Sunday, 4 February 2018

Quick list: where to find a bite to eat in Hong Kong

First timers to Hong Kong may find it difficult when trying to find a place to sit down for just a bite to eat. 

There are numerous choices to suit every budget. This is just a quick list with a handful of recommendations from my recent trip to Hong Kong, which may come in handy if it's your first time visiting.



Top tip: don't just eat dim sum, although do try it and eat plenty if you enjoy it.

Tsu Wah 

A very local chain which started off as just a small tea restaurant in Mong Kok, now with branches all over Hong Kong. The food is clean (by which I mean it shouldn't be a shock from the norm for most travellers ie there are non scary options that are mostly boneless, and everything is served with clean implements) and portions sizeable. 

With menus in English it's easy to find something local or Western, to suit your taste. However, it may seem rather hectic and unfriendly but it's a good sit down choice for lunchtime or when time is short.

Food courts

Watch out for these in shopping centres. The center in Sheung Wan (at Queen’s Road and Bonham Strand) is a local favourite. This is where you'll find many of the once street stalls (ie no longer on the street), under cover and somewhat sanitised. What's great is that these places cost a fraction of the price of a Hong Kong restaurant.

Markets

Exploring the markets in Hong Kong can work up an appetite, and I can highly recommend searching out the restaurants which are often found to the side of many of the markets for a bite to eat. Very reasonably priced, freshly cooked dishes can often be found, but always look out for food that is cooked to order.

Although you will often be seated outside this is a great way to enjoy a meal, unless the weather is in the peak of summer. If you can overcome the fluorescent light and cluttered tables, then you will have a very local experience.

Chinese 'Barbeque' or 'meat' restaurants 

For meat lovers, there are numerous Chinese restaurants that serve just a few meat dishes, mostly the barbeque/roasted pork and duck dishes that you will spy hanging in the window dripping with fat. 

After trying several of these places in Hong Kong, I'm in no doubt that these are very good value for money. As long as you can see past the rough and ready service and sharing of tables, you will definitely enjoy the dishes on offer, unless you're a veggie if course. Yat Lok in Stanley Street is a good choice, although the queues can be long at peak times. The menus are in English but the sign is not.

Queues at Yat Lok, Stanley Street 

If you need some help with what to order, or there is little written in English, then just look for:

Char Siu 叉燒 - barbeque pork 
Siu Yuk 燒肉 - roast pork
Siu ngo 燒鵝 - roast goose or the cheaper alternative 烤鴨 - roast duck




My favourite is Siu Yuk (this is the roast pork with crispy skin) but Char Siu (barbeque pork) is very tasty too. Get a mix on the same plate and as a meat/pork lover you will be in heaven.

Sai Yung Kee 

We were staying in Shueng Wan, close to this restaurant. If your you're in the area it's well worth a visit for a quick bite. They have a reasonably priced menu and the service is surprisingly friendly for this type of eatery. They have a good selection of dim sum, noodles and also serve beer. 

This was our go to restaurant for something safe, clean and quick. We had a very pleasant experience each and every time.

MX 

A fast food choice which has seats. I looked at the options here on a few occasions as the dishes are fairly standard in terms of Chinese dishes. The food is fast and clean so a pretty safe bet. With around 60 branches you will allways find one nearby somewhere when visiting Hong Kong.

Finally a couple of the well known places:

Din Tai Fung 

The world famous dim sum restaurant which originated in Taipei in Taiwan and earnt Michelin stars in Hong Kong (see my post here for more). There are several branches but visit early or our of peak times, if you want to avoid the queues.



Must try: the world famous xiaolongbao of course.

Tim Ho Wan 

Also with a Michelin rating, we expected something a little more friendly. It's certainly quick and reasonably priced, although the food choices are a little limited and are very 'local' compared to some of the larger dim sum restaurants. 



To be honest I was disappointed with the whole experience at the Olympian City branch, but the reviews from others say otherwise; it really does have to be experienced for yourself.

Must try: pork buns.

I haven't covered the best restaurants, as this is subjective - so do get in touch if you want some specific suggestions. This list is merely to help with finding a quick bite to eat without a lot research or trawling through TripAdvisor or a guidebook.

Got recommendations for a quick bite to eat in Hong Kong? Do share...

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