Eating Out: My Favorite Restaurants in Hong Kong
I know Hemmingway called Paris "a moveable feast" but I feel certain he would have had similar thoughts about Hong Kong had he arrived in 2017. The city is filled with some of the best food in the world, so if you're planning a trip here (or live here!), it's wise to spend most of your time eating and drinking.
The restaurant scene is competitive -- I went away for the weekend and returned only to find the bar on my street replaced by an entirely new establishment in the span of two days. A food editor told me after I first moved to Hong Kong that restaurants are considered "old" if they've lasted more than two years. TWO YEARS! So here's where I love to eat right now, in no particular order, and where I hope you can still eat in 2 years time.
*A note about this list -- I'm not big on fancy food. I appreciate it, of course. I want to try it, always. But I will never choose to eat an expensive tasting menu on a white tablecloth over a perfect bao bun at a stainless steel counter. So if you're looking for fancy establishments, this list is probably not for you.
1. Spice House (pictured above; Thai in Wan Chai)
This is the best Thai food I've ever had -- even better than all the noodles and curries I scarfed down in Thailand. My brother-in-law, who is a majorly talented cook and foodie, said the mango, lemongrass salad he had atop a fish dish at this spot was the single best bite of food he had in Hong Kong. It's that memorable. The hole-in-the-wall is perfect for lunch and dinner but be warned: it's no frills, totally informal, eat quick and don't dawdle kind of establishment. They accommodate vegetarians, no problem. I always order the green papaya salad, pad thai (pictured above), the red curry and the deep-fried whole fish with mango-lemongrass salad.
Spice House -- 35 Amoy Street, Wan Chai -- +852 2804 2522
2. Yamataka (Sushi in Wan Chai)
If you had the chance to eat seafood from Tokyo's Tsukiji Fish Market, which has perhaps the best fish in the world, why wouldn't you? Yamataka is Tsukiji's Hong Kong outpost and the sushi bar in the back does not disappoint. I always get the tuna set. Plus the views are quite stunning.
Yamataka Seafood Market -- 2/F Wan Chai Ferry Pier -- +852 3972 5609
3. Little Bao (Bao Buns in Soho)
May Chow has been voted the best female chef in Asia for GREAT reason. Her inventive little spot on Staunton Street was the first restaurant I fell in love with in Hong Kong. And I want her to open up a place stateside. I've gone back time and time again expecting to come to the realization that I've built its food up in my head, and that it's not really as good as I think its. But it slays every single time. I always get the Fish Tempura Bao and the fries. I also love the short-rib dumplings, but it's a big portion so best for sharing. You can't really go wrong.
Little Bao -- 66 Staunton Street, Central -- +852 2194 0202
4. Chom Chom (Vietnamese in Soho)
Get the Pho Roll and the Mango, Papaya & Beef Salad to start, the Cha Ca Hanoi as your main, and both the local Vietnamese beers on tap (they change) to wash it all down. Enjoy!
Chom Chom -- 58 Peel Street, Central -- +852 2810 0850
5. Ho Lee Fook (Modern Chinese in Soho)
Ho Lee Fook feels like the most modern Hong Kong restaurant I've been too -- a place that's totally representative of the city's modern approach to Chinese food while still keeping with tradition. My favorite dish here (like many people) is the short rib. BUT, I also strongly recommend getting one of the roasted meats (like the goose) with a side of the Hong Kong French Toast. It's essentially their play on chicken and waffles. And it is so incredibly delicious. Fun fact: this spot is also GREAT for vegetarians if you order 3-4 of the vegetables, rice dishes, salads and sides.
Ho Lee Fook -- 1-5 Elgin Street, Central -- +852 2810 0860
6. Ronin (Japanese in Old Town Central)
I've written before about how special and different the food is at Ronin. And the more I eat around Hong Kong the more I respect the place. It's just unlike any restaurant I've ever been to -- and at this point I've eaten in top-rated restaurants all over Asia and New York. Don't miss it. And for what it's worth, this place definitely qualifies as fancy food but the establishment is not pretentious, so it balances out.
Ronin -- 8 On Wo Lane, Sheung Wan -- +852 2547 5263
7. Bombay Dreams (Indian food in Soho)
This is the place my husband and I went the night Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election, so to say it's my choice in comfort food would be an understatement. There's loads of Indian food options in Hong Kong but Bombay Dreams remains my favorite. I order the Bombay Dal and Murgh Chicken every single time and am always immediately satisfied.
Bombay Dreams -- 4/F, 77 Wyndham St, Central -- +852 2971 0001