A city brimming with street food, restaurants that boast long histories and more, Hong Kong’s food scene is colossal in terms of its expansive selection and years of heritage and culture (both local and foreign) injected into each dish be it the humble char siew bao or the European-influenced macaroni and scrambled eggs combo.
When in Hong Kong, eat as the locals do. Not only will you save much more on dining, but you’ll also come to realise that Hong Kong is known for way more than just dim sum and wonton noodles. Here are 16 local foods in Hong Kong to try to say that you’ve truly been there.
Lin Heung Tea House in Sheung Wan is one of the oldest teahouses in Hong Kong and it is one of the few Chinese restaurants that serves dim sum the traditional way.
An unassuming Chinese restaurant which offers both locals and tourists the most authentic Cantonese dining experience you can get, this restaurant is definitely a place that is worth visiting—if you are willing to brave the crowd.
The classic Bo Lo Bao—also known as pineapple bun—is a popular old-school Hong Kong street snack that can be found across bakeries and cha chaan tengs in the Pearl of the Orient. Interestingly, these traditional pineapple buns have no traces of the fruit at all. The name was aptly bestowed to the palm-size snack due to its uncanny resemblance to the checkered fruit.
These sweet buns are crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside and typically served warm with a slab of butter in between.
In recent years, unique renditions of the classic Bo Lo Bao have emerged in Hong Kong. We are seeing flavours such as peanut butter and strawberry rose jam being injected into these buns, and even a hybrid between a croissant and Bo Lo Bao!
Don’t get us wrong; we still love the traditional pineapple buns—especially the ones from Kam Wah’s. But we are game for trying new things. Here are some unique Bo Lo Bao creations you must try in Hong Kong.
Everyone thinks of cha chaan teng when it comes to casual dining in Hong Kong. For the uninitiated, cha chaan teng is a no-pretense, fuss-free local eatery in Hong Kong that serves comfort food at affordable prices. These local diners are everywhere in Hong Kong and you will always find locals dining in those nondescript outlets.
A cha chaan teng is not known for service, unfortunately. It is really a place where you eat and go, or do a few quick readings of your newspapers. That said, the essence lies in savouring a moment of local delicacy amidst the humdrum of the city life.
A trip to Hong Kong is not complete without eating at Cha Chaan Teng. Here is our guide to the best cha chaan teng in Hong Kong that we can always count on for a good local meal.
Mido Cafe in Yau Ma Tei is one old-school cha chaan teng to visit when in Hong Kong.
Untouched by time, the cafe seems to be at a standstill. Its decor is as old-school as it can be; ancient Hong Kong still exists at Mido Cafe. Colourful wall tiles that are so tacky yet so nostalgic complemented with old tables and chairs; Mido Cafe is exactly how a cha chaan teng should be.
Our friends from Hong Kong have been urging us to make a visit and we finally did. And we finally understood why they have such high regards for this nondescript cafe that they grew up eating.
Talk about a family-friendly seafood restaurant in Hong Kong, and locals would probably direct you to Chuk Yuen Seafood Restaurant.
That old establishment has been around for decades and today, it remains a popular haunt for locals when they want an unpretentious and good meal with family and friends.
Chuk Yuen Seafood Restaurant has a menu of dim sum items and seafood. And in particular, the famous Cheese Lobster deserves a special mention. Be prepared to wait in line for a table no matter what time of the day you go; their popularity is simply undeniable.
There is no lack of cha chaan teng in Mong Kok, Hong Kong. When you ask locals about their favourites, you’d get a myriad of answers—Hong Lin Restaurant in Mong Kok would probably be one of them.
We cannot agree more that it is one local eatery that you must visit if you are on the Kowloon side. Here’s what we loved from our visit, some of the must-orders and some misses.
Shui Kee Coffee in Hong Kong has been around for decades and it is as old school, as traditional, as Hong Kong as you can get to a cha chaan teng.
You almost don’t see tourists dining there; just locals who want breakfast in the most comforting form they know, without having their wallets take a beating.
Where Hong Kong-style buns, sandwiches, French Toast, noodles and milk tea are concerned, Shui Kee Coffee does it in the most traditional no-frills way. You have to try it for yourselves if you want a true taste of Hong Kong-style breakfast.