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In a city home to over one hundred Michelin star-rated restaurants and cuisines from all around the world, it’s easy to forget that we have a wonderful selection of traditional local food right here in Hong Kong.

We do know the alphabet — and we’ll prove it, with this alphabetical list of Hong Kong food we all know and love:

Braised Abalone

A for abalone

Starting this list off with a bang, abalone is quintessential in the Cantonese fine dining experience. In a traditional set meal, steamed fresh abalone with vegetables, accompanied with thick soy sauce, is more often than not the highlight of the meal.

Try it at:

Prince Restaurant (1881 Heritage and Elements, Tsim Sha Tsui)

Fu Ho Restaurant (Lockhart Road, Wan Chai; Mira Mall, Tsim Sha Tsui)

bubble tea

B for bubble tea

This Taiwanese export is easily a favourite among locals and expatriates alike. It’s sinfully affordable – normally between $14 and $20 – and with Gong Cha, Share Tea and Come Buy outlets all over Hong Kong, you’re never far from your next bubble tea fix.

Read: The Best Bubble Teas in Hong Kong according to Becky

Try it at:

Gong Cha (Various locations across Hong Kong)

cha FOR TEA (Hysan Place, Causeway Bay)

Cart Noodles

C for cart noodles

The ability to customize, from the type of noodles, to what toppings you’d like, makes every visit to a cart noodle joint a different experience. Cart noodles have a long history in Hong Kong, and they’re a great option if you’re looking for something fast and inexpensive.

Try it at:

Wing Kee Noodle (Sugar Street and Gilman’s Bazaar, Causeway Bay)

Noodle Supreme (Jervois Street, Sheung Wan)

Da Been Lou Hotpot

D for da been lou (hotpot)

More simply known as hotpot, da been lou is an ever-popular choice among diners in Hong Kong. Many restaurants have all-you-can-eat deals, meaning you can leave having eaten your money’s worth and with a five month food baby.

Try it at:

Megan’s Kitchen (Lucky Centre, Wan Chai)

or BRAND NEW on Wyndham St – Yi Hung Yuen

GyuJin (Causeway Bay Plaza I, Causeway Bay; iSquare, Tsim Sha Tsui)

Egg Tart / Daan Tat

E for egg tarts

A childhood favourite that just never goes out of style, these smaller-than-palm-sized pastries are deceivingly delicious little things. Whether it’s served as a dim sum in a Cantonese restaurant or bought from a roadside bakery on the go, egg tarts always make for a satisfyingly sweet treat.

Try it at:

Tai Cheong Bakery (multiple locations including Central, Wan Chai and The Peak)

Honolulu Coffee Shop (Hennessy Road, Wan Chai)

Fish Ball noodle soup

F for fish balls

It’s universally and scientifically proven that everybody likes fish balls – well, maybe not, but nobody says no to a bowl of fresh-from-the-kitchen fish ball noodles. What they’re actually made of is questionable, but that they’re wonderfully delicious is not.

Try it at:

Tsui Wah Restaurant (multiple locations including Central, Sheung Wan and Wan Chai)

Kong Chai Kee (Canal Road East, Causeway Bay; Kau U Fong Road, Central)

Roast Goose Hong Kong

G for (roasted) goose

A well-done roasted goose is succulent, meaty and absolutely heavenly. A plate of roasted goose rice with its crisp, fatty skin might not be the most nutritious dish, but certainly satiates and fills you up like no other.

Try it at:

Yat Lok Barbeque Restaurant (Stanley Street, Central)

Kam’s Roast Goose (Hennessy Road, Wan Chai)

Hairy Crab HK

H for hairy crab

Hairy crab season is only during the fall, which just makes them all the more lusted over when the time comes around. Hairy crabs are no fast food, but the rich golden creamy roe and zesty white meat is worth the hours of digging into every little crevice.

Try it at:

Shanghai Min (multiple locations including Central, Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui)

Cuisine Cuisine (IFC mall, Central; Mira Hotel, Tsim Sha Tsui)

Har Gao HK

Honorary mention: har gao (steamed shrimp dumpling)

An afternoon yumcha just isn’t right without an order of har gao. These little parcels of luscious steamed shrimp wrapped in thin, translucent skin may not look like much, but are seriously delicious.

Try it at:

Lei Garden (multiple locations including Causeway Bay, Wan Chai and Sha Tin)

DimDimSum DimSum (multiple locations including Wan Chai, Mong Kok and Jordan)

Iced Milk Tea

Photo credit: prince_ivan

I for iced milk tea

This traditional drink is a staple at every cha chan teng. Whether you’re having a scrambled egg sandwich or a slice or two of condensed milk toast, everything washes down well with an iced milk tea, and it’s no wonder why this is such a widely loved drink.

