[Penang] Dim sum breakfast at Leong Kee Tim Sum Restaurant (龍記點心茶樓), Rope Walk

Leong Kee Restaurant is one of the most popular dim sum restaurant in George Town’s old commercial quarter, i.e. the parallel streets branching off Penang Road: Chulia Street, Kampung Malabar, Campbell Street, Chowrasta Road, Tamil Lane, Kimberley Street and Prangin Road.

Opening at 5.30am each morning, Leong Kee is perhaps my least favourite dim sum spot, with its brusque service and more “rustic” renditions of the typical dim sum spread. We were back here last weekend to get an update on Leong Kee’s dim sum spread. We read somewhere that in Ipoh (another major foodie town in Malaysia), dim sum connoisseurs queue outside Foh San (one of Ipoh’s top dim sum restaurants) at 5.30am in the morning, so they can rush into the restaurant to grab a table when the restaurant opens its doors at 6am.

Thankfully, there was no such situation in Penang when we decided to come to Leong Kee at the crack of dawn (before sunrise, in fact) to experience having a dim sum breakfast at that early hour.

  1. The only item I’d come to Leong Kee for is their steamed HK-style “cheong fun”, which I thought was very well-made indeed - on the spot.

Drizzled with a savoury soysauce-based dressing, sprinkled with golden-fried shallots & served with a dollop of spicy chili paste, the “chee cheong fun” was delicate & soft, and the shrimps inside were sweet and fresh.

  1. Siu mai (pork-shrimp dumplings)

  1. Har gow (shrimp dumplings)

  1. Pan-fried radish cake (‘lo pat gou’) - don’t think I like the rendition here very much at all: the texture was too tough, and the cake tasted like ti was pan-fried the previous night, leaving it cold and greasy by the time it was served.

  1. Dai bao (big chicken bun) - quite a tasty rendition here.


  1. Fishpaste rolls with seaweed.

  1. Lor mai gai (steamed glutinous rice with chicken, pork, Chinese sausage) - tasted dry-ish and hard. Well, I’ve had friends who’d been here & also complained that the “lor mai gai” seemed undercooked. Avoid!

  1. Lai wong bao (buns with molten custard-salted duck’s eggyolk filling) - pretty good ones here, I’ll definitely order this again if I ever return.

  1. Pei tan choke (centtury egg-pork congee) - this is one of the “Big 5” items which the Cantonese here judge a dim sum restaurant by (besides siu mai, har gow, cha siu bao & cheong fun).

Our dim sum spread (including the tea) costed about RM65 (US$6.50) for two persons. We were here very early, 6.30am in fact, in order to experience how dim sum is traditionally served.


Leong Kee Tim Sum Restaurant (龍記點心茶樓)
110, Jalan Pintal Tali (Rope Walk)
10100 George Town, Penang
Tel: +6016-441 5492
Opening hours: 5.30am-12.30pm daily


Waking up that early for foodie related activity requires some major dedication…!

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I know - I fail that test sometimes. There was this very popular dumpling (“guotie”) stall in Chinatown Complex Food Centre in Smith Street, Singapore, which opens at 4.30am thereabouts. It sells out by 6am daily. I’d always, always wanted to try that but never got round to do it. :joy::joy:
One time, I actually got there at 6.15am, only to see a woman wiping the countertop of the stall clean. I asked her if she had any dumplings left, and she gave me a quizzical look & quipped, “You’re too late”. Mind you , it’s 6.15am!

In Penang, there is a chicken pie stall at Tanjung Bungah Market which sees long queues at 6am. It sells out completely within minutes. The stall only operates Fri, Sat & Sun each week.


Ask them to open at 2:30am, and I will actually make it, LOL.

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I was told of a Nasi Kandar (rice with curries) stall in Ayer Itam, Penang, which opens for business at 2.30am each weekday, and sells out way before 6am. There would be a long queue at the stall whenever it’s opened. I mean - RICE WITH CURRIES?!! At 2.30am?! I just have to go see it one day.

Taxi drivers, night shift workers, etc.?

My thoughts as well - night-shift workers. Plus those market vendors & workers at Ayer Itam market which usually opens for business at 6am. They would want a good, hearty breakfast before then.

When I was in Ipoh, I was brought by my Ipoh friends to Hong Hin Cafe, which has the best Hakka noodles in town. It opens at 5.30am, and by 7am, the place will be packed to the brim. Most of their clientele are market vendors/workers from the nearby Ipoh main market.

Usually, they sell out before 9am, and the cafe would be cleaned & shuttered for the day by 10am.

Clearly you haven’t gone out clubbing in a while. :wink: When I’m out in Singapore/KL, we are out at the clubs/bars until 2-3-4am, then we go out to get supper before heading home! It’s usually roti canai or mee goreng for me with a big mug of coffee or teh tarik, but my cousins order everything from nasi kandar, roti canai with fish curry and nasi lemak!

I have they have good business. Good Cantonese Dim Sum are highly underrated or underappreciated

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Not since 2000. :joy::joy::joy:

Too old, too heavy & too lazy.

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Yet, you are not too old, too heavy and too lazy for dim sum. Where is the logic?

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I fold at 10pm. Clubbing is definitely a no-no. :joy::joy::joy:

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold

Market stall in Lima
Credit: TXMX 2