Hong Kong is known for their food, so I decided to do a post highlighting some of the food we ate when we were travelling there at the end of December 2012 and early January 2013. (Read my post on things we did for more information about the trip). There is so much to eat in Hong Kong that we’ll definitely have to go back. When we were travelling we did a healthy mix of trying food and places to eat recommended by friends and family as well as more popular restaurants or restaurants recommended to tourists (you know I had to!).
Lab Made Ice Cream
My cousin recommended this ice cream place in Tai Hang, an up and coming neighbourhood near Causeway Bay. What makes Lab Made Ice Cream so special is that they make the ice cream on the spot using liquid nitrogen to freeze it! It was fun to watch them making ice cream and for Christmas they had special holiday flavours. I had the “Gingerbread Man & Milk” and Dan had the “Apple Crumble.” The ice cream was delicious!
Unar Coffee Company
Another recommendation from my cousin, Unar Coffee Company, is literally a hole in the wall coffee place (though a very stylish hole in the wall). We enjoyed a few cups of very good flat whites here.
Honeymoon Dessert is a popular chain that serves Chinese style desserts. You won’t find the usual chocolate cake or cookies at Honeymoon Dessert. Instead you’ll find grass jelly, sweet glutinous rice, fruit and more. They serve hot and cold desserts and are absolutely delicious. My mouth waters just thinking about it. When we went, I had the Thai black glutinous rice with mango (coconut juice) and Dan had the Mixed fruit grass jelly in mango juice. They have so many desserts, I hope to try more the next time we visit Hong Kong.
Din Tai Fung
Din Tai Fung is a famous dumpling house chain from Taiwan. We went to the location in Causeway Bay at off peak hours, which meant that we didn’t have to endure a long line for a table. Din Tai Fung is known for their xiaolongbao (small steamed bun) and they even included cards on every table with directions on how to eat them! We didn’t need the cards since xiaolongbao is one of my favourite things to eat. We ordered the xiaolongbao, shrimp and pork dumplings, noodle with spicy sauce and sauteed spinach with garlic. Everything was delicious.
Another recommendation from my cousin (I’m so lucky to have cousins who love food as much as me!), Teakha is a cute tea cafe located in Sheung Wan. I think the picture shows it all. After ordering inside, we sat outside and enjoyed our tea, which they passed to us through a nearby window. Even after we finished our tea we were able to sit and relax for a little while. They even had water with lemon in it freely available in a jug on the windowsill and plenty of glasses. It was a cozy and hip atmosphere and I would definitely go back. I also heard that they have live music there sometimes too. Maybe next time! Dan had the Keemun Milk Tea with Red Date Honey and I had the Thai Iced Tea.
agnes b. cafe
agnes b. is a French style dessert chain. We visited their location in the IFC Mall in Central where I had the dinosaur rouge (mango cream and coulis, lychee mousse and coulis, vanilla sponge cake, feuilletine). It was dinosaurlicious! I think Dan had some sort of strawberry tart that he also really enjoyed. I also had a ginger flavoured coffee.
Luk Yu Teahouse
Established in 1933, Luk Yu Teahouse is located on Stanely Street in Central. It was featured in my guidebook and on Trip Advisor as a popular and beautiful teahouse, so we decided to check it out. I had read several sources that said that Luk Yu was frequented by regulars, so it was almost impossible to get a table on the main floor (though the other floors are also very beautiful and nostalgic). We came during off peak hours when it was almost empty, so we were able to get a table of our choice. Unfortunately because it was off peak hours, some of the food that we wanted to order was sold out for the day. In addition to the yummy tea and food, we enjoyed the atmosphere of the teahouse. There were also a few other tourists (I think from Korea) eating while we were there. We ordered the oyster sauced bean curd wrapped pork roll, steamed shrimp and bamboo shoot dumplings, fresh shrimp dumplings, steamed barbecued pork bun (cha shao bao), fried dumplings containing bamboo shoot and minced shrimp, spring rolls with shrimp and scallions and egg tarts. We tried to order sugar cane buns but they were sold out.
Pure Veggie House
If you ask Dan what his highlight of Hong Kong was, Pure Veggie House ranks near the top. It was located next to our hotel and as the name implies, serves vegetarian Chinese food. Dan had never tried vegetarian Chinese food before (with the pork made out of tofu etc.). They did an amazing job. I was really impressed by the fake bbq pork and other items. We opted for a set banquet meal that was reasonably priced and included many tasty dishes.
Chilled king oyster mushroom with wasabi sauce, Coral algae and mixed fruit salad, Curry pumpkin stew with netted stinkhorn and okra (served with baguette), Braised whole shitake mushroom, Cordyceps flower and assorted bean soup, Sauteed asparagus, lily bulb and vegetarian lobster ball, Bean curd sheet dumpling with assorted vegetable, Sweet and sour konjac, Braised noodle with enoki mushroom, Dessert, Assorted fruit platter.
Dim Sum in Yuen Long
A highlight for me was having Dim Sum (or Yum Cha as my Cantonese speaking family calls it) with my grandma in Yuen Long. We went a few times and unfortunately I don’t know the name of the restaurant. Yum Cha with my grandma is a huge treat because she had been going to the restaurant for several years (my mother grew up in Yuen Long and my grandma never left. She was still living in the apartment where my mom grew up when I visited last year). Many of the wait staff knew my grandma since she was a regular. In Yuen Long they specialize in yellow sponge cake, and the sponge cake at this restaurant is the best I’ve ever had in my life. My grandma told me that people come from around the world to study how they make the cake. Having eaten it, I totally see why. It has ruined me for yellow sponge cake at yum cha for the rest of my life. No other yellow sponge cake could ever compare.
