One woman is managing the room all on her lonely and she’s working bloody hard. Granted, it’s not a big room – 44 seats by my count – but every one of them is occupied and our hearts sink at the prospect of a protracted lunch. Turns out there’s no need to fret: Hung Sum buzzes with efficiency. Tea arrives instantly and, shortly after we finish ticking off our order on the one page menu, so does the march of dim sum baskets. We’re in and out in thirty-five minutes flat. Then return for dinner and have the place to ourselves.
This used to be the Northern Han Restaurant, which I liked, but I think I like its replacement more. Hung Sum is mostly a dim sum restaurant, traditionally Cantonese, yet not the traditionally expansive, big- tabled, slightly chaotic room of long queues and travelling trolleys, much pointing and nodding. (Another dim sum tradition – at least in our family – are the longing looks at the neighbouring tables’ baskets and plates which invariably seem superior to ours; “Why didn’t WE order that?!”
No room at Hung Sum for the trolley parade. Still, at lunch anyway, and on weekends, this is a jolly, happy little place and the bite-sized dumplings and steamed buns, noodle dishes and egg tarts are a cut above.
Best bets include the more-ish siu mai (made in house, of scallops and prawns in delicate wrapping), the ho
fun(broad house-made noodles soy slicked and sautéed with lengths of charred scallion and bean sprouts), the green onion and ginger bathed squid, and the flaky, lard-rich, not-too-sweet custard filled tarts. I also like the Cantonese cheung fun – the long slippery rolls of sticky noodle with a bit of sweet pork inside, bathed in soy sauce.
The braised stuffed eggplant is excellent here – the shrimp filling clearly fresh, with none of that iodine after bite that taints so many other versions. Good too, the pinched purses of spiced pork and the nor mai gai, the lotus leaf-wrapped present of sticky rice embedded with soft chunks of beef.
My boys aren’t fans, but I adore the wacky-looking, bad-hair day brown crispness that surrounds the very rich, creamy-purple soft filling of mashed taro. Though I always eat too many, then wish I hadn’t, requiring a nap for the rest of an afternoon I was planning to tackle income tax.
You’ll want some potstickers, of course, they’re yummy, and certainly some greens – the steamed Chinese broccoli with garlic sauce is delicious, the branches perfectly firm and fresh.
If you’re nursing a hangover, you might go straight to the curing congee. Nuff said.
It’s a small little place, a perfectly serviceable room, memorable mostly for its robin egg walls and Double Bubble pink cloths. There may not be a lot to Hung Sum, but there’s lots to like.
Make a reservation on the weekends, or be prepared to queue.