Hong Kong is a city that’s evolving at quantum speed. When it comes to eating in the one-time British Dependent Territory, traditional foods like congee, wonton and roast meats remain, and international influences are taking hold with residents. Here are 16 places you should absolutely eat in Hong Kong, based on my trip from October 30 – November 4.
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Numbered establishments on the map correspond to information below for easy reference. Establishments also appear in alphabetical order instead of in order of preference.
1. Celebrity Cuisine (3 Kau U Fong, Central, 852 3650 0066)
Cheng Kam Fu created a culinary destination on the second floor of Central Hong Kong’s Lan Kwai Fong Hotel. The space features lavender walls, white tablecloths, and sounds limited to conversation and clanging silverware, since there’s no music. Yes, Celebrity Cuisine has an a la carte menu, but plenty of people submit to the tasting menu, which ran $600HK (approximately $85). Expect traditional Cantonese food with twists on technique and premium ingredients that elevate the experience. For instance, chicken wings burst with collagen-rich bird’s nest, and fried rice arrives in a clay pot, flecked with prized Jinhua ham and sweet bay shrimp.
MUST ORDER: Tofu Cake, Winter Melon Soup, Steamed Grouper, Braised Beef Brisket, Fried Rice, Choy Sum
2. Dai Kee (384 Portland Street, Mong Kok, 852 9645 3811)
This tiny shop in bustling Mong Kok specializes in lai fen, bouncy round rice noodles that pair exceedingly well with a multitude of toppings, including steamed chicken or basic vegetables. Regardless or what you order, add fried fish & shrimp rolls, which arrive with minced seafood fillings, bean curd sheathes and sweet chile dipping sauce. Glutinous rice dumplings are another viable option, with thick wrappers cradling pork, dried shrimp and sauteed daikon strips. Out front, Dai Kee keeps a case for glutinous puddings, including osmanthus flower, longan & lycium fruit; mung bean; and my choice, red date & snow fungus.
MUST ORDER: Lai Fen w/Fried Fish & Shrimp Rolls, Rice Dumplings, Gailan
No, they don’t roast dragon at this Central Hong Kong meat emporium, but many non-mythical animals and birds pass across the chopping block in the showcase window. Grab a stool at a worn table and dig into roast goose, which is marinated with soy sauce and fragrant spices and aged two days before being roasted to optimal crispness. Char siu pork luxuriates in a similar marinade, with cranberry powder added to deliver an enticing red color on bark. Honey at the finish brings out a shine in the meat to further attract passing customers.
MUST ORDER: Goose, Char Siu
This Mong Kok cafe has mirrored walls lined with red paper menus and wood booths with scraped glass table covers. Fu Kee also features roast goose, but they don’t serve it (or other roast meats) until 11 a.m. I arrived at 8:45 a.m., but that was no hardship, since they also have an exemplary congee, which comes with a choice of toppings. Juicy sliced pork and 1000-year-old duck egg work particularly well, garnished with scallions, ginger and a white pepper dusting. Chern fun, springy steamed rice rolls, arrive dressed with soy sauce.
MUST ORDER: Congee, Chern Fun