One of the things that makes a visit to Hong Kong so great is that it is such a global city. This means that it is multi-cultural and, therefore, you can find food from literally all over the world! So while you can sample local and Asian delights, long-term travelers (like us) can also relish in the comforts of tasty foods from home or other international destinations. Hong Kong food is some of the best and most diverse in the world.
Popular Local Eats in Hong Kong
Dim Sum are traditional Cantonese bite-size dumplings, or individual portions of food. Usually served along with tea (as it originated in tea houses), the Cantonese people sometimes refer to it as “drinking tea” or “morning tea” because it is also a typical kind of brunch meal.
Dim Sum is often served in steaming bamboo baskets or small plates. While you will find beautifully traditional Dim Sum restaurants around town (who roll items around on a cart for you to choose from as they go by), you can also find small local eateries that offer Dim Sum.
Partaking in Dim Sum is very traditional in Hong Kong, and a visit here just isn’t the same if you haven’t tried it.
Mmmmm, I actually love these little guys. Toasty pastry shell, with a creamy and lightly sweet filling, these make for wonderful treats during the day. You can find them at bakeries all over town, and they are relatively inexpensive. There are a couple different kinds.
The traditional Chinese version is more light and less toasted, there is a Portugeese version (because nearby Macau has amazing food was a Portuguese settlement) which is actually our favorite! This version is much more rich in flavor and thickness, as well as being more heavily toasted. Overall, a more rich flavor that is dangerously good!
Ok, while not technically an “eat” this popular drink is all over Hong Kong. Of course, this is a tea culture, so you will find tea shops everywhere…but milk tea is a little different. You an get it in different flavors, and even opt to include those weird little jellies that everyone in Asia seems to love. This refreshing beverage has just a hint of creaminess, which satisfies you yet doesn’t leave you feeling full. It’s wonderful treat, definitely try it.
Fruit & Smoothies
One of the things we love about Asia, in general, is the abundance of fruit that is available. You an stop off at street stalls and get just about any kid of fruit that you want. Many places also give you the option to turn it into a tasty smoothie, sometimes simply grinding it up with some ice — just to make it easy to drink. It’s a healthy, refreshing snack that’s easy to talk around with you while walking.
While I cannot stand even the smell of these things, locals LOVE them! You will find fish balls nearly everyone around town. There are two types, yellow and white. The yellow ones are usually made from cheaper fish (and there may not be much fish in them). White fish balls are bigger and made solely of fish that has been pounded finely into the ball shape and boiled.
They say that a good fish ball should be fluffy, and a bit bouncy, while smelling strongly of fish (of course!). Fish balls and are sold at many street markets on a bamboo stick. Everyone has their own special recipe for cooking them, usually boiled in some type of spicy or curry sauce. They are a popular type of street food!
Where to Find Good Food in Hong Kong
Okay, so good food really is everywhere in Hong Kong. So there is no way that this will be the most comprehensive post out there. However from our visits to Hong Kong, here are some places that we have loved — and areas of town that we have consistently found good food options.
Read also The Many Districts in Hong Kong
Street Market Food
Street food is big in Hong Kong, as it is in most of Asia. Since street shopping markets are so popular in Hong Kong, you will find an abundance of street food stalls all over the place. Hitting up these market areas will give you plenty of options for street food, as well as being easy on the budget.
Find Restaurants on Local Side Streets – Near Major Markets
While the street food stalls in these markets offer cheap eats, we have found that the actual restaurants located in the more touristy street markets in Hong Kong have inflated prices, and less than stellar quality. But we have found that if we veer off onto some of the side streets near these markets, we can get away from the crowds and find much better food at better prices.
For example, Josh and I have eaten at a couple of the main restaurants along the Temple Street Market — paying way too much and being hugely disappointed at the quality. But as an alternative to the Temple Street market restaurants, head south (still on Temple Street) but beyond the market entrance on Jordan road. Continue past Jordan Road toward Austin Road and you will find a gem of a takeout restaurant!
It is totally hidden, no big signs — just some menus on the wall and bar seating on the sides (no doors). I had amazing sweet and sour pork with rice (a huge portion) for barely 30 HKD (and no 10% service charge…which is common in Hong Kong). A steal compared to many restaurants in this area, and it was incredibly good! I ate there 3 times during my last trip.
Our Wan Chai Favorites
Being one of the oldest, and most colorful neighborhoods of Hong Kong, you can find just about any kind of food in this area. From street markets and local side-roads with mom & pop cheap restaurants, to mid-range and even higher-end. And while we enjoy some of the local restaurants around this area, we also love the influx of international and fusion cuisines in little cafes that you can find in this area. There are also a number of pubs and bars that are popular with expats.
If you are craving a locally crafted beer, then check out Trafalgar Brewing. Not far from the Wan Chai MTR station, it’s located up on the second floor area in the buildings next to the Chinese Consulate. While waiting for our Chinese visas to be processed (on multiple occasions), we have had a seat in this British-style pub, watched a soccer match, indulged in some great pub food, and drank craft beer brewed onsite. Great, great stuff!
Indulging Our Western Cravings in the Central / Mid-Levels Area
With the Central district being home to so many international businesses, and the mid-levels area being where many expats live, it’s only fitting that this area be filled with international restaurants. And while we typically wouldn’t be excited to talk about non-local eateries, being on the road in Asia for as long as we have has made us really miss some comfort foods from home! (Sorry China, but after living here for 6 months…I want some international variety!)
So this area in Hong Kong provides us with endless opportunities to indulge our cravings. From gourmet burgers and wings, to southern BBQ restaurants, tacos & burritos, Turkish kebobs, and delicious Italian pizza and pasta. This area is expensive, but sometimes it’s just what the doctor ordered.
Josh’s fave is of course, Smokey Joe’s Southern BBQ restaurant — and they have craft beer too (always a good combination). But for me, it’s all about the Mexican food. And a visit to El Taco Loco, visible just off the Mid-Levels Escalator, gave me something I’ve been craving for months…chips and salsa!
As for burritos, I went on a binge during my last visit to Hong Kong and ate at Mexi-Cali almost everyday. They have multiple locations around Hong Kong – so this was dangerous for me, I felt like I relapsed into my Mexican food addiction. But serious, I can’t get that stuff in mainland China — so I don’t regret it, not one bit!
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