Tai Cheong Bakery
While Tai Cheong Bakery, which was founded in 1954, offers many delicious buns and pastries, their egg tarts are hands down some of the best I’ve ever had (It’s actually made it pretty impossible for me to enjoy a Chinese egg tart in North America now). They are flaky and creamy and just the right amount of everything. Tai Cheong Bakery was also made famous by Chris Patten, who was the last British governor of Hong Kong. Apparently he was nicknamed Fat Patten (or Fei Pang) for his once a day egg tart habit. I don’t blame him though. If I loved in Hong Kong I’d probably eat one of these mouthwatering egg tarts every day too.
You can’t go to Hong Kong without eating at a cha chaan teng. These local tea eateries serve comfort food (Hong Kong style and Western Hong Kong style) at affordable prices. We stopped in for breakfast at Capital Cafe in Wan Chai. The restaurant is styled like a diner and the waiters were really polite and friendly. The walls are adorned with pictures of Cantonese pop singers from the 80s and 90s and we were able to sit in a nice comfortable booth. We opted to have a few classic dishes. Dan had the macaroni with ham, fried eggs, toast and coffee. I had Hong Kong-style French toast with a red bean iced drink.
Dim Sum Square
This is another restaurant recommended by my cousin. She used to live in Sheung Wan and this was her local dim sum place. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love Dim Sum Square. They serve a good variety of food that’s tasty and reasonably priced. We loved Dim Sum Square so much that we came back more than once. Dan also discovered crispy BBQ buns, which soon became his favourite dim sum dish. I haven’t been able to find it outside of Hong Kong. During our meals here we tried: pork and shrimp dumplings (siu mai), chicken and cheese mushroom with beancurd wrapping, steamed rice rolls with shrimp and vegetable (cheung fan), springs rolls, crispy bbq pork buns, shrimp crystal dumplings (ha gao), golden spongy cake, chef’s selection congee and steamed spare ribs with black bean and garlic. I should note that I know how to order most dim sum/yum cha food in both Cantonese and Mandarin (so don’t mind me if I switch between the two!).
The mantra for Mana is to “Eat like it matters.” Offering “slow food,” Mana is eco-friendly and serves natural, locally sourced and grown food. Dan and I had breakfast at Mana one morning. I had the Mana! Joy (avocado, garlicnaise, tomato and mint on freshly made flat bread) and a cup of coffee. Dan had a fruit cup. The food was fresh and tasty.
Lock Cha Teahouse
Located in Hong Kong Park, Lock Cha Teahouse specializes in tea and vegetarian dim sum. The atmosphere in the teahouse was nice and relaxing. We came at off-peak hours so once again, some items had sold out and were no longer available. Dan opted for a nice tea (I can’t remember which one) and I decided to get a blooming tea. Dan was really jealous of my blooming tea as I added water to it and watched it open up. It was both visually appealing and tasty. We had the watercress soup, beancurd skin roll, steamed savory sticky rice in lotus leaf, laver carrot dumpling and fresh organic vegetables. Everything was fresh and delicious. The wait staff seemed to forget about us and there was a long wait time between getting all of the food and the beancurd skin roll. After a while I finally flagged somebody down and they brought it out for us.
Saffron Bakery Cafe
We had a quick lunch in Saffron Bakery Cafe in Stanley one day. The cafe has a fun, kid-friendly atmosphere. In addition to their fresh sandwiches and goods, they sell records and a variety of fun candy. We each drank an Arnold Palmer (iced tea and lemonade mixed together) and munched on some fresh sandwiches. I had the Cheddar and Cucumber sandwich (with mango chutney mustard on sourdough bread with fresh rosemary and olive oil).
Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao
My cousin took us to Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao, a chain restaurant that’s part of a Singapore culinary group. We also opted to go there on New Year’s Eve since they don’t take reservations. Instead there’s a number system so you take a number and wait for a table. Because of this, we didn’t have to wait too long for a table (maybe 30 minutes, which isn’t bad for New Year’s Eve). We tried the Dandan Noodles (Dandan Mian), Xiao Long Bao (not as good as at Din Tai Fung though but still tasty), wonton in chilli oil and some sort of cold salad (it was very refreshing). I also had a soy milk. Yum.
Sichuan Cuisine and Hot Pot (San Xi Lou)
San Xi Lou is located in the same building as Pure Veggie House and was also an excellent find for authentic Sichuan food. We didn’t try the hot pot, though I’ve heard it’s really good. Instead we ordered a spicy chicken dish (it was yummy and hot enough to burn a little in my mouth. I loved it!), some vegetables (not as spicy to give our palates a break), hot and sour soup and a pudding type dessert. The food was delicious and we were delightfully full at the end.
Finally, if you go to Hong Kong you must try Yuanyang. It’s a drink that’s made of 3 parts coffee and 7 parts Hong Kong style milk tea. I had Dan try some and he loved it.
The food in Hong Kong is amazing and I know we didn’t even begin to scratch the surface in what we could eat there. I hope someday we can go back and eat some more.