[Hong Kong] As Hong Kong and Singapore are planning to open an “air travel bubble” (if COVID-19 numbers remain low on both sides), Singaporeans who feel trapped can hold their hopes high for travelling really soon.
That means residents are likely to be able travel between Singapore and Hong Kong WITHOUT requiring quarantine or restrictive control measures.
Also, there won’t be restrictions on travel purpose, as previously visitors could only travel for business to specific countries.
However, travellers have to fly on designated flights that only serve these “travel-bubble” passengers.
A COVID-19 test will be carried out for travellers, but it hasn’t been decided what form it would take yet. (Meanwhile, you can also check out this post: 100 Reasons To Miss Hong Kong – Exclusive Promotions With Hong Kong Food Brands In Singapore)
So you can start doing your Hong Kong food plans, starting with Central 中環 which 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.
However, note that popular places such as the large Tsui Wah has ceased operations of its Central Wellington Street location, and Little Bao has also closed its Central outlet.
Here are some possible considerations:
– Man Wah – Michelin Dim Sum at Mandarin Oriental
– 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
– 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
– 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
The following 12 places are more suited for first or second time travellers to Hong Kong, as it includes more of the “must-visit” food places which can be slightly ‘touristy’.
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 (Mon – Sun)
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 HKD36 (SGD6.30).
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 – 10pm (Mon – Sun, 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 HKDD34 (SGD5.80).
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 – Tues, Thurs Sat), 10am – 5:30pm (Sun). Closed Wed
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 for a number of years, also featured in Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” Hongkong episode.
One can choose their choice of meat and their choice of carb, for instant BBQ Pork & Goose with rice comes at HKD58 (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 HKD165 (SGD28.56). You can order a whole Roast Goose, half or a quarter.
Half a roast goose will be HKD290 (SGD50.20) while the lower quarter – the quarter containing drumstick comes at HKD175 (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 (Mon – Sun, 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 (Mon – Sun)
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 HKD598 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 (HKD198), and The Chairman’s Soy Sauce Chicken (HKD178). 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)
Tel: +852 2544 3895
Opening Hours: 7:30am – 6pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun
Traditional Hong Kong Cha Chaan Teng
Lan Fong Yuen is most famous for two items: Pork Chop Burger (HKD44 with a drink, HKD2 extra for iced drinks) and ‘Silk Stockings’ Milk Tea (HKD16).
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. Lan Fong Yuen 蘭芳園 (Central, Hong Kong)
Sing Heung Yuen 勝香園
2 Mee Lun Street, Central, Hong Kong (Sheung Wan MTR)
Tel: +852 2544 8368
Opening Hours: 8am – 5pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun
Famous Tomato Noodle Soup From One Of Hong Kong’s Most Iconic “Dai Pai Dong”
Here’s what so special about Sing Heung Yuen 勝香園: It is a “Dai pai dong”, an open-air venue stall which dates back to 1957, specialising in (Nissin) instant noodles in tomato broth.
Irene Li Oi-lin, who is the second-generation owner of this place, has started working here when she was just 15 years old.
Sing Heung Yuen’s signature tomato noodle soup is a simple dish, basically a mixture of instant noodles, canned tomatoes, freshly cooked tomatoes, topped with various ingredients.
The noodles are cooked in broths with different flavours, and tomato puree and soup is added in the end.
You can choose the type of noodles such as instant noodles, rice noodles or macaroni, added with sides of ham, luncheon meat, sausage, bacon, eggs, pork chop, chicken wings or sliced beef.
Each bowl ranges from HKD27 (SGD4.75, USD3.45) to HKD36 (SGD6.30, USD4.60), making it an inexpensive meal in the heart of the city. Sing Heung Yuen 勝香園 (Central, Hong Kong)
Tai Cheong Bakery Hong Kong
35 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Hong Kong (10 min walk from Exit C, Hong Kong MTR Station)
Tel: +852 8300 8301
Opening Hours: 9:30am – 7:30pm (Mon – Sun))
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 Room 蓮香樓
162 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong (Sheung Wan MTR Exit E2)
Tel: +852 2544 4556
Opening Hours: 6am – 5pm (Mon – Sun)
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.
Note: Lin Heung Tea Room was supposed to close in 2019, but didn’t in the end. However, they do not offer dinner services any more.
Ming Bistro, Central
1/F, Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2180 0768
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
Cute, Animal Dim Sum And Edible Mahjong Tiles
Ming Bistro attempts to stand out by giving the classic dim sum items a contemporary twist, focusing on attracting a more youthful customer base.
Therefore, expect the unexpected.
Think cute animal dumplings, chess piece cookies served on a chessboard, and edible mahjong tiles.
Abandoning the traditional Chinese restaurant look, even right down to the round table seating, the 80-seater restaurant has opted for a more modern and intimate seating arrangement – which is perfect if you do not enjoy being seated with strangers at “yum cha”.
I ordered the more photogenic-looking dim sum items, and the first dish that was served was the Deep Fried Milk Rolls (HKD48, SGD8.40).
They were really crunchy and the sweet milk custard filling tasted quite strong. Probably not for those who don’t enjoy strong milk-tasting dishes. Ming Bistro 名館 (Central, Hong Kong)
Chua Lam’s Pho 蔡瀾越南粉
G-1/F, 15-25 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2325 9117
Opening Hours: 10am – 12am (Mon – Sun)
Celebrity Food Critic Opens Vietnamese Pho Shop
The brainchild of Chua Lam 蔡瀾, renowned TV host, food critic and writer; it comes as no surprise that he decides to open a Vietnamese-themed restaurant as his first foray into the F&B business.
Word has it that the celebrity food critic has been a big fan of Melbourne’s Vietnamese eatery, Pho Dzung, and inherited the recipes from its owner who is also a friend.
I tried their Beef Pho with Raw Beef and Shank (HKD68, SGD11.90).
The broth leaned towards the sweeter side, and the noodles were a little thicker unlike the usual store-bought rice noodles due to the fact that the noodles are made fresh.
I appreciate establishments that make their ingredients from scratch rather than using commercialized ingredients and it is rare to find many places like that these days. Chua Lam’s Pho 蔡瀾越南粉 (Central, Hong Kong)
* Compiled by href=”https://www.instagram.com/DanielFoodDiary”>@DanielFoodDiary and DFD’s Hong Kong Correspondent @kara_the_explorer. DFD paid for food reviewed unless otherwise stated.