Home to over 15,000 restaurants, ranging from wet market street eats, international favourites, award-winning fine dining and more, you’re never short of food choices in Hong Kong. In fact, the city has one of the highest densities of restaurants in the world, covering every cuisine, budget and mood you could imagine. The only question is, where do you begin?
A good bet is to ask the experts — in this case, we’re turning to four of the city’s finest culinary tastemakers. They’re at the top of their game, running some of Hong Kong’s most popular and revered dining destinations. And here is where they go to eat after hanging up their chef whites at the end of a long shift.
Ahead, four award-winning Hong Kong chefs share their favourite restaurants in town. From hidden neighbourhood gems to long-standing crowd favourites, keep reading for more…
One of the most recognisable faces on the Hong Kong foodie scene, Canadian-born chef/owner May Chow knows a thing or two about good eats. She’s the mastermind behind critically-acclaimed hits Little Bao and Happy Paradise after all, and is widely regarded as one of the most dynamic and respected culinary figures in the city today. When she isn’t out winning awards (hello, ‘Asia’s Best Female Chef’) or campaigning for LGBTQ rights, diversity and female empowerment, you’ll find her eating everything from local seafood, spicy Sichuan and classic French bistro fare.
“A celebration of Cantonese stir-fries, dai pai dong-style seafood with quality ingredients, and fine attention to detail. Nestled in the heart of Jordan, this place is a celebrated foodie and chef haunt. I love the lovely couple who run this restaurant! My favourite dishes are the pan-fried vermicelli with fresh prawns with a superior stock glaze, poached fish with pickled vegetables, poached beef with ginger scallion, and pan-fried soy sauce noodles.”
Sijie Sichuan Food
“This is a private Sichuan kitchen in Wan Chai, famous amongst foodies for its true home-cooked flavours. Sijie focuses on food from her hometown in Chongqing. A truly inspiring female chef and entrepreneur, Sijie has an amazing personality and always makes you feel right at home. Plus, she can drink beer like no other!”
“A quaint bistro in Wan Chai honouring modern French technique, complete with a passionate chef. I wish there were Jean May's in every neighbourhood of Hong Kong where one can go to enjoy perfectly executed casual bistro fare with excellent ingredients. Clearly, I’m not the only fan of Jean May as it’s always booked out!”
Perhaps best known for his appearance as a finalist on Netflix’s The Final Table, along with being the very first Australian head chef to lead a restaurant attaining Michelin star-status, Australian-born Shane Osborn is the man behind one-Michelin starred Arcane, a restaurant dedicated to showcasing the best of local Hong Kong produce. His favourite restaurants include both long-standing crowd favourites and hidden gems alike.
“I’ve been going to Yardbird for the past nine years. Yardbird is the benchmark for great hospitality in Hong Kong; the food and drinks are always delicious and consistent, the service is very knowledgeable and the atmosphere buzzing.”
“Samsen serves very tasty Thai food. It was always difficult to get a table at the Wan Chai location, but now that they've opened a second location in Sheung Wan, it's much easier — and it's also very close to my flat! I'm not usually a big dessert-eater, but their coconut ice cream is insanely good!”
“Islam Food in Kowloon City is one of my favourite local spots, which I make a special effort to venture out to every couple of months. The food is delicious and extremely good value. It’s such a unique spot that sums up the best of the Hong Kong dining scene to me: multicultural and diverse. I would happily go there on my own for a plate of their veal goulash — there’s nothing like it anywhere else in the city. I also love that it’s been going for more than 60 years and is still operated by the same family.”
With 10 years’ experience in French kitchens, not to mention stints at Tokyo’s three-Michelin starred Nihonryori Ryugin, and Hong Kong’s two-Michelin starred Tenku Ryugin, Japanese native chef Sato isn’t afraid to experiment in the kitchen. His latest project, Ta Vie 旅, which currently holds two Michelin stars, pays homage to both French and Japanese cuisines with a fine dining take on fusion. Surprisingly, chef Sato’s favourite restaurants do away with the grandeur of his day job, favouring all things comfort instead.
“Porker is a casual Japanese izakaya, with a focus on pork. The dish I always order here is the pork ear salad with spicy sauce. Make sure to save some of the sauce to enjoy with a bowl of white rice!”
“The remarkable thing about this pizza joint is its consistency. It’s so difficult to expect consistent quality at casual restaurants, but at Motorino, I always enjoy the same taste every time, even at different branches. I make sure to order plenty of appetisers and salad, and I love the Pizza Margherita — the pizza dough in particular is excellent.”
“Even before I moved to Hong Kong 10 years ago, this restaurant was already one of my favourites. You have to order their signature dish — the deep-fried chicken wings stuffed with bird's nest, as well as the lean pork and clam double-boiled soup. I have also enjoyed many off-menu courses here inspired by traditional Cantonese culinary heritage, courtesy of chef [Cheng Kam-fu].”
A mainstay of Simon Rogan’s Roganic and Aulis, where he takes up the mantle of head chef, born and bred Brit Ashley Salmon has plenty of experience as to what constitutes a good meal, having worked at the likes of Aiden Byrne’s three AA Rosette-awarded Church Green and the two-Michelin starred Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley, both in the UK. His favourite restaurants read as a list of the cool kids of the Hong Kong restaurant scene today, two of which command months-long waiting lists.
“Barry happens to be one of the nicest guys I’ve met along with being an amazing chef, and deserves all the plaudits he receives. His food is delicious, innovative and original, whilst still keeping a feeling of familiarity — in this day and at his young age, that is not an easy task!”
“Some of the tastiest food in the city comes out of Manav Tuli’s kitchen at Chaat (located inside the Rosewood Hong Kong). The food is a refined Indian affair, and chef Manav is a master of spices and flavours without being overbearing, and all whilst remaining absolutely authentic. Some of my favourite dishes here are the Raj Kachori and Old Delhi Butter Chicken.”
“I’ve only managed to go once as it’s relatively hard to get a table! However, I’ll never forget the BBQ pork. It’s sweet, sticky and smoky, with just the right amount of fat. I was amazed with the multiple textures in this dish. Also, the congee is not to be missed. I have to admit I’m not a massive fan of congee, but I think The Chairman has changed my perception.”