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6 Days in Hong Kong

c
ChiTownTraveler Mar 10, 2009 09:19 AM

I'm new to this board so apologize if this type of question was already answered somewhere else.

My wife and I will be visiting HK for 6 days at the end of March - and I'm normally the one that plans our dining spots on our trips and am pretty intimidated by my task this time. For a little background I've been to Hong Kong once before when I was much younger and my wife has never been to Asia - we're both Americans who don't speak Mandarin or Cantonese (but I guess i could put pictures on my cell phone - liked that idea from another post!). We def aren't the type to sit in the hotel and eat "western" food - so I'm looking for great local spots. We're staying at the W in Kowloon but don't have a problem traveling around, and are both strong walkers. We're both in our late twenties so would like to lean towards places that are young/trendy I guess is the word for it but also happy to check out traditional offerings or out of the way spots.

We're pretty open to all kinds of food - but probably skip the really adventurous stuff (shark finn, intestines - etc), obv all varieties of local food, love sushi, any other ideas would def be open to exploring - budget is somewhat flexible, not $$$ every meal but open to splurging a couple times if it's worth it

If you need anymore information let me know - thanks so much for any ideas

  1. skylineR33 Mar 10, 2009 06:24 PM

    You are very close to all sort of great restaurants in Tsim Sha Tsui and the Hong Kong side IFC, so you will have tons of choices !!

    However, if one night you feel like experiencing some "HK style street side" eatery and see how locals having their late night eating, walk to "Tong Kee" (堂記腸粉專門店), it is pretty close to your hotel. They are "cheung fun" specialist serving some of the best cheung fun (rice noodle roll, those you find in dim sum) in HK. They make the cheung fun after you order it, so it is always fresh, you can actually see them making it. You may find it interesting !! Beware this place is hole in the wall, very casual, cheap, so service may be lacking. But watch out, it is always very crowdy with long line up.

    Probably they don't speak English (maybe some), but the following is what you want to order if you end up eating there for a snack at night :

    燒鴨叉燒腸 - BBQ pork and duck rice noodle roll
    柴魚花生豬骨粥 - Dried fish & peanut & pork bone Congee
    炸兩 - Chinese fried doughnut wrapped with rice noodle roll

    http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr...

    Have fun !

    15 Replies
    1. re: skylineR33
      l
      Liatula Mar 14, 2009 08:04 AM

      Hi,
      I'm going to HK in 2 weeks and would love to go to "Tong Kee" since I'm a big fun on cheung fun. could you please tell me what the address and phone no. is?
      Thanks
      Liat

      1. re: Liatula
        skylineR33 Mar 14, 2009 08:49 AM

        hello Liatula,

        The address is "Shop C, Man King Building, 26 Man Wui Street, Jordan, Kowloon, Hong Kong"

        or in chinese it is 佐敦渡船角文匯街26號文景樓地下C號舖

        Phone number : 2710 7950

        Take Exit A from the Jordan MTR, and there is a 10 min walk from there.

        Here is the map :

        http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr...

        1. re: skylineR33
          Sher.eats Mar 14, 2009 01:46 PM

          it's easier to walk from Kowloon Station, so if you're in Central take the Tung Chung line instead of the Tsuen Wan Line.

          1. re: Sher.eats
            skylineR33 Mar 14, 2009 11:13 PM

            Or if you are from Causeway Bay direction, taking the Tsuen Wan Line to go to Jordan will save you one stop. Take off from the Admiralty station and just walk to the opposite side of the same platform for the train to Jordan.

      2. re: skylineR33
        k
        kairo Apr 8, 2009 07:43 AM

        there seems to be a discrepancy on the hours of this place. The openrice thing says they are open from 730am to 3pm, closed wed and sunday.
        Then an english review further down says they Open at 3pm, and open wed to sunday.

        i just went tonight. 830pm wednesday, and they are closed.

        Is it a combination... open at 3pm and closed wed and sun ?
        any idea when they close at night?
        thanks!

        1. re: kairo
          Sher.eats Apr 8, 2009 08:09 AM

          they open 7:30pm to 3am, closed on Wed and Sun

          but 堂記's niche of churn fun at late hours has been replaced by 添好運, the dim sum only restaurant opened by the former dim sum chef of Lung King Heen (3 michelin stars).

          seriously.

          1. re: kairo
            skylineR33 Apr 8, 2009 08:37 AM

            Sher.eat is right about the operating hours. They close pretty late at night as I was there couple of time after 11:00pm and there are still people waiting.

