When we talk of yum cha nowadays, it's like marking the food we want on a dim sum sheet and the food would be served to your table. However, in the old times, it's not in this way. The dim sums were carried in carts and trolleys, and people walk over to get their desire dim sums back to their table and the taken dim sums were marked on a dim sum card. Built in 1926, the Lin Heung Tea House has not switched from the old ways to modern ways. It kept the traditional Chinese restaurant style, from the decor to services to food. It is one of the tea houses that remained in business over the decades. At the entrance is a gorgeous sign of the restaurant's name. There is a counter selling Chinese tea leaves when you first step in. Then there's a staircase leading up to the dining section. While the entrance is gorgeous, the dining area is sort of a bit contrasting. The restaurant is buzzling, and a bit crowded. The chatters of people and busy waiters roaming around and pushing out dim sum carts. It's a place fully indulged in the old buzzling local atmosphere and culture. The decor is very simple, with white fluorescent light and fans hung on the ceiling. The plain white surroundings emphasized the antique-style wooden tables and chairs, which shows a hint of elegance.
'One cup and two pieces', a common colloquial saying, refers to drinking tea while enjoying dim sum. Drinking tea is a prominent part in the custom of going yum cha at a tea house for Chinese people. The purpose of drinking tea is to settle your stomach when having dim sums and facilitate digestion. Therefore, the first thing as you sit down at a table, you are asked for which kind of tea you would want for the meal. This remains the same custom nowadays, but in the past, people usually use bowls and saucers for drinking tea instead of using a teapot like we do these days. Here, as a traditional tea house, offers the traditional way of drinking tea as well. Nonetheless, to the convenience for some people, they also offer teapots too. The waiter asked us which way we would like to use, and we, not wanting to make a mess, picked using teapots. Once settled with the tea and dim sum card, we set off seeking dim sums from the carts. It would be an exciting experience to many who'd never or seldom encounter such old-style tea houses or restaurants. It was also an amusement to watch people crowding at the dim sum cart to ask and get dim sums. We were only seeking some small bites so we merely grabbed three dim sums back to our seats. First is the Pork Liver Siu Mai. The siu mai are not like the ones we normally see which are wrapped in a yellow layer. Instead, it's a big piece of meat shaped like a meat ball and topped with a large piece of pork liver. Such kind of siu mai, without the yellow layer, is not exclusive but it's not very common among restaurants in Hong Kong. I personally think that the flavor of the meat can be tasted more clearly in this way. The siu mai here are indeed a delight to have. There was a pretty distinct freshness of the meat, and it sort of gave an al dente texture as you bite it. The pork liver was good too, but not exactly flabbergasting.
Then we had one very typical Chinese dim sum --- the Chinese Sponge Cake. The loaf was of a decent size. The faint aroma of the cake was tingling and totally adoring. The texture of the cake was really spongy and fluffy. As for the taste, it was really pleasurable to find it not over sweetened.
Last but not least, we had the Chinese Sausage Roll. I personally was not fond of this dim sum as I have had a terrible one in other places before and it was such a nightmare that I don't really want to try it. However my friend convinced me to try a bit so I did. It turned out much better than I expected. The bun's soft and very warming. The flavor of the Chinese sausage was not too overwhelming, just at the right strength of flavor, with a hint of sweetness that made it savory.
Was the food flabbergasting? I dare not say so. It was great but not stunningly great for me. Yet it was a really special experience to have dined here. Even though it was not exactly cheap to dine here, I'm still glad that I've come as it had given me a chance to see, know and experience the traditional tea house. This place made me feel like I have been back to the old days. It is most exhilarating to see that such traditional means have yet to be forgotten, and I'd like to pay my respect for keeping all of these tradition and customs and allowing modern people to have the opportunity to feel it.