In addition to being a global business center and the cosmopolitan center of Asia, Hong Kong is one of the world’s top eating destinations. A kaleidoscope of tastes, textures, and aromas blanket the massive city and it’s enough to send any self-respecting person into a full-blown meltdown. Fear not though, we’re here to guide you to all the hot spots, food centers, noodle shops, dim sum houses and beyond.
With such a massive amount of deliciousness available at your fingertips, a proper Hong Kong eating experience requires some research and planning. Since the city is such a global and ex-pat heavy destination, virtually every cuisine is represented, and while the city is vast, excellent public transportation and taxi systems make traveling for a good meal a worthwhile endeavor. Like much of Asia, Hong Kong is a place of specialization; the best small restaurants and vendors specialize in one dish or a specific type of cuisine and do them exceedingly well. There’s no 384 item Cheesecake Factory menu here. That’s why we recommend focusing on a type of cuisine or dish and seeking out the best of what Hong Kong has to offer. One final tip: think like a local. Locals are extremely friendly and take their eating very seriously, so don’t be shy about asking for tips and places to eat. From cabbies to service workers to business people, nearly everyone is passionate about food and will be happy to offer advice.
The options are endless so we did some research (and eating) for you. Our favorite options will redefine what you think of as traditional Asian cuisine.
Perhaps the pride of the city, the fatty, crispy roasted meats of Hong Kong are so good they’ll blow the top of your head right off. The pork is amazing, of course, but don’t overlook the roast goose. Yat Lok (G/F, 34-38 Stanley Street, Central) is a local legend and perhaps the best in the city, but Yung Kee (32-40 Wellington Street, Central) is also top notch.
Seems obvious right? While there are endless varieties from every culture available to try in Hong Kong, our favorites occupy two ends of the spectrum. For fans of tradition, beef brisket noodles are a local delicacy and don’t get any better than Kau Kee (21 Gough Street, Central). Sure it’s low on service and ambiance but the noodles are so good you won’t care. Wonton noodles are another local obsession and some of the best can be found at Mak An Kee (37 Wing Kut Street, Hong Kong). At the other end of the spectrum, Foxtail and Broomcorn (84 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan) is modern, clean, and packed with hip locals. This decidedly non-traditional take on noodles is consistently awesome and features interesting regional specialties.
The third leg in the traditional food holy trinity, dim sum is a national obsession and an absolute can’t miss when in Hong Kong. A true weekend morning dim sum experience is tough to describe...bloodsport doesn’t do it justice. Jostling, yelling, pushing-.these are not uncommon in the typical dim sum experience; locals do not mess around. Go-to dishes? BBQ pork buns, shrimp har gow and shu mai, beef balls, just eat everything without fear. Oh, and don’t forget the chicken feet. Tim Ho Wan (various locations) is justifiably famous for a reason, do not miss this spot. Waits are long but worth it and the buns are a religious experience. Other options include Luk Yu Tea House (24-26 Stanley Street, Central) for a truly traditional experience and Dim Sum Square (88 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan), a local institution and lunchtime favorite in the Sheung Wan neighborhood.
To truly eat like a local, a food center is a must. Redefining what you might think of a “food court”, these institutions feature everything from regional specialties to some of the most insane dishes you could imagine. Show up with an open mind, an empty stomach, and a strong constitution; your bravery will be rewarded. This is how real travelers eat. The Java Road Food Center (99 Java Road, North Point) was featured on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations for a reason--it’s an armageddon of delicious eats. Local business people and expats alike flock to the Sheung Wan Food Center (Queens Road Central and Wing Lok streets) for its incredibly diverse range of cuisines and the confusing but preposterously delicious Italian fusion food from the renowned ABC Kitchen.
Being the international city that it is, Hong Kong’s incredible variety of non-Asian cuisine is also not to be missed. From Japanese yakitori to British pubs, it’s all out there and all delicious. Here are some of our favorites…
Let’s face it, we all need our coffee fix and Brew Brothers’s ( 33 Hillier Street, Sheung Wan) expertly made Ozzie-style flat whites and lattes are the perfect answer. Don’t sleep on their breakfast options either. While it’s still technically Chinese food, the hip Sohofama (Unit SG09-SG14, Block A, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central) is anything but traditional. The modern dishes and outstanding cocktail list make for a great start to an evening out. Don’t miss out on the pork and black truffle xiao long bao (soup dumplings); they’re the star of the menu.
Speaking of cocktails, the cocktail renaissance is alive and well in Hong Kong just as it is in the states. Start with an excellent old fashioned at Three Monkeys (151-155 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan), then move to Quinary (A56-58 Hollywood Rd, Central) for cutting edge libations in a cool, laboratory-style environment. Finally, finish at The Blackbird (8 Lyndhurst Terrace, Hong Kong) where the whiskey flows like the Salmon of Capistrano and you can take in the scene from their excellent patio.
Another can’t miss, modern-meets-traditional hotspot is the ridiculously popular Yardbird (33 Bridges Street). Japanese whiskey and amazingly delicious yakitori are the order of the evening. While everything on the menu is awesome, it’s the KFC (kentucky fried cauliflower) and grilled skewers that are life changing. Waits can be long, but you can order a drink from the bar and enjoy it while standing outside in the street. If only US cities were this civilized.
On that British tradition tip, no trip to Hong Kong would be complete without a trip to a proper British pub. Thankfully, decades of colonial British history and a large British expat community makes finding a properly poured pint relatively easy. One of the Soho neighborhood’s beloved institutions, The Globe ( 45-53A Graham Street) boasts an excellent list of brews and a delicious menu of western and global dishes. Fish and chips are, as expected, awesome, and the Moroccan-spiced lamb ribs are completely insane. Cheers lads.
Sure, that may seem like a lot but trust us, we’re just scratching the surface. Research your meals, try everything you can, and get ready to have your mind blown; eating in Hong Kong is definitely the adventure of a lifetime.