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There is no shortage of memorable, authentic experiences in Hong Kong, but we wondered what Hong Kong people would recommend in their own bustling city. Cue ‘Hello Hong Kong ‧ My Best Picks — Most-liked Hong Kong Experiences’, where 30,000 locals picked their favourite experiences across three categories: Foodie Pleasure, Urban Oasis, and City Checkpoint. From the tastiest bites to the best streets, let your Hong Kong itinerary be guided by these local favourites.
What’s more iconic than a delectable spread of dim sum? From siu mai (pork dumpling) to char siu bao (pork bun), dim sum is a quintessential Hong Kong food enjoyed during yum cha, a Cantonese dining tradition that brings locals together for dumplings, snacks, and lots of Chinese tea. There’s a dim sum restaurant around every corner, and keep in mind that dim sum is traditionally eaten during brunch, and many dim sum joints will be closed by mid-afternoon. You can also check out these tips on how to best enjoy Hong Kong’s dim sum.
Hong Kong’s love for strongly brewed milk tea goes back decades. Having started with the traditional British cuppa, Hong Kong put its own spin on it by swapping out regular milk for evaporated or condensed milk. Since it’s repeatedly drawn and filtered through a sackcloth bag (often referred to as a ‘silk stocking’ because its tea-stained colours resemble a women’s stocking), Hong Kong-style milk tea leaves a lingering smoothness on the tongue. It’s part of the city’s food culture, and you can find it everywhere, from dai pai dongs (open-air food stalls) to fine-dining restaurants. But for the true experience of this famed style of milk tea, head to a cha chaan teng (Hong Kong-style cafe), where they also serve fusion dishes like pork chop rice and French toast.
If you have a sweet tooth, the egg tart, one of Hong Kong’s traditional desserts, won’t disappoint. The origins of the Hong Kong egg tart date back to the 40s and reflect the city’s East-meets-West identity. It’s well-loved by many for its light buttery crust and creamy egg custard. Unlike the caramelised Portuguese egg tarts you’ll find in Macau, the Hong Kong-style tart has a glossy finish and delightfully flaky crust. You’ll find this popular snack in bakeries and cafes. The egg tart is so beloved that it’s been included in Hong Kong’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
Bubble waffles are often cited as a favourite street snack of locals. Also known as ‘egg waffles’, ‘eggettes’ or ‘gai daan zai’, these waffles are cooked on a hot griddle. The best egg waffles are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. It makes for a piping-hot treat — among other popular Hong Kong street food — while strolling through the streets. The default is a plain egg waffle, but you can also add on fruits or fillings like cheese, chocolate, or even a savoury pork floss.
While a bowl of noodles might sound like simple fare, what stands out about Hong Kong’s wonton noodles is that each strand is perfectly springy. These blanched egg noodles are recognisably thin, and no matter if they are soaking in a flavourful broth or sitting in a pool of dark soy sauce, they always have a pleasant bite. And let’s not forget about the wonton itself. These thinly-wrapped prawn and pork dumplings are the perfect accompaniment to the egg noodles. You can find wonton noodles everywhere in Hong Kong, but for an unforgettable experience, try this Michelin-recommended restaurant in Tsim Sha Tsui. You may also visit Sham Shui Po to discover more authentic Hong Kong flavours.
It’s one of Hong Kong’s most scenic spots: Lantau Island’s Tai O. For those who believed that this urban city was just all towering skyscrapers and modern streetscapes, Tai O proves otherwise. True enough, stepping into this quaint fishing village feels as if you’ve stepped back to the turn of the last century. It’s also surrounded by mountainous peaks, so there are plenty of picturesque trails you can go off-road for. Make sure to try the famous Tai O Bakery for the freshly deep-fried Chinese-style doughnuts.
Get your fill of nature at Yuen Long’s Ha Pak Nai. This is widely known as one of the best places to catch the sunset in the whole of Hong Kong. The horizon glows a stunning amber hue as the sunset is beautifully reflected off the mudflats, making it a favourite haunt of local photographers. Don’t forget to bring your hiking gear, too, since there’s a nearby 6 km coastal trail that winds through Por Lo Shan. This humorously translates directly to ‘Pineapple Mountain’ since the surface looks like the crust of a pineapple bun.
