Up there with siu mai and har gow as one of the must-orders any time you’re having yum cha, char siu bao are a classic of Cantonese cuisine. Whether it’s the traditional fluffy, steamed variety or crisp, baked type, the sweat meaty filling is irresistible. Everyone has their favourite but here are seven of the absolute best char siu bao in Hong Kong. If you disagree, let us know in the comments.
Looking for other contentious lists? See our guide to Hong Kong’s best restaurants and bars for more of the best F&B in town.
The best char siu bao in Hong Kong
Everything is self-service here, so head to the massive bamboo boxes, open the lids, and look among the dim sum for the char siu bao. If you can’t find them, yell (politely) for the cook to steam some right away. Quick, cheap and very tasty, this place is a great spot for takeout.
There are lines around the block come lunchtime, and the crowds don't lie. Lin Heung is one of the oldest traditional Cantonese restaurants in Hong Kong, serving dim sum during the day and main courses at night. As such, char siu bao is served here the traditional way: alongside an array of other steaming hot dim sum on trolleys. Run to the cart as soon as it teeters out of the kitchen to ensure you get first pick. The pork is juicy, the bun, unbelievably fresh.
Something of a sexier take on the humble bao – a philosophy that extends to much of Mott 32’s exemplary contemporary Canto fare. The signature crispy sugar-coated barbecue Iberico pork bun at Mott is crumbly, sweet, morish and devoid of the greasiness that lesser char siu bao can sometimes be guilty of.
Tim Ho Wan is considered one of the best dim sums spots in the city and the small chain is your chance to dine at one of the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurants in the world. Its most famous dish? Its baked barbecue pork buns. They’re mouthwatering and addictive – the sugar dusted on top accentuates the sweetness inside – and many consider them among the best anywhere.
With its decidedly imperial and ornate decoration, this Tsim Sha Tsui hotspot is one of the more decadent locales on this list. Thankfully, they're not all show. The beautifully baked char siu bao are filled with sumptuous honey-glazed char siu that provokes opiate levels of euphoria.
With two Michelin stars to its name, it’s easy to see why Yan Toh Heen is such a popular choice for dim sum among Hongkongers. One of the finest Cantonese restaurants in the world, your ability to multi-task will be put to the test when you can’t decide whether to focus on the exquisite napkin rings or the impeccable char siu bao.
Authentic and classically presented Cantonese dishes await at this top-drawer restaurant. If you think the char siu bao here don’t look all that from this picture, just remember this is a Michelin-starred establishment. Pop over and try some to realise just how great these buns are.