Food Quest: Hong Kong

by Emma Tang

Emma Tang and Nathanael Rhodes in front of the Jumbo Floating Restaurant in Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, you’ll never go hungry. There are noodle shops on every street corner, barbecued meats hanging in restaurant windows, and fresh fruit and vegetables at outdoor markets. When I’m asked what my favorite thing about Hong Kong is, my quick and unwavering response is: the food.

The variety of food in Hong Kong is incredible. There are small restaurants tucked between shops that you might not notice walking down the street and there are enormous banquet halls with chandelier light fixtures hanging from the ceiling. There are two rules that my dad taught me about picking out a good restaurant in Hong Kong: always pick a crowded restaurant and never order off of the English menu. I don’t know how to read Chinese, so I’m limited to rule number one — and it works. The less room there is to eat, the more delicious the food.

Wonton Mein

Regardless of what time my flight gets in to the Hong Kong airport, my first stop is the nearest restaurant for a bowl of wonton mein, which translates to “dumpling noodle” and is a delicious bowl of piping hot broth with thin yellow noodles and delicious shrimp and pork dumplings. In my experience, it’s usually the small noodle shop tucked away in an alley that has the most delicious wonton mein. In these restaurants, generally a bowl of tea is served to you — not to drink — but to wash off your chopsticks before eating to make sure they are sanitized. To tourists, this tradition may seem concerning, but it does not reflect the quality of the food or the restaurant.

In Chinese culture, noodles symbolize longevity - which is why the strands are so long. By eating noodles, you are ensuring a long life - so eat up!

Dim Sum

An assortment of dim sum dishes including sticky rice wrapped in grape leaves, shrimp dumplings and spare ribs

Carts are wheeled around the restaurant so customers can choose what they want and have it delivered instantly

I love eating family style, and dim sum gives me the perfect opportunity to do so. Dim sum translates to “to touch your heart” and was originally intended to be a simple snack rather than a full meal. In traditional dim sum restaurants, fully prepared food is wheeled around on carts and patrons can choose what they want to eat by looking at the prepared food rather than reading a menu (a definite plus if your Chinese is a little rusty). Dim sum consists of a wide variety of dumplings, noodles, vegetables, and other bite-sized items. Portions are small and are meant to be shared, the same way an appetizer might appeal to the entire table at a sit down meal.

Hong Kong's Top Dim Sums:

Mong Kok Lei Garden — 121 Sai Yee Street, Mongkok,
No trolleys here, but this cozy spot is considered one of the best in the city.

City Hall Maxim’s Palace — City Hall, Low Block, 2nd Floor, Central
Great views of Victoria Harbour and outstanding plates

Lung King Heen — Four Seasons Hotel, 8 Finance Street, Central,
3 Michelin stars. What’s left to say?

Lin Heung Kui — 46-50 Des Voex Road West, Sheung Wan
This popular eatery is almost 100 years old.

Luk Yu Tea House — 24-26 Stanley Street, Central
Equally venerable, this central favorite has existed for almost 80 years.

Tim Ho Wan — 2-20 Kwong Wa Street, Mongkok
With one Michelin star, this tiny restaurant also offers stellar prices.


Fish Market

Meat Market

It’s an unconventional attraction, but one of my favorite things to do in Hong Kong is to go to the indoor meat and fish market and then walk around the outdoor fruit and vegetable market. The floor is wet and it smells like raw fish, but it’s incredible to look around and see rows of booths with buckets of fresh seafood and meat. A quick warning: if you have a sensitive stomach, you might want to skip the fish market.

Brightly colored fresh produce and fruit line the streets of the Hong Kong markets

One of the most popular markets in Hong Kong is Stanley Market. Stanley Market is mainly known as a night market with odds and ends, trinkets, and other unusual goodies nestled beneath colorful overhangs in small booths. Another great feature of the market is the food! Small restaurants line the street while food vendors park their carts along the market. The enticing flavors lure shoppers away from the knick-knacks to have a bite to eat. Delicious and inexpensive, you will leave the market full satisfied — hopefully both by the cuisine and the shopping! Read more about the incredible shopping that Hong Kong has to offer!

Banquet Style

I have a very large extended family, so every time my family goes to Hong Kong, everyone gets together for a banquet style feast. The food keeps on coming, dish after dish, and is passed around a lazy Susan in the middle of each table. This particular trip, we had a banquet to celebrate my engagement to my fiancÚ. From cold shrimp and melon salad to beef with noodles, this banquet had everything and we were thoroughly full by the time dessert was served. For dessert we had almond cookies and orange slices — a perfect end to a delicious meal.

The Tang Family

Full from all of the sumptuous food? Time for a drink! Immerse yourself in the Hong Kong nightlife and bar scene!

Wonton Mein

Dim Sum