[Hong Kong] Central 中環 is the central business district of Hong Kong, across Victoria Harbour from Tsim Sha Tsui.
It is crammed with skyscrapers and swanky malls such as the IFC, known for its nightlife at Lan Kwai Fong, trendy restaurants at SoHo, and old-school eateries near the Mid-Levels.
There is certainly no lack of food choices here. You get an Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants on one side, and a Da Pai Dong (street side stall) a short walk away.
While there are only 10 food places listed here, I plan to increase it to 15 to 20 soon. In the meantime, these are other places you can also check out.
Man Wah – Michelin Dim Sum at Mandarin Oriental
Bing Sutt G.O.D Starbucks – Star Bucks in old school Hong Kong decor
Dim Sum Icon – Dim sum with cute iconic cartoon designs
Luk Yu – Traditional dim sum and teahouse
Breadstreet Kitchen and Bar – Famous Gordon Ramsay bistro
Yu Ye Desserts – Da Pai Dong serving noodles and old-school desserts
Sing Heung Yuen – Da Pai Dong famous for Noodles in Tomato Soup
Mak’s Noodle Restaurant (Chung Kee) – The other Mak’s Noodle (by another relative)
Emack & Bolio’s – Instagrammable Ice Cream Cones
Butao Ramen – Michelin Recommended Ramen, one of Hong Kong’s best
Zagin Soba – Highly raved Ramen shop
Ho Lee Fook – Hipster, modern Hong Kong restaurant-bar
Cupping Room – Third Wave Coffee popular with CBD crowd
%Arabica – Well known Japanese coffee chain which opened at IFC
Tsui Wah Restaurant – There are many around, but this is one of the most prominent
Tim Ho Wan at IFC – Inexpensive Dim Sum
Ronin – Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant
Amber at The Landmark Mandarin – Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant
8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana – Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant, 3 Michelin Stars
Kau Kee 九記牛腩
21 Gough Street, Central, Hong Kong (15-20 min walk from Central or Sheung Wan MTR)
Tel +852 2850 5967
Opening Hours 12:30pm – 10:30pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun, PH and Lunar New Year period for 10 days
Google Maps -Kau Kee 九記牛腩
Popular Beef Brisket Noodles Institution
The 90 plus year old Kau Kee at Gough Street has become the ‘must-visit’ restaurant for beef brisket noodles, included into many foodies’ bucket list.
Despite looking kind of run-down, the noodle shop is on the Michelin recommended “Bib Gourmand” list for several years, with celebrity patrons from Chief Executive of Hong Kong Donald Tsang to award-winning actor Tony Leung.
On its menu: Beef Brisket, Slices or Tendon in Broth, Curry, and Oyster Sauce, with choices of Rice Noodle, E-Fu, Flat Noodle or Vermicelli, ranging generally from HK$35 to HK$76.
Most customers would go for the Beef Brisket With E-Fu Noodle In Broth (HK$55) or Beef Tendon Noodles In Curry (HK$55) – which can be described as rich and oily, but full on in flavours and spiciness. Kau Kee 九記牛腩 (Central, Hong Kong)
Mak’s Noodle 麥奀雲吞麵世家
G/F, 77 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong (Central MRT, exit at D2 exit, walk along Wellington St)
Tel: +852 2854 3810
Opening Hours: 11am – 9pm Daily
Google Maps – Mak’s Noodle
Mak’s Noodle at Central is the only branch where Mak An, Mak Woon-chi’s son worked in.
You may need to note that the serving bowls are very small, tinier than a rice bowl.
The small bowls are said to keep the noodles from going soggy, costing a pricey HK$36 (SGD$6.30).
The noodles were springy thin, as though they could go through needles. The soup base made of powdered dried shrimp, flounder and pork bones made a punch.