            Too bad 添好運 only has a few variety of cheung fun and does not have my favourite 燒鴨叉燒腸.

            1. re: skylineR33
              Sher.eats Apr 8, 2009 10:37 AM

              hey skyline, you've eaten at 添好運 already?

              添好運 's pork liver "fun" is so good I wouldn't mind the loss of alternatives (thick 6mm cubes, marinated in chinese sweet wine, pre low temperture poached)

              and their rice sheet is has that perfect soft-chew texture, with incredibly floral aromas (like a sake I guess). they use sunflower oil instead peanut oil with further makes the dish more "elegant".

              but you'd expect all that coming from a chef trained for 30 years in haute cuisine...

              one can tell 添好運 is serious as do not soy the churn fun.

              1. re: Sher.eats
                skylineR33 Apr 8, 2009 12:30 PM

                No, I wish ! I just saw 添好運's menu. But I am interested to try it out next time I am in HK.

                1. re: Sher.eats
                  k
                  kairo Apr 10, 2009 03:51 AM

                  went there shortly after reading this. I am no dim sum expert, but the food definitely seemed to be quality. i spent a while figuring what i wanted via openrice pictures (thanks to the picture of the menu, i already had the numbers picked out) , only to find english menu, and proficient staff.
                  Since i eat alone most of the time, i get to avoid long lines.
                  I am very excited to have a cheap, tasty dim sum place that is easy to get to, easy to order and open till 11pm.

                  i hope they keep the prices around the same level. i could see them easily being increased.

                  the lotus leaf wrapped sticky rice bundle (i really need to learn how to say this one... lo mai gai. ok ), was quite good.
                  the baked bbq pork buns were cute... they almost reminded me of corn bread. something about the texture of the "bun". they seemed fresh out of the oven too.

                  i'm a huge fan of chiu-chau fun guo. and these were my favorite yet. all the veggies and the peanuts were crunchy. ( is there a version that has minced pork inside? there is a place in san francisco that had a meatier, and more preserved tasting version. but with similar veggies and peanuts ? )

                  the 腸粉 were fine. i think i don't know what constitutes a good version of these. i could have used more "sauce", as the one on top got none. 2 to 3 little shrimp per roll. i think i like it better if they dice stuff into the noodle before rolling. i've definitely had mushier ones. so in that respect they were good. still excited about trying the duck ones at 堂記

                  1. re: kairo
                    h
                    hong_kong_foodie Apr 10, 2009 07:03 PM

                    Hate to be a conspiracy theorist, but does anyone think it's odd that the main dim sum chef at Lung King Heen decided to give up that cushy job to open a dim sum shop himself in this terrible economy? I know the explanation in all of the news article is that it's always been his dream to start his own business, but doesn't it sound kind of questionable? For instance:

                    (1) If you've spent your time creating dim sum at a really upscale establishment, even if you venture out and open your own shop, wouldn't you stick to the same type of clientele rather than open a very casual joint in Mong Kok where people might complain because the food isn't served fast enough? It just seems odd because your average clientele in Mong Kok is very different and might not be the type who can appreciate the refinement and complexity of your cuisine.

                    (2) If you are head chef and leave a restaurant, don't you usually bring a bunch of people with you? It seems odd to me that he's the only one who left Lung King Heen and no one followed him.

                    (3) Why would you leave right after your restaurant garnered three Michelin stars? Regardless of what you think about the Michelin ratings, I think we can all agree it has generated a lot of buzz for Lung King Heen, so if you are the master dim sum chef, wouldn't you be in a really great spot? At the very least wouldn't you be able to leverage it to negotiate better pay or hours, or whatever you want?

                    1. re: hong_kong_foodie
                      Charles Yu Apr 10, 2009 08:28 PM

                      I was in Hong Kong just a few weeks ago. Though every one is talking about the 'downturn', however, I noticed restaurants everywhere are still packed to the hilt. Even high end places like Caprice was full at 1.30 pm when I ate there. So, if the Mong Kok location is prime, then I see no reason why it will be a risky venture to open up now, especially if media coverage highlight his impeccable credential! Affordabilty of quality food will always bring success! Won't be surprise if he'll start branching out?!!

                2. re: skylineR33
                  k
                  kairo Apr 11, 2009 09:43 AM

                  just ate at 堂記 tonight for a snack. Got the 柴魚花生豬骨粥 as per the recommendation. it was very odd. it really tasted like 绿豆汤.... it was good, but i think i'd rather share it.
                  however, i got a fish and duck roll and that was really good. the "sauce" they use has a distinctly different flavor from most places. i will definitely be back to try other versions.

