It's time to answer the age-old question: where should you go for the best dim sum in Dubai? But before we do, let's take a quick step back. Prior to feasting on dumplings, it's important to understand what dim sum actually is. The name, somewhat bizarrely, actually translates as "touching heart", which some say comes from the idea that these dumplings and rolls are meant to 'touch the heart', but not actually fill you up. As such, dim sum is traditionally eaten as breakfast or lunch with tea, but never as dinner. Now, however, things are different. Every restaurant on this list will happily serve you dim sum as dinner, and the cuisine has become akin to tapas: a social eating style, meant for sharing and drinking.
Translation aside, the actual definition of dim sum is pretty loose. Any Chinese steamed or fried savoury dumpling fits the bill, although many non-Chinese restaurants also serve it now (we’ve added a few of them too, just for variety’s sake). In practice, it really just means anything small, savoury and steamed (or fried). So, if you’re after the best dumplings in Dubai, this list has everything you need. We were pretty shocked to find out there are actually over 1,000 dishes that qualify as dim sum, so there’s no doubt that you’ll be spoiled for choice.
Part of the reason that Dubai is such a dumpling hotspot is the sheer popularity of east Asian food. To cater for the demand, many international chains like Royal China and Hakkasan have opened in Dubai, and business is booming. Right, that’s definitely enough info, time to tuck in! Have a browse, choose your favourite, then hit ‘book now’ to book a table in just a few clicks. You’ll be feasting on delicious steamed (or fried) dumplings before you know it.
What: Any dim sum connoisseurs won’t be surprised by Hutong’s inclusion on this list - it’s a rather spectacular restaurant. Boasting stunning interiors and equally stunning views of the Dubai skyline, this restaurant has it all. Be sure to try the showstopping ginger lobster bao and wagyu beef millefeuille, both perfect examples of the elegant dishes on offer here. We recommend pairing your dim sum with a punchy cocktail like the house negroni or mezcal penicillin.
Where: Gate Building 6, DIFC
Book now: Hutong
Din Tai Fung
What: You can’t write about dim sum without mentioning Din Tai Fung - it’s pretty much an unspoken law. This chain is world-famous for its dumplings and many consider it the best place to order xiao long bao (soup dumplings). Either way, it’s undoubtedly the best dim sum Dubai Mall has to offer. Meat-eaters should try the crab roe and pork soup dumplings, while pescetarians can enjoy the green squash and shrimp version. There are even adorable mini dumplings, too. Other dim sum includes potstickers, shumai and buns.
Where: Financial Center Road, Downtown Dubai
Book now: Din Tai Fung
What: Royal China is another international sensation, well-known globally for excellent dim sum and Cantonese classics. The interiors of the restaurant are fit for an emperor, adorned with lanterns, plush armchair seating and plenty of red and gold. There’s a cracking selection of delights from the bamboo steamers like scallop dumplings and xiao long bao, but also various buns, turnip cakes and cheung fun. For those unfamiliar with cheung fun, they are soft rice noodle rolls, typically filled with anything from beef to shrimp to vegetables. Be sure to try them if you haven’t yet!
Where: Precinct Building 4, DIFC
Book now: Royal China
What: Overlooking Dubai Canal, Long Teng has won numerous accolades for its authentic Chinese food. While it’s certainly not cheap, it’s worth every penny - especially the dim sum. As with many menus of this ilk, the dim sum is split into steamed and fried. We recommend getting a mixture as both have their own various highlights, including a steamed ma la cake and fried sticky rice dumplings with chicken. Seafood is a speciality here, so you’ll find some extravagant options like oysters and lobster to enjoy alongside the various dumplings.
Where: Ubora Towers 3, Business Bay
Book now: Long Teng
What: With a much more relaxed feel than the other restaurants on this list thus far, Yalla Momos is a great spot for a quick bite. There’s even a charming little terrace under the awning out front, so you can enjoy your dim sum alfresco. Things work a little differently here: you choose the ‘type’ (pan-fried, chilli, tandoori, Afghani or dynamite), then choose the filling. The flavours are pretty far-reaching so you could have anything from pan-fried shrimp momos to Afghani paneer momos. Even the desserts are momos - chocolate brownie or apple pie.
Where: 4 B Street, Al Karama
Book now: Yalla Momos
What: Housed on the first floor of the impressive Shangri-La hotel, Shang Palace is an old-school dim sum dining room with plenty of character. Ornate vases line the walls, towering chandeliers dangle from the double-height ceiling and friendly staff shuttle bamboo steamers to diners. The menu incorporates dishes from all over China, so you’ll find lamb dumplings from the north, Cantonese golden garlic prawn dumplings and everything between. Don’t miss the duck dishes either, they are easily some of the best in Dubai.
Where: Sheikh Zayed Road, Jumeirah
Book now: Shang Palace
What: Intricate wooden screens and soothing blue mood lighting set the scene at Hakkasan, located in the extravagant Atlantis hotel. With neighbours including Nobu and openings from both Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal, this is a dining hub worth travelling across the world for. At Hakkasan, the dim sum comes in platters, featuring lavish dishes to match the surroundings. The premium platter, for example, includes the likes of lime leaf lobster har gau and abalone shumai with caviar.
Where: Atlantis, The Palm
Book now: Hakkasan
What: Beautiful interiors and tasty dim sum seem to be a running theme on this list, and Maiden Shanghai is no exception. With one of the best outdoor terraces in the whole of Dubai and highly Instagrammable interiors, the restaurant attracts diners from all over. When it comes to the food, hand-folded dim sum doesn’t take up much of the menu, but it’s certainly worth trying. Pair with an exciting cocktail like the jade emperor - scotch, Midori, yuzu, orange bitters, sugar - for a meal you won’t soon forget.
Where: No 1 Palm, Jumeirah Dubai
Book now: Maiden Shanghai
What: While it might not be a Chinese restaurant, Vietnamese Foodies still does some great dim sum. This plant-filled canteen has a buzzy, relaxed feel, ideal for group dining (after all, the bigger your group, the more of the menu you’ll be able to order). From the steamers, you’ll find classics like prawn har gao and chicken buns, but be sure to try the Vietnamese dishes too. We recommend crispy spring rolls, salt and pepper squid and fried wontons, but there are loads more options to try.
Where: PL-04 Lake Terrace Tower, Jumeirah Lake Towers
Book now: Vietnamese Foodies
What: Mekong oozes charm. This pan-Asian restaurant is festooned with birdcage-style lanterns, rickshaw-style seating and funky ceiling tiles, all of which give it a brilliantly fun vibe. Dishes are labelled with flags showing the country of origin, but you’ll notice some only bear the restaurant’s logo. These are house specials and have to be tried, including chicken jiaozi, spring rolls and steamed prawn har gao. Elsewhere there are soups, salads and sides galore, so every base is covered.
Where: Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa, Palm Jumeirah
Book now: Mekong
Once you've had all the dim sum you can eat, we recommend trying the best Vietnamese restaurants in Dubai next.