Insider’s Guide to Hong Kong

Want to know where to go in Hong Kong? You’re in luck! Here’s an insider’s guide to the 10 delicious places to try:

10. Milk Tea

Need some caffeine to start your day? Grab a cup of tea from Lan Fong Yuen, a little spot that claims to be the birthplace of Hong Kong milk tea. It still uses the traditional method of seeping tea leaves through a silk stocking, producing smoother and richer-colored tea, and attracting the attention of famous people over the years, whose pictures are proudly displayed on the walls. Aside from the brick toast and chicken wings we tried, they’re known for their pork chop buns, so give them a go on your next trip. For more room and less of a wait, there’s another location at the Ferry Building as well.

9. Dim Sum

I’m sure if you’ve talked to someone who’s been to, or has done research on HK, the Michelin-rated dim sum restaurant Tim Ho Wan has been mentioned. This chain is known for its cha sui bo lo baos (pineapple bbq pork buns), and boy oh boy, they don’t disappoint! The “pineapple” crust, named for its crisscross appearance and not for having actual pineapple anywhere in it, has the perfect crunch to it. It’s not too crispy, not too soft, and breaks up in your mouth beautifully. Then, there’s the chopped-up pork pieces, drenched in its slightly sweet sauce – enough sauce to add moisture to each bite without dripping out of the bun. Oh man, my mouth is watering just remembering these guys!

Speaking of bbq pork, the cha sui in HK is like none other I’ve tasted! It’s ah-mazing! It’s a bit fattier than here in the States, but oh-so-juicy. The flavor from the marinade soaks ALL the way through the meat, so every. single. bite is filled with yumminess. If not for the customs regulations, I would definitely ask anyone traveling to HK to bring me back a slab! Be sure to go get some!

8. Egg Tarts

You can’t really go wrong with where you pick up these treats. We picked up some traditional Hong Kong egg tarts from a local bakery down the street from where my aunt and uncle live, but we also made sure to check out some more well-known spots as well. The egg tarts from Tai Cheong Bakery feature a cookie crust, made of shortbread pastry, instead of the flakier ones we’re used to in the US.

7. Portuguese Egg Tarts

Next, take a day trip over to Macau to try out the Portuguese version at Lord Stow’s Bakery. These egg tarts, or pastel de nata, have a torched top similar to the caramelization of crème brûlée and have an almost cheesy feel to them, thanks to their buttery, creamy goodness.

Funny story about the bakery’s name – it all started when the local Portuguese referred to Andrew Stow, the man behind the tarts, as “Lord Stow,” because he was lording being an Englishman over them. He then named the bakery after this nickname to get the last laugh.

If you get a chance, check out the Taipa houses to see how the Portuguese left their mark on architecture as well. This set of five houses belonged to well-to-do Portuguese families during the colonial era and has since been restored and converted into a museum to maintain the rich history of Macau.

6. Wet Market

A major perk of knowing someone that lives where you’re traveling to is that you get an inside glimpse of what daily life is like in that place.

I was able to get this experience while visiting my aunt and uncle in Hong Kong. I learned about the history of this territory through the architecture, different modes of transportation, popular sites around the city, and most importantly, the food.

A surprising spot for a snack (or ingredients to make your own meal) is the wet market. Think of a fresher, larger version of your local farmer’s market, and this will still be better lol. There are stands where you can get your choice cut of meat, where you have your selection of fish, or pick up freshly made noodles. There’s even an egg guy!

I also loved the freshness and assortment of the fruit that they offered. With its geographical location and proximity to many South Asian countries, Hong Kong offers a wide range of tropical fruit – lychee, rambutan, and dragon fruit, to name a few. I also discovered a new fruit (to me, at least) called a wax apple (the red ones that kind of look like skinny bell peppers). It has a softer, airier bite than a typical apple and has a flavor closer to an apple pear.

5. Jerky

Next stop – jerky! I was immediately drawn to Bee Cheng Hiang thanks to the alluring smell of charbroiled meat. The assortment of square slices of chicken, beef, pork, and sausage. reminded me of this great spot my friend introduced me to in New York, so I had a feeling this place would be good. We kept it classic by ordering the minced pork and sliced beef, and definitely weren’t disappointed! Not only were the aromas and flavors on point, but there was a bit of stickiness from the marinade and moistness from the fat that made every bite delicious.

4. Wontons

Now, you can’t come to Hong Kong without having some wontons, so here are some of the winners including Mak’s Noodle, another Michelin Star restaurant. I got the shrimp wonton and dumpling noodles, while my sister got the beef brisket and wonton noodles. The noodles were thinner than the versions in the US but had a great bite to them.

Then, for a more low-key local option, check out Mak An Kee Noodle in  Central District.

You can also find wonton soup spots that offer rice noodles instead of the traditional egg ones above. Try them with fish cake and fish balls, which are popular add-in options in Hong Kong.

3. Roasted Goose

With roast goose being one of Hong Kong’s most well-known barbecue meats, we made sure to drop by  Kam’s Roast Goose, a third-generation shop that’s earned a Michelin star. However, since they don’t take reservations and there are only 30 seats, you’re sure to find a line. Here’s my tip – order your food to go instead of waiting for a table. You might also want to order 1/4 goose instead of 1/2 because you’ll get odd bony pieces from the neck and spine. I thought the goose was a bit dry, but the plum sauce was perfectly sweet and flavorful.

2. Seafood

As for seafood, a good bet is having a multi-course traditional Cantonese sit-down meal at an upscale restaurant, like Tai Woo Seafood Restaurant in Causeway Bay. However, specialties like spicy crab are better found on the Kowloon side near the Temple Street Night Market. We tried Temple Spice Crabs and savored every bite.

1. Buddhist Vegetarian Meal

Lastly, a fun way to maximize your experience at the Po Lin Monastery, where the Big Buddha (Tian Tan) sits, is by participating in the vegetarian meal. You can order it along with your ticket, which also gives you access to walk inside the buddha, or you can head over to the stand before/after walking up those 200+ steps to select certain items from their menu. We decided to go with the pre-fixed veggie meal, but bought a mango lassi drink and dau fu fa (sweet tofu pudding) afterward for dessert.

Hope you had a blast getting a glimpse into Hong Kong as much as I did. Until next time, enjoy!

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