                  1. re: kairo
                    skylineR33 Apr 11, 2009 12:43 PM

                    Glad to hear you like it ! Was it really busy there ? Please let us know how it goes if you go again !

                    1. re: skylineR33
                      k
                      kairo Apr 11, 2009 11:11 PM

                      it was around 1130pm and it was full, no line, but when a table emptied someone came and filled it. i had to share a table. pretty impressive. it doesn't seem like an area that gets random foot traffic, so its clearly a destination spot.

            2. Sher.eats Mar 11, 2009 01:08 AM

              hey,

              I just answered a similar request for a friend of mine so I'll paste here what I wrote there:

              You first need to know what foods there are in Hong Kong, read the wikipedia page "cuisine of hong kong", very good primer. Would you want to try other Chinese regional cuisines (Beijing, Sichuan etc), if so, read the "cuisine of China" and follow on to the regional pages.

              Here's a geographical accurate map of our metro system http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/48/Hong_Kong_Railway_Route_Map_en.svg/750px-Hong_Kong_Railway_Route_Map_en.svg.png your hotel is on Kowloon station of Airport express.

              For "trendy" restaurants (that have good food not just decor), consider BO Innovation (2 Michelin stars), chef Alvin "deconstructs" Chinese dishes into a French style tasting menu (10 or so small plates), sometimes with a little "molecular gastronomy". Lunch $3xx, Dinner $11xx. http://www.boinnovation.com/ http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=23451 Wan Chai Station, Island Line.
              Yin Yang is opened by a lady who lived for several years in "villages" far from the city area where "villagers" still cooked the way they have for past centuries. She now presents those techniques and flavours in a modern environment. Dinner requires 6 people so you can only do lunch (dinner has 10 courses, lunch only 5), $3xx for lunch. http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=22106 Wan Chai-Island Line
              Both do english fine.

              Then we have "fine dining" restaurants in $ hotels, they do really good food, especially the cliche dishes (see wiki page) and they'll definitely speak English so everything will be explained clearly. The "best" ones are
              Lung King Heen, Four Seasons, Central-Island Line http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=14642 http://www.fourseasons.com/hongkong/dining/lung_king_heen.html
              Shang Palace, Kowloon Shangri La, Tsim Sha Tsui-Tsuen Wan Line http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=5510 http://www.shangri-la.com/en/property/hongkong/kowloonshangrila/dining/restaurant/shangpalace
              Summer Palace, Island Shangri La, Admiralty-Island Line http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=3283 http://www.shangri-la.com/en/property/hongkong/islandshangrila/dining/restaurant/summerpalace
              T’ang Court, Langham Hotel, Tsim Sha Tsui-Tsuen Wan Line http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=3537 http://hongkong.langhamhotels.com/en/restaurants/tang_court.htm
              Spring Moon, Peninsula Hotel, Tsim Sha Tsui-Tsuen Wan Line, http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=3250
              You won't go "wrong" with any of the above.

              Then we have the $$ but non hotel restaurants, some would argue these have more "character" but they speak much less English and the menu is seasonal so the cell phone pic idea might not work, but anyway:

              Tim's Kitchen, Sheung Wan-Island line, is a very small restaurant specializing in a few excellent dishes: snake soup, steamed crab claw with winter melon, stir fried jumbo shrimp with chinese ham, braised pomelo skin. ~$500 for dinner. http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=10000

              Yung Kee, Central-Island line, famous for it's roast items (see wiki page). There are more exotic dishes but will be difficult to order for just 2 people. http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=4203

              Fook Lum Moon, Wan Chai-Island line http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=812, is considered the "tycoon's canteen", the standard is really high but little English is spoken, so go for dim sum (see wiki page) at lunch as you can't go too wrong, if you go for dinner it would be hard to know what to order.

              Lei Garden, Wan Chai-Island line http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr... hmmm personally I found their quality to drop once they started having chains throughout, but others still swear by them. A little more english is spoken then Fook Lam, but I'll still say go for dim sum at lunch since you'll be going to one of the hotels for dinner.

              summary for $$ places:
              lunch (3): modern@Yin Yang, roast@Yung Kee, Dim sum @Fook Lum Moon/Lei Gardens
              dinner (3): Tim's Kitchen, one of the hotels, BO Innovation

              That leaves the other 3 days (you'll mix them up later of course) for "traditional" places, which I'll do later....

              2 Replies
              1. re: Sher.eats
                c
                ChiTownTraveler Mar 11, 2009 05:35 AM

                Thanks very much for the information - this is beyond helpful!!

