Guide to Hong Kong Local Food

Do you ever have visitors in town but struggle to recommend a good and truly local Hong Kong restaurant? I do and it’s probably because the last 10 meals I had before that would’ve been Italian, Thai, steaks, xiao long bao, Spanish, French, fusion and some other fusion.

While there’s an abundance in variety of excellent quality international food in Hong Kong, there’s of course an even better offering of local cuisine. But here’s at least a concise starting point with places which cook truly local food, is affordable and accessible.

1. Dim Sum (go “yum cha”)

Most signature to Hong Kong cuisine, dim sum is usually eaten for breakfast or lunch and hence is usually served til 2:30-3pm. Most five-star hotels surely do it right (and amazingly), but it also costs an unreasonable fortune and you know that’s not where true locals go on a regular basis.

The truth is, we hesitate to recommend our actual local spots because they are usually dirty, serviced by rude staff and inconveniently located near our homes. One of your bowls are bound to have a grain of rice stuck on it and that’s why we always rinse all our cups, bowls and cutlery in hot tea and never put food on our plates (custom practice when you go “yum cha” – it literally means drink tea, but refers to the occasion of eating dim sum together).

Nevertheless, here are some pretty decent options which are not dirty, though not as extravagant as hotel dining either.

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Signature baked BBQ pork bun from Tim Ho Wan

Tim Ho Wan 添好運

There’s a reason this place is supposedly the cheapest restaurant with a Michelin star and there’s always a massive wait. The food is excellent and super cheap. I’d 100% agree with all those who recommend it. But if you don’t want to wait hours for your dim sum (and it’s not worth more than 30 mins wait), then check out the other options below.

Spend per person: HK$80

Tim Ho Wan is located in Central (Shop 12A, Hong Kong Station, Podium Level 1, IFC Mall), Olympic (Shop 72, G/F, Olympian City 2, 18 Hoi Ting Road, Tai Kok Tsui) and others. No reservations. 

Super Star Seafood Restaurant 鴻星海鮮酒家  & Jade Garden Chinese Restaurant 翠園 

If you’re looking for the traditional experience of chatting over dim sum in a loud, populated but not elbow-touching crowded, yum cha place, these two would be my top recommendations. They do excellent quality dim sums – their standard shrimp dumpling and siu mai I think are better than Tim Ho Wan’s – and they take reservations. Superstar probably does it a tad better.

Spend per person: HK$150

Super Star Seafood Restaurant 鴻星海鮮酒家 has various locations around Hong Kong, including one in B\F, Wilson House, 19-27 Wyndham Street, Central.

Jade Garden Chinese Restaurant has various locations around Hong Kong, including one in 4/F, Star House, 3 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui.

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Grand Hill Taiwanese Restaurant

Grand Hill Taiwanese Restaurant 圓山台灣料理

This one is my personal favourite. They serve traditional and some less traditional dim sums and some Taiwanese-inspired dishes (oyster pancake!). All the food here is excellent, the seating arrangements are typical and comfortable, while prices are very reasonable.

Spend per person: HK$100

Grand Hill Taiwanese Restaurant 圓山台灣料理 is located at 1/F & 2/F, Cheung Lee Commercial Building, 25 Kimberley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui. They do reservations. Phone: 2721 9833.

2. Noodles & Congee

We usually have dim sum on weekends and definitely not everyday because it’s an extremely oily meal. Congee is another typical meal for breakfast, while we also have a wide range of noodles we usually eat for breakfast or lunch.

Wai Kee Congee 威記粥店

You sit on uncomfortable stools and shared tables here; it’s not exactly dirty, just old school. Come here for truly local, delicious and cheap bowls of congee and simple soy sauce fried noodles.

Spend per person: HK$30

Wai Kee Congee 威記粥店 is located at G/F, 82 Stanley St., Central

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Fried beef ho fun noodles 干炒牛河 from Tasty IFC

Tasty IFC 正斗& Ho Hung Kee 何洪記

It’s  comfortable here yet still affordable, albeit being a tad overpriced for what it is. You can always come here to expect a reliably delicious bowl of congee, wonton noodles and a variety of local Hong Kong fried noodles. Try the beef ho fun noodles 干炒牛河 (pictured above) or Singaporean fried noodles 星洲炒米.

Spend per person: HK$120

Tasty IFC is located at Shop 3016-3018, 3/F, One International Finance Centre, 1 Harbour View Street, Central. No reservations.

Ho Hung Kee is located at Shop 1204-1205, 12/F, Hysan Place, 500 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay. No reservations.

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Classic bowl of wonton soup noodles from Tsim Chai Kee

Tsim Chai Kee 沾仔記 

There’s no scarcity in good wonton soup noodles in Hong Kong and there’ll definitely be a list of places better or as good as Tsim Chai Kee. But it’s my recommendation because it’s delicious, value-for-money and conveniently located in Central.

Spend per person: HK$40

Tsim Chai Kee is located at Shop B, G/F Jade Centre, 98 Wellington Street, Central

Wing Kee Noodles 榮記粉麵

Wonton noodles are famous and signature here but there’s a whole lot of other noodle-y things here. With “car noodles” (車仔麵), you choose your type of noodles and toppings (like fish balls, chicken wings or pork neck etc.). The selling point here is definitely its tasty soup broth!

Spend per person: HK$40

Wing Kee Noodles is located at G/F, 43 Jardine Street, Causeway Bay

3. Roasted Meat

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BBQ pork rice from Golden China Restaurant

Golden China Restaurant (Kam Wah) 金華燒臘大王

Roasted meat (usually the hanging pork and chicken from the window) served with rice and sometimes noodles is another popular regular lunch option for locals. Golden China Restaurant in Central is definitely my favourite option for the classic no frills bowl of BBQ pork “char siu” rice.

Spend per person: HK$50

Golden China Restaurant (Kam Wah) 金華燒臘大王 is located at G/F, 9 Jubilee Street, Central

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Iced milk tea from Tai Hing

Tai Hing

Tai Hing is a chain store that’s all over Hong Kong. The quality varies from store to store but you can reliably get a decent bowl of char siu rice or roasted suckling pig on rice here. If you get the chance to come here, then you’ve got to order their signature iced milk tea 冰鎮奶茶 (pictured above).

Spend per person: HK$70

Tai Hing is seriously located all around Hong Kong!

4. Desserts

Honeymoon

This is probably the most accessible, while acceptable spot for local Hong Kong-style desserts. The food here is quite consistent. Durian lovers must try the durian pancake!

Spend per person: HK$50

Honeymoon is located all over Hong Kong too!

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Cong Sao 聰嫂

But since Honeymoon is quite commercialised and has even opened in locations outside of Hong Kong. For something more unique to Hong Kong, Cong Sao is probably an even better option in Causeway Bay.

Spend per person: HK$50

Cong Sao 聰嫂 is located at G/F, 11 Yiu Wa Street, Causeway Bay

Golden Hall Desserts 金滿堂甜品

This place is located in Kowloon City, which doesn’t have MTR yet, but definitely worth a mention for serving a wide range of creative Hong Kong-style desserts. They have a delicious mango or durian coconut milk pudding!

Spend per person: HK$50

Golden Hall Desserts is located at Shop G201, Amoy Plaza II, 77 Ngau Tau Kok Road, Kowloon Bay

Read more about local Hong Kong food:

Best local Hong Kong dessert cafes serving durian
Best street food in Hong Kong when it’s cold
Best seafood restaurant in Sai Kung for lobster feast

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