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Server at Lin Heing Tea House in Hong Kong

What to Eat in Hong Kong – 5 Essential Hong Kong Food Experiences

In Asia, Food Guides by Daryl & Mindi HirschLeave a Comment

Wondering what to eat in Hong Kong? We recently spent a whirlwind 48 hours in the Asian megacity known as the ‘Pearl of the Orient’ and share our favorite Hong Kong food experiences.

Victoria Peak in Hong Kong

After an eight-year gap since our last visit, we arrived in Hong Kong excited to revisit a city that helped fuel our Asian intrigue and ready to sate our curiosity about how the city had changed over this time. Eight years isn’t long in many parts of the world, but it’s a lifetime in this East Asian region that’s has been growing exponentially.

In fact, the Pearl River Delta, Hong Kong’s home region, has expanded larger than Tokyo in population and Hong Kong, with a population of around 7.5 million people, is now the Delta’s third largest city after Shenzhen and Guanzhou. Asian cities change in a blink of an eye, especially in countries like China.

We arrived in Hong Kong to kick off our 14-day cruise on Holland America’s MS Volendam, a luxury ship that can accommodate over 1,400 passengers and would whisk us on an Asian cruise through exciting ports including Taipei and Fukuoka before ending in Shanghai. Our time was limited in Hong Kong, the cruise’s port of origination, but we were determined to make the most of this second visit.

Why Visit Hong Kong

Hong Kong Harbour

Of all the cities in the world, few provide a more stark juxtaposition of traditional and modern elements than Hong Kong.

Visitors travel to Hong Kong from all corners of the world to experience the Asian city where East and West collide to create chaotic, beautiful harmony. Defined by past (Britain) and current (China) sovereigns, Hong Kong is a city that blends two disparate cultures in a way that both challenges and delights even the most jaded travelers.

Despite being dwarfed by nearby Chinese cities in population, Hong Kong occupies a unique place in the travel zeitgeist. The tightly populated city truly defines the concept of dense urbanity with much of the city’s action happening up escalators, elevators and hills away from street level. Some of the best places to eat in Hong Kong are so hidden that the concept of “ask a local” becomes a more important travel dictum than ever.

If you’re wondering what to do in Hong Kong, don’t worry – you won’t be bored. The city offers a myriad of sightseeing options from shopping at local markets to taking the Peak Tram 554 meters above the sea to Victoria Peak for one of the world’s most famous views (see above). This is a 24/7 city where it’s possible to start the morning eating Hong Kong street food, walk all day and party all night.

Getting around Hong Kong is easy. Double-decker buses careen through the streets, and pedestrians fill the sidewalks creating a ‘Hong Kong situation’ with bodies jamming up like cars on a Los Angeles freeway. We recommend commuting by Hong Kong’s highly effective MTR metro system and, if you have a little more time, by ferry when traveling between Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon peninsula. Once out and about, navigating a sea of people is an essential element of the Hong Kong experience.

Pro Tip:  Take a Hop-On Hop-Off bus to catch all the best sites, especially if this is your first visit to Hong Kong. The city is so big, wielding and you won’t want to miss a thing.

As for us, we had one goal and one goal only for our second visit to Hong Kong. We wanted to eat the best food in Hong Kong.

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Hong Kong Food Guide for a Two Day Itinerary

Dumplings at a Hong Kong Diner

Though we just had two days in Hong Kong, we ate as many dumplings as possible. Luckily, this is an easy task to accomplish in Hong Kong.

Let’s be clear. A two day Hong Kong itinerary doesn’t provide enough time to fully experience the many facets of the Hong Kong food scene. A week or month would barely give you time to scratch a deep culinary canvas that spans the gamut from street stalls to Michelin starred restaurants.

However, like many travelers, our Hong Kong itinerary only allowed us two days. With this time constraint in mind, we researched the best places to eat in Hong Kong with an emphasis on unique culinary experiences that wouldn’t break our bank.

The result was a jam-packed visit filled with some of the best things to eat in Hong Kong plus a modern caffeinated twist.  Based on our personal experience, we suggest the following Hong Kong food experiences for culinarily curious travelers with limited time:

Dim Sum

Dim Sum at Lin Heing Tea House in Hong Kong

Eating dim sum is an absolute must during any visit to Hong Kong. We ate this dim sum breakfast at historic Lin Heing Tea House.

If you just have time for one meal and you’re wondering where to eat in Hong Kong, go for dim sum. Don’t argue or debate with us. This is a non-negotiable recommendation. The only question is where to go for your dim breakfast.

Lin Heung Tea House is the spot where we ate, and we recommend it as one of the best restaurants in Hong Kong for Cantonese-style dim sum. Beware – this recommendation may change due to rumors that the ultra-popular dim house may be forced to close and/or relocate at the landlord’s request. We will update this article as we learn more.

Lin Heing Tea House Dining Room in Hong Kong

Locals flock to Lin Heing Tea House for dim sum meals. Though not fancy in decor, the restaurant serves a full range of dim sum favorites.

Open since 1928, the restaurant is far from fancy and is always busy. Though we easily walked in at 10 am and grabbed two spots at a round communal table, you will likely have to wait in line for a spot in the two-story dim sum mecca.