                I was wondering - obv we want to try out lots of different regional varieties of the area, but are there any other types of restaurants you would mix in that would be worthwhile to try - ie Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese (great sushi)...French??

                Also what are general options for breakfast? Are there good places on the street to grab something quick on our way or is this something we should get in our hotel before we take off in the morning (I know our hotel is on top of a big mall so maybe there are places there?)...doesn't seem like the kinda place where we'd be able to run into starbucks and grab a bagel and coffee but these days it's hard to tell

                Thanks again for all the info :-)

                1. re: ChiTownTraveler
                  Sher.eats Mar 12, 2009 02:21 AM

                  hey,

                  our south asian ethnical communities (thai/viet/indo/malay/indian) are all very strong so there are plenty of authentic restaurants here. HK people love Japanese cuisine so we have sushi places to cater all budgets. Likewise for regional Chinese cuisines like Shanghai, Beijing and Sichuan. The worthiness of visiting these non-HK cuisines depends on what's available back home, how often and to where you have/will travel...it's all up to you, just know whatever asian cuisine you want we'll have a pretty good version of it (except Brazillian =P)

                  French, we have three two-michelin starrred restaurants, so the quality is here, but I wouldn't say it's "unique" to HK?

                  The typical grab and go breakfast for locals is a baked item from the neighborhood bakery, those with more time will go to a cha chaan teng (wiki it), which is like a diner, they're everywhere too, but not in your mall (called Elements) because it's posh, so there is a Starbucks and a "higher end" bakery in the "higher end" supermarket called 360.

                  Locals also have congee with fried dough sticks (youtaio, wiki it) and/or steamed sheets of rice noodle roll (wiki) for breakfast, but most of these place open till late afternoon if not late night so it's flexible.

              2. Sher.eats Mar 12, 2009 03:41 AM

                traditional restaurants can be split into small ones that specialize in something (say noodles or congee etc) and larger ones that do dim sum at day time and meatier dishes for nightime.

                An example of these larger restaurants is Lin Heung in Central (Central-Island Line), see pics here http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/photos.htm?shopid=1868, there is zero service so it would be very hard for you. Tak Lung (near Diamond Hill, Kwun Tong line) is a local's favorite http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=3523 it's specialty is a smoked chapon (a castrated chicken), everyone I've brought there loves that dish. Yixin, Wan Chai (Island line) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=26228 is another oldie-favorite, the specials are lemon sauce chicken, baked "souffle" of fish and smoked prophet. Finally we have Tai Wing Wa in Yuen Long (West Rail line, 50 minutes from Tsim Sha Tsui) which speciliases in their 5 spice braised chicken and lard-soy rice http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=6952.

                Smaller restaurants on the other hand are easier because they only sell a few things, I'll split them into categories:

                Cafes, most are in the form of a cha charn teng (=diner), some are more specialised and only do basics like baked items, drinks, toast/sandwichs, oatmeal, instant noodles. Others are jack-of-all-trades and do fried rice/noodle and meatier dishes too, these should be avoided. If you read the egg tart thread, you would know most people recommend Wan Chai (Island line)'s Kam Fung http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=1549 , another good one near where you will live is Australia Dairy Company in Jordan (Tsuen Wan line) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=90 and Gum Wah (Prince Edward- Tsuen Wan line) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=11293. Lan Fong Yuen in Central (Tsuen Wan line) 's milk tea + nearby Tai Cheong http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=5522 egg tarts (also v. famous, see egg tart thread) is an excellent combo.

                Congee, a good bowl should be slightly creamy without being thick, some places add oatmeal to "stabilize" the emulsion, others add MSG which covers the delicate rice flavour. My personal favorite is "Congee King" in Wan Chai (island line) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=12650 , the owner is a fishermen and a real fish stock is made to make the congee. Another is Sang Kee in Sheung Wan - island line and Sun Hing Chang in Jordan (Tsuen Wan line) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=8803.

                Traditional Chinese veloute-like desserts, Yuen Kee is the oldest shop http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=4180, west of Sheung Wan (you need to take a short taxi). A more accessible one is Yut-Chai in Causeway Bay (Island line) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=12047 and Tsui-Yutt http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=13920 also in causeway bay.

