Eating dim sum might just be one of life’s true pleasures. A meal that can only be shared, dim sum comes family-style with an assortment of dumplings, bao, rice rolls, and other handcrafted treats. It makes sense that dim sum translates literally to, “touch the heart.” Sometimes busy and loud, sometimes adventurous and wild, eating dim sum is usually an experience that's both a little theatrical, and a lot delicious.
Dim sum can be a little intimidating for first-timers, so here are some rules for newbies. If dining in, try your best to sit near the kitchen. It may create a louder dining atmosphere, but you will get the first pick of all the dim sum as it comes out of there on carts. Whether you are dining in or taking it to-go, don’t forget about the tea! It is supposed to aid in digestion and whether you are a tea fan or not, tea and dim sum go hand in hand. Always pour the tea of someone you are dining with before your own and leave the lid of your teapot askew if you need a refill. And perhaps the most important of all dim sum rules, don’t forget the xiao long bao.
There is no shortage of dim sum restaurants in the South Bay. In no particular order, here are Hoodline's 15 best.
Din Tai Fung (Website) - Best Dim Sum Restaurant in Santa Clara
Image Credit: dintaifung.com
Named by the New York Times as one of the top ten gourmet restaurants in the world, everything at Din Tai Fung is just a little bit better than the competition. Din Tai Fung was founded by Mr. Bing-Yi Yang and started as a shop that sold cooking oil. Mr. Yang and his wife decided to sell Xiao Long Bao for fun at their shop. They became so wildly popular that they halted cooking oil sales and now have internationally loved Xiao Long Bao. Their signature dish, the truffle & Kurobuta Pork Xiao Long Bao, are handcrafted to perfection. The dumplings are loaded with fillings you can’t find elsewhere such as steamed cod and kimchi or kurobota pork. Din Tai Fung has a selection of killer soups and noodle dishes to accompany their dim sum. All of the dishes are light, heavenly, and not loaded with grease. The wait here can be quite long so be sure to make a reservation or arrive right when they open. There is a reason the XLB are known around the world. Try Din Tai Fung first and you too will be a converted believer.
2855 Stevens Creek Blvd #1259, Santa Clara
Ocean Delight Seafood Restaurant (Website) - Top Dim Sum Spot in San Jose
Ocean Delight Seafood Restaurant is a family-owned restaurant that has been serving dim sum in San Jose for over 30 years. Ocean Delight has a stacked dim sum menu. From chicken feet to egg tarts they have just about everything you could want. All dishes are handmade to order so their dim sum is fresh, steaming hot, and delicious. One particularly awesome thing about Ocean Delight is that their dim sum menu has pictures next to each item. For those of us who are unfortunately not fluent in Cantonese, this is incredibly helpful when ordering take-out. Extensive menu, great prices, quality dim sum are all reasons to give this classic San Jossae dim sum spot a try.
5400 Monterey Rd, San Jose
Golden Palace (Website) - Amazing Dim Sum in San Jose
Image Credit: Mandi W. via Yelp
If you are a serious dim sum fanatic then Golden Palace is for you. The steamed marinated chicken feet are perfection. The chicken skin falls off the bone and is soaked in a savory sauce. You will want multiple orders. If you want something a bit more photogenic, the Peking Duck here is decadent. The skin is crispy, the duck is fatty but meaty and it is served with soft, pillowy buns and a savory sauce. Golden Palace makes all their dim sum fresh daily but there is a limit to the dishes they make. If you have certain items you just can’t live without then you are going to want to order early as they run out of some of the more popular dishes by the end of the night.
1146 S De Anza Blvd, San Jose
Koi Palace (Website) - Best Deem Sum in Milpitas, Duplin, & Daly City
Image Credit: Koi Palace
If you think Trader Joe’s frozen dim sum is - at a minimum - passable, then I have an interesting piece of information about Koi Palace, a restaurant that serves up some of the most delicious "yum cha" nearby. With locations and several multiple sister locations around the Bay Area - including the newer Palette Tea House the opened in San Francisco in 2019, Koi Palace's serves piping hot dim sum indoors, outdoors, to-go, and frozen! Yes, you read that right, they have a frozen dim sum menu available. Black pepper beef buns, chicken feet, salted egg yolk lava buns, and more come frozen so you can eat dim sum on demand at home. The frozen portions are huge and come with easy-to-follow instructions for reheating. If you are dining with kids, Koi Palace also serves piggy buns that are seriously adorable. Piggy buns, that look exactly like little piggies, are a secret menu item so call Koi Palace and request an order with your frozen dim sum.
