Hong Kong has a passion for all things delicious, which is why every nook and corner of the city is dotted with local eateries – from sizzling street food stalls and exquisite dim sum restaurants to the local favourite Cha Chaan Teng. Whether you are out shopping or travelling between destinations, you will only be steps away from an overwhelming variety of traditional food. Most places are open till late to cater to the city that never sleeps.
To help you get started, we compiled a list of Hong Kong’s must-try traditional foods and the best places to find them.
One of the best ways to taste the local flavours of Hong Kong is through its street food. Stalls across the city, with sizzling dishes, tantalizing aromas, and the buzzing crowds create an unforgettable dining experience. Hong Kong street food is a curious mix of the traditional, the intriguing, and the downright weird. No matter how meticulous or adventurous you are, the streets of the city are bound to have something to suit your taste.
The four food-topian districts, namely Temple Street in Jordan, Dundas Street in Mong Kok, Cheung Chau Island, and Lockhart Road in Wan Chai offer some of the best street food in Hong Kong. Here are some of the snacks we highly recommend:
- Curry Fish Balls: Perhaps the single, most-iconic representation of Hong Kong street food is the curry fish ball. The spicy, tangy, and savoury snack is best eaten fresh from the seller’s boiling hot bowl.
- Variety of food-on-a-stick: This is where the street food takes a more ‘interesting’ turn. These stick snacks typically include fish Siu Mai (mini dumpling) and pork Siu Mai to more adventurous items such as squid tentacles and pig intestines.
- Roasted Meats: An associated companion to curry fish balls and food-on-a-stick, most establishment will have an array of roasted pork and pork belly to satisfy even the hungriest tummies.
- Bubble Tea: Nothing compliments street food like a well shaken, milky tea with small tapioca bubbles. Grab a cold, flavourful one to refresh during the humid summer.
Hong Kong is known as the home of dim sum. The small, bite-sized portions of savoury and sweet delicacies wrapped in steamed sheets and buns were originally designed to accompany tea as means to fill the appetite, but since then has quickly become a weekly ritual in family meals.
Taste aside, the presentation of the food is a spectacle on its own. Served on a trolley that is stacked high with bamboo steamer baskets, watch as the efficient staff of these busier-than-life restaurants serve tens of tables without a sweat.
Dim sums are a must try for food lovers wanting to taste a dish that is authentically Hong Kong. Get your taste of dim sum at W Hong Kong’s own Sing Yin Cantonese Dining, or contact our W Insider for recommendations in other parts of the city.
Cha Chaan Teng (Tea Restaurants)
This East-meets-West styled local eatery serves distinctly local comfort food at affordable prices in a bustling industrious atmosphere that you will not find anywhere else in the world. Most Cha Chaan Teng’s are open round the clock and are a perfect HubSpot to taste the everyday food of the locals.
Cha Chaan Tengs are best known for Hong Kong milk tea that goes along with a plethora of satiating food, some of which include:
- Hong Kong style French toast: deep-fried, thick slices of luscious bread smeared with peanut butter and covered in syrup.
- Scrambled eggs: fluffy, creamy, and delicious eggs that require no additional seasoning.
- Instant noodles: fulfilling, chewy noodles served with succulent stir-fried meat.
To try any of these, we recommend visiting Australian Dairy Company in Jordan, Honolulu Cafe in Wan Chai, Kam Wah Cafe in Prince Edward, or Yee Shun Milk Company in Causeway Bay
Hong Kong street food does not discriminate against those with sweet tooth. In the city, you won’t be able to go a block in any direction without spotting a bakery whose aroma seems to lure you in.
Some of the most famous bakeries include Tai Cheon Bakery in Central, Mammy Pancake in Tsim Sha Tsui, and Kam Wah Cafe in Prince Edward. Within these bakeries, you will find yourself salivating over an array of colourful pastries and cakes that include:
Egg Waffles (Gai Dan Jai)
The epitome of Hong Kong street sweets. The tantalizing aroma of freshly grilled waffle will coerce your senses to submission.
Egg waffles are made from pancake batter poured into a special mould and heated until done. They are fluffy on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside. Aside from the original egg waffles, try the unique taro and sesame flavours.
Pineapple Buns (Bo Lo Bao)
Easily Hong Kong’s most classic dessert. It is impossible to miss them during your visit to the city as they are carried by bakeries, convenience stores, cafes and even restaurants.
This simple, yet delicious treat is a mixture of soft, fluffy bread base with a layer of crispy, sweet pineapple topping.
Egg Tarts (Dan Tat)
A legacy of Hong Kong’s colonial days, this puff, crispy pastry filled with hot-wobbly-yellowness will make you keep coming back for more.
Like the Pineapple Bun, these are temptingly displayed by the window, daring by-passers to ignore the charms of its lusciousness.