Foodie areas in Hong Kong
I’m a London chowhound coming to Hong Kong for six weeks in March/ April. I’ll have quite limited kitchen facilities and am looking forwards to eating out, especially - but not limited to - regional cuisine. I am likely to stay either in Sheung Wan (Hollywood Road) or in the mid-levels near the escalator (Robinson Road/ Mosque Street). I was wondering which area is better for food and cafes? (I’m willing to travel all over the island for good food, but it’s nice to have some good places near by and essential to have good coffee within walking distance.)
Also, would any Hong Kong chowhounds like to meet up for a chowdown?
Everywhere, really. It's impossible to mention an area that is not excellent for cheap or mid-priced food. There's no city like Hong Kong for food ( may be Tokyo ) and you can't walk for 2 minutes without seeing a restaurant.
So, just as London has great eating places all over the place from Queensway/Bayswater to South Ken/Knightbridge/Gloucester Road to Soho to Chelsea.... etc, likewise in HK you will find great eating places in Wanchai, CausewayBay, North Point even your aforementioned Sheung Wan, Nowadays, the more residential district of mid-level are close to foodie places! ( a short walk down to Soho will bring you to loads of eating establishments!! From oyster bars to Indian curries to Spanish Tapas to Cantonese Won-ton or beef brisket noodles, snake soup!!....etc choices are unlimited!)
And thats only on the Hong Kong side!! Add to that TST, Jordan, Mong Kok over on the Kowloon side and you might have to extend your stay from six weeks to six months!! Ha!!
Have fun exploring!!
To give you a hand, check out the website:
Sheung Wan is more hipster with places like Barista Jam and Po's Atelier for coffee, lots of little galleries, independent shops in the old industrial areas (near Hollywood Road) and lots of local restaurants down towards Queens Rd. Mid-levels is very residential and not great for food or coffee. SOHO (which isn't really mid-levels) which is the area north of Hollywood Road around the escalator (as it goes up the hill towards mid levels) has lots of places to eat but more Covent Garden than Shoreditch. NOHO is a newish term for the area North of Hollywood road which is really the area west of the escalator before Sheung Wan is pretty good and has some places (note NOHO is a pretty manufactured term thus not commonly used in HK).
But as Charles says there are lots of food areas, all the local shopping areas have good local food. But there are areas that are mainly residential without a lot of great food - Happy Valley springs to mind.
Coffee in HK is getting better and there are a good handful of places to get a fix - if coffee is your thing then Sheung Wan is the place to go.
Central has a ton of variety.
The Chairman is one of the top restaurants in the area, and definitely don't miss the flower crab with egg white, chicken lard, and egg white steamed flower crab (signature must try dish), they can also do wonders with run of the mill items including steamed fish which they do very well.
A few streets up from there and you can find a wide variety of international cuisine, including a new Mexican restaurant called Taco Truck (the chef is from Mexico).
Ser Wong Fun is classic HK flavor. Double boiled soups, snake soup, claypot rice with Chinese and duck liver sausage (and preserved oysters) is excellent for this time of year.
Kau Kee, very popular clear broth beef brisket noodle shop. Very local flavor, the broth is stellar here. Even if you have to pay a few bucks for a refill, it's worth it.
Dai Pai Dongs are around Central, part of the HK food culture.
For even nicer upscale Cantonese, there's Celebrity Cuisine, Cuisine Cuisine (IFC) and Man Wah (Mandarin Oriental).
I can only think of Tim's Kitchen in Sheung Wan that is of noteworthy and visitor friendly quality (and upscale). There are good delicious inexpensive local eats but would require being able to read Chinese and speak Cantonese to order.
re: Uncle Yabai
I think the geographical boundaries have been redefined as a result of silly crazy property prices, that real estate market has to rebrand what was known as Sheung Wan boundaries in order to make commercial office space formerly designated in SW area to be "Central" to make it more appealing to renters. I had lunch with a best friend today who showed me his office location. It's semantically and technically Sheung Wan but they still call it Central, right across the street from his office is literally the start of where the dried seafood shops are, which is SW territory. We had a good laugh about that.