768 Barber Ln, Milpitas, CA 95035 [408-432-8833] | 4288 Dublin Blvd STE 213, Dublin, CA 94568 [925-833-9090] |365 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015 [650-992-9000]
Tai Pan Dim Sum Bakery (Website) - Top Yum Cha in San Jose
Image Credit: Natalie P. via Yelp
Fun fact- dim sum is often eaten as a breakfast or brunch food, which is exactly why Tai Pan is open at 8 A.M. Instead of carts and bamboo baskets, Tai Pan has their dim sum piled high in glass cases. The line is usually out the door but most of the menu is precooked so the service is speedy. With egg tarts for only $1, the prices at Tai Pan cannot be beaten. Tai Pan has a dim sum lunch for only $7. It comes with a variety of dim sum and egg and pork congee. The congee, or Chinese rice porridge, is topnotch at Tai Pan. It is a perfect, simple, comfort food that is good at all hours of the day. Convinced and headed to Tai Pan? It is cash only so come prepared.
1031 E Capitol Expy Ste 30, San Jose
New Hwong Kok (Website) - Best San Jose Dim Sum & Dumplings
Image Credit: K W. via Yelp
New Hwong Kok is a dim sum staple on the east side in San Jose. Things you can expect at New Hwong Kok include a line out the door, glass cases loaded with freshly made dim sum, and unbeatable prices. Baked bbq pork buns, chive and shrimp dumplings, and the fried shrimp balls are highly recommended. This grab-n-go dim sum spot is the perfect location for a quick and easy meal that is filling and satisfying. There is often a line out the door but it moves quickly and well worth the wait. There is a credit card limit so bring cash if you are dining for one.
2854 S White Rd, San Jose
New Port Dim Sum and Chinese Food (Website) - Best Dim Sum in Sunnyvale
Image Credit: Dorothy T. via Yelp
For serious foodies, one of the best parts about Chinese food is experiencing different textures you might not be able to try elsewhere. New Port Dim Sum has some authentic Chinese dishes with flavors and textures you have to try at least once. Sea cucumber, jellyfish and duck tongue are just a few options on their expansive menu. Standout dishes include the salted egg yolk bun and gai lan in oyster sauce. If you are a gai lan newbie, it’s Chinese broccoli aka a perfect vessel for delicious sauce to accompany your dim sum. If you have a sweet tooth be sure to try the coconut dusted mango mochi for dessert. You won’t be disappointed.
1686 S Wolfe Rd, Sunnyvale
Dim Sum King (Website) - Top Sunnyvale Dim Sum Restaurants
Image Credit: dimsumking.com
If you are looking for dim sum that won’t break the bank and is absolutely delicious, you are going to want to visit Dim Sum King. Located in Sunnyvale, Dim Sum King has a wide selection of dim sum to choose from and is available for delivery via Door Dash. My personal favorite dim sum is Wu Gok or crispy taro puffs. Dim Sum King calls these delicacies taro fuzzballs and while they may not be instagram worthy they are mouthwatering and irresistible. Crunchy on the outside, creamy taro and salty pork on the inside you will want multiple orders. Luckily a plate is only $3.75 so you can get your fill. The dim sum here is also surprisingly huge so dine with friends so you can try it all.
824 W El Camino Real, Sunnyvale
Jade Cathay (Website) - Best San Jose Dim Sum Spots
Image Credit: Naiyun W. via Yelp
Jade Cathay is a family-owned dim sum spot leaving satisfied customers in food comas for almost 20 years. Jade Cathay is your typical dim sum restaurant. It is packed with big round tables with lazy susans in the middle and dim sum carts are constantly circulating the classics. There are big tanks of lobster and ducks hanging in the kitchen. It is a great place to take first-timers. Jade Cathay serves authentic Cantonese dishes like sesame balls and daikon radish squares. If you are a fan of steamed rice noodle rolls they have a ton of choices to satisfy everyone you are eating with. They have rice rolls stuffed with bbq pork for the meat-eaters, mushrooms for the vegans, or chicken and bitter melon for the adventurous. The dim sum portions here are bigger than average so you will get your money’s worth and leave happy.