                Then we have noodles, which is split into wonton (see the wonton thread), "meat balls" and braised brisket. To summarise the wonton thread, the best ones are Lau Sum Kee in Shum Shui Po (Tsuen Wan line) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=10414, Mak Man Kee in Jordan (Tsuen Wan Line) right next to Australian Milk mention above http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=6016, and Wing Wah in Wan Chai (Island line) Wing Wah http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=4024. As well as wonton noodles, try the shrimp roe tossed in noodles (no soup).
                For "meat balls", fish balls are the most popular, most are made of starch and no fish, the "best" is all the way down in Aberdeen (use google maps) called Tse Kee http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=3086, but a really good one not so far is Churn-Fat in Shum Shui Po (Tsuen Wan line) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=13757, they also made a really good lard tossed noodle w soy. For beef balls try Tak Fat in Tsim Sha Tsui (where you live) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=3505 or Yeah Heung (near Tsim Sha Tsui but no direct MTR, must taxi) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=10880. Finally for beef brisket, try Sister Wah in Tin Hau (Island line) and Kau Kee in Central (island line) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=1618. Remember to order the "song lam" which is the more tender part of the brisket.

                Silken tofu (wiki) is a really popular semi-dessert, try Kung Wo in Shum Shui Po (Tsuen Wan line) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=1754 or Tak Hing Lung in North Point (Island line), the latter also sells really nice fried dumplings.

                Mini egg-shaped waffles are also popular, the "leading" chain have outlets in Tsim Sha Tsui (where you live), Wan Chai (Island) and North Point (Island) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr1.htm?s=1&district_id=&inputcategory=cname&inputstrrest=%E5%8C%97%E8%A7%92%E9%9B%9E%E8%9B%8B%E4%BB%94

                If you want to try snake but is not going to Tim's Kitchen then try Seh Wong Yee in Causeway Bay (Island) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=13855 or She Wong Lam in Sheung Wan (Island) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=19916, the former also has nice soups like pigeon or pork brain, the latter has live snake demos.

                Seafood, you've probably read a lot of raving, but the popular areas for it (Sai Kung, Lei Yuen Moon, Lamma) are all tourist traps, not helped by you not speaking Chinese. The proper place for the best seafood is Ming Kee in Po Toi Island (see wiki), they source their seafood from fishermen who have not docked yet, so they get the best as well as the rare. The owner's daughter speaks good English and is very friendly, a boat ride to the island is 1 hour each way and you can hike the island (very good sea view) in 2 hours. http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=25396

                Bo Jai Faan (Pot-Small-Rice) are rice cooked in a small pot (1 per person) with a choice of topping (chicken, pork etc), the best places use charcoal for flavour and the resulting crackling. Sun Chui Wah in Causeway Bay (Island) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=10566 and Say Gwai in Yau Ma Tei (Tsuen Wan line) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr... make the best ones, the latter also has oyster "omelet" which are v. popular.

                ~

                the ones i've listed are the best-of-the-best, plenty more excellent eats distributed around the region, if you already have an area you're going to visit then I can tell you eats there are in that area....

                16 Replies
                1. re: Sher.eats
                  FourSeasons Mar 14, 2009 09:14 PM

                  HI sher.eats:

                  I think maybe you should write a book instead on the dining scene in Hong Kong.

                  1. re: FourSeasons
                    Charles Yu Mar 14, 2009 09:34 PM

                    Totally agree with Fourseasons!!!
                    May be I'll chip in the section on Won-Ton Noodles! Ha!
                    BTW, where did you find the time to eat and post such comprehensive recs.,?! Ha!

                    1. re: Charles Yu
                      Sher.eats Mar 15, 2009 02:23 AM

                      hey FourSeasons, Charles, Kobetobiko

                      haha i have afternoon breaks between 2:30 and 5:30...so I go eat!

                      I wrote those recommendations in different emails and forums...just had to gather them together...remember that massive google spreadsheet I sent you guys?

                      I could be going to Paris and/or Singapore in summer...already starting to research haha

                  2. re: Sher.eats
                    k
                    kobetobiko Mar 14, 2009 10:17 PM

                    Hi Sher.eats,

                    I am impressed. While I am familiar to all these places it will take me forever to write up all the information. Your post will definitely benefit a lot of hounds traveling to Hong Kong.

                    I am, in fact, in Hong Kong right now for a short break!

                    1. re: Sher.eats
                      Sher.eats Mar 15, 2009 02:16 AM

                      (WITH LINKS CORRECTED)

                      traditional restaurants can be split into small ones that specialize in something (say noodles or congee etc) and larger ones that do dim sum at day time and meatier dishes for nightime.