Other notable Hong Kong dim sum options include Tim Ho Wan, a casual Michelin starred dim sum restaurant that now has multiple outposts in the city. For a fancier, more modern Hong Kon dim sum experience, try Fook Lam Moon or Mott 32.

Server at Lin Heing Tea House in Hong Kong

Tea flows freely during dim sum meals in Hong Kong.

Regardless of your restaurant choice, eating dim sum in Hong Kong is a unique experience. Carts wheel around the dining room as diners scramble from their chairs to grab treat-filled, round bamboo steamers with reckless abandon. Savvy dim sum diners know to wait for the good stuff. We’re partial to Har Gow (shrimp dumplings) and Char Siu Bao (buns filled with flavorful pork) but it’s all good.

If you want to try something different, we propose you go for it and snag a plate of Fung Zao (chicken feet). You’ll either love or hate this local favorite but, either way, you’ll have to work for the meat. FYI, Daryl fell into the former category and Mindi the latter.

Pro Tip:  Plan to drink pots of tea with your meal. Hot tea is the drink of choice for experienced dim sum eaters.

Fook Lam Moon has multiple locations. The original location is at 35-45 Johnston Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong.
Lin Heung Tea House is located at 162 Wellington Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong.
Mott 32 is located at Standard Chartered Bank Building, 4-4A Des Voeux Road Central, Central, Hong Kong.
Tim Ho Wan has locations around the world including several in Hong Kong. The original Mong Kok location is now closed.

Roast Meat (Goose, Duck or Pork)

If a dim sum meal is priority one, then eating roast goose is next on the list. Don’t worry if you’re not a goose fan – you can eat roast pork or duck instead. In Hong Kong, roast meat, often referred to as Chinese BBQ, is readily available during the day and late into the night.

Roast Goose in Hong Kong

Follow your senses to find roast goose, duck and pork in Hong Kong. As you walk around the city, you will see meat hanging in windows and smell tempting aromas.

Assuming that time is on your side, Kam’s Roast Goose is a great choice. Far from a hidden gem, the 30-seat restaurant is guaranteed to be crowded both due to the third-generation restaurant’s crispy meat offerings as well as its Michelin star rating. Goose and char siu pork are the stars here, with noodles and veggies serving as supporting players.

Fear not if you don’t have time to wait in line or miss the cut. Hong Kong has a plethora of fine restaurants serving roast meat. Even without a Hong Kong map, these joints are not difficult to find – just look for windows displaying hanging geese, ducks and pigs. They’re everywhere.

Soy Sauce Chicken at Dragon State Kitchen Restaurant in Hong Kong

Roast duck and goose may be protein royalty in Hong Kong but don’t discount other local specialties like this juicy, lacquered soy sauce chicken.

While in Hong Kong, we got our meat on at Dragon State Kitchen Restaurant. Recommended to us by the Dawn Chan from Amber Coffee Brewing (see below), Dragon State is a classic Chinese BBQ joint with meat hanging in full display and chefs breaking cuts into edible morsels with their large, heavy Chinese cleavers. When you eat at Dragon State, the pounding, chopping sound of the cleaver into a wood stump is always in the background above the constant din of the wall-to-wall crowd.

Dragon State is far from a Hong Kong tourist attraction – we were the only Westerners there during our lunch. After enjoying plates loaded with char siu pork, roast duck, rice and greens, we ordered juicy, beautifully lacquered soy sauce chicken for ‘research purposes’ and enjoyed that too.

Pro Tip:  Don’t be scared by the crowds that convene in front of Dragon State. Most people are likely ordering food on a takeaway basis.

Dragon State Kitchen Restaurant is located at 38 Bonham Strand, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong.
Kam’s Roast Goose is located at G/F Po Wah Commercial Center, 226 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

Bamboo Pole Noodles

Hong Kong Bamboo Pole Noodles

Bamboo pole noodles are no longer easy to find in Hong Kong but are worth the extra effort.

If you’re looking for a unique and iconic Hong Kong food, look no further than Jook-Sing Mein (bamboo pole noodles). The challenge is that the practice of making bamboo pole noodles is a dying art, making the availability more limited with every year.

For those who haven’t visited Hong Kong yet, watching chefs make bamboo pole noodles is a unique experience. The laborious process is intensely physical with artisan chefs literally bouncing on bamboo poles to develop the wheat dough’s gluten while flattening the dough for cutting the finished Jook-Sing Mein. If you’ve been on a seesaw before, then you can imagine how the process looks.

We ate bamboo pole noodles at Hon Ke Noodles in central Hong Kong. As a sign of the times, this small, locally-owned noodle shop closed soon after we slurped down their springy, al dente noodles in a bowl filled with braised beef and green vegetables. Luckily, Kwan Kee Bamboo Noodle and Lau Sum Kee Noodle are still serving bamboo pole noodles made the old-fashioned way – at least for now.

Pro Tip:  Check your favorite web browser before you trek to a bamboo pole noodle shop to make sure that it’s still open. Hong Kong is a city on the move and things change fast.

