Hong Kong’s food scene is out of this world. Read on for the low-down on the best Hong Kong food (and where to find it)…
Tastes of Hong Kong
13 dishes to try (and where to find them)
On one hand, I’ve been looking forward to writing an article about Hong Kong’s food scene. On the other hand, it has been quite intimidating, given the volume and variety of food on offer. Hong Kong’s culinary scene is off the charts. It is spectacular. Before I left for my recent trip, my friend Phoebe (hello, Phoebe!), gave me a food list, which contained a list of places to visit and things to eat. This article is a combination of Phoebe’s culinary wisdom and some other tasty treats I discovered for myself. Below is my personal recommendation of the best Hong Kong food (and where to find it):
1. Steamed Milk Pudding
Steamed milk pudding is a simple delicacy. It’s been a month since I returned from Hong Kong and I still daydream about this wonderfully light, smooth dessert. The pudding itself can be ordered hot or cold. If you are anything like me then you’ll be trying both (numerous times). The cold pudding is thicker, with a mouse-like quality to it.
Getting there: for steamed milk pudding head to Kowloon. From Jordan MTR, take exit C2 and take the short walk to either the Australia Dairy Company (who also serve the most delightful scrambled eggs) or Yee Shun Milk Co. Both establishments are busy, but the queues go down very quickly.
2. Wanton Noodles
Wanton noodles are a staple meal in southern China and, unsurprisingly, a popular dish across Hong Kong. I tried this dish at two of Hong Kong’s best known noodle restaurants.
The first is arguably the most famous wanton noodle shop in all of Hong Kong: Mak’s Noodles. I opted for a bowl of the signature noodles as well as a side of pork and shrimp dumplings (don’t judge me, I was hungry after walking all day). Whilst the portions are relatively small, they are big on taste. The noodles, thin as fine thread, and dumplings are served in a steaming, full-flavoured broth (the secret recipe for the dish has been passed down through three generations of Mak).
Directly across the road is Tsim Chai Kee Noodle, which offers another take on wanton noodles. The portions are more substantial and still burst with flavour. I ordered the wanton, fishball and beef noodles and a side of green veg served in oyster sauce. Yummy.
Getting there: both are located a short walk from Central MTR. Alight at exit D2.
3. Roast Goose
I couldn’t do an article about the best Hong Kong food without including this delicacy. The mere thought of roast goose has me salivating and it was certainly one of the culinary highlights of the trip. Hungover and in need of sustenance, we stumbled upon Kam’s Roast Goose by chance – it was just a few hundred metres away from one of the hostels I stayed at. Turns out Kam’s Goose is world renowned and the holder of a Michelin Star since 2015. Unsurprisingly, the goose is cooked to perfection; the crispy skin of the bird encases wonderfully succulent meat within. Needless to say, this delectable delight made me forget all about the hangover!
Getting there: head to Wan Chai MTR. Alight at exit A4 and walk approximately 200m east along Hennessy Road.
What’s congee, I hear you ask? Well, it is a type of rice gruel popular in many Asian countries. On the face of it, this description probably isn’t the most appealing. Don’t be fooled, however. Congee is delicious. It’s also served very, very hot (and I’m not talking spice, I’m talking pure temperature). I was absolutely starving, having wandered around for hours that morning, desperate to wolf down the bowl, but it was so hot that my eyes and nose were running. It would be a great cure for a cold!
Getting there: head to Sheng Wan MTR, alighting at exit A2.
Fresh fish fillet, sliced beef and chicken congee
5. Dim Sum
You all know what dim sum is right? A selection of small plates, best enjoyed with a big group of friends and an even bigger appetite. Hong Kong is the home of dim sum and I just love it. In fact, I think I’m going to write a post all about dim sum, because it probably deserves a post to itself (update: click here for the post all about dim sum). Below are a few suggestions for where to try dim sum in Hong Kong:
For super-affordable, Michelin star dim sum, head to Tim Ho Wan (be sure to try the char siu bao – more on that, below). If you are looking for a more chaotic, traditional Chinese experience, head to Hong Kong Island and check out the Lin Heung Tea House. For the fine diners amongst you, look no further than Yan Toh Heen, located in the Intercontinental Hotel.
6. Scrambled Eggs
This is no exaggeration, the Australia Dairy Company serves the best scrambled eggs I have ever tasted. What they may lack in politeness (it might be a shock to some western travellers, but the service in Chinese restaurants can be somewhat abrupt, or even rude if you are dallying with your menu choices) it more than makes up for it with the food. Its so simple – scrambled eggs on toast, but my god they are scrambled to perfection, with a lovely, fluffy texture. Make sure you pop in for breakfast one morning.