And if you look at openrice and local blogs and Chinese books, The Charman is in Central. Sorry :-)
re: K K
Given HK is so small the difference between Sheung Wan and Central is pretty semantic. But if I went to the Chairman on the MTR the closest station is Sheung Wan.......that said Sheung Wang is pretty up and coming for food, lots of established placed like Dim Sum Square, ABC Kitchen and newbies like Po and Yardbird, and depending where you argue Gough Street is
re: K K
KK: I'll be eating out a lot, so many of my meals will have to be of the inexpensive variety. Inexpensive local eats are ideal, and I'm happy to eat quite randomly or to do some research and arrive with a print out of what I want in Chinese characters (though my boyfriend cannot eat crustaceans without throwing up, so we'll probably need to get that written out in Chinese in order to avoid nasty accidents).
But that's another reason for suggesting a chowdown. As well as being nice to meet local people, it would be great to go somewhere that you need Chinese to order, if there are any Chinese speakers.
I did a lot of research for a recent trip to HK and these are some of the places I discovered for eating on the cheap.
Kau Kee in Central (for beef brisket noodles)
Sing Heung Yuen in Central (for tomato noodles with egg, open air and across the street from Kau Kee)
MAK's, Wing Wah Noodle, or Tsim Chai Chee (for shrimp wonton noodles)
Chung's Cuisine or Tim Ho Wan (for reasonable and delectable dim sum)
Butao Ramen (for ramen noodles done 4 different ways, comfort food)
Joy Hings (for roasted meats and rice, it was cheap and good but get the BBQ pork, not the roasted pork)
If you're staying in Sheung Wan, you can check out the old dim sum restaurant "Ling Heung Teahouse" which is pretty historic.
Lin Heung Teahouse: http://www.openrice.com/english/resta...
I work in Sheung Wan. There are quite a few lunch spots and cheap eats for all the office workers. Here are a few that I go to (not necessarily the best-ranked on Openrice, just my preferred places):
1. Kau Kee beef brisket (already mentioned before)
2. Sing heung yuen (tomato beef macaroni soup, crispy bun)
3. Ma Sa Restaurant 孖沙茶餐廳 (old school cha chan teng serving triple fried egg char siu rice. They always run out of Char siu by midday so you can substitute ham, spam or sausage. Their fried noodles are also popular.) http://www.openrice.com/english/resta...
4. Tsim chai kee wonton noodle http://www.openrice.com/english/resta...
5. Ippudo ramen (Central) http://www.openrice.com/english/resta...
6. "But Jai king" http://www.openrice.com/english/resta... -- HK style sweet bean "bowl" pudding. Snack place only open in the afternoon.
7. Daily Fresh Soybean http://www.openrice.com/english/resta... (soybean milk of all varieties,plus some snacks like fish siu mai, rice rolls, and sticky rice roll with pork floss. A popular budget breakfast -and all day- place. Try their hot almond soy milk. They grind the soy beans on the premises, you can see the sacks of beans soaking in the tub outside.)
Having escalator access would be nice, especially after a long day and you don't want to walk up the hill! Having said that, Hollywood Rd isn't as far uphill as Mosque St. Sheung Wan has a quieter, more local feel to it. Mosque St is more upscale and expat (and of course has the convenience of the escalator and proximity to Soho).
Was at Sing Heung Yuen 2 days ago, their menu is also translated to English. It's definitely HK style/dai pa dong flavor that cannot be replicated abroad. I think their milk tea is way better than Lan Fong Yuen (sadly living on their laurels and not really delivering on quality and service anymore).
I'd say there is no other city in the world quite like HK for dining. Esp. Cantonese cuisine, but certainly other regional Chinese cuisines also. If your primary focus is dining, you'll have to do a lot of research into the many varieties of not only Cantonese cuisines (there are many regional specialties just within Cantonese) but other Chinese regional cuisines. You have lots of work in front of you. Enjoy.
I don't know anything about varieties of Cantonese cooking and, as far I can tell, threads on chowhound do not seem to be organized that way. I'd be grateful for any information about the different types of cuisine and the best palce to try them in Hong Kong. Might even start a new thread on it....