                      An example of these larger restaurants is Lin Heung in Central (Central-Island Line), see pics here http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/photos.htm?shopid=1868 . There is zero service so it would be very hard for you. Tak Lung (near Diamond Hill, Kwun Tong line) is a local's favorite http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=3523 , it's specialty is a smoked chapon (a castrated chicken), everyone I've brought there loves that dish. Yixin, Wan Chai (Island line) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=26228 , is another oldie-favorite, the specials are lemon sauce chicken, baked "souffle" of fish and smoked prophet. Finally we have Tai Wing Wa in Yuen Long (West Rail line, 50 minutes from Tsim Sha Tsui) which speciliases in their 5 spice braised chicken and lard-soy rice http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=6952 .

                      Smaller restaurants on the other hand are easier because they only sell a few things, I'll split them into categories:

                      Cafes, most are in the form of a cha charn teng (=diner), some are more specialised and only do basics like baked items, drinks, toast/sandwichs, oatmeal, instant noodles. Others are jack-of-all-trades and do fried rice/noodle and meatier dishes too, these should be avoided. If you read the egg tart thread, you would know most people recommend Wan Chai (Island line)'s Kam Fung http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=1549 , another good one near where you will live is Australia Dairy Company in Jordan (Tsuen Wan line) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=90 and Gum Wah (Prince Edward- Tsuen Wan line) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=11293 . Lan Fong Yuen in Central (Tsuen Wan line) 's milk tea http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=1814 & nearby Tai Cheong's egg tarts (also v. famous, see egg tart thread) is an excellent combo http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=5522 .

                      Congee, a good bowl should be slightly creamy without being thick, some places add oatmeal to "stabilize" the emulsion, others add MSG which covers the delicate rice flavour. My personal favorite is "Congee King" in Wan Chai (island line) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=12650 , the owner is a fishermen and a real fish stock is made to make the congee. Another is Sang Kee in Sheung Wan - island line http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=3023 , and Sun Hing Chang in Jordan (Tsuen Wan line) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=8803 .

                      Traditional Chinese veloute-like desserts, Yuen Kee is the oldest shop http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=4180 , west of Sheung Wan (you need to take a short taxi). A more accessible one is Yut-Chai in Causeway Bay (Island line) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=12047 and Tsui-Yutt http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=13920 also in causeway bay.

                      Then we have noodles, which is split into wonton (see the wonton thread), "meat balls" and braised brisket. To summarise the wonton thread, the best ones are Lau Sum Kee in Shum Shui Po (Tsuen Wan line) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=10414 , Mak Man Kee in Jordan (Tsuen Wan Line) right next to Australian Milk mention above http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=6016 , and Wing Wah in Wan Chai (Island line) Wing Wah http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=4024 . As well as wonton noodles, try the shrimp roe tossed in noodles (no soup).
                      For "meat balls", fish balls are the most popular, most are made of starch and no fish, the "best" is all the way down in Aberdeen (use google maps) called Tse Kee http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=3086 , but a really good one not so far is Churn-Fat in Shum Shui Po (Tsuen Wan line) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=13757 , they also made a really good lard tossed noodle w soy. For beef balls try Tak Fat in Tsim Sha Tsui (where you live) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=3505 or Yeah Heung (in Hunghom, near Tsim Sha Tsui but no direct MTR, must taxi, use google maps) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=10880 . Finally for beef brisket, try Sister Wah in Tin Hau (Island line) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=12152 , and Kau Kee in Central (island line) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=1618 . Remember to order the "song lam" which is the more tender part of the brisket.

                      Silken tofu (wiki) is a really popular semi-dessert, try Kung Wo in Shum Shui Po (Tsuen Wan line) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=1754 or Tak Hing Lung in North Point (Island line)http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=10280 , the latter also sells really nice fried dumplings.

                      Mini egg-shaped waffles are also popular, the "leading" chain have outlets in Tsim Sha Tsui (where you live), Wan Chai (Island) and North Point (Island) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr1.htm?s=1&district_id=&inputcategory=cname&inputstrrest=%E5%8C%97%E8%A7%92%E9%9B%9E%E8%9B%8B%E4%BB%94

                      If you want to try snake but is not going to Tim's Kitchen then try Seh Wong Yee in Causeway Bay (Island) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=13855 or She Wong Lam in Sheung Wan (Island) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=19916 , the former also has nice soups like pigeon or pork brain, the latter has live snake demos.

                      Seafood, you've probably read a lot of raving, but the popular areas for it (Sai Kung, Lei Yuen Moon, Lamma) are all tourist traps, not helped by you not speaking Chinese. The proper place for the best seafood is Ming Kee in Po Toi Island (see wiki), they source their seafood from fishermen who have not docked yet, so they get the best as well as the rare. The owner's daughter speaks good English and is very friendly, a boat ride to the island is 1 hour each way and you can hike the island (very good sea view) in 2 hours. http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=25396 .

