Inspiration Destinations Hong Kong Smoke, Spice & Sizzle: 8 Must-Try Foods in Hong Kong

Smoke, Spice & Sizzle: 8 Must-Try Foods in Hong Kong

June 22, 2023
A restaurant with some of the best foods in Hong Kong - Luxury Escapes

Honey-sweet roast pork, dazzling dim sum and cocktails to ignite the imagination – sink your teeth into our guide to the tastiest Hong Kong must-eats.  

Hong Kong’s foodie scene has always been worth flying for, with Michelin-starred restaurants and ultramodern cocktail bars rubbing shoulders with decades-old street stalls, bustling teahouses and family-run bakeries. Walk down any table-lined street and breathe in the city’s magic, as aromas of smoke, roasted meats and flash-fried spices surround you; the lion’s roar of a blisteringly hot wok is a tell-tale sign that life-changing eats are just moments away. Follow us as we hit the gourmet food trail in Hong Kong, highlighting each of the city’s unmissable culinary spots. 

Char siu (barbecued pork): Kam’s Roast Goose, Wan Chai 

Siu mei (roast meat) shops are a must-visit in Hong Kong, drawing on thousands of years of Guangdong culinary history to prepare plates that are out-of-this-world delicious. Char siu (barbecued pork) is a cut above the rest – luxuriously fatty slices of pork are marinated in five-spice, soy sauce, fermented bean curd and traditional aromatics, roasted to perfection and glazed with honey or malt syrup. Paired with white rice and blanched greens, the dish rocks joyously between savoury and sweet. Every barbecue place on the island has its own time-honoured, closely guarded secret recipe – and they’re all worth trying – but the ‘Toro Char Siu’ at Kam’s Roast, decadently finished with honey, is our pick of the batch. 

Clay pot rice: Hing Kee, Yau Ma Tei 

A full bowl of Cantonese food with an egg yolk, one of the best foods in Hong Kong - Luxury Escapes
Delicious bowls of Cantonese food, Hong Kong.

Like all Cantonese culinary classics, the secret to clay pot rice’s undeniable deliciousness is in its simplicity. Sprawling across Yau Ma Tei’s Temple Street is Hing Kee, the perfect place to try the historic dish. Pick your favourite ingredients – common choices include eggs, fresh seafood, Chinese sausage and spare ribs – and they’ll be tossed into a clay pot with pre-soaked rice and quickly cooked over a blisteringly hot stovetop. When the dish hits the table, don’t remove the lid right away – it’s customary to wait at least five minutes to let the ingredients mingle and steam. You’ll be rewarded for your patience with every aromatic, flavour-filled bite. Be sure to drizzle with sweet soy sauce and savour the blackened, crispy bottom of the dish – it’s the best part.

First-class cocktails: Quinary, Central 

There’s no shortage of first-class cocktails in Hong Kong – the city’s a fixture on the prestigious World’s 50 Best Bars List – but Quinary, located on Central’s hip Hollywood Road, elevates mixology theatre to another level. Expect more than the unexpected – cocktails are relentlessly creative, playing joyously with texture, aroma and flavours, with drinks like the Joli Berry utilising cold-brewed local jasmine tea and hawthorn fruit to celebrate the city’s rich street-food heritage. Order a side of truffle fries or Peking duck rolls – served with generous slatherings of hoisin and plum sauce – and you’ll never want to leave.  

Red Sugar, located in the luxury city retreat Kerry Hotel, Hong Kong, offers a unique spin on old classics – go for local craft beers, barrel-aged cocktails and unbelievable views over the harbour.   

Curry fish balls: Temple Street Night Market, Jordan

Hong Kong’s hunger for street food is legendary – queues winding around the block are a sure sign that you’re about to eat something delicious. The city’s lively Temple Street Night Market is the perfect place to taste your way around the city’s best. Home to fortune tellers, Peking opera troupes and counterfeit dealers, the real treasure here is the curry fish balls. Deep-fried, simmered in a fiery curry sauce and then skewered – it’s the perfect on-the-go, late-night snack for evenings spent antiquing or haggling for handbags.  

Dim sum: Duddell’s, Central 

There’s nothing more quintessentially Hong Kong than lazy Sunday mornings spent at yum cha, with endless baskets stuffed with dumplings and steaming cups of tea. Duddell’s, located on the third floor of Central’s luxury Shanghai Tang Mansion and awarded a Michelin star in 2023, serves some of the island’s finest dim sum – classics like shrimp dumplings, barbecue pork buns and sweetcorn soup rub shoulders with more decadent concoctions, including sauteed black pepper beef tenderloin, fried rice tossed in X.O. sauce and mango and grapefruit sago. Surrounded by Duddell’s rotating collection of subversive art, there’s no better way to start the day. 

Hot pot: The Drunken Pot, Tsim Sha Tsui 

When the temperature drops and rain pours, hot pot mania sweeps through Hong Kong as locals dip, dunk and devour with wild abandon. With a long history stretching back to the bronze pots of the Three Kingdoms era, hot pot has never gone out of fashion. Taste it for yourself at The Drunken Pot, showcasing classic and experimental broths like Teowchew-style satay, tomato and lobster and Szechuan peppercorn. Ingredients are ordered a la carte – go for favourites like butter-soft Miyazaki A5 beef, sliced Mongolian mutton and house-made abalone balls. Slurp and munch your way through the massive pot with family or friends – it’s an authentic dining experience that’s as Hong Kong as it gets. 

Egg tart: Tai Cheong Bakery, various locations

A long-time cha chaan teng (teahouse) staple, there’s no better mid-morning sweet treat than the Hong Kong-style egg tart. Becoming popular after the Second World War, each delicate, buttery pastry, baked to crisp, golden perfection, tightly hugs a soft, smooth custard interior. Bites are light, bright and mouth-wateringly sweet, best washed down with plenty of hot milk tea. Tai Cheong Bakery has been serving fresh tarts for more than six decades and has become a beloved Hong Kong icon – head to any of its locations and take a bite of history.  

Egg sandwich: Australia Dairy Company, Jordan

Head to any of Hong Kong’s fast-paced cha chaan tengs and stare in wonder at the ferocity with which locals tuck into the humble egg sandwich. It’s not hard to see why this dish has become the city’s darling – two thick slices of sweet milk bread, lightly toasted, are stuffed with soft, sunflower-yellow scrambled eggs, whipped together in just seconds on a thunderously hot wok. For a truly eggcellent sandwich, seek out Australia Dairy Company, widely considered one of the city’s best. The teahouse’s waitstaff provide a truly authentic experience.  

Stay at the nearby Kowloon Shangri-La Hong Kong and finish the day at the magnificent Shang Palace, recipient of a Michelin star in 2023 – the tasting menu provides modern twists on Cantonese classics, including braised local lobster in broth, sauteed Angus beef and white asparagus in black pepper sauce and deep-fried lychee dumplings.  

Feature image: Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel.

Still hungry? Check out our Gourmet Food Trail through Paris here. 

About Nate Robinson
Mad for travel and an incorrigible foodie, Nate is as at home in a Mexican taqueria as he is at Tsukiji. When he's not abroad, you can always find Nate with a book in one hand and a tiki cocktail in the other.

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