This article originally appeared in the November 2015 Issue: Hosting the Holidays. Read it here!
For the Gritty, Real Experience:
34-38 Stanley Street, Central, 2524 3882
For a no frills, authentic meal, your out-of-towners will get a true taste of HK with the classic Cantonese roast goose at this little mom-and-pop shop. Roast goose is Yat Lok’s specialty and it is bronzed, tender, fatty and crispy all rolled into one delicious bird. Crowded, cramped, fast and furious devouring, with long queues at lunch time, this is the real Hong Kong deal.
These are an institution by those in the know in HK. Buzzingly busy, tiled floors with foldable or plastic tables and stools, often positioned above a wet market, filled with stall after stall of deliciousness - think indoor versions of Singaporean hawker centres. Three of our favourites:
Shop 7, Food Market, 1 Queen Street, Sheung Wan, 9278 8227
For haute-cuisine-meets-dai-pai-dong. It’s pure deliciousness dressed with red and white checked tableclothes and flourescent lighting.
2/F Java Road Municipal Services Building, 99 Java Rd, North Point, 2880 5224
Ghetto fabulous Guangdong-style Cantonese food served with a nice cold Tsingtao inside the hectic interior of this food centre.
Shop 2, Wong Nai Chung Food Centre, 2/F, Yuk Sau Street, Happy Valley
For a food hit, after taking your visiting gamblers to the Happy Valley races, take them to this easy option for luscious (and cheap) crispy garlic chicken.
3016-3018, 3/F, IFC Mall, 1 Harbourview Street, Central, 2295 0505 with five more locations around Hong Kong
If you’re feeling brave and want to introduce congee into the lives of your guests, this is a good place to start. Upmarket yet affordable with traditional recipe congee that if it turns out is not to their taste, they do a mean beef fried noodles that’ll please any palate.
2-3/F, 46-50 Des Voeux Road West, Sheung Wan, 2156 9328
For down and dirty dim sum that’s as alluring as it is daunting. This place is messy, noisy, madness where you’ll have to shout and cajole to get your order from the passing carts as other diners fight for their bamboo steamers full of delight. Leave your politeness at the door, as doormats will leave hungry and salivating over the steamed aromas that waft through the two floors of veritable Cantonese dim sum.
For the Cool Kids:
7/F, 31 Hollywood Road, Central, 2336 8812
Even if your friends have come from the West, they’ll still be tickled by this cool cat take on Westernised Chinese food. A phenomenal balcony set amongst the high rises, ideal for cocktails and caterwauling, get a “Joh Sun” and a chicken chow mein down your guests and consider yourself the flyest host in town.
1 Elgin Street, SoHo, 2810 0860
Magnificent name, super-cool and mysterious décor and a trend-setting chef make Ho Lee Fook the coolest kid on the block. Mix that in with his reinterpretation of classic Chinese flavours and you’ve got a restaurant that your visitors will be talking about long after their visit.
206 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, 2549 0020
Everybody loves Thai food, and if you’re friends can take the heat, this is the hot spot to entertain their taste buds with. Austere concrete mixed with hand painted wall murals make for that optimum blend of modern prison chic. But heed our warning, this one’s not for flavour sissies.
1A Upper Station Street, Sheung Wan, 2803 7080
Bringing the sangfroid to PoHo is the Berlinese jam venue combining carefully mixed cocktails, Italian small bites and creative pursuits like music and art into the tiny confines of this sweet spot on Upper Station Street. With a distinct neighbourhood vibe, your guests will instantly want to move to HK and hang with this cool crowd.
For Picturesque Waterside Eats:
Pui O Beach, Lantau, 5402 4154
Sand, sea, surf shack, nuff said? No? Okay, how about a Big Kahuna burger, Fush ‘n’ Chups and a beer on the beach listening to an all day DJ? We thought so.
28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay
With a full view of the beach but also the beauty of air conditioning, this new foodie mecca is the place to be for destination dining. You will have heard of several of their latest openings: The Ocean, Tri, Meen & Rice, Shoku and some of the first to open like Limewood and Classified. For more info on their restaurants, you’ll want to check out our online feature as their website is so complex and convoluted you’ll never find your way out of it, let alone a place to dine.
For that Obligatory Dose of Culture:
2/F, Low Block, City Hall, Edinburgh Place, Central, 2521 1303
City Hall is always a safe bet to get your har gow on. This huge banquet hall does traditional round table dim sum in a brightly lit, raucous way with the old-fashioned carts carrying bamboo steamers for you to ponder for your table. A popular choice for parents, and anyone, who wants to ease into the culture of this sometimes sensory overload of a city.
Shek Tsai Po Street, Lantau, 2985 8383
This lovingly restored 19th century police station on the west coast of Lantau is set above Hong Kong’s oldest fishing village with houses still on stilts living in a tight-knit community with oodles of character and culture to soak up. Dried seafood and eggball vendors are plentiful and the hotel’s first floor restaurant has a charming conservatory dining room amd decent fare.
Long Men Lou, Nan Lian Garden, 60 Fung Tak Road, Diamond Hill, 3658 9388
Get thee to a nunnery! Well, to this nunnery at least, for the tasty vegetarian cuisine set in a Tang Dynasty-style temple and park. And for extra visitor impact, it’s loctated behind a waterfall. Yup, it’s a guaranteed hit, even without the meat. Check out more of our veritable vegetarian picks here.
For the High Class, High Price Fare:
28/F, 1 Peking Road, TST, 3428 8342
For a view from the top featuring Cantonese and Sichuan cuisine and a weekend free-flow brunch that includes the entertainment from traditional noodle pullers, tea pouring professionals, and Sichuan face-changers, this is a worthy option for spending in the upper limits and impressing your visitors.
Standard Chartered Bank Building, 4-4A Des Voeux Road Central, 2885 8688
Perfect Peking duck and gorgeous architecture in this vast space make for a sleek representation of Cantonese cuisine that your guests are guaranteed to love.
18 Salisbury Road, TST, 2721 1211
The panoramic view of the harbour and Chinese afternoon tea set make this a must on your TST hit list.
1881 Heritage, 2A Canton Road, TST, 3988 0000
This beautiful heritage building has several dining options as well as boutiques and is a great place to wander through and work up at appetite before the dining commences in one of their lovingly restored restaurants.
For a True Foodie Adventure:
8/F, Soundwill Plaza II-Midtown, Tang Lung Street, Wanchai 2845 4555
For Chinese food your friends will have never tried the likes of before, Zen Too have reinvented the classic flavours in an aim to draw the youth of Hong Kong back to Cantonese cuisine. The restaurant is a mixture of traditional Canto family dining with industrial chic. It’s interesting, cool and unlike anything else.
Lockhart House, Block B, 440-446 Jaffe Road, Causeway Bay, 2152 4040
If your family and friends have never been out East you’ll have to introduce them to proper against the wall ramen eating. Teach them to appreciate their noodles the Japanese way with your face in your bowl in your individual booth enjoying the deliciously simple Tonkotsu ramen. It’s not sociable, and make them put their phones away, you’re just there for the noodles and broth.
Typhoon Shelter, Causeway Bay, 8112 0075
A grouping of floating platforms that rock and roll with the waves of the harbour and serve up some of the best crab and seafood you’ll have in the city. You’ll be picked up at the Causeway Bay pier and rowed out to your table on the water. Guaranteed a buoyant atmosphere (if you will) for your guests and a visit to the way things used to be, and the way many boat communities used to live in Hong Kong.