Tai Lam Chung Reservoir is known as the ‘Thousand Island Lake’ for good reason. These islands were once the hilltop peaks of Tai Lam Chung Valley but are now permanently flooded with catchwater. We don’t mind one bit — the cluster paints a pretty picture with turquoise-blue waters and lush greenery. For those looking for a nature escapade, set off on the hike from Tuen Mun to Tai Tong through MacLehose Trail Section 10 and Tai Tong Shan Road. While it’s a point-to-point trail, it’s still a relatively challenging hike.
Escape the crowd with a getaway in Sai Kung, a nature-filled haven less than an hour from the city. It’s known for its fishing villages, hiking trails, and sandy white beaches — a picturesque break from the hustle and bustle of the city. But what’s truly striking here is the High Island Geo Trail in the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark, home to awe-inspiring hexagonal volcanic columns and sea caves. You can also try your hand at outdoor water sports; think transparent kayaking, snorkelling, and more.
The best views of Hong Kong aren’t a hidden secret — simply make your way to the city’s highest peak, which stands a staggering 957 m above sea level. Sometimes it’s more about the journey than the destination, and it’s a clear case in point with Tai Mo Shan’s many scenic hiking trails. One of the more popular hikes winds through all four of the Ng Tung Chai Waterfalls, each a breathtaking sight and satisfying rest stop while you make your way through the forested steeps.
It’s Hong Kong’s version of the renowned Hollywood Walk of Fame, a waterfront strip along Victoria Harbour in vibrant Tsim Sha Tsui. Hong Kong is known for its decades-old film industry, and it’s at the Avenue of Stars where you’ll spot the handprints and statues of A-list actors and celebrities, from the larger-than-life statue of Bruce Lee to a tribute to beloved actress Anita Mui. There’s also ‘A Symphony of Lights’ show at 8pm daily when the iconic buildings flanking the Victoria Harbour light up with a spectacular multimedia light show.
Add a dose of cultural appreciation to your itinerary by paying a visit to Wong Tai Sin Temple. While this Taoist shrine is known for answering each and every prayer, it’s also a fine masterpiece of a building with various traditional Chinese architectural styles shining through. You’ll notice the scriptures inscribed on the temple walls, an interesting display of Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism principles. There are no admission fees to the temple, but you can find donation boxes throughout. All donations go towards the upkeep of this attraction.
When it comes to shopping, Mongkok is a go-to spot for locals looking for fashion finds. This popular shopping district is often filled to the brim with eager shoppers, all out to get the latest drop or thrifty bargain. But modern shopping malls aside, Mongkok also has quite an array of unique street markets. Head over to the Ladies’ Market for affordable fashion and quirky knick-knacks, or the Goldfish Market to gawk at the display of aquatic animals — as the name goes, there are bags of goldfish strewn everywhere, but you’ll also find other fish species, turtles, and crabs.
One glance at Pottinger Street, and you’ll instantly notice the slope of uneven granite slabs. Even the Chinese nickname directly translates to ‘Stone Slabs Street’, a nod to the street’s untouched steps that have been around since the 1850s. There’s beauty in imperfection, though, with many flocking over to this quaint street for photoshoots. Stop by the kiosk stores selling everything from fridge magnets to elaborate fancy dress costumes. In fact, it’s a favourite spot for locals to find Halloween costumes since this street has everything from feather boas to cowboy hats.
For the quintessential Hong Kong night market experience, pay a visit to the Temple Street Market. It’s a treasure trove of all things unique, from holiday keepsakes to retro electronics. Still, there’s no better memento than an ‘I heart Hong Kong’ tee — you can find one here. But there’s more: not only will you come across a number of fortune tellers and feng shui masters, but an impromptu Cantonese opera might even start performing right next to you. Once peckish from your shopping spree, stop by one of many street food stalls to try popular bites like fish balls and bubble waffles.
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