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URGENT - Hong Kong Airport: 2-Hour Morning Layover

  • t

Help a bruvva out here. Arrive just after 0700 in Hong Kong and my connecting flight leaves two hours later. Airport website lists a downright superfluity of places. Anything there that someone could recommend first-hand?

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  1. Maxim is the restaurant. But if you only have 2 hours, you may want to stick with the food court.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Peter

      2 hours ? Don't bother taking the train to the city - the airport is on an island miles away from the cities. Stick with the food court - everything from dim sum and rice plates to decent hot noodle soups.

      1. re: rcc

        The first responder was not talking about taking a train to the city -- Maxim's has a branch in HK's airoprt (offering, among other things, congee and dim sum). Therefore, the choice of Maxim's vs food court was not a reference to going to the city.

    2. Is this 7 am in the morning or at night?

      And are you going to clear immigration and customs or just stick around the restricted area?

      Browsed through the airport website (www.hkairport.com) and though I have not been, I would recommend this one "King's Palace Congee & Noodle". Congee is a good chinese breakfast and if you have not tried it before, it can be an interesting experience.

      1. Go to the adjoining Regal Airport Hotel. It's less than 5 min walk. They have several options, any of which is better than the food in the airport. My favorite is their casual Japanese restaurant, but not sure if it's open that early. But even their coffee shop isn't bad.

        If you do want to stay in the terminal, Maxim's for dim sum is is the least awful option. But they don't do much cooking on site. As with their other Hong Kong outlets much of the food is prepped at a central kitchen and trucked in, so it's not exactly fine dining.

        Hong Kong Dave

        1. Go to the adjoining Regal Airport Hotel. It's less than 5 min walk. They have several options, any of which is better than the food in the airport. My favorite is their casual Japanese restaurant, but not sure if it's open that early. But even their coffee shop isn't bad.

          If you do want to stay in the terminal, Maxim's for dim sum is is the least awful option. But they don't do much cooking on site. As with their other Hong Kong outlets much of the food is prepped at a central kitchen and trucked in, so it's not exactly fine dining.

          Hong Kong Dave

          1. Hi, This is over 4 years late, but if you have only a two-hour transit, best not to leave the restricted area. King's Palace Congee in the food court on L7, east side of the main concourse is good if you want a Chinese meal. You can also try Taiwan Beef Noodle near gate 65 on the departures level. It's very popular with the staff. For an Asian/International meal, try Cafe Deco also at the L7 food court.

            I work in the airport, I've tried them all...

            1. Even 2 hours can be too short sometimes. You are inside the terminal gates area, so go to the food court inside (take the tram train if necessary). You will have a bunch of choices from dim sum and dumplings to goose and noodles. Don't bother going out to the ticketing areas, I think the food is better inside.

              1 Reply
              1. re: citywayne

                The best place to go isn't Maxim's (which is outside the transit area anyway) but to Ah Yee Leng Tong. The name is written only in Chinese (like this: 阿二靚湯). The website (in Chinese) is here: http://www.ahyeelengtong.com/main.html

                The name is kind of a pun. If you say it, it means "Auntie's Beautiful Soup", but it is written in a way to suggest that "Auntie" is a second wife or mistress.

                Anyway, the place used to be a chain, but now the airport one is the only branch. The kitchen specializes in delicious, restorative Cantonese soups made with special herbs and distinctive ingredients like black chicken. A soup from Auntie's is just the trick to beat back that nasty jet lag! Ah Yee Leng Tong also serves the usual dim sum stuff. But it is really known for the soups, and that's what you should order.

                Friends of mine like this place so much they go to the airport early just so they can eat here. (But beware--service can be poky sometimes. One of my friends actually missed her flight because of a lazy lunch at Ah Yee Leng Tong!


                Here's the address: Unit No. 7E142, Level 7, Departures East Hall,
                Hong Kong International Airport.

                Their website says they are open from 8am until 11pm.

              2. I found this on Google and sent a message yesterday to a friend who was in an airplane about to land in Hong Kong for a 2 hour stopover. He went to Taiwan Beef Noodle and had a very good "Soup with Duck's Breast", thanks to you!

                1 Reply
                1. re: Brian S

                  Wow, this 7-year-old thread's still got some life in it!

