Dragon Boat Festival lands on 3 June this year, aka this Friday!
If you’re a keen planner, you already have a freezer-full of rice dumplings prepped and ready for steaming and so, this is not a list that concerns you. This is for the few of us that have regretfully not planned ahead and are mentally prepared to spend the next couple days scrambling for last minute orders of the traditional bamboo leaf-wrapped delicacies. You’ll notice that this list is missing a few important names — they’ve sold out already! Set an earlier alarm next year — but these will manage to satiate your rice dumplings cravings all the same.
The best sticky rice dumplings in Hong Kong for Dragon Boat Festival 2022
Spring Moon at The Peninsula
Price: from HK$308
Six-year Michelin Star awardee Spring Moon’s reputation precedes them as the the city’s most authentic Cantonese dining experience led by executive chef Lam Yuk Ming. For Dragon Boat Festival, the restaurant creates four different dumpling sets: Premium, a rice dumpling that showcases Spring Moon’s excellent technique with exquisite ingredients with an abalone sauce pre-seasoning, and a diced fresh abalone, 30-head dried Middle Eastern abalone, prized dried scallops and Yunnan ham filling. Deluxe combines a bamboo and lotus-leaf wrap with rosé wine-marinated Hungarian pork filling, while “Golden Twins” is a two-in-one serve of sweet red date paste and lychee with savoury lotus seed. Lastly, Supreme adds on Spring Moon’s famed XO chilli sauce from 1986 to the Premium dumpling.
Spring Moon, 1/F, The Peninsula Hong Kong, Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 2696 6760
The Legacy House at Rosewood Hong Kong
Chinese executive chef Li Chi-Wai at Rosewood’s The Legacy House maintains a tradition-led, tried-and-true process when it comes to making rice dumplings. Each are prepared fresh daily and follows a meticulous process of soaking glutinous rice in alkaline water for a softer bite, before being stuffed with either a sweet or savoury filling. For the former, The Legacy House wraps together whole chestnuts with lotus seed for a steamed sweet rice dumpling, while the latter is the auspicious creation of savoury “eight treasures”, with six-head South African abalone, pork belly, chestnut, lotus seed, conpoy, chanterelle, porcini and shiitake.
The Legacy House, Level Five, Rosewood Hong Kong, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 3891 8732
Price: from HK$88
Expect Chilli Fagara’s rice dumplings to come with the restaurant’s signature “Ma La Tang” twist. The Dragon Boat Zhongzi recreates classic flavours with a Sichuan-cured meat filling made with Iberico pork and mixed beans, a salted egg yolk centre and true-to-tradition glutinous rice. A final wrap and fold of bamboo leaves offers a mild herbal aftertaste.
Chilli Fagara, 7 Old Bailey Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2796 6866
Shangri-La Hotels (Island Shangri-La, Kowloon Shangri-La, Kerry Hotel)
Price: from HK$318 (Island Shangri-La), from HK$228 (Kowloon Shangri-La), HK$248 (Kerry Hotel)
Within the three Shangri-La Hotel brands, each resident Cantonese restaurant has crafted a rice dumplings of their own for the festival. At Michelin-starred Summer Place of Island Shangri-La, executive chef Leung Yu King elevates the classic recipe with abalone, fish maw and 88-month Joselito Iberico ham filling, while bringing back longtime favourite of abalone, conpoy and organic pork belly. For sweet options, Summer Palace creates a 60-year dried tangerine peel dumpling with red beans.
Across the harbour at Kowloon Shangri-La, Michelin-starred Shang Palace creates a six-piece Asia Gift Box featuring rice dumplings with inventive new fillings inspired by various Asian flavours including smoked duck breast, black garlic and red date longan. For more traditional makes, there’s the premium 27-head Yoshihama Abalone and Yunnan ham, and a vegetarian option of morel mushrooms, imperial fungus and five grains rice. Meanwhile, Kerry Hotel’s Hung Tong serves the very simple make of traditional sticky rice dumplings with Yunnan ham and conpoy.
Summer Palace, Island Shangri-La, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong, +852 2820 8551
Shang Palace, Kowloon Shangri-La, 64 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 2733 8836
Hung Tong, Kerry Hotel, Hong Kong, 38 Hung Luen Road, Hung Hom Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 2252 5320
Yuè at Sheraton Hong Kong Tung Chung Hotel
Price: from HK$168
At Sheraton Tung Chung’s Yuè, chef Jacky Chung recreates the traditional savoury rice dumplings with a premium ingredient list of abalone, mushrooms, lotus seeds, mung beans, roasted pork belly, salted egg yolk and conpoy all tucked within the chewy folds of sticky glutinous rice. Newly added for Dragon Boat Festival this year is Yuè’s sweetened rice dumpling, made with the ever-classic combination of 20-year-aged dried tangerine peel and soft red bean paste.
Yuè, 2/F, 9 Yi Tung Road, Sheraton Hong Kong Tung Chung Hotel, Tung Chung, Hong Kong, +852 2535 0028
Sing Yin Cantonese Dining at W Hotel
Price: from HK$128
The sticky rice dumplings from W Hotel’s Cantonese restaurant Sing Yin are your most traditional kind with savoury abalone and conpoy, followed by sweet red bean paste in black glutinous rice. But the bamboo wrapped packages — in the classic triangular pyramid — also comes double packaged in colourful boxes of yellow, purple and green that translate the restaurant’s modern take on classic Chinese delicacies.
Sing Yin Cantonese Dining, 1/F, W Hong Kong, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 3717 2848
Golden Leaf at Conrad Hong Kong
Price: from HK$208
Pick from a choice of two at Conrad Hong Kong’s Cantonese dining destination Golden Leaf, created by executive chef Tony Wan in either a sweet or savoury serve. The Deluxe Assorted Meat Rice Dumpling embraces classic Cantonese flavours with a decadent filling made of tender pork belly, roasted duck, conpoy, egg yolk and mushroom, while the Sweet Rice Dumpling, available in miniature sizes of sets of three, are filled with mashed lotus seed paste.
Golden Leaf, Lobby Level, Conrad Hong Kong, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong, +852 2822 8870
Lead image courtesy of The Legacy House