With an international airport that connects to 220 destinations worldwide and a hyper-efficient public transport system that zips you across the island with a 99.9% on-time rate, Hong Kong is the perfect weekend getaway for the leave-starved, time-pressed working adult.
As a cosmopolitan city with diverse influences ranging from Chinese and British to its unique Hong Kong identity accrued over centuries, the region boasts a rich culinary scene and tradition. And what better way to spend your weekend in Hong Kong than eat for 48 hours straight?
We list 5 dishes that capture the spirit of Hong Kong’s identity—and which are, most importantly, delicious and worth flying for.
Visiting Hong Kong and neglecting to eat dim sum is like drinking tea brewed without tea leaves: something so unfathomable that it doesn’t even make sense! For the uninitiated, dim sum (點心), which literally translates to “touching the heart”, is a cuisine that presents small plates of delicate, bite-sized food; true to its name, a dim sum meal often involves long, intimate conversation with friends and family held over a languorous weekend afternoon.
For an authentic dim sum meal, we’d recommend eschewing fancy restaurants and heading to One Dim Sum (一點心). It’s a clean, fuss-free location that serves very affordable dim sum—the most expensive item, the sticky rice and pork with lotus leaf, costs only HKD28! But the quality of the dim sum can rival that of much more expensive locations: the minced beef balls were hearty and full of beefy flavour, while the steam vermicelli rolls slid down our throats effortlessly.
Only caveat: the place is immensely popular with local, so be prepared to wait up to 2 hours on a weekend.
One Dim Sum (一點心)
G/F Shop 1 & 2, 15 Playing Field Road, Kenwood Mansion, Prince Edward, Hong Kong (Prince Edward MTR)
Tel: +852 2789 2280
Mon to Fri: 11:00 AM – 12:30 AM
Sat to Sun: 10:00 AM – 12:30 AM
Wantons, or wontons, are dumplings filled with a mix of prawn and pork and are essentially pockets of deliciousness that explode in your mouth. A traditional dish integral to Cantonese cuisine, wanton noodles was popularised in Hong Kong by Chef Mak Won-chi, and is today known more as a Hong Kong dish than a Guangzhou one (from where he originally came).
Thus, it’d be lamentable not to visit Chef Mak’s eponymous restaurant, Mak’s Noodles, for a taste of his original dumplings. They are wrapped in a filament-thin skin so delicate that you can see through them and marvel at the generous stuffing of prawn, pork, mushrooms, and bamboo shoots (for that added crunch). The noodles and soup, while playing an accompanying role to the dumplings, are not shoddy themselves. The noodles have an eggy bite and the soup a rich, prawny-crustacean flavour that serves as the perfect broth for the dumplings to swim in.
G/F, 77 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong (Central MRT, exit at D2 exit, walk along Wellington St)
Tel: +852 2854 3810
Daily from 11:00 AM – 21:00 PM
No other dish perhaps encapsulates the diverse and cosmopolitan nature of Hong Kong as the egg tart. Originally a Portuguese custard tart known as Pastéis de nata, native residents from Macau, which was at one time a Portuguese colony, adapted the custard tart into the Portuguese egg tart that we know today. From Macau, chefs brought over to Hong Kong the Portuguese egg tart and adapted it for the Hong Kong palate.
Since you are in Hong Kong, we would recommend trying the traditional short-crust version of the egg tart, and there is no better place to eat it than at Tai Cheong bakery, which is the first bakery in Hong Kong to bake this version (instead of the puff-pastry case in its Portuguese relative). The crust is buttery and crumbly at the same time, and the custard a smooth, creamy dream.
Tai Cheong Bakery
Multiple locations across Hong Kong
We don’t know what it is, but the Cantonese hold the secret to roasting the most perfect meats: goose, duck, pork, chicken, even pigeon. It’s something about the control of the oven, the heat of the charcoal, the magical blend of spices and marinades, the quality of the meat… Barbecue has nothing on roast meats.
Typically, each shop in Hong Kong specialises in, and is famous for, a specific type of meat, so you might have to make multiple trips to eat your way through the animal kingdom, but it’d be so worth it. Here are some of our suggestions.
32 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2522 1624
Daily from 11:00AM – 21:30PM
265-267 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2519 6639
Mon to Fri: 10:00AM – 22:00PM ; Closed on Sundays
35-45 Johnston Rd, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2866 0663
Daily from: 11:00AM – 15:00PM (Lunch); 18:00AM – 22:00PM
5Cha Chaan Teng
While not a specific dish per se, cha chaan tengs are a culinary experience, and a Hong Kong tradition, in themselves. They’re not so much places to savour exquisite food as an opportunity to live like a Hongkonger: pop in to a hole-in-the-wall cafeteria, order a mishmash of macaroni soup with luncheon meat and a cube of bread with creamy scrambled eggs while getting screamed at by servers as efficient and cold as Hong Kong’s MTR trains. But somehow, people keep going back, perhaps because the heart-warming effect of the food is inversely proportionate to the rudeness of the servers.
Popular cha chaan tengs include Australian Dairy Company, Hong Lin Restaurant—but we’d suggest that you just pop into the nearest cha chaan teng. You’re apt to find a soulful, down-to-earth experience regardless.
G/F 47-49 Parkes Street, Jordan, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2730 1356
7:30AM – 22:00PM (Closed Thursdays)
143-145 Tung Choi Street Mongkok, Kowloon Hong Kong
Tel: +852 23918398
Daily from 6.30AM to 3:30AM