Have first-timers in town and scratching your head on where to take them for food? From dai pai dongs to cooked food centers, here’s a handy list of Hong Kong’s must-try dining experiences.
Must Try: Dim Sum
You would’ve failed miserably as a host if you didn’t let your guests in on the ultimate Hong Kong experience: dim sum. Bring them to Lin Heung Tea House for a meal they wouldn’t get back home: this old-school restaurant on Wellington Street still serves its dim sum in trolleys. The retro vibe and brisk staff are in a category all their own. Remember to order the lotus paste custard steamed buns, since the teahouse is literally named after the unique fragrance of the lotus. When you’re done yum cha on the first floor, pick up a few treats from the ground floor bakery to finish.
Lin Heung Tea House: 160-164 Wellington Street, Central, 2544-4556.
Must Try: Hot Pot
Hongkongers are obsessed with hot pot — and there’s nothing quite like gathering around a boiling cauldron and jostling for space to dip your raw beef slices. Bring your guests to Megan’s Kitchen, where fishballs come in colors of the rainbow and base broths range from baked cheesy lobster to tom yum goong cappuccino.
Megan’s Kitchen: 5/F, Lucky Centre, 165-171 Wan Chai Road, Wan Chai, 2866-8305.
Must Try: Seafood
Let your guests take their pick of live lobsters, shellfish, and other marine creatures straight from a seafood stall, then get everything cooked however they like at a restaurant of their choice in Lei Yue Mun. This busy seaside hotspot is great for tourists looking for memorable snaps and a delicious meal to boot. We recommend Gateway Cuisine for its stunning views, rooftop terrace, massive open kitchen out front—and of course the great food. Roam the narrow alleyways after your meal and get a bag of fresh-grilled walnuts or a pack of egg rolls for dessert.
Lei Yue Mun, Kowloon East. Closest MTR station: Yau Tong.
Must Try: Cha Chaan Teng
The cha chaan teng casual diner is where it’s at when it comes to showing your guests where locals eat out most days. For the less adventurous, Tsui Wah is the place to go. Make sure you get them down to try a spam and egg sandwich, deep-fried instant noodles, condensed milk buns and other crazy dishes that have sneaked their way into Hongkongers’ hearts. Bonus: you can do double-duty and scratch two must-dos off the list by bringing them to the Tsui Wah on The Peak.
Tsui Wah: Shop 1A, G/F, The Peak Galleria, 118 Peak Road, The Peak, 2849-2345.
Must Try: Dai Pai Dong
Do alfresco the Hong Kong way, with a meal at a dai pai dong. The stalls at the west end of Stanley Street in Central are a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Find your favorite folding table, order some beers, and chow down on dishes like claypot rice and fried noodles while enjoying the outdoor breeze.
West end of Stanley Street, Central.
Must Try: Cooked Food Center
Cooked Food Centers — or the government’s buzzkill way of labelling those awesome restaurants that sit inside multi-story indoor wet markets — are yet another way to enjoy classic Hong Kong dishes like stir-fried seafood and fried rice. Tung Po is hands-down the most well known, and you’ll have a fun time confusing your guests with hard-to-categorizes dishes like the squid ink pasta and grilled beef slabs.
Tung Po: 2/F, Java Road Municipal Services Building, 99 Java Road, North Point, 2880-5224.