However, regulars have feedback that it used to be much better. Mak’s Noodles 麥奀雲吞麵世家 (Central, Hong Kong)
Tsim Chai Kee 沾仔记
98, Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong (near Central Mid-Levels escalators)
Tel: +852 2850 6471
Opening Hours: 9am – 10 pm Daily (Closed 4 days during Lunar New Year)
Michelin Bib Gourmand Ping Pong Wonton
Tsim Chai Kee 沾仔记 has earned its due by being categorised as “Bib Gourmand”, which translates in Michelin language as “inspector’s favourite for good value”.
Tsim Chai Kee served just noodles with three different toppings – shrimp wonton, beef slices, or/and fish ball. Opt for the all-in-one Three Toppings Noodle. All in for HKD$34 (SGD$5.80).
The shrimp wontons at Tsim were a class of its own – fresh chunky prawns (two per dumpling) and minced pork packed into a big ping pong sized dumpling that gave a tasty crunch on every bite. Tsim Chai Kee 沾仔记
Yat Lok 一樂燒鵝
G/F, 34-38 Stanley Street, Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2524 3882
Opening Hours: 10am – 9pm (Mon-Sat), 10am – 5.30pm (Sun). Day Off every last Wednesday of the month
Google Maps – Yat Lok
Michelin Starred Roast Goose Restaurant
One swift look at “Hongkong Top Roast Goose”, and you will have Yat Lok 一樂燒鵝appearing in almost every publication.
The restaurant has been awarded a Michelin star consecutively from 2015 – 2018, it is also featured in Anthony Bourdain’s Hongkong episode.
One can choose their choice of meat and their choice of carb, for instant BBQ Pork & Goose with rice comes at HK$58 (SGD10.04), with noodles will be HK$56 (SGD9.69).
A plate of two of the following: Roast Goose, Roast Pork, BBQ Pork or Soya Sauce Chicken will cost you HK$165 (SGD28.56). You can order a whole Roast Goose, half or a quarter.
Half a roast goose will be HK$290 (SGD50.20) while the lower quarter – the quarter containing drumstick comes at HK$175 (SGD30.29).
The star of the show here was in the paper thin crisp skin, underneath which you would find a layer of fat and the tender goose meat.
A plate of plum sauce was served to accompany the roast goose; the slight sweetness and acidity of the sauce balanced out nicely against the richness of the meat. Yat Lok 一樂燒鵝 (Central, Hong Kong)
Yung Kee Restaurant
32-40 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong 中環威靈頓街32-40號
Tel: +852 2522 1624
Opening Hours: 11am – 11pm Daily (except 1st 3 days of CNY)
Famed Roast Goose Restaurant
The Chinese restaurant which had humble beginnings as a dai pai dong on Kwong Yuen West, rose to fame for its roast goose and could sell as many as 300 whole birds per day.
Yung Kee was once named the Top 15 Restaurants in the World by Fortune Magazine, Asia’s Top 20 Restaurants by Miele Guide, and held one Michelin Star in 2009. But that didn’t last long.
Like a TVB Hong Kong family drama, a family dispute over money and relationships caused much conflicts and eventual lowering standards of the restaurant.
I remember the good old days where some would actually bother to ta-bao back the roast all the way from Hong Kong, and there were long queues and waiting times for the succulent ducks with crispy glossy skin.
And I was a huge fan of their preserved eggs, which creamy and tasty, were like none other ever tried. Yung Kee still receives many diners, though not as many as during its heydays.
The Chairman 大班樓
18 Kau U Fong, Central, Hong Kong (Central MTR Exit E2, 15 min walk, Find Lan Kwai Fong Hotel, Walk straight down and you will find the restaurant on your right)
Tel: +852 2555 2202
Opening Hours: 12pm-3pm, 6pm-11pm Daily
One Of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants
The Chairman Restaurant 大班樓 has gained a reputation of presenting quality Cantonese food, light and delicately, with some modern interpretation.
The kitchen takes pride in their food: Looking at small local suppliers for produce, using organic vegetables as far as possible, no MSG (kudos for a Cantonese restaurant), using homemade sauces. They own a small farm at Sheung Shui.
