Whether you prioritise health or wealth, quantity or quality, this list will have something for you to nibble on during your city strolls – when sitting down just isn’t an option, and walking empty-mouthed is unbearable, we’ve got your back. Just don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty, because I most certainly am not – and things could get a little saucy around here.
I trust this list will give you a couple of ideas to help to satiate your starving strolls and munch-free meanders.
Photo credit: @lydiachews
White Beard Fish & Chips
First and foremost, this is the kind of hirsute grandpa we all wish we had, and his resplendent facial hair is undoubtedly the star of the Star Ferry terminal in Central. Of course, we refer to White Beard. Now, besides the minimal cost and extreme beauty of Star Ferry trips, what really drives us wild with desire is the cheesy chips with a sprinkle of bacon waiting for us on the Island upon arrival. These baskets of brilliance are one of our absolute favourite treats when we have a mission on foot just long enough to justify refuelling the belly.
Central Pier 7 – lower level of the Star Ferry
Photo credit: @thatjusthappenedpodcast
Now for some eggy ecstacy, Mammy Pancake gives us the egg waffles we all need on a rainy day (or just any day, because, well, our willpower is only so strong). Forget what you thought you knew about these bubbly bites – Mammy P takes them to the next level, with a Michelin recommendation to prove it. The regular waffles are already irresistible, but Mammy P offers up such delights as double chocolate chip and peanut butter and condensed milk waffles. Not for the faint-hearted, but if you’re having a stroll and need a sugar kick, these waffles sugar-kick butt.
Branches around town; click here for locations
Photo credit: @hongkongbmk
Bánh Mì Kitchen
We get so overexcited about these sandwiches that we hope they don’t banh mi from the shop! Bánh Mì Kitchen is a major player when it comes to offering up street-friendly sarnies. With the buns supplied by artisanal RISE bakery and most of the ingredients sourced from either Vietnam or made in-house daily, their banh mi take no shortcuts. If you’re an experienced street-eats aficionado, you can also grab a Vietnamese coffee – their milk may be condensed, but trust me when I say things are going to get steamy. Our love for their brews is real.
22 Li Yuen Street East, Central, 2328 9699
Photo credit: @kerryeatsworld
HOT-STAR Large Fried Chicken
With locations all across HK, you’re never far from HOT-STAR. Their larger-than-palm-sized crispy chicken is a supreme guilty pleasure. Although we try to refrain from eating too many deep-fried foods, HOT-STAR is at the forefront of making us forget our better judgement. With the centre so juicy and the outer layer so perfectly crisp with just a touch of spice (you can ask for more), this Taiwanese titan has found the perfect balance. If you don’t feel sufficiently elegant eating this schnitzel-like piece of paradise, they also have smaller options such as salt-baked chicken bites for downing with a wooden skewer (yes, I know – outrageously classy). If you want to treat yourself to a savoury saviour, HOT-STAR is as hot as it gets, and it gets our gold star of approval.
Branches around town; click here for locations
Photo credit: @poor.foodie
J.CO Donuts & Coffee
We’re soon to discuss the beauty of bagels, but their oh-so-glazed cousins are not to be forgotten, so we’ll start with these. J.CO, the don of doughnuts, has two locations in Hong Kong serving up soft, chewy and flavourful doughnuts and coffee to all you road warriors. Sometimes you just can’t help but fulfil your sweetest desires, and J.CO exists for those moments. They have a massive selection of creative doughnuts, and you can always get a box with a variety if you can’t help yourself from taking the party back to your place. Be warned – my eyes have been bigger than my stomach on multiple occasions with J.CO, so take it slow and steady. The doughnuts are rich, and with the amount you’ll be buying, they could be richer than you in no time.
Mongkok: 585 Nathan Road
Wanchai: 55 Hennessy Road, 6982 8282
Photo credit: @bagelsalley
What do you get when you cross the beauty of a bun with the delight of a doughnut? A bagel! Although we aren’t in the Big Apple, the handmade bagels down at Bagels Alley are a big deal. Now, bagels are the holiest of all bread varieties (ba-dum-tsh), and these ones are no exception. With nine varieties of bagels available before any fillings are even selected, the options are endless. Over and above this variety, the bagels themselves are scrumptious and great value for money, ranging from $35 for the most basic (think spreads like hummus, cream cheese and Nutella) to $70 for something stacked with pastrami, smoked salmon or bacon. If you need to munch on the move, Bagels Alley is a strong contender.
Shop A1, G/F, Haleson Building, 1 Jubilee Street, Central, 9793 8401
Photo credit: @pongchai
Often, as an expat on the Island, it’s far too easy to overlook some of the more traditional Hong Kong snack foods, which Central doesn’t seem to have in great supply. Yes, the OGs – I’m talking about siu mai and curry fish balls. These bite-sized feasts are very different from one another, but they both have a special place in my belly. If you haven’t tried them before, they’re cheap enough that rather than me wasting your time describing them, it’s time for you to get adventurous and go out to find some! I have, on occasion, had some curry fish balls that turned out to be spicier than expected, so beware of that, but, then again, I’m a South-African-born Irishman, so my taste buds aren’t the most accustomed to spice.
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