You’ve had a long, stressful day at the office. All you want is a shamelessly indulgent meal and to forget your to-do list for a second. Here is a list of soul-hugging and comforting local eats in Hong Kong for the tired professional.
Dumplings – fresh, juicy ingredients wrapped in a tender skin – are one of the staples of Chinese comfort food. The dumpling family is extensive, including smooth Northern Chinese dumplings, pleated jiao zi, soup-filled Shanghainese xiao long bao, their bun equivalents (sheng jian bao – pan-fried soup-filled buns), pan-fried potstickers (guo tie), and Chiu Chow dumplings with translucent glutinous rice skins (fun guo). Dumplings can be served bobbing in heart-warming broths or fried and plated in gleaming, crispy rows. A classic filling is a vegetable and pork combination. Here are some of the best places to satiate your dumpling fix in Hong Kong.
1. Ba Fang Yun Ji 八方雲集 Dumplings
Ba Fang Yun Ji is a well-loved chain selling potstickers, the perfect comfort food to warm up your day.
Available in many locations around Hong Kong
2. Cheung Hing Kee Shanghai Pan-Fried Buns 祥興記上海生煎包
Cheung Hing Kee is Shanghai’s most notorious pan-fried bun chain, available locally in Hong Kong.
Available in many locations around Hong Kong
3. Northern Dumplings Yuan
Northern Dumplings Yuan is a warm and homely option for Northern Chinese dumplings.
G/F, 1 Water Street, Western District; also in other locations
4. Mak Kee
Mak Kee is featured on the 2020 Michelin Guide for Hong Kong, and is famous for its hengjianbao and scallion pancakes.
G/F, May Ka Mansion, 21-23 Fort Street, North Point
5. Ah Chun Shandong Dumpling
Ah Chun Shandong is featured on the Michelin Guide as a Bib Gourmand restaurant and renowned for their Spicy Leek and Lamb Dumplings and Tomato and Egg Dumplings.
60 Lai Chi Kok Road, Prince Edward, HK
Congee is a trustworthy weapon in the comfort food arsenal, bringing nostalgia for childhood sick days. It is unassuming but irresistibly silky and fragrant. Hong Kong-style congee is on the thicker side: almost-disintegrated rice is topped with fresh fish, beef, or pork slices. Flavours are infused into the congee through the slow-cooking process. It is traditionally eaten with accompaniments like you tiao (fried doughsticks). You may see shops selling teng zai zhuk (literally “boat porridge”), which was a staple for fishing families living on sampan boats in Hong Kong and Guangzhou’s water villages. It is a plain porridge base mixed with seasonal side ingredients, usually including beef, pork, fresh river shrimps, sliced fish, jellyfish, fried peanuts, sliced fried egg, and shallots.
1. Trusty Congee King
7 Heard Street, Wan Chai (MTR exit A5)
2. Mui Kee Congee Hong Kong
Mui Kee Congee Hong Kong sells congee made with an heirloom recipe perfected over three generations since 1979, involving a five-hour-long process and raw rice grains being mixed with century eggs.
3. Law Fu Kee Congee and Noodle Specialist
Law Fu Kee Congee and Noodle Specialist is a joint well-loved by locals and with a history of over 50 years.
G/F, 142 Queen’s Road, Central (Sheung Wan MTR exit 1)
4. Shun Kee Typhoon Shelter
Shun Kee Typhoon Shelter operates out of a sampan on water, serving sampan congee and offering a unique experience for customers.
G/F, 104 Hing Fat Street, Tin Hau
As for noodles, this list features some of Hong Kong’s perennial favourites – shrimp and pork wontons served with thin egg noodles; vermicelli in medicinal chicken soup broth; Yunnan vermicelli; lo mein (dry-tossed noodles with soy sauce, shrimp roe or beef brisket sauce); and stir-fried beef ho fun. Cart noodles are another favourite, with deep local history. They originated in the 1950s, when they were sold by street hawkers pushing wooden carts, in which the customer was allowed to customise their own bowl from an assortment of noodle types, soup bases, and toppings.
1. Car Noodle’s Family
Car Noodle’s Family 車仔麵之家 is one of the few standing-only restaurants in the city, this is not a cart noodle experience you want to miss.
2. The Spice House
Shop A, 1 Anton Street, Wan Chai
35 Amoy Street, Wanchai, 2804 2522 and 2/F, Linway Court, 69–71 Stone Nullah Lane, Wanchai, 2591 4741
3. Wing Kee Noodle
Wing Kee Noodle is an acclaimed cart noodle seller with twenty years of history, a local favourite.
G/F, 27A Sugar Street, Causeway Bay
4. Tsim Chai Kee
Tsim Chai Kee has been recommended by the Michelin Guide for eight consecutive years; it serves noodles with big shrimp wontons, carp handmade fishballs, and beef.
Shop B, G/F, 98 Wellington Street, Central
5. Lau Sum Kee
Lau Sum Kee is another Michelin Guide recommended restaurant. Try their tossed noodles with dry shrimp roe or wontons with dry shrimp roe.
G/F, 48 Kweilin Street, Sham Shui Po
Traditional Chinese soup is as much medicinal art as cookery. Soup recipes are designed to be deeply nourishing, as each ingredient brings its own health properties and benefits. Fish maw is good for the “qi,” replenishing the kidney, and is full of anti-aging collagen; scaly hedgehog mushroom can relieve fatigue and detoxify the body; cordyceps have antibacterial properties; and swallow’s nest boosts our immune system. These (among many others) are usually added to a chicken or lean meat broth base.
Soupday uses the ancient Chinese double-boiling technique on their soups, which ensures retention of the ingredients’ nutrients and taste.
5 Shin Hing St, Central
2. Hung Food Tong
Hung Fook Tong is a wellness chain selling herbal soups, teas, healthy food and gui ling gao (“tortoise jelly”).
Many locations around Hong Kong
3. Canton Pot
Canton Pot is a hotpot restaurant that also sells soups for takeaway.
2/F, Lodgewood by L’hotel Mongkok Hong Kong, 1131 Canton Road, Mong Kok
4. Dam Dam Bird Nest
Dam Dam Bird Nest啖啖燕窩 mainly sells soups and desserts based on swallow’s nest, an essential delicacy in traditional Chinese cuisine.
Order through damdambirdnest.com or WhatsApp +852 5482 4802
5. Coconut Soup
Coconut Soup 椰小盅 was featured on the 2020 Michelin Guide; their soups famously come in coconut shells.
Shop L106, Eslite Spectrum,1/F, Cityplaza,18 Taikoo Shing Road, Tai Koo; also G/F, May Ka Mansion, 21-23 Fort Street, North Point