Dim Sum at Dragon-i


A proper dim sum meal is something I would never attempt to make from scratch and serve in a home setting. Too mabusisi or cumbersome, I would think. So it doesn’t surprise me that the only dim sum meals I have enjoyed have been at restaurants in Chinatown(s) or good hotels in various U.S cities or in Hong Kong, Singapore, Jakarta, Melbourne and a few other places in between. Often, the dim sum meals are delicious but unmemorable. One dish melds into another, and in bad cases, soy sauce and chili mask the sins of bad cooks. Starchy wrappers can range from light and luscious to heavy and unappealing. And tasteless tepid tea is used to keep the grease liquified in your tummy. But every once in a while, you get a spectacular selection of dim sum, you manage to order well and have a mixture of different types of dishes, and you have the finest condiments (some light but flavorful soy, vinegar, mustard, etc.) to enhance the individual mouthfuls and you get to write a post about the experience. Such was the case at dragon-i last week in Hong Kong, where a friend took us for some rather “upscale” dim sum…


I am often wary of restaurants with very chi-chi reputations serving typically down-to-earth food, but our friend assured us that this ultra hip bar/club by night had a great dim sum menu at lunch and we were not disappointed. We managed to score a table outdoors on the terrace, and it was set simply with blue and white china, black cups, black napkins and several dishes for condiments. An extensive menu outlined either an a la carte menu or an all you can eat option for some US$20 per person or so. We decided on the latter.


Steamed spinach dumplings with a nearly luminescent and incredibly light wrapper were among the first items to arrive. They were delicious.


Pork dumplings followed with just the right amount of steamed and pan-fried portions of the wrapper.


Next, Steamed Fresh Dioscorea with Lily dumplings. Don’t ask me what dioscorea is. And I am not sure what it tasted like. :(


Pan-fried turnip cake that was well-done, it didn’t feel like it was going to sink to the bottom of your stomach like a soft brick.


Steamed glutinous rice with chicken in a lotus leaf was shared by three, and I don’t think I could have eaten much more of this as it was quite heavy but tasted great nonetheless.


Excellent shrimp dumplings…


…followed by some braised/steamed fatty pork ribs.


Some poached pork dumplings with spicy oil broke up the lightness of early steamed dishes…


…while this SUPERB deep-fried bean curd sheet roll with wild mushrooms was a brilliant way to segue into the fried dishes.


These potato/taro deep fried balls were crunchy on the outside and heavy on the inside. One of my least favorite picks.


But these deep-fried crab meat claws with a bit of mayonnaise and hot sauce were quite good.


Vegetable spring rolls were superbly executed, with even crisp skins that weren’t oily at all.


Finally, some deep-fried squid rings with sweet and sour sauce were just a bit over the top at this point. Yes, we had had our fill of dimsum for the trip. Oh, and they had a few teas to choose from, so the hot pots of tea were constantly being poured as we consumed this mini-feast. A wonderful lunch in a nice setting. Click the link up top to get details about the restaurant and their contact details and location.

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26 Responses

  1. Great dim sum is something I sorely miss and have so far been unable to find in Germany.

  2. Makes me crave for some dim sum. Mr.mm can you suggest a good Chinese resto here in Manila?

  3. The glutinous rice in lotus leaves is called “Machang”, it’s actually one of my favorite dishes when I eat at Chinese restaurants :D

  4. I suggest jasmine tea with your dimsum. A lot of places serve chrysanthemum tea which I think muddles the taste.

  5. nakakagutom naman . though i would prefer to eat the braised fatty pork ribs with steamed rice .

    paging betty q , do you happen to know the recipe of the steamed braised fatty pork ribs ?

  6. the braised/steamed pork ribs caught my attention. i also like the
    steamed glutinous rice wrapped in lotus leaves. i always order
    that whenever we go to this dimsum restaurant. everything
    looks delicious! i am getting hungry….

  7. whats your secret in keeping healthy? with all these delish foods. do you have any diet for those w gallstones?

  8. now i’m craving Chinese Food!! my son-in-law is Chinese from mainland China and he knows the real good dim sum places here in the tristate…good chicken feet, duck tongue, jellyfish–etc

  9. Dear MM, I searched and found out that dioscorea is a Chinese yam. Check out this link:

    “It is used as a tonic and serves to tonify the spleen and stomach; augment the lung yin and tonify lung qi; and stabilize and tonify the kidneys.” The article said Chinese yam is neutral and sweet.

    Yummy post. *sigh* Now I’m craving for Hakao, my all-time favorite.

  10. MM, your HK posts are so timely as my friends and I are going to HK next week! Planning our itinerary has shown me that in the few times I’ve been to HK, I’ve so missed out on a lot of good stuff. In my research I’ve read a lot of good things about dragon-i from foodies on the web who also love its dim sum.

    Thanks for the tip about Yung Kee’s side door, by the way. Also, I just want to ask if you were able to eat at Lin Heung? It’s along the same street as Yung Kee I think, and is one of HK’s institutions when it comes to dim sum. Super old, super cheap, super traditional. It’s one stop I want to make while there.

