!
The spare ribs were my least favourite dish I had. They weren’t bad; they just weren’t great. It’s not something I’d usually order as there’s never enough meat on them for me so I won’t judge them here too harshly. One thing I will say is they weren’t tough like a lot of spare ribs I’ve tried. In fact, they were very tender easy to eat, they just didn’t have much meat on them and lacked a bit of flavour for me. I’ll let you make up your own minds on them!
All this set me back a whopping 200 baht – yes that’s a whole £4.40 at today’s exchange rate; I’m not even sure I could get a bottle water in back in London for that these days!
If you’re looking for authentic Chinese food and you don’t fancy sifting through the crowds of Chinatown, then Tuang Dim Sum should be top of your list.
Open every day except Tuesdays from 7 am – 5 pm.