A tasting menu for two is HK$598 per person. If ala carte is your way, their signatures are Steamed Fresh Flowery Crab with Aged ShaoXing Wine (seasonal price), Braised Spare Ribs with Preserved Plums in Caramelized Black Vinegar (HK$198), and The Chairman’s Soy Sauce Chicken (HK$178). The Chairman Restaurant 大班樓
Lan Fong Yuen 蘭芳園
2 Gage Street Central, Hong Kong (MTR Sheung Wan Exit E2 or Central) 中環結志街2號
Tel: +852 2544-3895/ 2854-0731
Opening Hours: 8:00am – 8:00pm (Mon-Sat)
Traditional Hong Kong Cha Chaan Teng
Lan Fong Yuen is most famous for two items: Pork Chop Burger (HK$44 with a drink, HK$2 extra for iced drinks) and ‘Silk Stockings’ Milk Tea (HK$16).
They are said to be the creator of the pantyhose milk tea (wonder how they even got it started) so it is the must-have here, even if it may not be the best.
They have been established for more than 50 years, started as a ‘Dai Pai Dong’, thus the inconspicuous shop entrance.
Tip: You are likely to walk past and miss it. Look for the shop sign ‘Lan Fong Yuen’ and walk all the way inside. Don’t assume it is closed even though it looks like it.
G/F, 66, Staunton Street, Central, Hong Kong (Nearest Station Sheung Wan)
Tel: +852 21940202 (No Reservation)
Opening Hours: 6pm – 11pm (Mon-Sat), Closed Sun
Asian Burgers Place By May Chow Is Hip & Cool
The tiny shop somehow brought the hip level up many notches with an endearing yet weird looking mascot, an open concept kitchen reminding you of authentic tapas bars in Spain, and energy that was uplifting and inviting.
The Original Bao (HK$78, SGD$12.90) came, looking smaller than I expected, though sandwiching tender juicy braised pork belly, shiso leek salad, sesame dressing and hoisin ketchup.
All that I mentioned could not win the satisfaction given by the Ice Cream Sandwich (HK$48, SGD$7.90) – green tea ice cream in deep fried bao, drizzled with condensed milk. Little Bao (Hong Kong)
Tai Cheong Bakery Hong Kong
35 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Hong Kong (10 min walk from Exit C, Hong Kong MTR Station)
Opening Hours: 7:30am – 9pm (Mon – Sat), 8:30am – 9pm (Sun, PH)
Famous Hong Kong Egg Tarts Shop
The popular Tai Cheong Bakery 泰昌餅家 at Lyndhurst Terrace, Central Hong Kong started way back in 1954, and is famed for its one-of-a-kind egg tarts.
The Dessert Chef Mr Au Yeung created this unique cookie-based tarts, filled the shells with thick egg liquid, and kept them baked for 13 minutes. Fresh.
Their egg tarts came with smooth bright yellow egg custard, seated inside crumbly fragrant buttery crust.
I recommend getting them freshly baked, and eat them warm right outside the store! (super shiok especially when the weather is cold.) Tai Cheong Bakery (Central, Hong Kong
Lin Heung Tea House 蓮香樓
162 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong (Sheung Wan MTR Exit E2)
Tel: +852 25444556 (Queue up very early) $
Opening Hours: 6am – 11pm
Dim Sum War-zone
No matter how much I tell my friends to get mentally ready for the Lin Heung ‘warzone’ experience, they never really are. If you do not speak Cantonese (or at least pu tong hua), and have no understanding of the dim sum trolley culture – good luck.
First things first, grab your seats or wait around like a vulture till you get some empty ones. You definitely have to share the table with complete strangers.
Dim sum ladies would come out pushing trolleys of food. For popular items like the cheong fun, this is a competition of fastest runner and fastest hands first.
The price is cheap, though quality nothing to shock about. It is probably one of the 10 things you must experience in Hong Kong if you are a foodie.