                2. I am at the hong kong airport right now, just about to tuck into Precious Congee's Combo #1 - sliced beef congee with shrimp ricesheet roll. For hong kong, it's disappointing. But once I get back to Portland (in about 20 hours), I'd kill for this meal.

                  Edit: 30 minutes later. I couldn't resist, so went and checked out Taiwan Beef Noodle by gate 65, and am now filled with chower's regret. It looks good.

                  1. Oh, just what I was looking for! I'll have about 5 hours in the Hong Kong airport on my next trip. Any suggestions for an Asian restaurant with plenty of vegetarian options? I'd love noodle soup or dumplings, but I fear ordering when I don't want anything with chicken broth or bonito flakes...

                    17 Replies
                    1. re: MissVeg

                      In couple of weeks, we will be transiting through HK airport...arriving at 6;30 AM and departing at 1:00 PM. Do Dim Sum restaurants open around 9 or 9:30AM? if so, we'd really apprecaite it if you could recommend good dim sum restaurants in Tsim Sha Tsui or near IFC mall. I promised the gang dim sum and it'd be a shame to have the team experience only the HK airport food. thx a bunch.

                      1. re: xbanker

                        My immediate thought was for you to catch Airport Express train to Kowloon Stn and go somewhere in Elements. Checked Lei Garden but it doesn't open until 11:30am. Checked Sing Yin in W Hotel but it also doesn't open until 11:30am.

                        Even with your bags already checked in, that's too tight. Seems all of the larger nicer places don't open early. Unless you're here on a Sunday, then I would head straight to Maxim's Palace at City Hall in Central as it's one of the best and opens 9am.

                        So assuming not Sunday, here's one I found a recommendation for which opens from 5am:

                        To get there, catch Airport Express and get off first stop at Tsing Yi. Exit the Airport Express area and switch to regular MTR train heading towards Hong Kong and get off first stop at Lai King. Switch to RED line heading towards Central and get off after 7 stops at Yau Ma Tei. Shanghai St is just around corner and you can see the labelled MTR exits on this map. Sounds complicated but it's not. If you prefer, just get Airport Express direct to Kowloon Stn and ask taxi to take you to Yau Ma Tei (Pron. Yow Mah Tay) MTR.



                        This place isn't fancy but it's been around a LONG time and your 'gang' will spin out at the old and crusty Hong Kong they see around here. I would allow 30mins travelling time each way. If you have enough time after dim sum you can jump back on the MTR and head down to Tsim Sha Tsui (Exit L6) to look around the harbour area near cultural centre. Then just jump a quick taxi to Kowloon Station which is then ~17mins ride on Airport Express back to airport.

                        1. re: xbanker

                          "Tim Ho Wan" in the IFC (just above the station - shop 12A - the sign is in Chinese) opens at 9:00 I believe. Heichinrou, 2 mins from the IFC opens at 10:30, and if those are tight there is a Maxim's at the airport that opens early (land side). Although I think Maxim's at City Hall is far from the best in HK - compared to others it is average at best.

                          1. re: PhilD

                            I agree. After searching for their city hall branch in what amounted to the tail end of a typhoon and finally sitting down to rather ordinary and overpriced dim sum,I would not recommend except for their tofu with sugar and ginger. The airport branch is actually better.

                            1. re: PhilD

                              Openrice says "Tim Ho Wan" opens at 10am. Might be a good option but, assuming baggage already checked in, I'd want to be back down at HK Stn airport express by 11:30am for a 1pm flight.


                              I must say I haven't been to Maxim's Palace for few years but part of the experience is the grand size of it with red and gold over-the-top decor and loud chattering of large groups of people. The place always had such a buzz and my Cantonese work colleagues seemed to like it. May not be highest quality dim sum but it wasn't that bad (unless there's been a recent decline). For a tourist I still think it's a good spot, all considering.

                              1. re: p0lst3r

                                Wrong branch - you linked to Mong Kok. HK which is 10 to 10:00. HK Magazine has the IFC branch open from 9:00 to 8:30.

                                Agree Maxims is quite fun, but cart based dim sum is always less fresh, especially the steamed and fried items. Thus I prefer the fresh cooked to order ones.