                      Bo Jai Faan (Pot-Small-Rice) are rice cooked in a small pot (1 per person) with a choice of topping (chicken, pork etc), the best places use charcoal for flavour and the resulting crackling. Sun Chui Wah in Causeway Bay (Island) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=10566 and Say Gwai in Yau Ma Tei (Tsuen Wan line) http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr... make the best ones, the latter also has oyster "omelet" which are v. popular.

                      ~

                      the ones i've listed are the best-of-the-best, plenty more excellent eats distributed around the region, if you already have an area you're going to visit then I can tell you eats there are in that area....

                      1. re: Sher.eats
                        p
                        pomelo Mar 15, 2009 09:38 AM

                        Sher.eats, thanks for such informative posts! They are going to be really helpful for my 3 week trip in May. I am wondering if you have anymore recommendations for me as I can speak Cantonese (admittedly less than fluent but fine enough) and read Chinese.

                        I do not know my way around (left HK when I was ten), but should have no problems finding out. I will stay in Kowloon and should spend a decent portion of my time on the island. I know Chinese food pretty well, coming from Toronto, but I would love to know more about local haunts and eateries.

                        Thanks!

                        1. re: pomelo
                          Sher.eats Mar 15, 2009 11:36 PM

                          hey pomelo (you like braised pomelo skin?)

                          kind of busy today so i'll reply tonight!

                          1. re: pomelo
                            Sher.eats Mar 31, 2009 06:36 AM

                            sorry for the 2 weeks late reply, here are the eats along the East Rail, south bound:

                            Sheung Shui -
                            Pineapple bun & scrambled eggs on toast & beef macaroni & shaved ice w red beans @ 廣成冰室* www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=1078
                            Savory & sweet congees @ 東莞佬粥店* www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=17568
                            Pork knuckle and pork balls noodles @ 珍苑麵家* www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=18356
                            Crackling pork belly @ 陳六記* www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=7291 .

                            Fanling -
                            Brined pork knuckle & beef balls & beef "roll" & chili sauce @ 群記牛肉圓豬手** www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=11183
                            Snack "churn fun" @ 四眼仔腸粉 www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=12098
                            Vegetarin in a monestry @ 雲泉素食中心* www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=12132
                            Beef offal & wonton noodles @ 欽記麵家 www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=7125

                            Tai Wo - nothing.

                            Tai Po Market -
                            Congee & "Churn Fun" @ 陳漢記* www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=11734
                            Braised beef "song lam" brisket and beef cheeks & pork crackling noodles @ 群記清湯腩*** www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=13125
                            Silken tofu @ 亞婆豆腐花* www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=26081
                            Wonton noodles @ 成仔記麵食 www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=7094
                            Battered pork chops & shanghai style noodles @ 東記上海麵* www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=14175
                            Traditional dim sum @ 林記點心* www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=12699
                            Traditional steamed chinese pastries @ 有記茶果** www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=13538
                            Salt "baked" chicken @ 大埔東江雞酒家* www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=7026
                            Shrimp roe & lard tossed noodles @ 平記麵家 www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=5325
                            Apple pie & chicken pie @ 華輝餐廳* http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=15220
                            Dim Sum @ 新明發食家* www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=7010
                            Congee @ 良記一哥粥品 www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=14677 Fish balls @ 欽記粉麵 www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=17623
                            Churn fun @ 發記粥麵* www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=13644

                            University - nothing.

                            Race Course - nothing.

                            Fo Tan -
                            2x Dai Pai Dongs 泰源大排檔 www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=11702 and 津津食家 www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=5483

                            Sha Tin -
                            Dai Pai Dong @ 陳根記 www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=7918
                            Pigeon and pigeon eggs @ 龍華酒店 www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=1981

                            Tai Wai -
                            Deep fried pigeon & "taro duck" & "mountain water tofu" & deep fried "milk" @ 楓林小館*** http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=899
                            Salt baked "wu tao fish" & other chiu chow @ 生昌潮洲海鮮酒家 www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=11910
                            Salt baked chicken @ 漢年茶餐廳* www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=6157

                            Kowloon Tong -
                            in a shopping mall but good Beijinese anyway @ 又一棧 http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=775

