Dai Pai Dong
Dai Pai Dong is a type of open-air, street-side food stall that offers a taste of old Hong Kong. Perch on a chair at the wooden stalls and order staples such as wok-fried fare, rice and noodle dishes. Although this type of street-food culture is on the decline, one can still find a few of these culinary institutions located around town. Try the pork ramen at Ping Kee, crab and clams at Sing Kee, macaroni and tomato soup at Sing Heung Yuen, fish balls at Cheung Fat, French toast and a glass of yuenyeung (coffee and Hong Kong style milk tea combined) at So Kee, classic congee at Hung Fat or if you’re feeling adventurous, chicken’s feet from Keung Kee. Whichever one you try, it’s truly a unique Hong Kong experience.
Tai Cheong Bakery
The much-loved egg tarts are essentially pastry-crust tarts with a sweet, eggy custard filling. Tai Cheong Bakery makes some of the best ones in town, with over 60 years experience in perfecting their signature pastries. There’s one store conveniently located near the Star Ferry terminal in Kowloon. Egg tarts are best when freshly-baked. Keep an eye out for a swarm of locals ‘in-the-know’ and you’ll be able to tell that the golden goodies are straight out of the oven.
Ho Lee Fook
The name means ‘good fortune for your mouth’, and they’re not wrong – whoever dines here is in for a treat. This funky Chinese kitchen in Central is the talk of the town, loved for its tasty nosh and setting reminiscent of a hangout in New York’s Chinatown circa 1960. Ho Lee Fook serves modern Chinese cuisine created by Taiwanese-Canadian chef, Jowett Yu.
Nestled in the top of The Old Bank of China Building, this swanky club is a Hong Kong institution. The flamboyant design has a strong 1930s Shanghai motif and features a grand art-deco spiral staircase and an ornate floor-to-ceiling bookshelf. Gentlemen, if you are fortunate enough to score a member’s invite, don’t forget to wear a jacket.
Want to know where the cool kids are all hanging out? They’re dining at Yardbird, savouring delectable yakitori and some inventive ‘bigger’ dishes designed for sharing. This neighbourhood joint offers excellent quality Japanese style fare with a focus on chicken skewers cooked over the traditional Bichotan charcoal. Carefully selected drinks menu includes sake, shochu, beer, wine, cocktails and, of course, Japanese Whisky.
Oddie’s Foodie Egg Waffle
Oddies Foodies transforms the humble egg waffle into a sweet, sweet masterpiece. Decadent desserts incorporating the classic eggettes are a speciality at this high-end ice creamery. Try ‘The Mob’; black sesame mocha eggettes, served with Italian low fat milk gelato, apple yuzu jelly, homemade matcha ice cream, citrus crunchy flakes and drizzled with rich matcha sauce. The delicious creations also make for the ultimate #foodporn Instagram snap.
A trendy, New York inspired wellness cafe serving homespun vegetarian food. There’s a focus on sustainable, plant-based ingredients. The farm-to-table ethos ensures the freshest food, but the sophisticated menu doesn’t compromise on taste. The beautifully curated space is inspired by Scandinavian minimalism with a touch of rustic. Thankfully, an abundance of indoor plants makes the place feel like a calm sanctuary in the heart of Hong Kong. Every aspect of this eatery is carefully considered, even down to the bespoke tableware.
A stylishly reimagined space in the historical building that was once the famous Woo Cheong Pawnshop. The Pawn serves modern British cuisine headed by Tom Aikens, whose the youngest English Chef to be awarded two Michelin stars. Savour an artisanal cocktail at the Botanicals Bar or head up to the 2nd Floor Kitchen for a hearty meal.
Grab a booth at this 1960s-era teahouse for a taste of old Hong Kong. It’s as if time stood still with the well-preserved décor and classic diner menu. Mido Café is a Hong Kong style teahouse (know as a cha chan teng) that originated after the Second World War when Western food was becoming increasingly popular. The vintage vibe is part of the appeal that makes it a popular haunt with arty crowds today. The diner is much loved by directors and photographers – it’s often used as a cinematic backdrop to films, television and photoshoots.
Dim sum translates to ‘touch your heart’ which is a delightful name for a meal that brings friends and family together like none other. Yum cha (which means ‘to drink tea’) is a local pastime for Hong Kongers. It involves ordering your favourite selection of dishes and slurping them down with copious amounts hot jasmine tea. If you aren’t lucky enough to be dining with a local who can expertly handpick dishes for you, try some of these classic dim sum; har gau (shrimp dumpling), siu mai (pork dumpling), chae siu bao (BBQ pork bun) and cheung fun (rice noodle rolls).
Treat yourself to dim sum at Lung Keen Heen, this fancy restaurant at The Four Seasons Hotel was awarded the first three Michelin stars in the city. Maxim’s Palace City Hall for the quintessential Cantonese yum cha experience as the ladies push around trolleys brimming with tasty options. Luk Yu Tea House boasts delectable food and charming art deco décor with 1930s furniture, ceiling fans, folding screens and stained glass windows. Queue up for Tim Ho Wan, which is famous for being the cheapest Michelin star restaurant in the world. For an unusual dim sum experience, the experimental Mott 32 offers quirky variations on the traditional recipes. Expect truly inventive flavours like soft quail egg, Iberico pork and black truffle dumplings.