How To Eat Your Way Around Hong Kong
Don't click this if you're hungry.
Hong Kong is a mecca for foodies. A bustling metropolis full of Michelin-starred restaurants, street food vendors and bars all jammed alongside family-run eateries, dim sum delights and bakeries. Great food is often hidden up alleys or deep in shopping centres and while it’s hard to find a truly bad meal in Hong Kong, with so much choice it can also be hard to know where to start. Here are eight must-try tastes of Hong Kong.
Where: Mui Kee – Shop 11-12, 4th Floor, Fa Yuen Street Market, Mong Kok, Hong Kong
If you’re going to eat like a local, start with the breakfast of (local) champions. Congee is a thick, savoury rice porridge that’s served plain or with your choice of additions. The family-run Mui Kee restaurant is hidden on the 3rd storey (though it’s listed as the 4th floor) of an unremarkable shopping centre, but it does one of the city’s best breakfasts. Inside you’ll find people hunched over bowls of steaming comfort food, adding chunks of fish belly or pork meatballs and dunking fried bread fritters. A side of marinated fresh fish skin sounds crazy, but totally works.
#2 Egg Custard Tart
Where: Hoover Cake Shop – 136 Nga Tsin Wai Road, Kowloon City, Hong Kong
Flaky, sweet and gooey, who doesn’t love an egg tart? Available at almost every bakery across Hong Kong (alongside other classic delights like pineapple buns and pork floss buns) the only rule with these babies is to eat them while they’re still warm. Tai Cheong Bakery is the most hyped spot to pick up these oozing treats but for our money Hoover Cake Shop is the true champion. Encased in perfect crumbly pastry, these tarts are made with duck eggs and packed with a rich yellow custard. Get in my mouth.
#3 Milk Tea
Where: Lan Fong Yuen – Ground Floor, 2 Gage Street, Central, Hong Kong
This iconic beverage of Hong Kong is brewed through what looks like a stocking and served hot or cold with evaporated (or sometimes condensed) milk. Stalls and shops selling the drink often create their own top-secret blends of tea, and pride themselves on the “smoothness” of the drink. The tiny Lan Fong Yuen stall has been doing it in the same way for over half-a-century, and there’s a damn good reason why.
#4 Pork Buns
Where: Tim Ho Wan – Shop 12A, Hong Kong Station Podium Level 1, IFC Mall, Central, Hong Kong (other branches also scattered around Hong Kong)
The Char Siu Bao (pork buns) made at Tim Ho Wan are the Taylor Swift of the food world. They’re fluffy, worryingly addictive and everyone is talking about them – but for good reason. Different to every other pork bun you’ve had, they’re baked rather than steamed and the juicy barbecue pork is inside a crumbly, sweet, pastry-like shell. Famous for being the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world, the original Tim Ho Wan was in Mong Kok, but there are now several outposts across Hong Kong (and soon Sydney!) where you can order these buns and other dim sum treats. We found the shortest queues at Tim Ho Wan in the IFC Mall in Central.
#5 Beef Brisket Noodles
Where: Wah Lam Noodle Restaurant – Ground Floor, 5-11 Thomson Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Don’t expect comfy seats or particularly friendly service at Wah Lam Restaurant – just meltingly soft brisket, perfect toothsome noodles and a rich beefy broth that you can smell from down the street. Tucked away in Wan Chai this restaurant has generous servings, reasonable prices and none of the queues you might see at the more famous Kau Kee Noodle Restaurant. Locals swear by Wah Lam – you should too.
#6 Roast Goose
Where: Yat Lok Barbecue Restaurant – 34-38 Stanley Street, Central, Hong Kong
Roasted meats are a staple of Hong Kong, with many restaurants displaying bronzed pork, duck and goose in their windows. Yung Kee Restaurant often gets the tourist dollar, but many locals swear by the far smaller and simpler Yat Lok for its crispy skin goose and incredible value ($32AUD for a half goose, compared to at least $40AUD in other restaurants.) They do mixed plates of glossy goose and char siu pork, but just a bowl of the roast goose leg noodle soup will have you grinning, slurping and licking your bowl.
#7 Dai Pai Dong
Where: Tai Chung Wah – 539 Fok Wing Street, Cheung Sha Wan, Hong Kong
Not a type of food but more a style of eating, Dai Pai Dongs are large open-air food stalls with seating. Massively popular for more than 100 years, there are now fewer than 30 left in Hong Kong because of traffic congestion and um, health restrictions. But don’t let that keep you away from a delicious and truly authentic eating experience. Head straight to Tai Chung Wah (reserve a table in advance through your hotel or a local mate) and get stuck in. It’s far from glamorous but the oyster stuffed pancakes, pork knuckle and roast chicken are incredibly cheap and taste out of this world. A word of advice though – while the menu has pictures, you have to write down your own order in Chinese. We found a patient fellow diner who was more than willing to help us out in exchange for a beer.
#8 Chocolate Strawberry Daiquiri
Where: Feather Boa – 38 Staunton Street, Soho, Hong Kong
After a long day of eating (and probably shopping) a quality cocktail is going to be required. Sure you could go check out the view from the world’s highest bar (the very swanky, very expensive Ozone, on top of the Ritz Carlton) but if it’s a more relaxed, fun night you’re after check out Feather Boa. What used to be an antique shop is now a hidden bar (look for the blue curtain) full of vintage furniture, retro-music and the best damn daiquiri you’ve ever had. Pick your fruit, then let the bartender coat your glass in intense chocolate cocoa. Bliss.
(Lead image: Robyn Lee/Flickr)