Hyatt Regency, Beijing - Weekend Dim Sum lunch at Cang Yue.

What is the perfect lunch? A decent price? A place where the dishes keep flowing freely? Is it an afternoon where you simply sit back and have your needs met by waiting staff? Or is it an afternoon when you feel lazy to do anything but have dishes upon dishes brought to you? Maybe it is an occasion when delicate dishes, nicey portioned, bring a smile to your face? How about all of the above? Foregoing my regular brunch on a Sunday, I found myself trying the Weekend Dim Sum Lunch at Cang Yue, the Cantonese restaurant at Hyatt Regency in Wangjing. 

1. The Concept

We all know what brunch is - clinking of glasses, countless visits to the buffet as the drinks flow non stop - it is festive, is it not? But it can also be exhausting, the aforementioned walks to the buffet area and potentially wrestling with a guest for the last bao zi.  Don't despair; that is not what you can expect at Cang Yue. It is a return to civilization, in many ways. You are greeted with a menu and you simply choose what you want. This goes on for 3 hours! Finally, included in the price is free flow black tea - the lunch was clearly designed with the restaurant's main client base in mind, the locals. Honestly, I thought it a bit odd to have black tea, considering the romantic nature of Jasmine tea or the soothing qualities of green tea. In short, I found the black tea uninspiring. 

Black fungus, cucumber, pickled chili

Cabbage and Broccoli as half portions 

2. The Taste

The menu is impressive, but as expansive as it is,  it can be intimidating if this was your first time trying a dim sum lunch, but having had dim sum lunches before, I knew how to navigate it.  It is a very generous menu, with 11 different courses offering 44 dishes! There is a selection of  other dishes that can be ordered a la carte to complement your lunch. If you feel overwhelmed, though, simply ask the efficient restaurant manager Robin, ably assisted by the lovely Chelsea, to make recommendations for you. On a side note though, after trying 11 dishes, I surrendered. The portions, you will find, are extremely liberal.

I suggest you start with the appetisers. Obvious, you might say. But I want to emphasise this because they highlight the value of texture in seemingly simple dishes. Each dish, from the Marinated white turnip, dry rose and vinegar to the Marinated jellyfish and Chinese cabbage had something unique in terms of texture. Were I trying to be pretentious, I would name the appetisers, 'Textures'; really beautifully done by Chef. Similarly, there are also some wonderful flavours, from delicate sour with a hint of sweetness to almost palate-cleaning-like delicateness - the question is,  which is which? Try them all. After the appetisers, I had the Broccoli and Cabbage, two separate dishes. However, to avoid wasting, I asked for them to served as half portions.  I love that you have an option as to how you want yours cooked. When in doubt, simple have Chef cook it his style. 

Steamed salted egg yolk bun - just heavenly in its lightness and full flavour. 
I then made sure I had some typical dim sum classics, like the excellent Pork dumpling Shanghai style - it was so full of flavour and moisture that there was really no need for soy sauce. Nice. I also had  a piece of heaven in the Steamed salted egg yolk bun - texture to die for. Finally, what is dim sum without a good Seafood hot and sour soup - this is not as easy as it seems. It is about balance of these two principle flavours, isn't it? I don't want to be huffing and puffing because it is too hot, nor do I want to cringe because it is too sour. I believe you can have these flavours with 'subtlety' the key - that is exactly what I had. Highly recommended. 

Then a short break and...Dessert. Ah dessert! I tried two of four- the Double boiled White fungus Soup and snow pear as well as the Sweetened mango soup with grapefruit and pomelo. The former, as the name suggests, is double boiled , ensuring a  texture that is different from the savoury black fungus mentioned earlier. As a dessert, the sweetness is very subtle and will appeal to dessert lovers with a more sophisticated palate, not adulterated by stereotypical Western overly-sweet desserts.  My winner for the day, though, is the mango soup. The delicately child dessert is smooth and light, beautifully interrupted by explosions of tint pomelo pieces which burst forth with light sourness, balancing the pieces of fresh mango that also bathe in the soup. I could not think of  a better way to bring to an end my dim sum lunch at Cang Yue. 

Pork ribs

3. Service

The key for me was the speed with which dishes were served. Having an a la carte lunch experience instead of a buffet is one thing, but delivery time of dishes makes a difference. There is a fine line between serving freshly prepared dishes and doing it it in good time - this is achieved. When the restaurant got a little busy, I loved seeing the hostess getting involved as well, taking orders and serving water. 

4. The Verdict

The Weekend Dim Sum Lunch, held on Saturdays and Sundays, is an essential experience for foreigners resident and visiting. It is quite an education for novices to the concept, showing them that dim sum is much more than dumplings and congee! At 268RMB, it is competitive with brunch prices around the city. I do wonder though if the menu could not be downsized just a bit to make it more guest friendly while at the same time dropping the price? When people see many dishes on a  menu, in an effort to get as much value for money, there is a tendency to over-indulge and worse, waste.  

As a lunch, however, But it lacks the frenetic pace of brunches, ensuring what I call a 'lazy experience in which you take out a book or newspaper, check boxes on the menu and let staff do the rest. Order a bottle of house wine or even better, a bottle of house sparkling, the Chandon, from the a la carte menu, and enjoy your lunch with some affordable bubbles. 

One of the things that struck me was the freshness of ingredients and also while buffets are about quantity, there is a qualitative feeling to this experience, notwithstanding the very generous menu. 

At Cang Yue, the team ensures that one has a refined afternoon which at the same time is very relaxed, allowing the guest to have that lazy lunch feeling, ideal for a Sunday afternoon. Quality, quality. 


Cang Yue, 
Hyatt Regency Wangjing, 
86 -10 - 8630 1234

Timing: 11h30-14h30
268RMB net

Futong Station, Line 14, Exit C
About a 7 minute walk. 

Brandon Stoltenkamp