There should really be no surprise that I have a soft spot for dim sum and so Phoenix House was quite interesting to me.
Part of my family’s heritage, dim sum is a tradition I grew up with in California. Something we’d enjoy together as a family for brunch on the weekends, dim sum has essentially become my comfort food since living in Beijing. An indulgence that I treat myself to far less often than I’d like, I’ve managed to surround myself with friends who love dim sum with the same levels of passion and exuberance.
If you were a fly on the wall, you could fully expect to hear us critiquing every dim sum dish as each steamed basket was served, saying where one has had a juicier Cha Siu Bao, how this Cheung Fun compares to Lei Garden or where in Hong Kong you can find the best Egg Tarts. It’s a funny dynamic, because although there are pretty decent options for classic dim sum in Beijing (Lei Garden, Heng Shan Hui and Dragon Court 粤菜王府) and the recently opened Furongji that serves playful dim sum with a twist, there will never be too many and I will forever be on the look-out for more dim sum options in the capital.
And I’m excited to now share one of my go-to dim sum choices – Phoenix House 囍凤楼! I’ve been saving Phoenix House for a little while now as I think this dim sum house hits a sweet spot that reminds me so much of the Cantonese restaurants I knew growing up. In addition to serving up dim sum that is on point, they also offer Cantonese hot pot too!
Located in Beijing’s CBD at the corner of Guanghualu and Dawanglu, Phoenix House is well worth a trip if you are craving Cantonese food.
First thing to note is that the standards of interior decoration have improved markedly for Chinese restaurants. Phoenix House is actually quite cool inside and is constantly ram-packed so don’t expect to just turn up without a wait (especially on the weekends). There are gold phoenixes on the bright red walls and columns decorated with dragons, fresh tanks of exotic seafood line one wall by the staircase when you enter the main dining room and glass bottles of VitaSoy milk line the drinks bar. It has none of the hallmarks of a half-assed effort from a disinterested designer. A combo of nostalgic throwbacks with some slick modernities, Phoenix House truly stands out from the bland and forgettable to the tacky interior designs that other Cantonese restaurants showcase.
Street Entrance at the Corner of Dawang Lu and Guanghua Lu
1st Floor Reception with a Long Line at Any Given Time of Day
Phoenix House’s Logo
Neon Signage Dedicated to their Specialties
Drinks Bar Lined with Tea and VitaSoy Milk in Glass Bottles
Main Dining Tables with Black Partitions between Table Sections
Our Dining Throne with Two Large Tables Reserved for Big Groups and Our Own Sauce Station
Sitting at what feels like our dim sum throne, we waste no time with ordering. One person takes on the task of ordering dim sum for the table while another flips through the hot pot options and starts picking a selection of dishes to dunk into our sticky chicken broth.
Dim Sum Menu to start Marking Down Your Own Order
Their A La Carte Menu with Mostly Hot Pot Specialties
Phoenix House’s Hot Pot Specialty: Fish Maw & Chicken Soup Base
(RMB 298 for half chicken or RMB 498 for full chicken)
It’s important to start with a range of dim sum as these come out pretty quickly and will help you pass the time while you impatiently wait for your massive pot of chicken soup to come to a boil. This is pretty much the order things came out in – our first batch of dim sum followed by all the Hot Pot dishes and then our second batch of dim sum and finishing with a few of our favorite dim sum desserts.
Curry Fish Balls 咖喱鱼蛋拼盘 (RMB 58)
BBQ Pork Cheung Fun 叉烧肠粉 (RMB 28)
Steamed Quail Egg Shaomai 鹌鹑蛋烧卖 (RMB 32)
BBQ Pork Buns 蚝星叉烧包 (RMB 25)
Simmering Fish Maw & Chicken Soup Base (Half Chicken for RMB 298)
Free-Flow Hot Pot Sauces
Broth that’s so good you drink it before you dilute it for Hot Pot
Australian Wagyu Beef (RMB 198)
Sliced Grass Carp Fish (RMB 68)
Imported Fatty Beef from the US (RMB 188)
Fried Rolls (RMB 38)
Fresh Shrimp Dumplings (RMB 38)
Sliced Pork Neck (RMB 68)
Fresh Bamboo Stalk 鲜竹笙 (RMB 68)
Fresh Prawns (RMB 498 per 500grams)
Beef Chow Fun (RMB 48)
Chao Shou (RMB 32)
Deep-Fried Pork Puff 安虾咸水角 (RMB 26)
Glutinous Rice Cake 白糖糕 (RMB 20)
Egg Tarts (RMB 25)
Egg Waffle Dessert (RMB 18)
While we went to town on the hot pot this time with all the expensive wagyu beef and fresh prawns, I’ve been back since and been a bit more sensible with our hot pot selection. Generally, our preference is to eat our fill of dim sum and have that gorgeous, sticky fish maw and chicken soup just to drink!
My biggest qualm with Phoenix House is the long wait on the weekends (try to go for a late lunch if you can’t get a reservation) and their picture-less dim sum menu is not ideal since I’m not always sure what everything is. While we generally know how to order all the classic dim sum favorites, I’ve also gotten it wrong a few times – i.e., I ordered the quail egg shaomai instead of the normal shaomai with crab roe on top.
Overall, Phoenix House delivers the whole package – the restaurant ambiance is stylish and fun, the service is quick (they give you a button to press when you need someone), the dim sum is on point and that fish maw + chicken soup is heavenly.
Phoenix House’s Contact Details:
- Address: At the southwest intersection of Guanghua Lu and Dawanglu, L101, Bldg A, Winterless Center, 1 Xi Dawang Lu, Chaoyang District
- Tel: 6592-7708
- Opening Hours: Saturday and Sunday from 10AM-2:30PM and 5PM-12:00AM, Monday-Friday from 11:00AM-2:30PM and 5PM-12AM
Kristen Lum has an accomplished background in PR, communications and events in China. Born and raised in California, Kristen has been based in Beijing since 2006 and is founder of the lifestyle blog called LumDimSum, covering mostly restaurant news and reviews alongside upcoming events around town that relate to Beijing’s muti-faceted, quickly-developing creative industries like art, music, film, health and fitness, fashion, nightlife, charity events, and travel tips.