Luk Yu, first opened in 1933, is the last of the old teahouses remaining in Hong Kong.
Unless you go back to history, you can’t get any closer to old Hong Kong than this wonderful Art Deco-era Cantonese restaurant, with its ceiling fans, spittoons, individual wooden booths for couples, marble tabletops, wood paneling, and stained-glass windows.
After 11am, dim sum is no longer served by trolley but from an English menu with pictures. For dinner, there’s an English menu listing more than 200 items, including all the Cantonese favorites, though you’ll be surrounded mostly by tourists.
Luk Yu is not only famous, but infamous: On November 30, 2002, a wealthy businessman was murdered execution-style by a mainland Chinese hit man. Witnesses said the assassin was calm and cold: he ate his dim sum, paid the bill, walked behind his target, shot him in the head, and nonchalantly strolled out of the teahouse.
Despite this dark blemish on its history, Luk Yu is worth visiting.
The dim sum here is a bit different from the usual dim sum you’ll get at one of those run of the mill chow houses in Hong Kong but here it is the ambiance that speaks the loudest.
At one time, the servers – all older men – were famous for their rudeness. Non-regulars could count on aloof and surly treatment (if they could even get in, that is). But when I’ve never had an unpleasant experience there.