Getting there: head to Kowloon. From the Jordan MTR, alight at exit C2
7. Pork Buns
Hong Kong knows how to do pork. For this reason there are two pork dishes which make it into my list of best Hong Kong foods (and which you should definitely try).
The first is the humble pork chop bun. It is as simple and delicious as it sounds: a marinated, tender pork chop in a bun. Perfect for a quick snack or lunch on the go. Head to Lan Fong Yuen for a pork chop bun (or two) and a silky milk tea.
The other form is char siu bao (steamed pork bun), one of Hong Kong’s most iconic dishes, and one that must be ordered (preferably numerous times) when enjoying dim sum. There are loads of varieties and no two restaurants seem to use the same recipe. You could probably dedicate a whole trip to trying all the char sit bao and ranking them. If you decide to head over to Tim Ho Wan for dim sum (and you should), the pork buns are divine: sugar crusted, they crumble and melt in your mouth.
Getting there: Lan Fong Yuen is located on Gage Street in Central, just a short walk from Exit D2 at the MTR. Tim Ho Wan has a number of locations throughout the city: if you’re in Kowloon there is one close to the Olympic MTR. On Hong Kong Island? Head to the IFC Mall (Hong Kong MTR).
8. Po Lo Buns
The first rule of po lo bun club is: go to Kam Wah Cafe and eat a po lo bun. The second rule of po lo bun club is: go to Kam Wah Cafe and eat a po lo bun.
A po lo bun (or pineapple bun) is a popular snack in Hong Kong. The name derives from its appearance: the top crust of the bun resembles the skin of a pineapple. You won’t find pineapple in the bun, however. The bun is served warm, with a melting glob of butter stuffed inside.
For the best po lo buns, head to Kowloon and search for Kam Wah Cafe. Try the french toast as well.
Getting there: take the MTR to either Mong Kok (alight at exit B3) or Prince Edward (alight at exit B2).
Kam Wah Cafe
9. Cheong Fun
Thick, slippery rice noodles, topped with sesame seeds and served in a peanut butter and soy sauce. Cheong Fun is a very moreish meal. I wolfed a plate down on my last morning before heading to the airport. Honestly, if I had stumbled across Hop Yik Tai sooner I’d have ended up heading there for breakfast most days. It is cheap, tasty and Michelin recommended. What more could you ask for?
Getting there: take the MTR to Sham Shui Po and alight at exit C2.
10. Egg Tarts
A delicious dessert that you will find in abundance throughout Hong Kong and Macau. The bun’s dazzlingly bright yellow centre is circled by surrounded by splendid, flaky pastry. It’s a real sweet treat and chowing down on an egg tart with certainly brighten up your day.
Getting there: jump on the MTR and head to Central. Alight at exit D2
11. Little Bao
Little Bao buns. Errrrrmahgerd. So much deliciousness. The restaurant was established by May Chow, Asia’s best female chef of 2017. Girl Power never tasted so good. All burgers are served in an impossibly light, fluffy white bun. It is a thing of wonder. I opted for the slow-braised pork belly variety and it was absolutely banging. Try it! The restaurant is small (you’re in Hong Kong, what did you expect?) and does not take reservations, so there may be a queue depending on when you go. Its’s a place that oozes cool and there’s an open kitchen which runs down the left of the restaurant where diners can perch and watch the baos being assembled. I’m all elbows when I eat, so it was pretty cosy!
Oh, and I haven’t even told you about their take on the ice cream sandwich, the salted caramel dessert bao…
Getting there: jump on the MTR and alight at Central (exit D2) or Sheung Wan (E2)
Hong Kong is home to numerous free-flow brunches which offer some of the best Hong Kong food that you will find. If you are looking to go on a sushi bender, look no further than Zuma. For two hours you can stuff yourself on unlimited sushi and a selection of alcoholic drinks.
Located at one of Hong Kong’s most prestigious addresses, The Landmark Building, Zuma offers a sophisticated twist of the traditional Japanese izakaya style of informal eating and drinking. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon with friends.
Getting there: take the MTR to Central and alight at exit G, which takes you straight into the Landmark Building.
Okay, whilst not strictly speaking a food, I couldn’t leave cocktails off my best Hong Kong food list. To be fair, some cocktails do have enough fruit in them to constitute 1 of your 5 a day, so that counts right? Hong Kong is home to some of the coolest bars in the world, staffed by some of the best mixologists in the world. For cocktails and views, head to Sevva after dinner and grab yourself a chocolate martini. Into secret bars? Head to Stockton and see what tickles your fancy. For a multi-sensory experience, head to the world-renowned Quinary. For help finding the right bar for you, check out this helpfully put together article by Time Out, featuring 50 of the best bars in Hong Kong.
What are your favourite dishes and restaurants in Hong Kong? Should anything else have made the cut when discussing the best Hong Kong food?