Hong Kong Asia's World City

Food and the City

Food and the City

With everything from streetside stir-fried snacks and wonton noodles to spicy crab and dim sum, Hong Kong is a city rich in local culinary traditions.

Hong Kong offers such a wealth of food choices that often as a visitor it can be confusing knowing where to dig in first. Below you can find an introduction to the city’s must-tries: the local dishes that will complete your visit and leave you begging to return. We also put the spotlight on Kowloon City, a district famed for its Thai and Chinese culinary heritage.

Hong Kong is one of the most talked-about dining destinations in the world: it’s where celebrity chefs from across the globe compete to showcase their talent—and where diners come in droves to be the first to tuck in. But as densely packed as this city is with Michelin-starred restaurants and venues you’ll queue all night for, it also excels in something you’ll struggle to find anywhere else in the world—rich, local gems steeped in tradition, and humble, neighborhood family favorites.

No visitor can leave Hong Kong without first going for some dim sum—the city’s unofficial pastime. Interwoven into every Hongkongers’ DNA, you’ll see restaurants packed from morning right through ‘til teatime with big groups sat at large round tables for yum cha (this term, meaning “to drink tea,” is interchangeable with dim sum). Although this age-old tradition is most closely associated with the people of Guangdong, the culture of the noisy teahouse—think fluttering birds in cages, trolleys stacked with steaming bamboo boxes—is firmly rooted in Hong Kong’s heritage. For a grand experience, Maxim’s Palace is a visitor’s favorite. You can join in the daily queues at the massive one-room restaurant that looks out onto Victoria Harbour. Classic dim sum dishes to order include the har gau (shrimp dumpling), siu mai (pork dumpling), char siu bao (barbecued pork bun) and cheung fun (rice noodle rolls). For something more adventurous and that will immerse you in the Hong Kong of old, try the classic teahouse, Lin Heung Lau. Although this is an institution in the city, it’s very rarely frequented by foreigners and so you’ll really get a feel for how it’s done. Worm your way to a seat, hail the waitstaff and admire the antique bird cages hanging from the ceiling as you choose your selection from a trolley.

Dai pai dong

For another uniquely Hong Kong experience, a meal must be had at an outdoor, streetside dai pai dong. Grab a seat on a wooden stool by a rickety folding table at these limited-license mom-and-pop stalls and order everything from wok-kissed seafood to fried rice and noodles. The ones on Stanley Street in Central are particularly popular and easily accessible, and include Yue Hing and Hup Kee among their number. If in doubt of what to try, point to something attractive from a neighbor’s table and ask for that! For a completely different alfresco dining experience, try eating on a boat at Shun Kee Typhoon Shelter and dig into traditional Cantonese seafood.


Noodles of all types and sizes are a favorite staple for Hongkongers, and many local diners serve them in one variation or other, whether in soup, mixed with sauce or stir-fried. The wonton (shrimp and pork dumpling) paired with yellow egg noodles in soup is a very common combination, and Mak’s Noodle is one of the more famous options. This 46-year-old family shop is third-generation-run, and uses the exact original recipe for each delicate bowl. Having been in business for more than 90 years, Kau Kee Restaurant is famed for its beef brisket noodles—the queues that stretch down the street are indicative of its popularity. For no-frills Cantonese fast food, look no further than Tsui Wah, a renowned local chain that offers classic cha chaan teng (greasy spoon) fare such as satay beef with instant noodles, ham and egg sandwiches, and yeung chow fried rice.

Cantonese dessert

Finally—if you still have room—there are plenty of Cantonese desserts and snacks to enjoy after your meal. Yuen Kee Dessert is a long-established restaurant serving traditional puddings such as black sesame or assorted bean soup. Crispy egg rolls and “wife cakes” (a winter melon, almond and sesame-based pastry) can be found at Wing Wah Bakery, a well-known brand for Chinese snacks in Hong Kong and around the world. And for the ultimate in sweet streetside snacks, puffy egg waffles are a must. The egg waffles at Master Low Key Food Shop are especially crispy on the outside, and velvety smooth on the inside.