                            Mong Kok -
                            Traditional baked HK pastries @ 奇趣餅家** www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=11211
                            Street food stall @ 肥姐小食店 www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=18013
                            Stone ground veloute-like desserts @ 石磨坊* www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=7579
                            Beijingnese style meat stuffed toasted "buns" @ 萬家燒餅皇** http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=15368
                            HK style curry @ 旺角咖喱大皇* http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=542
                            Salt "baked" chicken & other "hakka cuisine" @ 泉章居* http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=436
                            "Spicy sauce" noodles & Congee @ 好旺角麵家** http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=1921
                            Traditiona dim sum & other cantonese dishes 鳳城酒家** @ http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=7705
                            "a la minute" congee @ 妹記生滾粥品** http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=2381
                            Spicy Sichuan style noodles @ 川居雲南風味米線專門店 http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=6530
                            Roast duck, congee, fried noodles @ 富記粥品* http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=5595
                            60's style HK steakhouse @ 大興餐廳 http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=7661
                            "mille felle" of shaved ice @ 糖百府* http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=26680
                            Haue cantonese @ 明閣** http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=12120
                            2 Cha Charn Teng @ 中國冰室 http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=5272 and 蘭亭咖啡閣* http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=6725
                            Beef offal and fish balls noodles @ 通記麵食專家* http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=12105

                            Hunghom -
                            HK style american fast food @ 時新快餐店* http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=18220
                            Serious sichuan @ 聯記川王涼粉*** http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=18842
                            Shanghainess snacks @ 上海飽餃店* http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=12984
                            Modern HK desserts @ 甜品工房* http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=14964
                            Wonton noodles @ 大光燈麵食巷仔雲吞麵* http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=13467
                            Viet style tomato seafood noodle & other viet @ 老許越南菜館** http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=15090
                            Tasting of beef balls @ 郁香園牛丸麵* http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=10880
                            "Tong Yuen" @ 福元湯圓* http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=20491
                            Wonton noodles & Congee @ 正斗粥麵專家* http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=7779
                            "Master soy" poached "see tao" goose @ 生記滷味** http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=12363
                            Congee & Churn fun @ 生記粥店* http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=3325
                            Haute Cantonese @ 海逸軒** http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=1270
                            Beef pho and spring rolls @ 越南亞呂*** http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=18039
                            Thai @ 泰壹泰* http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=18864
                            Cha Charn Teng @ 文華冰廳* http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=2017
                            2 dumplings places @ 阿芳餛飩 http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=16262 and 餃子皇 http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr...

                            last station is Tsim Sha Tsui which I'll do with the Tseun Wan Line...

                            (***) for excellent
                            (**) for very good
                            (*) for good

                            (I have not worked at any of these restaurants)

                            1. re: Sher.eats
                              k
                              kairo Apr 6, 2009 06:12 AM

                              i have a quick question. You mention "Braised beef "song lam" brisket and beef cheeks"
                              Could you tell me the chinese characters for these?
                              I know the regular brisket character... but don't know how to specify further than that. Especially the "cheeks" part.

                              And thank you so much for posting all these tips and links.

                              1. re: kairo
                                Sher.eats Apr 6, 2009 06:20 AM

                                爽腩 = song lam

                                面珠 = cheeks (meen ju)

                                =)

                                1. re: Sher.eats
                                  k
                                  kairo Apr 7, 2009 12:42 AM

                                  thank you!

                                  1. re: kairo
                                    Sher.eats Apr 7, 2009 01:21 AM

                                    remember to try the traditional steamed pastries inside the Tai Po Market

                              2. re: Sher.eats
                                p
                                pomelo Apr 12, 2009 12:37 PM

                                Oh my. Sher.eats, you are the best! My stomach and I thank you.

                                1. re: Sher.eats
                                  Luther Apr 12, 2009 04:41 PM

                                  Thank you.

                                  1. re: Sher.eats
                                    k
                                    kobetobiko Apr 25, 2009 01:20 AM

                                    Totally need to print this out! Awesome!

                              3. re: Sher.eats
                                e
                                ey2006 Apr 24, 2009 11:43 AM

                                Hi Sher.eats,

                                Thanks for sharing all the info on the restaurants!! Its really helpful for someone that is not familiar with the area.

                                In regards to the seafood restaurant, Ming Kee in Po Toi Island, is it hard to get to Po Toi Island? I searched on google and it seems there are infrequent ferry services from Aberdeen and Stanley on certain days of the week. Are Ming Kee open 7 days?

                                Thanks

                              4. Yummylicious Apr 12, 2009 06:45 PM

                                Anyone know what that dessert place is called? It's in HK Island and right beside a vietnamese restaurant? I had the "Ginger juice Jong Lai". It was a bit pricey 25$HKD for a small bowl, but very much worth it!
                                I can't wait to go back !!

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