Some observations I made while dining out in Hong Kong. HK has an awesome food scene, but there were a few adjustments I definitely had to make. So without further ado, here are my top 5 rules for eating out in Hong Kong! Continue reading Rulebook: Eating out in Hong Kong→
Kung Wo Dou Bun Chong (公和荳品廠) is steps away from Hoover Cake Shop in Kowloon City. One of several shops throughout Kowloon (the others are in Sham Shui Po and Tsim Sha Tsui), Kung Wo is an 100+ year old establishment best known for its soybean-based products.
Modern China Restaurant is a Chinese restaurant chain (with 6 branches in Hong Kong) that specializes in the regional Chinese cooking styles of Beijing, Sichuan and Shanghai. But don’t let the English name fool you, the food is anything but modern.
One of Hong Kong’s most well-known street snacks is the so-called “eggette” or egg waffle, or its Cantonese equivalent, gai dan zai (雞蛋仔). They’re called egg waffles for their distinctive shape, made to resemble chicken eggs wrapped together, served fresh to order.
While exploring Kowloon City, the heart of Hong Kong’s Thai community, by foot, I stumbled upon a shop selling this popular snack, a must try for any first time visitor to the city. So I caved.
Hong Kong is known for its diverse selection of desserts (甜品, tim ban), especially those that fuse together local Cantonese ingredients with Southeast Asian ones, like coconut milk and sago, the most iconic of which is mango pudding, a very light dessert, made with pureed mangoes, agar, and evaporated milk, and chilled before serving.
After getting a haircut near Times Square, a megamall in Causeway Bay, we headed out to try Cong Sao Dessert, a famous dessert shop just around the corner. After circling Hong Kong’s confusing city blocks, we managed to locate the place. Turns out the address on OpenRice was incorrect.
Hoover Cake Shop is Alvin’s favorite egg tart bakery in Hong Kong. While we were in Kowloon City to visit his grandma, we seized the opportunity to explore the surrounding area and give Hoover’s egg tarts a shot. And yes, I concur that its egg tarts, made with duck eggs, are world class.
Joy Hing is famous, so famous, in fact, that it passes the Wikipedia benchmark of notability– behold its Wikipedia article [link]. Joy Hing has been around in some shape or form since the tail end of the Qing dynasty. It is an old school food joint, very low-key and unpretentious, serving up Cantonese-style rotisserie meats called siu mei (燒味). And Joy Hing does a wonderful job at living up to its Chinese name, “happy again.”
Tim Ho Wan is often billboarded as the world’s cheapest Michelin star restaurant. Its chef-owner, Mak Kwai Pui, is a former head chef of a famous Hong Kong hotel. In 2010, he established the first Tim Ho Wan in Mong Kok, which has since grown into a venerable restaurant chain, with 5 branches in Hong Kong (the most well-known of which is in Sham Shui Po), not to mention other Asian cities, like Singapore and Manila.
Australia Dairy Company does not serve Australian fare, let’s get that clear. But over the years, it’s evolved into a venerated Hong Kong institution by staying true to its roots, as a classic cha chaan teng serving fusion Chinese-Western breakfast fare, everything from eggs and toast to macaroni and roast pork slices in soup, the clearest sign of Western culinary influence. As the name implies, it’s also known for its milk products, namely the steamed milk and egg white custards.
On our first day back in Hong Kong, we paid a visit to Mak Man Kee Noodle Shop, a long venerated establishment in Hong Kong, known for its wonton noodles (雲吞麵, wan tan min). Alvin wasn’t so fond of this place (“overpriced” as he put it) but decided that I, as a first timer to HK, I needed to pay a visit. And so we did.
The main reason for our venture to Mongkok was to dine at Lei Garden (利苑酒家), a one Michelin-star Cantonese style restaurant, well known for its dim sum. Cantonese fare is characterized by its use of fresh unadulterated ingredients (especially seafood), and a preference for steaming or stir-frying. Like most well-known Hong Kong restaurants, Lei Garden is a chain with several restaurants throughout the city (and even outlets in Shanghai and Beijing). Reservations came in handy because this place got packed during yum cha (飲茶).
Our first full day in HK, we ventured out to Yau Ma Tei to get some congee. The congee shop in question was none other than Ocean Empire Congee Shop [link] (海皇粥店, Hoi Wong Juk Dim), smack dab in the middle of Nathan Road. After a brief 15 minute wait, we were seated. This once relatively obscure congee shop is now a veritable restaurant chain and a tourist destination for Mainlanders and other Asians alike (the menu also features Japanese translations). In fact, after being seated, I realized most of the customers were speaking Mandarin, not the local vernacular, Cantonese.
Our first whole day in Hong Kong, we had a repertoire of quintessentially Hong Kong meals: congee for breakfast, dim sum for brunch and a homemade seafood dinner, alongside street snacks, of course, in the form of egg tarts and the famed egg waffle.