We hate to see Hong Kong’s dai pai dong stalls disappearing — no other restaurants do cheap, delicious comfort food better than these outdoor cooked food stalls. Here are the top dai pai dongs for awesomely oily stir-fried dishes.
Don’t mind the wooden chairs and plastic table cloths — this Sham Shui Po restaurant is regularly one of the city’s top-rated cooked food stalls, and it does not disappoint. Opened since 1956, Oi Man Sang has been serving stir-fried meats, veggies, and stews with its signature open-air gas stone in the middle of the street. The stir-fried beef fillet and potatoes in black pepper sauce (黑椒牛柳薯仔粒) is delicious with a crispy texture, sweet and sour pork (生炒骨) comes absolutely full of “wok hei” and addictive, and the stir-fried squid in pepper salt is crunchy and packed with flavor. Order a bowl of rice, a bottle of beer, and brings some friends, and you’ve got yourself a great night out.
215 Lai Chi Kok Road, Sham Shui Po, 2393-9315.
Our advice? Don’t visit this Central dai pai dong at lunchtime, or you’ll be fighting for a seat among students, blue-collars, office workers, tourists — it is that popular! Come slightly later in the afternoon and order what everyone else seems to be having: Sing Heung Yuen’s famous macaroni and beef in a tomato soup (茄牛通 ), lemon honey crispy sweet buns (檸蜜脆脆), and an iced drink of your choice. Have a spoonful of the tomato soup, followed by a bite of that crunchy bun — so satisfying.
2 Mee Lun Street, Central. Hours: Mon-Sat, 8am-5:30pm.
Something of a local celebrity restaurant in Cheung Sha Wan — the restaurant occupies half the street — Tai Chung Wah is surrounded by auto repair shops, hardware shops, recycling shops and the likes. But the food — especially if you like local Hong Kong dishes — is so, so comforting. Enjoy the al dente claypot rice with preserved meat (臘味煲仔飯), flavorful pork knuckle in black pepper sauce (鐵板黑椒豬手), stir-fried Chinese kale in ginger sauce (薑汁芥蘭), grilled chicken (土匪雞) and the dai pai dong’s most famous stir-fried glutinous rice (生炒糯米飯), a winter staple in Hong Kong.
539 Fok Wing Street, Cheung Sha Wan.
Best for breakfasts and lunches, Ping Kee’s stall is on a quiet street in trendy Tai Hang, serving beloved pork chop instant noodles (豬扒麵), French toast (西多), and milk tea. There is not much else to choose from, but do the signatures extremely well. The pork chop is tender and packed with flavor, the milk tea is strong, and best of all, there’s homemade chili sauce! If possible, avoid lunch hours.
5 Shepherd Street, Tai Hang, 2577-3117. Hours: Tues-Sun, 7:30am-3:30pm
Another favorite among locals, Tung Po is a prestigious dai pai dong, having even been featured in Japanese magazines. It moved from the street into its current indoor location years ago, and is best known for its fried shrimp with salted egg (黃金蝦), Tung Po salad ribs (沙拉骨), deep-fried pork knuckle (南乳炸豬手) and fried tofu in spicy salt (椒鹽豆腐) — all oily and sumptuous dishes that pair well with plain rice. Tung Po’s more homestyle options, such as stir-fried egg with shrimp (蝦球炒滑蛋), are also top-notch. Reserve a table beforehand if you can, but note that they only take calls between 2:30pm to 5:30pm.
2/F, Java Road Municipal Services Building, 99 Java Road, North Point.
Going to Fo Tan for chicken congee is pretty much a collective memory for every late-80s kid growing up in Hong Kong, and Chun Chun Food Shop is among the more popular ones in Fo Tan cooked food market. You’ll get a good taste of the local dai pai dong atmosphere, with loud chatter, the sound of wok-frying, and the Shing Mun River right beside you. The food is almost not as important, though we have fond memories of the smooth chicken congee, deep-fried tofu and deep-fried squid.
Shan Mei Street, Food Market, Fo Tan East, Fo Tan.