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Best Dim Sum in Honolulu (Oahu)

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Honolulu has many great dim sum options. From Jade Dynasty to Legend Seafood, Tai Pan, and Tim Ho Wan Waikiki, these are the restaurants we love to visit for dim sum.

Sesame shrimp mousse and eggplant at Jade Dynasty

Going for dim sum (aka yum cha) is a popular thing to do in Honolulu.

Dim sum at Tim Ho Wan - Waikiki

We have dim sum at least once a week. Sometimes the whole extended family goes and we get a big table for 12 (more people means more variety). Sometimes I go with mom and dad. On weekdays, it's just grandma and myself.

Pineapple-stuffed black rice mochi at Tim Ho Wan - Waikiki

When we want dim sum, we say "let's go yum cha." Yum cha is a Cantonese phrase that translates to drink tea. Somehow that also means dim sum.

On Tuesdays, I pick up grandma from her house. I'll ask, "yum cha, ma?" That means, let's go yum cha, yeah? Of course she'll be like, yes!

Lotus leaf sticky rice at Tim Ho Wan - Waikiki

Below are the four main restaurants we like to visit. I've listed them in the order of which ones we visit most. Enjoy ^_^

Shrimp and chive buns at Jade Dynasty

Jade Dynasty Seafood Restaurant

All the great dim sum restaurants used to be located in Chinatown. But with Jade Dynasty in Ala Moana, it's nice to have a more convenient, easy to access (and park) location at Ala Moana. Jade Dynasty meets at the ideal intersection of legit/authentic and accessible to people who might not have dim sum regularly. 

Pros:

  • Located in Ala Moana Shopping Center. Location is convenient (and you can go shopping or eat even more after). Parking is free and abundant.
  • This is an ideal place for big family/friends gatherings and to bring visiting guests. Not only does Jade Dynasty "look good" when you bring people, it also tastes super good.
  • This is also where my grandma prefers to meet her friends for lunch.
  • Favorite dishes: monthly dim sum specials (always pictured at the front of the menu), chiu chow dumplings, baked snow mountain char siu buns, and pan-fried shrimp and chive buns.

Snow mountain char siu buns at Jade Dynasty

Cons:

  • Gets crazy crowded during peak lunch hours on the weekends. 
  • They have one cheong funn machine so sometimes cheong funn orders take super long (or they tell you it's not available/backed up) on many occasions.

Info: Jade Dynasty Seafood Restaurant | 1450 Ala Moana Blvd #4220, Honolulu, HI 96814 | 808-947-8818 | jadedynastyhawaii.com

Saturday lunch at Tim Ho Wan - Waikiki

Tim Ho Wan - Waikiki

The first Hawaii location of this famous dim sum chain from Hong Kong (also known as the world's most affordable Michelin-starred restaurant). It's located in Waikiki and has both indoor and outdoor seating (I prefer indoor because outdoor can get humid). Tim Ho Wan Waikiki is bright and breezy and one of the nicest dim sum spots in town. 

Pros:

  • Located in Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, right in the center of Waikiki. Free 2-hour parking with validation ($10 purchase minimum). 
  • Look out for the Hawaii-only special items. These include pan-fried black rice mochi filled with pineapple and steamed fish bundle with pineapple.
  • Favorite dishes: bbq pork buns, steamed bean curd stuffed with shrimp, siu mai, and deep-fried eggplant with shrimp.

Eggplant with shrimp at Tim Ho Wan - Waikiki

Cons:

  • There are also Tim Ho Wan locations in Hong Kong, NYC, California, and many other places, so it feels less "special."
  • Slightly more pricey than all the other Honolulu dim sum options

Info: Tim Ho Wan | 2233 Kalakaua Ave Suite B-303, Honolulu, HI 96815 | 808-888-6088 | timhowanusa.com

Friday lunch at Tai Pan Dim Sum

Tai Pan Dim Sum

Tai Pan is a longtime local favorite, and also a very ideal spot for small groups and solo dim sum lunches. Located inside the Chinatown Cultural Plaza, Tai Pan is a low key, reliable dim sum (and noodle soup!) restaurant. 

Pros:

  • This is our go-to for takeout and catering dim sum. Think large orders for office parties, birthday parties, potlucks, etc. 
  • Tai Pan has been around forever, and I still love it here solo for a big bowl of preserved egg and pork jook and ong choy with garlic. Sometimes I come with my dad, one bowl of beef brisket noodle soup each. It's less chaotic than the other places.
  • Favorite dishes: baked char siu bao, preserved egg jook, beef brisket noodles, and steamed lotus sticky rice

Cheong fun wrapped you tiao at Tai Pan Dim Sum

Cons:

  • The interior feels a bit worn down.
  • Chinatown location not the most convenient. They have a validated parking garage, though it gets packed on weekends. Parking garage entrance is on Maunakea Street (between N Kukui Street and N Beretania Street). FYI: If you're just going for pick-up/takeout, I always call my order in advance, park in the covered street level loading area and run in super fast to pick-up.

Info: Tai Pan Dim Sum | 100 N Beretania St Honolulu, Hawaii 96817 | 808-599-8899

Lunch at Legend Seafood

Legend Seafood

One of the originals, the grand classics of Honolulu dim sum. They've got variety and quality going for them. Legend Seafood is the only restaurant on this list that rolls out all the dim sum carts (it gets pretty wild on weekends). 

Pros:

  • The grandaddy of Honolulu dim sum. This is as traditional as it gets, complete with dim sum carts, stamp cards, organized chaos, and that energetic dim sum vibe that feels just right.
  • Weekend late mornings capture the full essence of dim sum here. There are crowds of diners waiting outside for their numbers to be called, the giant dining room is packed (all that natural light is nice), and service is quick and efficient.
  • Favorite dishes: steamed lotus sticky rice, pan-fried turnip cake, curried tendon, dan tat (especially when it comes super hot from the oven) and half-moon.

Dim sum at Legend Seafood

Cons:

  • We've known the owners since we were little kids. They recently sold the restaurant to new owners, and some say it's not as good during dinner. But grandma says the dim sum is still as good as ever.
  • Legend Seafood is located in the same plaza and Tai Pan, so same parking situation. Make sure you get your parking ticket validated. 

Info: Legend Seafood | 100 N Beretania St Honolulu, Hawaii 96817 | 808-532-1868 | legendseafoodhonolulu.com

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