Kam Sha Kok, where the dim sum is handmade at 3 a.m. daily
Sha Kok Estate Food Centre in Shatin hides a popular dim sum restaurant: Kam Sha Kok. It was converted from dai pai dongs that used to stand on the same site and retains that casual, jovial atmosphere of the old street food stalls.
Kam Sha Kok serves dim sum from dawn. Each steaming basketful of dumplings and buns is handmade from scratch on the premises. The restaurant opens at 5 a.m. and the chefs, formerly from Lei Garden Restaurant, prepare all the dim sum in an open kitchen.
“Being a dim sum chef can be tiring. You get up at 2 or 3 in the morning every day and you work at least 10 hours," says Fa Jeh, a chef at Kam Sha Kok. "But I am already so used to it after all these years and I enjoy it so much I do not feel stressed. My son enjoys preparing dim sum with me too."
Dim sum steamed to order is practically taken for granted in Hong Kong; dim sum prepared from scratch right before your eyes is less common. At Kam Sha Kok, freshness is the golden rule and chefs work around the clock to ensure the ha gao is fresher than daisies. Dim sum that has not been sold at the end of the day is sent to elderly homes nearby.
"We're really dedicated to good ingredients, but we don't charge a lot," says master chef Chun Gor. "Our dim sum averages about HK$ 11 a basket."
The sheer number of dim sum sold at Kam Sha Kok -- in the thousands -- is evidence of its lip-smacking goodness.
In the evening, Kam Sha Kok stops its dim sum service and sells Cantonese dishes instead. The restaurant is particularly popular for its stir fries, cooked in the traditional manner with plenty of "wok hei" -- the fiery "breath of the wok" that gives Cantonese food its magic.
Dim sum served from 5 a.m. till sold out, usually after lunch hours. Kam Sha Kok, Shop 2, 3, 4, 6, Sha Kok Estate Food Centre, Shatin, New Territories, tel +852 2692 2022