Eating in Hong Kong
April 8, 2010 1:43 AM   Subscribe

Help! I'm a foodie suddenly headed to Hong Kong and have no idea what to eat!

Well, the protests in Bangkok mean that my short vacation to meet my family and eat Thai street food has been rerouted. All of the sudden, I'll be in Hong Kong in two days. I haven't done much research and I will only be around for three full days... what experiences/restaurants/stalls/treats should a foodie not miss out on?

Also, somewhat related, can anyone recommend any large, good English bookstores?
posted by Suciu to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I have only been to Hong Kong once, and not for very long, but I liked this place enough to visit it more than once:

I thought the "herbal coffee" was pretty interesting. IMO, worth a visit, but I am not a "foodie", so take my recommendation with a grain of salt :)
posted by jrockway at 2:16 AM on April 8, 2010

Best answer: Everyone in HK is a foodie and there are tons of websites with reviews. One of the most local is Open Rice. Also the 2010 Hong Kong Michelin Guide is now out, and you can buy it locally.

Books are more expensive in HK than the US but some of the best bookstores are Page One, Dymocks, and Bookazine. Back in the day the only real bookstore was Swindon, and it's still pretty good.
posted by mono blanco at 2:44 AM on April 8, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Open Rice is fantastic, I second it wholeheartedly.

There is a great used bookstore called Flow on Lyndhurst Terrace. The selection is amazing and much cheaper than at other bookstores.
posted by so much modern time at 3:47 AM on April 8, 2010

Consider a day trip to Macau--for great Portuguese, there's Antonio's, and he's Michelin-starred, iirc. I ate there a couple months ago and really enjoyed the food and atmosphere, and Macau is really, really interesting. Ferries run all the time, no reservation required, and it's $20-30 US one-way. Oh, and if you want to do a night there, good hotels are cheaper than in HK. I recommend the Sofitel at Ponte 16.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:59 AM on April 8, 2010

For the love of all that's good and holy, make some time to eat BBQ goose (served at like a million restaurants and bbq joints), I implore you.

Go to a cheap cafe and get some congee for breakfast - bliss!

Are you staying on the island or Mongkok etc? Mongkok and other assorted mainland suburbs will be much cheaper.

If you want a surreal experience, check out HK McDonalds (you don't have to order, but the menu is so different it's worth a gander). Avoid Korean food in Honkers, they make it all honky and sweet and weird.

If you like buffets (like a true HKer!), check out the buffet at Langham Place, Mongkok. It's expensive (circa $80 Australian), but it's incredible. They slice your sashimi to order.

Keep an eye out for a dessert cafe - there's like a million. Try some sweet puddings. Mango, sago, durian if you're feeling really lucky.
posted by smoke at 5:08 AM on April 8, 2010

Macau is great if you have time. Seconding congee and goose. My favorite thing I ate there were soup dumplings, but I could also spend every minute of 2 days just eating noodles. There's interesting hiking on some of the islands; on some it's possible to do ferry-hike-lunch-hike-dinner-ferry (I don't have any of my notes with me about which island I did this on, sorry). Enjoy!
posted by Mngo at 5:53 AM on April 8, 2010

Specifically, in Macau, look for recommendations for where to eat suckling pig and what bakeries to get egg custard tarts from. The Macau version of suckling pig is out of this world and different from the way that it's made in China. And the egg custard tarts. They have creme brulee tops. What else do I need to say?

Also, in HK, if you're getting congee, go in the morning, and they'll have freshly fried bread, still a little too hot from the deep fryer. It's the stuff of my morning commute daydreams.
posted by joyceanmachine at 7:43 AM on April 8, 2010

Make sure you get some dim sum/yum cha. It's absolutely fantastic, though I can't recommend anywhere particular (it's been about 6 years since I've been), but what I did have there was heavenly.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:16 AM on April 8, 2010

The custard tarts are Pasteis de Nata.

I love Hong Kong and Macau. Its a foodie's dream. There is so much variety and home-cooked deliciousness. We were more impressed by the street food than any of the restaurants we went to. We ignored all the guides and just went randomly wandering until we found a place that looked good. There's not many cities in the world where you can do that!
posted by vacapinta at 8:21 AM on April 8, 2010

Get over to the Lei Yue Mun Seafood market. There are stalls all along a narrow corridor that you can pick out fresh seafood and have it taken for you to the restaurant at the end of the road. Fantastically fresh, and a unique experience.
posted by qwip at 10:51 AM on April 8, 2010

If you get the chance, don't miss out on live (i.e. from the tank) mantis prawns/urinating shrimp/攋尿蝦. Yeah, they're the same critters as these things so you'll be doing your part to fend off their bid at world domination.

Also ditto Macau/egg tarts.
posted by juv3nal at 11:14 AM on April 8, 2010

Man, I miss HK.

Most food from tiny places is quite good. Just find a place you're comfortable with.

Here are some more specific food highlights, off the top of my head. Some of these might be weird, and some of them might involve endangered/threatened species, so, you decide whether you feel comfortable actually trying them.

Seafood is really good. You can get pretty good sushi in HK, actually. Abalone is kind of a delicacy. So is shark's fin. (Warning, sharks are endangered/threatened. Actually, the amount of seafood HK consumes in general is pretty insane.)

+1 for buffets. I have never seen buffets as extravagant as in HK. They're expensive but nowhere near what you would pay in other countries.

+1 for fast food, it's . . . different there. I wouldn't eat it too often but I'd look for a menu item or two that you won't find elsewhere. You can find KFC, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, and probably others I can't think of right now.

+1 for BBQ, +1 for congee, +1 for dim sum. I miss the carts at dim sum, nobody has those anymore, you usually order from the kitchen. Go at off-peak times and the food is cheaper.

+1 for egg tarts. The best egg tarts are the ones with the flaky crust. There are some places, mostly chain bakeries, where they are made with kind of a crumbly crust, more like a pie crust would be.

Other interesting desserts are "dun dan" (apologies for the poor Romanization) and "dun nai", which are steamed egg and steamed milk. Try Yee Shun Milk Company, it's pretty famous.

I'd also suggest high tea at the Peninsula in Tsim Sha Tsui, that's a pretty cool experience. Expensive, though.

Ok, here's the weirder stuff. I have a strange soft spot for turtle jelly, a.k.a. "gui ling gao", which is supposedly a dessert, but is actually really bitter. Most people don't like it, and a lot of people dump a ton of liquid sugar on it to make it palatable. It's supposed to be good for your skin because of the herbal additives. Depending on where you get it, it may or may not actually contain turtle. Also I'm not sure about any environmental issues with the involved turtles--if there is turtle in it, it is probably a more common turtle nowadays.

You can also get snake soup. The snake kind of tastes like chicken.

Bird's nest soup, "yin wo", which is actually bird saliva, is popular (and expensive). It's kind of slimy.
posted by melvinwang at 7:45 PM on April 8, 2010

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