  11. we love dimsum too, usually at Gloria Maris in Greenhills, and our order includes raddish cake (like that turnip cake on your photo), chicken feet, and taro puff/balls :)

  12. yummy! nobody does dimsum like the cantonese. they are top of my list for best chinese food followed by hunan, sichuan and yunnan food. whenever i have a hankering for good dimsum, i usually head to one of the many dimsum lunch buffets in the city

  13. Lin Heung is very good but you have to deal with the rudeness kasi it’s really very old style traditional dim sum place. Actually, in HK most places naman serve good dimsum. It’s very rare that you eat bad dimsum or else these restos won’t survive at all.

    When I go to Manila, I always go to this place in Banawe besides Fook Yuen (which is well known for it’s crab sotanghon). It’s a small place with only a few tables but I love their cha misua and fresh lumpia.

  14. They have Dragon-I in Singapore and Penang which I have tried both but not sure if they are related to the HK Dragon-I but I do like their HK style roasted meat and duck.

    In Singapore I do love Din Tai fung’s which has an open kitchen concept. Their xiao long bao (steamed pork dumplings) is very popular. Din Tai fung is part of BreadTalk group https://www.breadtalk.com/dintaifung/ and they do have branch in HK.

  15. jhaz, you can try eat well! they have a resto in the fort (deutsch bank building) and in connecticut street (in greenhills).

  16. A la carte menu for dimsum? I thought dimsum is the Chinese a la carte considering that´s how they wheel them around. We have access to great dimsum in Toronto (not to mention, Vancouver) though they can turn it yet to truly great dining experience, if they can only hire trained and domesticated staff. They all seem to be invariably wild and hostile in manners and fierce in looks.

  17. @Jhaz. Yesterday I tried out Hai Shin Lou, on Pasay Road (towards the Waltermart end), and thought it was pretty good for dimsum. I lived in Hong Kong for around 14 years, and this is the best dimsum I’ve found in Manila so far (although I don’t seek it out often). Anyway, worth a go. Particularly good were the Sui Long Bao – full of soupy goodness.

  18. oK…Frenchadobo: have about 1 kg. pork side ribs cut into SMALL pieces…really tiny small pieces so it cooks faster. Then in a bowl, rinse and pat dry. Now add about 2 to 3 pinches baking soda if you are pressed for time. If you are not, cover the meat with cold water …just enough to cover it not SWIM!….add maybe 2 to 3 tsp. baking soda. let it sit maybe 30 minutes. Then rinse thoroughly and pat dry. In a bowl, add salt/ white pepper., about 3 tsp. cornstarch, a touch of dry sherry, a few pinches sugar, 2 twirls (ikot?) sesame oil, 2 to 3 twirls canola oil, finely minced or pounded garlic about 4 to 5 cloves, about 3 tbsp. chinese salted black beans ….not the bottled ones labeled black bean sauce …Soak the salty black beans in water….drain and coarsely chop. NO need to add light soy for the tausi is salty. …

    If you want zip, cut a serrano pepper in half, remove the seeds and slice thinly. You can also add chopped scallions and garnish with red/green pepper just like picture above!

    Let the mixture sit overnight. Next day, portion into tiny platito and steam for 30 mi nutes. Now, cover the top of the steamer with clean towel before putting the lid on so the water collected on the underside of the lid does not fall back on the spare ribs and dilutes the mixture and make it more watery.

  19. Sorry…Frenchadobo: I forgot, if you have those chicken broth powder, add about a pinch or two. Then if you have the bottled 5 spice powder( which is used for Taiwanese salt and pepper chicken nuggets), add about 1 tsp. of it. If you don’t have that, just add a pinch of 5 spice together with the chicken broth powder and some white pepper.

    Enjoy! Oh… I am a “tancha” person when I cook!

    You can also use those really sliced thin beef shortribs like the ones they use for Kalbi ribs. Have your butcher slice it across the bone really, really thin….like 2 mm. Also, add some coarsely ground blackpepper and the same marinade.For beef, I add about 1 to 2 tsp. Chee Hou Sauce. …slice some Vidalia onions and make a bed on a platito before resting the beef short ribs on it aand steam away!

  20. I found yummy dim sum at Salcedo Park Saturday Market that is made by a Hong Kong Chef which named Cantonese Home Kitchen (CHK), a place that you found NO MSG, Organic and Vegetarian Dim Sum too. The best is, you can taste the fresh from each bit.

  21. Aside from Eat Well, good dimsum can also be found in Manila in Suzchou (they have branches in Promenade Ghills, near Wilson St San Juan and in Manila). Both Eat Well and Suzhou serve good xiao long bao.

    For those who like Hai Shin Lou, Fu in Serendra is by the same owner.

  22. I go to Dragon-I a lot, but for clubbing purposes! That’s where all the expats hang out and have nights out. I never knew they had decent food, let alone dimsum. Now I think I’ll just party til noon there then hit up the dim sum carts. Food looks amazing!

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