Why Hong Kong is gold for foodies
Whether you’re after street eats or Michelin-starred dining, Hong Kong is one of the world’s great culinary cities
Whether you’re after street eats or Michelin-starred dining, Hong Kong is one of the world’s great culinary cities.
Sometimes referred to as the world’s food fair, Hong Kong’s island location off the coast of mainland China, along with a history of foreign and colonial influence makes its food scene diverse and exciting.
While you’ll find a little of everything, Cantonese food forms the backbone of the city’s dining scene. But all Cantonese food is not created equal.
The sum of it
A visit to one of the city’s famously chaotic dim sum institutions, is a must. One of our favourites is Leung Heung Teahouse in Sheung Wan. The decades old institution is bright, brash and busy and all about in your face, old school dim sum, stacked high in steamer baskets that are ferried by on pushcarts. It’s loud and so packed that you’re more than likely end up sharing a table with strangers, and the chaos can be overwhelming, but that’s the beauty of it.
At the other end of the scale are the Cantonese multi Michelin star recipients, including the contemporary T’ang Court at The Langham and sensational Lung King Heen in Central. At the latter be sure to try the suckling pig with Chinese pancakes.
If you have a hankering for authentic home-style Cantonese food, Hong Kong’s quirky private kitchens – small eateries secreted away in private residences are another curious component of the city’s culinary landscape. You’ll be eating in a dining room that doubles as someone’s living room and you’ll need to rely on word-of-mouth to find them, but they are worth the search if it is a true Hong Kong experience you’re after.
If street food is more up your culinary alley, dai pai dongs are traditional street food stalls serving up Cantonese dishes. While Hong Kong is no longer issuing new dai pai dong licenses, Grandfather laws see existing ones passed on from generation to generation.
The stalls can be found all across the city, but identifying individual dai pai dongs can prove challenging as most have no name. Chan Kun Kee in Wo Che estate is an exception and one of our favourites for their superb drunken chicken while Sing Kee on Stanley Street is the place for a bargain salt-and-pepper pork.
The Mongkok district in the heart of Kowloon Peninsula is one of the main shopping destinations in Hong Kong, packed full of modern hotels and malls, but its colour and character mean it retains an essence of Old Hong Kong. There’s plenty of snacking and dining and the best place to start is at the corner of Argyle Street and Fa Yuen Street, where you can sink your teeth into a slab of the infamous fried stinky tofu, if you dare. Gai Daan Zai, also known as bubble waffles, egglets, egg puffs, or egg cakes, might be your cup of tea. The irresistible delights made of leavened batter are cooked between two plates of semi-spherical cells and can be found all over Mongkok.
Another must visit is Mongkok’s wet markets on Nelson Street, where chickens squawk, fish flap and stalls are filled with fresh, frozen and roasted meat, noodles, tofu, as well as myriad varieties of fresh vegetables, herbs and spices. It’s an explosion of colour and an incredible assault on the senses.
But it’s not all Cantonese delights, with a whopping 74 Michelin-starred restaurants, the city is a fine diner’s heaven. Three of the best, with three-stars a piece, are the esteemed L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon and 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana in Central, and Sushi Shikon in Sheung Wan. The three restaurants are, respectively, bringing a taste of France, Italy and Japan to Hong Kong’s substantial table.