In the crowded streets of Hong Kong, one always finds street vendors serving delicious noodles, roasted ducks hanging in the windows of restaurants, fish tanks full of tonight’s dinner, and trendy eateries next to decades-old dim sum establishments. Smells of rice, fried chicken, and noodles fill the air as you move from restaurant to restaurant. Food is the grease that keeps the wheels of this city moving at a lightning-fast pace.
As my flight began its final descent, I drooled over the thought of all the food I was going to eat during my (fourth) visit, this time in preparation for an upcoming city guide. Within hours of landing, I’d eaten three meals.
Over the course of the next four days, I gorged myself every waking hour in order to create a robust list of suggested restaurants for future travelers. I’m pretty sure I gained about five pounds. But the food in Hong Kong is worth all the extra time at the gym. I can’t imagine the city without it. Though my upcoming guide contains an even greater list of places to eat, I wanted to share some of my favorites with you today:
Mak’s Noodles (77 Wellington Street, Central)
Mak’s is famous for its wonton noodles and is one of the best noodle shops in the city thanks to its tasty broth, healthy-sized portions, and cheap prices (less than $5 USD). All its food is homemade, and the service is quick. I’ve been twice, and slurping down those noodles is one of my new favorite things to do in Hong Kong.
Located on Nathan Road, the fried rice and chicken dishes make this restaurant worth a stop. I loved their pineapple rice, which arrived in a big portion, heavy on the pineapple (yum!). If you’re looking for a quick, light, and cheap lunch, this place is a good choice. Sadly, their noodles are mediocre in a city known for noodles (Mak’s is better).
Tsui Wah (15-19 Wellington Street, Central)
This popular chain restaurant serves both Hong Kong and Western dishes, though it’s famous for its Cantonese dishes such as fish ball noodles, curry beef brisket, and crispy condensed milk buns. It’s always crowded but makes for great hangover food. If you go during peak dinner or lunch hours, expect a long wait. You can find locations all over the city.
Aberdeen Fish and Noodle Shop (139 Tung Choi Street, Mong Kok)
I stumbled across this noodle and soup shop located near the Ladies Market in Mong Kok while searching for lunch one day. The shop was filled with locals — I didn’t see one Westerner there, and judging by “are you lost?” looks from the other patrons, I don’t think they see many Western diners. The fried noodles were delicious and super cheap ($2.50 USD) and they serve a tasty fish ball soup. Service is slow, so be sure to flag down the staff when you want something. The restaurant will also seat various parties together to fill the table, so don’t be shy about sharing a table with strangers.
Yokozuna (466-472 Nathan Road, Yau Ma Tei)
This is one of the best and most consistently good ramen places in Hong Kong. The restaurant only seats 24, so expect a wait for a table. But, for your patience, you’ll be rewarded with flavorful broth and noodles made fresh and served quickly. As a ramen lover, this place gets two thumbs up from me.
Butao Ramen (69 Wellington Street, Central)
Another world-class ramen restaurant. This small establishment is famous for its slow-cooked pork bone soup and “King Black,” a squid ink ramen soup. The regular ramen with basic pork and noodles are richly flavored. They serve a delicious miso-flavored ramen, too!
Sushi Mori (16/F, Circle Tower, 28 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay)
This sushi restaurant isn’t cheap, but their $45 USD lunch special gives you a lot of superb-quality fish, big portions, and an appetizer and dessert. They even use real wasabi (what you eat at most places is just colored horseradish). Sushi is always a splurge, but if you want to do so and make it worth it, I recommend this place. It’s incredible.
Shang Hai HK Restaurant
This tiny restaurant tucked away in Jardin’s Bazaar on Causeway Bay offers some of the tastiest chicken and rice in Hong Kong. Big portions are served by friendly staff on shared tables. I return here every time I’m in the city. Not only is it delicious, it’s cheap (under $5 USD).
Kam Lung Gourmet
On the same street and a couple of doors down from Shang Hai HK, this place also served delicious noodles and succulent pork. It’s inexpensive, popular, and open late. It’s a nice little hole-in-the-wall restaurant.
Tim Ho Wan (Shop 72, G/F, Olympian City 2, 18 Hoi Ting Road, Tai Kok Tsui)
This is the world-famous dim sum restaurant located in Mong Kok. Its three Michelin stars mean that everyone wants to eat here and, as a result, wait times can be up to three hours long. The food is worth the wait! (To avoid lines, come in the morning — dim sum is a breakfast food anyway.)
Chom Chom (G/F Block A, 58-60 Peel St, Central)
If you’re looking for good Vietnamese food in Hong Kong, check out this place in SoHo. It serves amazing pho with richly flavored broth in healthy portions. It’s a popular place among the Western expats in the city.
Din Tai Fung (G/F, 68 Yee Wo Street, Causeway Bay)
Another very popular dim sum restaurant in Causeway Bay (they actually have multiple locations around the city and the world) that is packed all the time. They are famous for their soup dumplings and steamed pork buns (I loved both). The food comes quickly, the servers are friendly, and you feel like you’re in banquet hall because it’s so large.
Lan Fong Yuen (G/F, 2 Gage Street Central)
Located in the Graham Street market area, this tiny restaurant is famous for its milk tea and sandwiches. But come here and get their noodles and BBQ pork — they’re flavorful and more filling. It’s a popular stop with both locals and food tours.
Tuk Tuk Thai (G/F, 30 Graham Street Central)
Also located on Graham Street, Tuk Tuk offers the most traditional Thai food in the city. Their curry, papaya salad, and rice all taste like they were made in Thailand. Be sure to stop here if you enjoy authentic Thai food (and something a little spicy).
Lin Heung Tea House (G/F, 160-164 Wellington Street)
Located in SoHo, this dim sum place is popular with local Chinese and seems to have its fair share of regulars who just sit around and shoot the sh*t. It reminds me of a local suburban coffee shop where old-timers go. It’s a traditional place, so waiters come around with carts of food and you take what you want. Definitely don’t expect an English menu, but locals and waiters will help you when they see your confused face looking at all the dishes.
Mr. Wong’s (10 Shamchun Street, Mong Kok)
A place popular with foreigners in Mong Kok, Mr. Wong’s doesn’t serve the best food in Hong Kong, but he does serve up unlimited food and beer at one price. It’s one of the most enjoyable experiences, with travelers and expats sharing stories and beer with each other and Mr. Wong himself! This restaurant is all about the experience. It’s my favorite value place in Hong Kong.
Note: All Chinese restaurants serve free tea with your meals.
This list is just the tip of the tip of the iceberg for a city with thousands of restaurants (I’ll share more, as well as food markets, in my upcoming city guide), but if you only have a few days and are wondering where to eat, here are some places to keep you busy and full.
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