1339 N 1st St, San Jose
Fu Lam Mum (Website) - Best Dim Sum in Mountain View / Silicon Valley
Image Credit: Iris H. via Yelp
Fu Lam Mum located on Castro Street in Mountain View is a dim sum mecca. Steamed dim sum, sweet dim sum, fried dim sum, Fu Lam Mum has got it all. If you have never had a Liu Sha Bao or salted egg yolk lava bun, Fu Lam Mum is the place to try them. The Liu Sha Bao have a soft and pillowy dough on the outside and a salty steaming hot eggy goo on the inside. They are seriously addictive. Another standout dish at Fu Lam Mum is the crab claw with shrimp paste. These are fun to eat and they are seriously delectable. They are essentially deep-fried shimp and crab ball with a crab claw sticking out as a handle. You will want to leave a five-star yelp review after trying them.
153 Castro St, Mountain View
Dumpling Depot (Website) - Top Delicious Dim Sum in Sunnyvale
Image Credit: Tom K. via Yelp
Located in Sunnyvale, Dumpling Depot has high-quality dumplings that you just have to try. There are over 15 options to choose from including vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, and meat options. What makes these dumplings so special? The skins are translucent, thin, and delicate. They are perfectly cooked and come out steaming hot. There is a ton of variety in flavors with options like green chive and egg or lamb and zucchini. Dumpling Depot also serves all the classics like spicy beef tendons and marinated pigs ears. So there is truly something here for everyone. Add Dumpling Depot to the top of your bucket list restaurants.
562 S Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale
Rice and Noodles Asian Kitchen (Website) - Best Campbell Dim Sum
Image Credit: Rice + Noodles Asia Kitchen via Yelp
Rice and Noodles Asian Kitchen doesn’t have your typical pushcarts and bamboo baskets. Instead, dim sum is made to order and done so flawlessly. Rice and Noodles has classic dim sum and a ton of Asian fusion options you can’t find anywhere else. The squid ink and lobster dumplings are fun and tasty. Lobster, potato, corn, and cilantro are wrapped in a thin, black, squid ink dumpling skin. If you are vegan, they also have a vegan bao bun full of soy protein that will trick even serious meat-eaters. If you need more they also serve boba!
930 W Hamilton Ave #110, Campbell
Saigon Seafood Harbor (Website) - Best Dim Sum in Sunnyvale
Image Credit: SaigonHarbors.com
Saigon Seafood Harbor is one of the most popular dim sum destinations in the South Bay. If you are dining in on the weekend, there will be a wait but it is well worth it. The egg tarts here get rave reviews. They have a buttery flaky crust on the outside and a slightly sweet, eggy custard on the inside. For something more savory, the Shanghai Pork dumplings are divine. These dumplings are Saigon Seafood Harbor’s xiao long bao. They are tender on the outside and salty and soupy on the inside. Just get two orders right off the bat. Saigon Seafood Harbor is your soon-to-be new favorite dim sum spot.
1135 Lawrence Expy, Sunnyvale
Yum Cha Palace (Website) - Best Dim Sum in Menlo
Yum Cha Palace is the kind of dim sum place that serves absolutely any and every kind of dim sum you could dream up. The sesame balls are a must-try here. They have a thin layer of sesame seeds on the outside and they are filled with a sweet red bean paste on the inside. If you are looking for something more savory then the sticky rice lotus leaf wrap is for you. There is something special about eating food wrapped in a lotus leaf. The lotus leaf gives the sticky rice this earthy flavor and it is stuffed with salty Chinese sausage. If you are in need of a dim sum fix, Yum Cha Palace has got you covered.
1039 El Camino Real, Menlo Park
Dynasty Chinese Seafood Restaurant (http://dynasty.cafes-world.com/) - Amazing Dim Sum in San Jose
Dynasty Chinese Seafood Restaurant is almost always packed and for good reason. Their dim sum is top-notch. With a sizeable menu, Dynasty Chinese has a variety of authentic options such as duck’s tongue or jellyfish and pork shank. If you like the classics, the Peking duck here is to die for. The skin is crispy and flavorful and the meat is tender and falls of the bone. The sui mai and har gow are as good as it gets. For the serious dim sum aficionado, you can get married here. Just an FYI.
1001 Story Rd, San Jose, CA 95122