Six Great Meals in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is one of Asia’s great food epicenters. With the exception of maybe good Tex Mex, you can satisfy just about any craving in an afternoon of wandering the streets of Central, SoHo, or Kowloon. We spent less than two weeks in Hong Kong and certainly aren’t the leading authorities on its food scene (there are heaps of bona fide HK Foodies who could school us to Shenzhen and back). But I can tell you that this is a city where we just showed up and ate well every day, and you can too. Here are a few ideas for your next visit, including restaurant recommendations and prices (in USD).

6. Dim Sum

Eating dim sum in Hong Kong is a no-brainer, as it’s so emblematic of the territory’s geographic location and Cantonese population. For those of you unfamiliar, dim sum is a style of Cantonese food served in small or bite-sized portions, usually in steamer baskets or fancy little plates. You might also have heard it referred to as yum cha, meaning “going to drink tea”, as tea is almost always served as part of a dim sum meal.

Some of our favorites are har gow (delicate shrimp dumplings with thin, translucent skin), char siu baau (a BBQ pork bun topped with a sugary glaze), and steamed spare ribs. Remember our post on soup dumplings a while back? Xiao long bao also belongs to the dim sum compendium.

Where to Get It:

There might be a hundred places to get dim sum in the city, but you could do worse than starting with Tim Ho Wan, known as one of the cheapest – probably the cheapest – Michelin starred restaurants in the world. We went to the one located on a lower level of the Hong Kong Station. It doesn’t look like much, but you can tell it’s something special by the ever-present crowds of hungry patrons waiting for tables.

[ptcPhoto filename=”HKTHW.jpg” title=”Tim Ho Wan” caption=”We went twice and didn’t have to wait more than 20 minutes..” position=”center”]
[ptcPhoto filename=”HKBun.jpg” title=”Bun” caption=”Their BBQ pork buns are sweet, savory, sticky masterpieces.” position=”center”]
[ptcPhoto filename=”HKSpareribs.jpg” title=”Spare ribs” caption=”Steamed spare ribs with black bean sauce. You might need two orders.” position=”center”]

What it Costs:

Dinner for two cost us less than $20 here, which is amazing. Be sure to take cash, they don’t accept credit cards.

5. Ramen

Even on a hot day, there’s something so satisfying about a big bowl of Japanese ramen. Pork belly, fish cake, half a soft-boiled egg, masses of tangled noodles, and a thick miso broth make a seriously good combination.

Where to Get It:

We liked this shop on Woosung Street near Jordan Station…not sure of the English name but there’s a giant pig out front.

[ptcPhoto filename=”HKRamen.jpg” title=”Shop” caption=”The neighborhood around Temple Street Night Market is packed with restaurants.” position=”center”]
[ptcPhoto filename=”HKRamen3.jpg” title=”Ramen” caption=”A spoonful of yum.” position=”center”]

What it Costs:

A bowl of miso here is about $8.

4. A Cheeseburger

Yes, a cheeseburger. American or no, don’t we all crave a big juicy burger from time to time? Truthfully, you can get a burger in just about any big city – but finding a really good one can be challenging when you’re in Asia.

Where to Get It:

Enter BLT Burger, located in the Ocean Terminal on Kowloon. They serve up all kinds of great American favorites like waffle fries, thick milkshakes (some are spiked), fried pickles, and a mean bleu cheese burger. If Hong Kong is a bit out of the way, they also have one in Las Vegas.

[ptcPhoto filename=”HKBurger.jpg” title=”Burger” caption=”It’s always good news when they ask how you want it cooked.” position=”center”]

What it Costs:

This one is a bit more indulgent – dinner for two is around $50, not including alcohol.

3. A Picnic at the IFC

Here’s a good option if you don’t want to dish out $25 for a cheeseburger. Pick up some carry out and drinks and make your way to the roof of the IFC Mall in the Central District, which is open to visitors and even has tables and chairs for you to use. Why do this? Aside from saving some HKD, you’ll also get one of the best views across the bay to Kowloon.

[ptcPhoto filename=”IFCView.jpg” title=”View” caption=”The view over to Kowloon.” position=”center”]
[ptcPhoto filename=”IFCRoof.jpg” title=”Roof” caption=”The rooftop at night.” position=”center”]

Where to Get It:

The City Super market on the first level has a great selection of deli meals and drinks. Also, there’s a Garrett Popcorn stand next door!

[ptcPhoto filename=”HKGarretts1.jpg” title=”Garretts” caption=”A very happy Eric.” position=”center”]

What it Costs:

Around $15 for half of a roasted chicken, a salad, and two beers (add another $6.50 for popcorn).

2. Peking Duck

Ok, so we may have mentioned duck one or two times before. It’s one of those meals we wish we could have all the time, but unfortunately most of the world hasn’t caught on to roasting ducks in the Chinese style. Maybe that’s because it’s a long process that involves pumping the duck full of air, soaking, drying, roasting, and finally frying it to achieve that perfect crackly skin and wonderful intense ducky flavor.

Where to Get It:

Empire City Roast Duck. This place. This. Place. They make the best duck we’ve had yet.

[ptcPhoto filename=”HKDuck.jpg” title=”Wrap” caption=”All the makings for duck wraps.” position=”center”]
[ptcPhoto filename=”HKDuck2.jpg” title=”Close up” caption=”Reach out and touch some duck.” position=”center”]
[ptcPhoto filename=”HKGreenBeans.jpg” title=”Beans” caption=”Try the green beans with pork – they’re crunchy, fresh and delicious.” position=”center”]

What it Costs:

If you want to splash out on dinner here, half a roasted duck, green beans and tea will set you back around $50.

1. Indian Breakfast

Hong Kong has long been a place of settlement for Indians, so it’s a good place to find your favorite dishes from the subcontinent. For me, few breakfasts are more satisfying than a proper lachha paratha served up with some chana masala, achar (pickle), and sweet, hot cups of chai.

[ptcPhoto filename=”HKIndian2.jpg” title=”Chicken” caption=”Chicken curry for breakfast? Yes, please.” position=”center”]

Where to Get It:

Chungking Mansions in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon is not only a great place to find Indian food – going there is what we would consider an essential Hong Kong experience. Chungking is sometimes called “The Little United Nations” due to the many ethnic minorities that call the buildings home (it is estimated that some 4,000 people live there). The first three levels are packed with shops and restaurants – many of which are Indian and Pakistani.

[ptcPhoto filename=”HKChungking.jpg” title=”Chungking” caption=”Approximately 6,000 people will try to sell you a tailor-made suit as you’re going in.” position=”center”]

[ptcPhoto filename=”HKIndian.jpg” title=”Chana” caption=”Paratha, aloo gobi and chana masala from a vendor on the first floor.” position=”center”]

If you want to make a Chungking breakfast easier, you can stay in one of the many small guesthouses there. Just be aware that the buildings are difficult to navigate and pretty run down – you might have some cockroaches, the rooms are tiny (like, touch all four walls at once tiny), and there’s no way they’re up to fire code. You’ve been warned…but being first in line for this breakfast might just well be worth the risk.

What it Costs:

We paid $15-20 – probably inflated, but they kept us coming back.

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