A day of dining in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a massive city, packed to the rafters with people, shops, high-rises and, fortunately for anyone visiting, fantastic restaurants. Modern-day Hong Kong is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the whole of Asia and this is reflected in the staggering range of cuisines available to you at any given moment. From it’s native Cantonese, to European and Mexican, Southeast Asian, Japanese, Indian, Korean and American; you name it, it’s more than likely you can get it. The problem is that such a staggering range of options can be a little overwhelming, especially if you’re new to the city. But fear not! Here’s a brief introduction to the restaurants on offer – a day of meals in this vibrant city – and, hopefully, give you some ideas on where to eat in Hong Kong.

Breakfast – Capital Cafe, Wan Chai

You could go Chinese and have noodles or dumplings. You could go Western and have Eggs Benedict, a fry-up or pancakes. But when in Hong Kong, why not go Hong Kong? You can find Hong Kong-style breakfast joints, called cha chaan teng, all over town. These ‘tea shops’ are often open all hours of the day and night and they all serve up similar fare for bargain prices. My pick for breakfast is fried or scrambled eggs, thick slices of buttery toast, macaroni and ham soup (it sounds strange but it’s good!) and a cup of Hong Kong milk tea or coffee.

There are a few particularly famous cha chaan teng over town, which you can dig up online, but, if you’re in the vicinity Wan Chai, you can’t go far wrong with Capital Cafe. The decor is no-nonsense but stylish: wooden booths, little stools, black and white tiles. The service is fast and efficient, the waiters run round taking orders, wiping tables, shifting people through the cafe as fast as humanly possible. You’ll be elbow to elbow with the people on the table next to you and behind but it’s very difficult to argue with the simple and satisfying grub, especially for around HK$32 for a breakfast set. It really is the perfect way to start a day in Hong Kong.

Lunch – St Betty, IFC Mall Central

Located in the plush IFC shopping centre, in the Central district of Hong Kong, St Betty is a world away from our humble breakfast at the cha chaan teng. This European style restaurant has an extensive menu with excellent options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I went on a Sunday, at lunchtime, for the delicious roast. At HK$298, it’s certainly not for those on a budget but the food is well worth splashing out on, particularly with a window table overlooking Hong Kong harbour. The beef was cooked to perfection, the roast potatoes were crispy outside, fluffy inside, the vegetables were all great and the dessert options were sensational. The peaceful and relaxing environment also makes for a pleasant refuge from the mad bustle of Hong Kong’s streets.

Dinner – Din Tai Fung, Causeway Bay

Originating in Taiwan, this now international, Michelin starred dumpling house is a tasty and surprisingly affordable place for an evening meal in Hong Kong. The highlight is their signature dish, Xiao Long Bao: steamed dumplings with meat and soup inside. They are delicate and mouthwatering but make sure you practice your chopstick skills before picking them up! There’s also a fantastic beef noodle soup; the tender beef melts in your mouth and the broth is packed full of flavour.

Similar to Capital Cafe, this restaurant is a well-oiled machine. There’s usually a queue by the door, you’re given a ticket and you go up when your number appears on a screen, there’s a sheet to check off dishes yourself and the waiters are quick to whisk away anything you’re done with. Although Taiwanese in origin, the fast-paced, efficient service is a very Hong Kong way of eating and the small portions make it a great way to sample a range of fantastic Chinese-style cuisine.

And so ends a fantastic day of eating in Hong Kong! Of course there are hundreds, probably thousands, of amazing restaurants to try out. Either get online and hunt for places or just wander the streets and duck into wherever looks good. Hong Kong is a particularly easy place to find great food as plenty of places will have someone who speaks English and many have English menus. So stay in Hong Kong and get eating!

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About James Gill

Born and raised in the UK, James got his first taste for travel on an inter rail trip, round Europe. Since completing his English Lit. degree, he has spent most of his time working and traveling in Asia. As well as the UK, James has lived in Thailand and southern China and is now trying his luck in Australia. He has backpacked throughout Southeast Asia and China and travelled in America, Australia and Europe. He is a keen reader and loves eating spicy food.

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