Get Going

  • City Hall Maxim's Palace
    City Hall Maxim's Palace
    This high-ceilinged dim sum hall right along Victoria Harbour serves dim sum in bamboo steamers from pushcart trolleys.
    2/F, Lower Block, City Hall, 5-7 Edinburgh Place, Central, Hong Kong Island
    +852 2521 1303
  • Lin Heung Lau
    Lin Heung Lau
    This old-school dim sum hall serves up delectable dishes and a dose of nostalgia to boot.
    160–164 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong Island
    +852 2544 4556
    How to Get There:
    MTR Central, Exit D2. Turn left onto Theatre Lane, cross over Queen’s Road Central and walk up D’Aguilar Street. Turn right onto Wellington Street continue for five minutes.
  • Hup Kee
    Hup Kee
    Guzzle beer with your wok-fried dishes at a local outdoor dai pai dong.
    76-78 Stanley Street, Central, Hong Kong Island
    How to Get There:
    MTR Central Station, Exit D1. Turn left on Theatre Lane and walk west along Queen’s Road Central for about 5 minutes. Turn left up Gutzlaff Street and walk up to Stanley Street.
  • Yue Hing
    Yue Hing
    Stop by here to have a cup of Hong Kong-style milk tea, as well as a fried egg and luncheon meat sandwich.
    15 Stanley Street, Central, Hong Kong Island
    How to Get There:
    MTR Central Station, Exit D1. Turn left on Theatre Lane and walk west along Queen’s Road Central for about 5 minutes. Turn left up Gutzlaff Street and walk up to Stanley Street.
  • Shun Kee Typhoon Shelter
    Shun Kee Typhoon Shelter
    Enjoy delicious seafood on a sampan boat, cooked by locals who come from a long lineage of fishermen and water dwellers.
    Typhoon Shelter, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Island
    +852 8112 0075
    How to Get There:
    MTR Causeway Bay, Exit E. Turn left along Great George Street and then left along Paterson Street. Turn left on Gloucester Road and take the subway by The Excelsior Hong Kong to Typhoon Shelter.
  • Mak's Noodle
    Mak's Noodle
    Delightful bowls of wonton full of densely packed dumplings and chewy noodles at this third-generation-run establishment.
    G/F, 77 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong Island
    +852 2854 3810
    How to Get There:
    MTR Central, Exit D2. Turn left onto Theatre Lane, cross over Queen’s Road Central and walk up D’Aguilar Street. Turn right onto Wellington Street and continue for several minutes.
  • Kau Kee Restaurant
    Kau Kee Restaurant
    Try the original beef brisket noodles at this award-winning quintessential local diner.
    21 Gough Street, Central, Hong Kong Island
    +852 2850 5967
    How to Get There:
    MTR Sheung Wan Station, Exit A2. Walk south on Mercer Street, turn right onto Bonham Strand and take the first left onto Hillier Street. Turn left onto Queen’s Road Central, cross the road and climb the stairs to Gough Street. It’s about a 5-minute walk.
  • Tsui Wah Restaurant
    Tsui Wah Restaurant
    This multi-branch chain is a great example of local fast food at its finest and most efficient.
    G-2/F, 15-19 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong Island
    +852 2525 6338
    How to Get There:
    MTR Central, Exit D2. Turn left onto Theatre Lane, cross over Queen’s Road Central and walk up D’Aguilar Street. Turn right onto Wellington Street and it’s on the right.
  • Yuen Kee Dessert
    Yuen Kee Dessert
    Try the traditional puddings at this long-established restaurant.
    G/F, 32 Centre Street, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong Island
    +852 2548 8687
    How to Get There:
    From MTR Sheung Wan Station, board the tram in the direction of Kennedy Town, alighting at Eastern Street. Continue by foot along Des Voeux Road West and turn left on Centre Street. It’s about a 20-minute journey.
  • Wing Wah Cake Shop Ltd
    Wing Wah Cake Shop Ltd
    Get a taste of authentic local pastries such as the wife cake and egg rolls at Wing Wah. During Mid-Autumn Festival, lotus-paste-filled moon cakes are also on offer.
    Shop 4, G/F, Union Mansion, 35 Chatham Road South, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
    +852 2316 7688
  • Master Low Key Food Shop
    Master Low Key Food Shop
    Egg waffles are a delightful local street snack, and one of the best places to try them is at Master Low Key in Shau Kei Wan. The egg waffles here are extra crispy on the outside.
    G/F, 76A Shau Kei Wan Main Street East, Shau Kei Wan, Hong Kong Island
    How to Get There:
    MTR Shau Kei Wan, Exit C onto Shau Kei Wan Main Street East and it’s a 2-minute walk.

