Yong Pin is one of the “Big 5” dim sum breakfast spots located in the old commercial/retail section of George Town. The other ones are:
- Tho Yuen ([Penang, Malaysia] Cantonese dim sum breakfast at Tho Yuen (桃園茶樓雞飯) , Campbell Street),
- Leong Kee ([Penang] Dim sum breakfast at Leong Kee Tim Sum Restaurant (龍記點心茶樓), Rope Walk),
- Tai Tong ([Penang, Malaysia] Dim sum breakfast at Tai Tong Restaurant (大東酒楼), Cintra Street) and
- Yee Heong ([Penang] Dim sum breakfast at Yee Heong (宜香茶樓飯店), Campbell Street).
On average, I think Yong Pin might just be the best dim sum spot among the 5 in that area.
All 5 spots are within 5-10 minutes’ walk from each other, but all the basic dim sum staples (“siu mai”, “har gow”, “lor mai gai”, “dai bao”, “pei dan chok”, etc.) have their distinct flavours and textures. So, each of these dim sum spots have their own regular set of loyal clientele who opted for the one which suits their palate.
Yong Pin, which has been operating since 1981, is a favourite among many Penangites I know. It’s run by owner-dim sum chef, Chen Seck Yin, 37. His mother, Choong Siew Mei, takes care of the front of house.
I love their “siew mai” (pork-prawn dumplings) and har gow (shrimp dumplings(, which were well-made and pretty tasty. However, their shrimp-filled “cheong fun” has thicker flat noodles than the delicate version I tried at Leong Kee last week.
Yong Pin’s “lor mai gai” also has a drier texture than I’d have liked - this is their worst item on the menu - avoid it.
The “dai bao” here was also blander, although I can see their regular clientele making a beeline for those. I prefer my “dai bao” with more assertive flavours. But Yong Pin does deliver where it counts with very fresh, tasty “siu mai” and “haw gow”.
Many of the old Chinese staff have retired, and in their place are Indonesian wait-staff, working under close supervision of the older workers to ensure authenticity in the dim sum’s taste.
No menu for dim sum, as the ‘dim sum women’, bearing trays of freshly-steamed dim sum of various types will come to your table. Just pick and choose what catches your eye.
What we had:
- Siu Mai (pork-shrimp dumpings)
- Har gow (shrimp dumplings)
- Dai bao (large chicken-pork bun)
- Lor mai gai (glutinous rice with chicken, Chinese waxed sausage, pork)
- Pork-shrimp-dried oyster dumplings
- Chaozhou-style chive dumplings
- Shrimp-filled “cheong fun”
Our breakfast spread - everything, including a pot of refillable “Ti Kuan Yin” tea costs only US$12, more than enough for two persons.
A “yum cha” breakfast can be a noisy, raucuous affair on a Sunday morning, with family groups & all the din and chatter. But that’s all part of the fun. One of the unmissable breakfast experiences in George Town.
Yong Pin Restaurant (榕檳茶樓)
11-B & C, Jalan Sungai Ujong
10100, George Town, Penang
Tel: +604-261 1355
Operating hours: 6am-12 noon Tue-Sun for dim sum.
7pm-midnight Tue-Sun for Cantonese cooked dishes.