Try it at:

Lan Fong Yuen (Gage Street, Central; Shun Tak Centre, Sheung Wan; Chung King Mansions, Tsim Sha Tsui)

Tak Yu (Kwong Ming Street, Wan Chai)

Cantonese Congee

J for juk (Cantonese congee)

Juk is to us Hong Kongers as chicken soup is to Americans – it’s comfort food for the sick, feverish soul. One doesn’t have to be feeling ill to enjoy a piping hot bowl of ‘juk’ though. Congee with century egg and shredded pork is a popular order at many congee and noodle shops – a couple of spoonfuls of that and you’ll be feeling warm and fuzzy in no time.

Try it at:

Tasty Congee & Noodle Wantun Shop (multiple locations including IFC, Happy Valley and Elements)

King’s Palace Congee & Noodle Bar (Sing Woo Road, Happy Valley; Festival Walk, Kowloon Tong)


K for kumquat

During the Chinese New Year season, kumquats pop up everywhere – they’re displayed proudly in your home as a symbol of fortune, given as gifts to loved ones and sold in supermarkets everywhere. Kumquats have a refreshing, citrusy flavour and are different from your regular oranges because they’re eaten whole with the peel, which is chewy and has a surprisingly sweet taste to it.

Try it at:

Your supermarket of choice!

Lo Mai Gai

L for lo mai gai (glutinous rice in lotus leaf wrap)

Essentially sticky rice with chicken, mushrooms and scallions in a lotus leaf wrap, lo mai gai is one of the heavier, more filling dim sum dishes that you can order. The glutinous rice is especially fragrant and definitely packs a punch with all of the different ingredients inside of it.

Try it at:

Golden Valley (The Emperor Hotel, Happy Valley)

Lei Garden

Macaroni Soup

M for macaroni soup

That’s not Chinese food, you say! But hear me out – we’re talking about the Hong Kong-style macaroni soup, often served with a slice of ham and a sunny side up, available as a breakfast set in pretty much all cha chan tengs. Hearty and filling, HK-style macaroni soup is a childhood favourite enjoyed also by the young at heart.

Try it at:

Australia Dairy Company 澳洲牛奶公司 (Parkes Street, Jordan)

Capital Café (Heard Street, Wan Chai)]

Mochi Ice

Honorable mention: Mochi Ice

These tightly wrapped ice cream balls with a sweet layer of mocha on the outside are another childhood favourite for those born and raised in Hong Kong. They come in a variety of flavours including original (milk flavour), chocolate and ube, and can be bought at your convenience from Seven Elevens and Circle Ks.

Try it at:

Your neighbourhood Seven Eleven or Circle K

Nestle Ice Cream

N for Nestle ice cream

Forget fancy artisanal desserts – if you’re looking for something sweet, head to your nearest convenience or grocery store and pick up some Nestle ice cream. With their selection of ice cream bars, fruit popsicles, ‘drumsticks’ (ice cream cones) and classic ice cream cups, you’re sure to find something to your fancy.

Try it at:

Your neighbourhood Seven Eleven or Circle K

Oolong Tea

O for oolong tea

Hong Kong summers are brutally hot and unforgiving, and days like this call for a fresh-from-the-fridge bottle of oolong tea from the nearest Seven Eleven. The taste of oolong tea is hard to describe – it’s slightly bitter, yet aromatic and tinged with a hint of sweetness in its aftertaste. It’s not for everybody, but hey, it’s an acquired taste.

Try it at:

You know the drill by now!

Pineapple Bun

P for pineapple bun

Don’t judge a book by its cover, and don’t judge food by its name – a pineapple bun merely looks somewhat like a pineapple, and contains no actual pineapple inside. Pineapple buns are known for the sweet and crunchy top layer, which contrasts well with the softer and less sweet inside of the bun.

Try it at:

Kam Wah Café (Bute Street, Mong Kok)

Tsui Wah Restaurant

Michelin Starred Tim Ho Wan Restaurant (IFC, Central)

Century Eggs

Q for quail eggs

Quail eggs are the stuff that century eggs are made out of. The deep green yolk and the whites, which are more of a brown jelly than the pale solid colour we’re used to seeing in an egg might not seem appetising, but give it a try – you just might like it. The eggs go great with plain congee as it adds saltiness to the otherwise bland fare.

