When you’re trying to work out where to eat in Hong Kong, your choices are virtually limitless. You can’t toss a dumpling without hitting a hole-in-the-wall eatery or a food court. And, of course, if you want to eat Cantonese cuisine, it can be very, very cheap. One of the cheapest Michelin-starred meals on the planet can be found at Tim Ho Wan for example.

But it can also be very expensive – like the fearsomely tall buildings that dot this city, the sky’s the limit with cuisine here. Even such humble dishes as sui mai – the Cantonese name for pork and shrimp dumplings, can attract a fairly hefty price tag if you’re looking to eat them in upmarket surrounds. Such was the case at Duddell’s.

It may be nearly 20 years since the British handed Hong Kong back to China but the expat scene here is very much alive and kicking. Duddell’s is one of those places that seems to attract expats in droves but, on the night we visited, there seemed to be a fair smattering of Chinese patrons as well. Luxury speaks all languages.

Duddell’s is a luxe destination, housed in the Shanghai Tang building in Central. Founded by three Hong Kong entrepreneurs, its restaurant boasts two Michelin stars, so there’s a significant foodie pedigree. Trying to stay awake and get on local time after the overnight flight from London, we took an early evening reservation in the bar area (there are several different spaces – including an outdoor terrace). Spying a free table in the corner of a much quieter little anteroom abutting the main bar, we asked if we could rest our jetlagged bodies and befuddled brains there. Ordering a couple of cocktails and a host of small dishes, we were able to relax.

Not wanting a huge amount of food, dim sum was the perfect option. We ordered a handful of dishes to start. First up was a rather interesting plate, given the menu description. This was marinated chicken wing in ‘Hua Diao’ wine, basically another name for Shaoxing wine, a staple of Chinese cooking. We were a little nonplussed to find the dish was cold but that didn’t entirely faze gluttonous husband who dived in. The subtleties of this style of chicken in Chinese cuisine are pretty much lost on Greedy Girl – she prefers more robust flavours.

Where to eat Hong Kong: Duddell's

Marinated chicken wing

Next up was the dish featured at the top of this post, shrimp balls in chilli garlic sauce. These were pretty spectacular. The balls had a lovely crusty coating and the sauce just had a little zing to it, without being overwhelming. Greedy Girl would have been happy to scoff the entire plate.

Comfort food soon arrived in the form of siu mai – pork and prawn steamed dumplings. Of course, given this is a venue that takes a luxe approach to most things, these dumplings were Iberico pork. Scrum-diddly-umptious.

Where to eat Hong Kong: Duddell's

Sui mai made from Iberico pork

Last in this first round were mushroom dumplings with black truffle. There must be some sort of feng shui reason for three dumplings to a serving. Less committed partners than Greedy Girl and gluttonous husband might well come to blows over who gets the third morsel. So. Very. Good.
Where to eat Hong Kong: Duddell's

Mushroom and black truffle dumplings

Another round of drinks and we decided to order a few more dishes. That precipitated a moment of confusion with our waiter. We got his attention and tried to order some more dishes. He told us he’d brought us everything we ordered. Something was clearly getting lost in translation. We repeated that we’d like to order more dishes. Ah ha! Righto. Next up were scallop dumplings with chive and salted egg. What a combination! The lovely little onion hit from the chives and the salty rim of egg pinched onto the dumpling edge. Delicious.
Where to eat Hong Kong: Duddell's

Scallop with chive and salted egg yolk

Some more luxury – crab and caviar dumplings. Again, perfect little morsels and the salty pop of the caviar was delectable.
Where to eat Hong Kong: Duddell's

Crab and caviar

Finally, we opted for some more shrimp dumplings, this time with matsutake mushrooms.
Where to eat Hong Kong: Duddell's

Shrimp and mushroom

Done! We’d sipped some very decent cocktails, snacked until our bellies were quite content and we’d managed to stay out of bed until a decent time. We trundled back to our hotel.

As you’d expect, Duddell’s wasn’t a cheap experience but it wasn’t too over the top. Compared to standard dim sum, yes you’re definitely paying a premium but it was a very pleasant little interlude and the quality of the food was definitely worth the investment if you’re looking for a more glamorous dim sum.


The Foodie World star rating
1 Duddell Street, Central (Shanghai Tang building)

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