                                1. re: PhilD

                                  Thanks everyone. Really appreciate the great suggestion. Looks like the Tim Ho Wan in IFC will work. I was also told about a restaurant called Metropol. Beside the location, any comments on the difference b/w Tim Ho Wan & Metropol? Thx again.

                                  1. re: xbanker

                                    Ref: Metropol in the United Centre, Queensway - went and would not return. It is busy and it has carts and cooking stations but I didn't think the quality of the food was as good as many other options. Note on Tim Ho Wan, you go for the food not the ambiance or decor as it is almost a fast food style, but the food is very good.

                            2. re: xbanker

                              I have lived in HK for 17 years and worked in the airport for the last 5. The restaurants in Hong Kong airport are very good, same quality as downtown, but more choices if you leave the restricted area. My pick would be Chao Inn in Terminal 2, it opens at 07:00. Crystal Jade in the terminal 1 arrivals hall is very popular with staff, but it is a Singaporean chain. Alternatively, you can try a Hong Kong / Macao style breakfast at the Macao Harbour- hugely popular with staff. Very local for us, but maybe less unique from a tourist's perspective, the main breakfast dishes are milk tea, buttered toasted buns, and soup noodles or eggs.
                              Net net, if you leave the airport, do it to see the city. If it's just the food you're after, no need to run around downtown. There is a left luggage facility in T2 if you want to leave your carry-on at the airport. Full restaurant listing at hongkongairport.com .

                              1. re: awihng

                                Agree the airport outlets of all the main restaurants should be fine, but if I had a 6:30 hour layover i would head into town as the airport security, immigration andtransport are so efficient it makes it easy.

                                1. re: awihng

                                  Amazing how HKers have taken to Singapore restaurant chain, Crystal Jade. It was actually started by 3 HK brothers - Alfred, Jimmy and Vincent Leung in Singapore back in 1991/2. They'd lived and worked in S'pore for decades, first working for Happy Valley restaurant, then Tsui Hang Village, before striking off on their own.
                                  Anyway, they've since left the Crystal Jade Group, now run by their brother-in-law, Ip Yiu-Tung, also a HKer.
                                  When Crystal Jade opened its first branches in HK a decade back, the queues to get in were crazee, whether at Times Square or Harbour City. Glad to see it's now all over the place. Standards are fairly consistent wherever Crystal Jade operated - besides HK & Singapore, I'd tried their outlets in Seoul, Bangkok, Saigon, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Beijing and KL, in all places, the locals go there as they are assured that they'll get decent chow :-)

                                  1. re: awihng

                                    THANk YOU, awihng! Your post is the kind we Chowhounders look for, i.e. insider, first-hand information that guidebooks don't publish. Precious, precious :)

                                    1. re: awihng

                                      Are any of the places with dim sum within the restricted area any good? I've frequently had nearly 4 hours' transit time in HKG but it still seems like a hassle to go through immigration just to eat.

                                      1. re: NancyC

                                        If there is good dim sum at the restricted area I haven't found it. When I have to eat at the restricted area of the HK-airport I prefer the Wildfire, their siskebab is quite good.

                                        1. re: NilesCable

                                          The Wildfire is gone, replaced by The Spaghetti House, a clear three notches below in every respect. Not that Wildfire was anything to write home about.

                                          1. re: Uncle Yabai

                                            Sorry to hear that. Sure, Wildfire was no "triple-A" restaurant, but the meals I had there were quite good. Nothing compared to other food you can get in HK in the City, but good for an airport.

                                            1. re: NilesCable

                                              I live in small-town Thailand, already an 8-hour bus ride from the crappy food available at BKK airport. Usually when I pass through HKG after that, the first thing that catches my eye is Popeye's. (We do have tasty fried chicken here, but like most street food here it's not served hot, nor does it come with fries and a biscuit!). But there's actually even less Chinese food in my town than there is mediocre Western food, so I'm always thinking I should take another look.

                                              So no worthwhile dim sum, but what about other Chinese? Would the Taiwan Beef Noodle place still seem decent to someone who's eaten a lot of beef noodle in Taiwan? Or even good non-fast food Western for under 15USD, like quality pizza? Of course, everything sounds great on the airport website, hard to tell...maybe that's why I always end up at the standardized Popeye's.