Whether you’re a frequent flyer to, on a vacation or have a business meeting in Hong Kong, trying the local cuisine is mandatory. The city’s delicacies range from the broad street food selection to the upscale, traditional Cantonese affair to unique east-meets-west fusion dishes so all of it may seem daunting to tackle for the unsuspecting tourist of traveler.
To help navigate this ever-changing culinary landscape, we share some of the must try restaurants in Hong Kong on your next visit based on the accounts of a food and travel writer. For this list, we focus on the city’s Cantonese cuisine leaning towards to the more high-end side offerings:
Yardbird is the only Izakaya-style restaurant on this list. It’s very much considered a hot spot and it’s quite the scene—but not in a distasteful way. Some good points to remember: no reservations allowed and no service charge billed. So don’t forget to tip.
As for the food, the dishes are damn good. Flavorful yakitori skewers are the highlights—but the salads and rice options are not to be underestimated. Beyond that, the extensive sake, sochu, and Japanese whisky selection truly blows my mind. Very few Stateside establishments offer what Yardbird does. So whenever I’m in Hong Kong I go all out with whatever Asian spirits I can get my hands on. And this is the perfect spot for that special kind of indulgence.
House Of Jasmine, Harbour City
I’ve found new appreciation for malls (yes, shopping malls) ever since I moved to New York nine years ago. And Hong Kong’s upscale spaces—such as IFC, Pacific Place, and Harbour City—are some of the best. But one can’t shop all day without eating. So it’s a fantastic thing that these shopping meccas are all home to dignified restaurants: no dismal food courts in sight. One of my favorites: Jasmine in Kowloon’s massive Harbour City.
Located on the fourth floor of the complex’s Ocean City “zone,” the restaurant is Chinese all the way. The food is great, the tea selection is impressive, and portions are served family style. The décor and ambience will even make you forget that you’re several floors above some serious luxury boutiques. One caveat: You may have to communicate creatively because very few servers and managers speak English. I’ve found that pointing at neighboring tables’ dishes—as rude as it is—gets the job done.
Man Wah, Mandarin Hotel
Mandarin Oriental and The Landmark Mandarin Oriental are extraordinary five-star hotels. The two properties take fine dining very seriously—and as a result, each have excellent Michelin-starred restaurants: Amber, Mandarin Grill + Bar, and Man Wah. And I have to say, an evening at Man Wah is a spectacular treat. The space is all class: elegant and quiet, with expansive views of Victoria Harbour. And the Cantonese and regional dishes by Chef Chi-Kwong Hung inspire enthusiastic eaters to feast without hesitation—especially during hairy crab season. There’s really no way you can go wrong. But I recommend that you arrive at least half an hour early: M Bar, which is right outside the restaurant on the 25th floor, is great for pre-dinner drinks.
The first time I visited Duddell’s I had absolutely no idea where to go. There wasn’t a sign. There was neither a hostess nor a guard to guide me. Instead, I had to find my way to the upper levels of an unmarked building in Central. But once you get there, the bi-level space doesn’t fail to impress: It’s an art gallery-cum-bar-cum-restaurant. It’s hard to not love the quirky little details that pepper the two-Michelin-Star place—such as the art, the unconventional décor, and amusing illustrations that deck everything from the website to the matchbooks. But all quirkiness aside, it should be noted that the food is not to be dismissed.
The best time to go is during hairy crab season (September through November), when Duddell’s serves multiple iterations of the delicacy. And if you happen to find yourself there out of season, go for the dim sum offerings, crispy chicken, suckling pig, and fish maw. Those can’t be beat.
Tang Court, The Langham
When Michelin announced its 2016 stars for Hong Kong and Macau, I wasn’t even remotely surprised that T’ang Court at the Langham Hotel acquired its third star. The restaurant is stellar and its dishes are as fresh as you need them to be. Case in point: the drunken shrimp. Typically, when you order this dish at lesser establishments, the shrimp are soaked in alcohol before being briefly submerged in a boiling bath. Not so in T’ang Court. In their version, a glass bowl is brought to the table the way Confucius intended—with the captive crustaceans still alive. But not for long. A server ceremoniously bathed them in alcohol—a move that, elsewhere in the world, would’ve inspired a PETA protest. But enough of the drunken shrimp. We may have watched them drown in alcohol, but rest assured that their deaths were not in vain. The dish was delicious—my favorite, in fact.
Beyond that, I highly recommend the seasonal tasting menu if you and your companions are hearty eaters. You’ll need the appetite because the dishes just keep on coming. There will be soup. There will be roasted meats. There will be abalone. There will be poultry. There will be fruit. (And if you’re lucky enough to be in the city in the fall, there will be hairy crab.) So by the time dinner adjourns, you’ll be in the mood for the delicious kind of slumber you only thought possible with the aid of pharmaceuticals.
Pak Loh Chiu Chow, Hong Kong International Airport
Great dining options don’t end in the city. Even the (very chichi) airport has something to offer: excellent Chiu Chow cuisine, which is lighter and more delicate than its Cantonese cousin. On the way back to New York, I never fail to stop by the Pak Loh Chiu Chow outpost in the departures hall—before settling into the Cathay Pacific lounge. I’ve made it a tradition of sorts: It’s always vegetable dumplings, shrimp dumplings, and a glass of white wine. If I’m famished there will be shumai. And the spicy cold cucumbers are always on the house. You won’t find these dishes on the regular menu, though. Ask for the dim sum list and a pencil; put a check mark on everything you want to order. Simple and easy and inexpensive—in my mind there’s no better way to end a Hong Kong trip.
Honorable Mention: Tim Ho Wan
I’ve written about it before and I have no problem writing about it again: Tim Ho Wan’s barbecue pork buns are very much worth the wait. And now that there’s an outpost in IFC mall (L1, Hong Kong Station, Central) travelers would be wise to buy as much as they’re able to pack and bring back to the U.S. — I do it all the time. They keep for several days and are great when heated in a toaster oven.
This feature’s source is written by Karla Alindahao from Forbes.