Food and the City 'Musts'

  • Lan Fong Yuen
    Take your tea milky
    Lan Fong Yuen
    You won’t be able to visit any cha chaan teng (Hong Kong-style diner) without seeing cups of Hong Kong’s famous silk stocking milk tea dominating the tables. It’s an expert combination of tea, condensed or evaporated milk and sugar that creates this signature beverage, which can be drunk hot or with ice. Pop along to hole-in-the-wall Lan Fong Yuen, a dai pai dong where they still use a very fine sackcloth to make the milk tea.
    Shop 2, Gage Street, Central, Hong Kong Island
    +852 2544 3895
    How to Get There:
    MTR Central Station, Exit D1. Turn left on Theatre Lane and walk west along Queen’s Road Central for about 5 minutes. Turn left up Gutzlaff Street and walk up to Gage Street, and turn left.
  • Four Seasons Claypot Rice
    Eat from a clay pot
    Four Seasons Claypot Rice
    Claypot rice is one of the staple items of a Hongkonger’s diet, especially in cooler weather. The concept is simple: white rice, with toppings, served in a clay pot. But the real key to this special dish is how it’s prepared. Traditionally, this will be cooked on a charcoal stove, which creates a smoky flavor and a nice burned crispy bottom. Try Four Seasons Claypot Rice, the most famous claypot restaurant on Temple Street (come early or risk waiting an hour).
    46-58 Arthur Street, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon
    How to Get There:
    MTR Yau Ma Tei, Exit C. Walk left along Man Ming Lane and turn left down Arthur Street. It’s about a 2-minute walk.
  • Da Ping Huo
    Dine tête-à-tête
    Da Ping Huo
    “Private kitchens” are all the rage in Hong Kong and although there are many to choose from, you must plan and book in advance. They’ve become so popular that many of them have gone mainstream and opened proper restaurants. Try Sichuan favorite Da Ping Huo, which is run by a husband-and-wife team: she cooks, he serves and just before dessert she comes out to sing Chinese opera for her guests. Beware: it’s spicy!
    LG/F, 49 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong Island
    +852 2559 1317
    How to Get There:
    MTR Central Station, Exit D1. Walk west along Queen’s Road Central until you meet the Central-Mid-Levels Escalator. Take this up to Hollywood Road, exit here and walk west along the road to the junction with Graham Street.
  • ABC Kitchen
    Eat communally
    ABC Kitchen
    Hong Kong is a great city for eating really fresh food and the best place to find this produce is in a government-run “Cooked Food Centre,” found in pretty much every district in the city. Try the Queen’s Street Cooked Food Market for a wealth of different options: from Vietnamese to Indian, Italian, and more dumplings than you can shake a stick at. Of note is ABC Kitchen, which offers tasty Italian dishes including great roast suckling pig.
    1/F, 38 Des Voeux Road West, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Island
    +852 9278 8227
    How to Get There:
    MTR Sheung Wan Station, Exit A1. Turn left and walk along Des Voeux Road, turning left onto Morrison Street. Turn right onto Queen’s Road Central. It’s about a 5-minute walk.
  • Nanhai No.1
    Dine with a view
    Nanhai No.1
    Nanhai No.1 combines excellent contemporary Chinese cuisine along with a magnificent view of the skyline. Nanhai’s speciality is seafood—caught fresh daily in the South China Sea—and the menu is chock-full of classic dishes that have been given a modern twist: think garoupa with beancurd and tangy XO sauce, fresh crab and juicy prawns. Even if you’re not hungry, it would be great for sunset drinks on the terrace.
    Shop 3001, iSquare, 63 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
    +852 2487 3688
    How to Get There:
    MTR Tsim Sha Tsui Station, Exit C1
  • Xin Dau Ji
    Try Chinese BBQ
    Xin Dau Ji
    You can’t walk far in Hong Kong without spotting the roast ducks and geese hanging in restaurant windows. This type of roasted meat—referred to as Chinese BBQ—is one of the city’s signature cuisines. For some of the juiciest, succulent meat in town, try Xin Dau Ji, a Cantonese stalwart offering incredible roast suckling pig. It also has a long list of fresh seafood. There are several branches across town.
    G/F-1/F, Place 18, 18 Cheong Lok Street, Jordan, Kowloon
    +852 2388 6020

This guide has been produced by HK Magazine Media Group in 2014.

The Hong Kong Tourism Board disclaims any liability as to the quality or fitness for purpose of third party products and services; and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy, adequacy or reliability of any information contained herein.

Information in this guide is subject to changes without advance notice. Please contact the relevant product or service providers for enquiries.

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this guide, the Hong Kong Tourism Board and HK Magazine accept no responsibility for any obsolescence, errors or omissions contained herein.


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