Jun 14, 2012|
When you live in Hong Kong, the flow of friends and family members who come to visit just never seems to stop. And when they’re here—especially if they’re unfamiliar with the city—they inevitably ask the same questions about where and what to eat. Having given the same answers over and over again, I thought it’d be useful for me to compile a quick and dirty guide to Hong Kong’s quintessential eats—and never have to repeat myself again. Without further ado:
...for egg waffles: Master Low Key Food Shop (G/F, 76A Shau Kei Wan Main St. East, Shau Kei Wan). When I used to work around the area, I queued for these crispy, oh-so-addictive pieces of heaven at least once a week. The owner times each batch to the second and pours the batter evenly and precisely onto each grilling iron. It’s beautiful watching him at work.
...for fishballs: Kai Kee Noodle (G/F, 15C Carnarvon Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, 2301-2099). My best friend Sally’s relatives own this awesome fishball joint which, by the way, serves yummy noodles and cha chaan teng snacks as well. But back to the stars of the show: the bouncy, juicy fishballs here are all made with much TLC at Sally’s family factory in Yuen Long. Each fishball is tight, firm and so resilient you just can’t have enough.
...for dumplings: Hometown Dumpling (1/F, 110-118 Caine Rd., Mid-Levels, 2517-0969). Tacky decor aside, the thick-skinned, doughy dumplings are divine whether steamed or fried.
...for Peking duck: Sha Tin 18 (4/F, Hyatt Regency Hong Kong Sha Tin, 18 Chak Cheung St., Sha Tin, 3723-1234). Is it the ovens or the chef? Does it matter when they make it so damn good?
...for xiao long bao: Crystal Jade (Shop 2018-2020, IFC Mall, 8 Finance St., Central, 2295-3811). Besides these juicy pork dumplings, Crystal Jade also flawlessly executes pretty much every other item on their menu. Bonus: the prices are affordable, and as long as you’re willing to queue, you’ll get a spot sooner or later.
...for affordable seafood: Ah Shun’s Kitchen (47 Tai San St., Cheung Chau, 2981-0569). This is my friend Sam’s favorite digs, and he tries to drag us out here once every couple of months when we all start craving shellfish with black bean sauce and steamed fish. On average, seafood prices in Cheung Chau are also lower than other hotspots like Sai Kung, Lamma and Lei Yue Mun.
...for dai pai dong experience: western-most end of Stanley Street in Central. It’s newly revamped, you get that big crowd atmosphere, and most importantly, it’s very easy for tourists to find without getting lost.
…for a cooked food center experience: Wong Nai Chung Market Cooked Food Centre (2/F, Wong Nai Chung Municipal Services Building, 2 Yuk Sau St., Happy Valley). It’s cozy, clean and not too hectic, and the food—from fried things to soups to seafood—is solid.
..for colonial-style Chinese: Tai Ping Koon (6 Pak Sha Rd., Causeway Bay, 2576-9161). Swiss-sauced chicken wings, big-ass souffles and other east-doesn’t-quite-meet-west concoctions can be found at this longstanding staple.
...for old-school dim sum: Lin Heung Kui (2-3/F, 46-50 Des Voeux Rd. West, Sheung Wan, 2156-9328). Eating here feels like you’ve been transported back to an older, simpler era. The dim sum is an exercise in nostalgia, the tea is served in bowls, and the waiters are all seasoned veterans who’ll still be here when you come back 10 years later. Also worth a separate trip for dinner.
...for fancy dim sum: Fook Lam Moon (G/F, Newman House, 35-45 Johnston Rd., Wan Chai, 2866-0663). Find out how celebrities and tycoons like to have their dim sum—and maybe even spot a few at a nearby table.
...for a Chinese private kitchen experience: Gong Guan (12/F, Fung Woo Building, 279 Des Voeux Rd. Central, Sheung Wan, 2577-9789). The mostly Shanghai-influenced dishes are awesome and the intimate ambience is one-of-a-kind.
...for failsafe Chinese: Jade Garden (3/F, Causeway Bay Plaza II, 463-483 Lockhart Rd., Wan Chai, 2573-9339). Honey-roasted char siu, aromatic chicken broths, and fancy but not bank-breaking dishes are all found here.
…for the cheapest steamed fish: Tao Heung (2/F, CNT Tower, 338 Hennessy Rd., Wan Chai, 2838-3097). $78 for a whole steamed fish that won’t give you diarrhea afterwards? I still don’t know how Tao Heung does it.
…for family-style Chinese: Man Sing (16 Wun Sha St., Tai Hang, 2576-7272). If you have Chinese parents, this is what they would cook at home. The pork pyramid takes the cake.
...for Chinese vegetarian: Harvester (G/F, Yardley Commercial Building, New Market St., Sheung Wan, 2542-4788). Innovative dishes that use lots of healthy greens as well as staple soy products, served buffet-style with rice and a bowl of soup. Dishes change daily too!
...for hotpot: Megan’s Kitchen (5/F, Lucky Centre, 165-171 Wan Chai Rd., Wan Chai, 2866-8305). Fresh ingredients, delectable broths, colorful balls of all kinds—it’s all you need for a perfect hotpot experience.