You’ve landed in Hong Kong and before you is a country with a smorgasbord of good food and a shopping galore like no other. And if you’re anything like me, first up has got to be biting down on some heavenly melt-in-your-mouth char siew siu yoke (caramelised and roasted pork belly). Because when in Hong Kong, there’s an unequivocal rule — eat first, shop second, worry later.
The foodscape of Hong Kong is diverse and cosmopolitan, definitely much more than mere Cantonese meats, and that perhaps is even more true today. Michelin star restaurants can be found in every nook and cranny across the country (I exaggerate but there are some 80 odd restaurants with that coveted star, ranking it as one of the top in the world in terms of quantity) — It’s safe to say Hong Kong ranks as a dining haven for foodies.
Now, there are classic restaurants that regulars will stand fervently behind, and there are many excellent ones littered throughout Hong Kong. From an iconic Hong Kong eating experience to indulgence at its finest, here are 4 places that stand apart from your typical eateries.
1. Quintessential Hong Kong Breakfast at Australian Dairy Co.
Cha Chaan Tengs (Tea Restaurants) in Hong Kong number by the dozens and it’s a testament to its strong tradition and heritage in Hong Kong culture that it has remained such a stalwart in their cuisine despite the influx of global influences. Turn any corner and you’ll be sure to find one along the street.
If you’ve happened to walk along Parkes Street, you’ll notice a long snaking queue. 47 Parkes Street is home to the Australia Dairy Company whose silky scrambled eggs and smooth steamed milk has been at the top of the game for close to half a century now. The interior is truly nothing special, and the menu is typical of many Cha Chaan Tengs out there.
Apart from their famous Scrambled Eggs on Toast (HK$20) and Steamed Milk (HK$28), which are quite pricey, Australia Dairy Co. is known for their rude staff. From ignoring you to forgetting your orders and even scolding you if you take a fraction of a second longer than needed to order, let’s just say you’re not here for the world class service.
This Cha Chaan Teng has received polarising views, with people swearing by their eggs and milk while others scoff at their service and overhyped signatures. No matter the case, if you truly want the quintessential Hong Kong breakfast experience, queue up for it at 47 Parkes Street.
Australia Dairy Company
G/F 47-49 Parkes Street, Jordan, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2730 1356
7:30AM – 22:00PM (Closed Thursdays)
2. Dabble in Modern Dim Sum at the Social Place
Some would argue that when it comes to food in Hong Kong, Dim Sum (點心) is Hong Kong and Hong Kong is Dim Sum. Usually taken with tea, Dim Sum is a culinary tradition steeped in history with a heritage that is unshakeable.
So you can imagine the waves that were felt when the Social Place started breaking all forms of traditional Dim Sum conventions back in 2016. Seeking to cater to a new and modern crowd and palate, Social Place is at the forefront of a new movement of Instagrammable Dim Sum. Coming in small steamer baskets are dainty and intricately-designed Dim Sum that are simply too cute and beautiful to devour…
If you think that the revolution is all in the looks, think again because Chef Keung of Social Place is whipping up new dishes and flavours. One that stands out is Eggs (Ain’t) That Simple which features spherical mango balls tucked inside actual eggshells as an accompaniment to Sichuan chilli chicken and peanuts. The mango balls provides and acts as a sweet palate cleanser between mouths of savoury and slightly spicy (though not overpowering) chicken.
There’s the nostalgia and taste of old school Dim Sum, and there’s Social Place which is redefining the Dim Sum cuisine of yesteryear.
2/F, L Place,139 Queens Road Central | (Close to the Centre, In Central), Hong Kong Central
Tel: +852 3568 9666
11:30AM – 22:00PM
3. Live the Tai Tai life with a spot of High Tea at the Clipper Lounge @ Mandarin Oriental
Ask any girl what they want to be when they grow up and many have joked about being a Tai Tai. Well, I don’t know how many truly actualise that but getting to experience the Tai Tai life, now that’s entirely possible. Nestled in Mandarin Oriental is the Clipper Lounge, which by any and all accounts, surpasses a mere place for some high-end brunch.
The Clipper Lounge is no stranger to the city’s biggest influential movers and shakers, becoming a meeting place for both business and leisure. And as you may have guessed, it’s a popular rendezvous haunt for many Tai Tais or as they call it, “ladies who lunch”.
The afternoon high tea is quintessentially British, featuring classical favourites like savoury finger sandwiches, sweet treats, and a basket of plain and raisin scones. One thing that sets the Clipper Lounge apart is the Hotel’s famed rose petal jam that is a match made in heaven with the buttery scones.
If you are craving for some high tea affair, the Clipper Lounge is the place to be.
Clipper Lounge @ Mandarin Oriental
5 Connaught Road Central | 5 Connaught Road Central, Hong Kong 000000
Tel: +852 2825 4007
6:30AM – 22:00PM
4. Indulge in Exquisite Japanese Fare at Haku
If we’re talking about high end, there’s no better than Haku, the brainchild of Hideki Matsuo and Agustin Balbi. Matsuo hails from the three Michelin-starred Kashiwaya and Balbi, as recent as three years ago, was voted as the “Best New Chef of 2016” by the Hong Kong Tatler. With their backgrounds, you know you’re getting more than simple Japanese cuisine at Haku.
Haku is the first word of the Japanese phrase “Haku Rai Hin” which translates to “things from abroad”. This forms the backbone and the core philosophy of Haku which is to serve food with a Japanese heart whilst incorporating global influences.
Although there’s an a la carte menu, we’d recommend getting the taster menu which features an 8-course meal. Expect a culinary journey of Japan with king crab from the North to tomatoes home-grown in the South. The tuna sashimi is surprisingly not served and consumed on the day it’s flown in but after a few days which according to Balbi, through an aging process, locks in and increases the umami of the fish.
Eating at Haku is a culinary experience like no other, with each and every single dish telling its own individual narrative. To have renowned chefs intricately building and presenting fine dishes in front of you is a luxury and an indulgence indeed.
Shop OTG04, G/F, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2115 9965
18:00PM – 23:00PM