Try it at:

Yung Kee Restaurant (Wellington Street, Central)

李煥糖心皮蛋 (Wing Lok Street, Sheung Wan)

Gon Chow Ngau Ho

R for rice noodles with beef (乾炒牛河 Gon Chow Ngau Ho)

These soft, silky noodles and tender beef strips are a classic Hong Kong dish that can be ordered in most Cantonese restaurants. Seasoned with soy sauce, onion and ginger, this dish packs quite the flavour. It’s often quite oily as it is stir fried, but it most definitely is a guilty pleasure that can’t be denied by many.

Try it at:

Tai Ping Koon Restaurant (Multiple locations in Causeway Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui and Yau Ma Tei)

Meen and Rice (The Pulse, Repulse Bay)

Sweet and Sour Pork

S for sweet and sour pork

The orange-brown sauce, that drenches the pork and the red, yellow and green peppers, that both garnish and flavour the meat make this one of the most colourful dishes in Cantonese cuisine. It’s not just nice to look at, but it’s delicious to eat too – the slight saltiness of the pork pairs wonderfully with the sweet and sour sauce.

Try it at:

Tak Lung Restaurant (Hong Keung Street, San Po Kong)

Mott 32 (Standard Chartered Bank Building, Central)

Tofu Pudding

T for tofu pudding

This silky, melt-in-your-mouth dessert is the perfect way to round off a meal. Cold tofu pudding is a refreshing treat in the scorching summer and the hot version does wonders in warming you up in the winter, so it’s a sought after dessert all year round.

Try it at:

Yan Wo Dou Bun Chong (Gilman’s Bazaar, Causeway Bay)

Kin Hing Tofu Dessert (Yung Shue Wan, Lamma Island)

HK Style Soy Sauce Udon Noodles

U for HK-style soy sauce udon

Udon is known to us all as Japanese food, but some say it was enjoyed by monks way back in ancient China. Regardless of the truth, soy sauce udon, also known as fried Shanghai noodles, is a popular dish in Hong Kong, often accompanied with stir-fried beef and vegetables such as carrot and cabbage. The slippery and chewy texture of the noodles is unique to udon in the noodle family and is what makes it a popular order at many local restaurants.

Try it at:

Lei Bistro (Times Square, Causeway Bay; V City, Tuen Mun)

Shanghai Min


V for Vitasoy

Good ole Vitasoy – these packet drinks, only the press of a button away on a vending machine, are everywhere. Their products range from flavoured soy milk to refreshing teas, and the very affordable prices and wide availability everywhere, make them pretty much the unofficial drink of Hong Kong people.

Try it at:

Literally anywhere!

Wonton Noodle soup

W for wonton noodles

You can’t go wrong with a classic bowl of wonton noodles. Cooked al dente, the noodles are chewy and springy, and the wontons are made of tender prawn wrapped in thin dumpling skin. Shops that specialize in wontons are all over Hong Kong, each claiming to be the very best – guess you’ll just have to try them all to find out!

Try it at:

Mak’s Noodles (Wellington Street, Central – also at the Peak and Causeway Bay)

Tasty Congee & Noodle Wantun Shop

Xiao Long Bao

X for xiao long bao

So they’re technically Shanghainese, not Cantonese, but they’re too good to leave off the list – plus they can be ordered at most dim sum restaurants anyway. Beginners beware: these little dumplings burst with flavour and scrumptiousness, but also boiling soup, once bitten into. I don’t know about you, but I can easily devour eight or ten of these babies in one sitting.

Try it at:

Din Tai Fung (multiple locations including Causeway Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui and Sha Tin)

Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao (multiple locations including Causeway Bay, Central and Admiralty)

Yin Yeung

Y for yin yeung

A mix of coffee with Hong Kong-style milk tea, yin yeung, named after the Chinese yin yang symbol, represents Hong Kong in its very essence – a beautiful blend of tradition with contemporary culture. Often ordered with set meals at cha chan tengs, yin yeung is creamy, rich and always a good time.

Try it at:

Australian Dairy Company (Parkes Street, Jordan)

Star Cafe (Kimberley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui)

Zha Leong

Z for zha leong (rice noodles wrapped around fried dough)

Zha leong is a combination of two well-known local foods: rice noodles wrapped around you tiao (fried dough). Soft and slippery on the outside while firm and crunchy on the inside, zha leong features the best of both worlds in one simple dish.

Try it at:

Tasty Congee & Noodle Wantun Shop

King’s Palace Congee and Noodle Bar

And there you have it — a complete but by no means definitive list of Hong Kong foods that we all love, and where you can try the very best of it.


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