Hon Ke Noodles is now permanently closed.
Kwan Kee Bamboo Noodle is located at 1 Wing Lung Street, Cheung Sha Wan, Hong Kong.
Lau Sum Kee Noodle is located at 48 Kweilin Street, Un Chau, Hong Kong.

Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea at Clipper Lounge in Hong Kong

Afternoon tea in Hong Kong provides a welcome break from the city’s organized chaos. At the Clipper Lounge in The Mandarin Oriental, diners enjoy the finest teas and towers filled with tea sandwiches, scones and other dessert specialties.

As one of the world’s most important business hubs, Hong Kong has a plethora of high-end international hotels. Whether you stay at one during your visit or opt for less expensive accommodations, any trip to Hong Kong would be incomplete without splurging on afternoon tea at one of the city’s upscale hotels.

We experienced our first Hong Kong afternoon tea in the opulent lobby of the Peninsula Hotel after leaving Macau with more money than we expected. With the unexpected cash infusion, it was a no-brainer for us to head to the Peninsula to indulge in the ultimate Hong Kong luxury experience. Should you go to the Peninsula for afternoon tea, expect classic British tea selections like scones and clotted cream.

Afternoon Pastries at Clipper Lounge in Hong Kong

We ate ornated pastries during afternoon tea at Mandarin Oriental’s Clipper Lounge.

We chose the Clipper Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental for our second Hong Kong afternoon tea experience during our recent visit. After a day of running around Hong Kong like chickens without heads, we literally melted into the Clipper’s plush seats and placed ourselves into our server’s capable, gloved hands.

During our blissful break, our server assisted us with our tea choices and even made glasses of champagne magically appear. We didn’t need his help in cleaning the three tiers of goodies including traditional scones with clotted cream, multi-layered smoked salmon tea sandwiches and lovely white chocolate tarts. We were able to handle that task on our own, though the lounge’s signature rose petal jam sweetened the process.

Pro Tip:  Plan to spend the equivalent of $50 USD each and maybe higher for a top high tea experience in Hong Kong. Sure, you could eat a lot of dim sum for less, but splurging on afternoon tea is an essential Hong Kong experience. Save your street food experiences for countries like Vietnam, Thailand and Mainland China.

Clipper Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental is located at 5 Connaught Road Central, Central, Hong Kong.
The Lobby at the Peninsula Hotel is located at Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong.

Third Wave Coffee

Cappuccino at Amber Coffee Brewing in Hong Kong

Third wave coffee is alive and well in Hong Kong.

As disciples of the global coffee movement known as third wave, we were pleased to find a thriving coffee scene in Hong Kong, a city more traditionally known as a tea town. In just 48 hours, we visited multiple great cafes, satisfying our taste buds and fueling our veins with caffeine energy.

Amber Coffee Brewery is our top recommendation for serious coffee drinkers in Hong Kong. Though tiny in size, Amber is mighty when it comes to its coffee program. Simple in design, the centrally located cafe is dominated by its shiny VA388 Black Eagle Gravitech machine set atop a sleek counter.

Amber Coffee Brewing Barista Awards

Dawn Chan proudly displays his barista awards at Amber Coffee Brewing.

Dawn Chan, local and worldwide barista champion with the trophies to prove it, runs Amber with a focus on transforming top quality single-source beans to a higher level. Chan experiments with his locally roasted beans, creating signature drinks with ingredients as varied as pineapple juice and earl grey tea.

Despite the specialty drink options, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying an expertly prepared cappuccino or latte served in a pretty pottery mug at Amber. If it’s your lucky day, Chan will craft it for you himself.

We’ve enjoyed espresso drinks all over the world in cities like Cape Town and Naples. We don’t exaggerate when we say that the cappuccinos we drank at Amber rank as the best we’ve ever tasted.

Pro Tip:  Although Amber is open at night, don’t expect to get your coffee fix after dark. This excellent coffee shop morphs into a wine bar every evening.

Iced Latte at Omotesando Koffee in Hong Kong

When Eiichi Kunimoto relocated his Tokyo coffee shop to Hong Kong, he brought his commitment to coffee quality and artistry along for the ride.

We also enjoyed a nostalgic visit to Omotesando Koffee while we were in Hong Kong.

Eiichi Kunimoto moved his innovative Japanese coffee shop from its idyllic Tokyo garden in Shibuya to an urban Hong Kong locale since our trip to Japan in 2013. Though the new location’s stark atmosphere is strikingly different, Kunimoto has maintained the same level of coffee quality and precision despite the move.

Beyond taste, we were pleased to see familiar design elements in the signage and latte art at Omotesando in Hong Kong.

Amber Coffee Brewery is located at Des Voeux Road Central, 140-142號G/F No.142 Full View Building, Hong Kong.
Omotesando Koffee is located at 200, 24-25 Queen’s Rd E & Lee Tung St, Wan Chai, Hong Kong. 


Hungry for more Asian food? Check out our food travel guides for Chiang MaiHanoi and Osaka


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Wondering what to eat in Hong Kong? We share our favorite Hong Kong food experiences including dim sum, bamboo pole noodles and more. #HongKong #HongKongFood #WhatToEatInHongKong

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