Hong Kong

24 Best Moderately Priced Cultural Places to Eat in Hong Kong

Ming Garden, Hong Kong, great place to eat roasted goose

The cultural dining experience in Hong Kong is multifaceted – from the non-descript street stalls known as dai pai dong in a dark alley to an elegant rooftop bar and garden, or from the traditional and casual yum cha (dim sum) experience to a sophisticated British indulgence of afternoon tea – the city also known as the Pearl of the Orient offers the most barebone street food operations to the finest Michelin Three-Star establishments, and everything in between.

It is a fascinating city where the cheapest Michelin One Star restaurant award was first presented. It is also where celebrity chefs from around the World go to expand their fame and empire. There is certainly plenty of exciting places to eat in Hong Kong – in fact, so many that most visitors could feel overwhelmed deciding where to go.

This dining guide focuses on the cultural dining aspects of the city and takes you to savor some of the most iconic local flavors. Most of my recommendations range from budget friendly to moderately priced, with an option or two to splurge a little at times. Most of the “famed” establishments with exorbitant prices are deliberately left out of this guide. I also place a strong emphasis on eateries where the food is really good and purposely omit places where the highlights are opulent decor or glamorous experience.

Table of Contents

Traditional Chinese Restaurants in Hong Kong

Tung Po Kitchen

Tung Po is among some of the most unique and exciting eateries in Hong Kong where you can enjoy a cultural dining experience that is unique to the city. Gone are the once iconic dai pai dongs (food stalls usually located in alleys or pier fronts). After being featured by Anthony Bourdain and other celebrities, this place is now packed with tourists around the World who want to rub elbows with the locals.

The golden shrimps are one of this restaurant’s specialties. They are coated with salted egg yolk and deep fried. The shrimps are fresh and delicious. The fried chicken dish, interestingly called wind and sand chicken, is coated with a layer of crispy garlic that somehow resembles sand blown by the wind. This is the restaurant’s other well-known favorite.

The clay pot dish is really unique and special: Pieces of freshly carved fish filets are stir-fried table-side in a sizzling clay pot with lots of garlic, green onion, and spices. The other clay pot is filled with a rich fish broth in which vegetables are blanched quickly. The veggies are cooked just right, and the broth is now a tasty vegetable soup which you spoon into your bowl and enjoy with the veggies.


The 8 locations of Jasmine scattered throughout HK Island, Kowloon, and the New Territories serve traditional Chinese cuisines with a special focus on fresh ingredients and authentic flavors. Their cooking style involves lighter seasonings to preserve the natural flavors of the meat.

For dim sum, prices are slightly higher than comparable places, but the quality is near top-notch. In addition to the usual staples, Jasmine also features some signature dishes not easily found elsewhere, such as the pan-fried stuffed peppers shown above left. Another delicate dim sum creation is a foie gras and crab roe spring roll.

For dinner, a full menu of traditional dishes is available. One of their specialties is in the BBQ department and they serve the best chicken, goose, and squabs. One of the most popular for banquets or large family gatherings is the roasted crispy whole suckling piglet, shown above right.

Tai Woo

A partitioned circular platter contains various forms of bean curd and are garnished with cherry tomatoes and cucumbers.

Tai Woo has won so many culinary awards that their website devotes one full page to listing their winnings. No kidding! What impresses me most is how they turn bean curd – one of the most boring and bland ingredients in my books – into a sophisticated and flavorful dish. No wonder the “three tastes of bean curd” (pictured above) was the recipient of the gold prize.  Another one of my gold award favorites is their sesame chicken baked in salt which has a distinct and rich flavor and aroma. I highly recommend this.

Their other specialties are mostly seafood and their prawns sautéed in spicy sauce is another gold award winner. If you would like to splurge a little, get either a baked lobster in supreme sauce or an Alaskan king crab cooked in wine. For dessert, deep fried sesame balls stuffed with lotus seed paste is a local favorite.

Paradise Dynasty

A large bamboo steam basket contains 8 dumplings, each of which has a different color.

Paradise Dynasty is located in the Lee Theatre Plaza in Causeway Bay. This Hong Kong restaurant is most famous for their XLB – the acronym for xiao long bao, the Chinese (Mandarin) pronunciation of the popular soup dumplings.

They are called soup dumplings because if made properly, the inside of the dumplings should be filled with soup. Be careful when you eat them, the content can be very hot! Some of you who are familiar with XLB may be thinking about Din Tai Fung (aka DTF) while you are in town. But let me assure you that Paradise Dynasty is a notch above.

Their signature dish, which you really should order, is the 8-flavor XLB, where every XLB has a unique flavor. From the picture above, the XLB in the center is the original flavor. From the green one on top and going clockwise, we have: Ginseng, foie gras, black truffle, cheese, crab meat, garlic, sesame chili.

Tim Ho Wan

A collage of dim sum with dumplings, egg rolls and stuffed peppers.

Although Tim Ho Wan is well-known for its Michelin starred dim sum, the one star was actually awarded to its original Sum Shui Po location. None of its numerous new locations around the World has been awarded a star.

Dim sum dishes are freshly steamed to order, and they are definitely better than many other places — especially if you are coming from outside of Asia. My number one favorite is the pan-fried stuffed “tiger skin” green peppers which are only mildly hot. They are usually found only in certain Asian regions so enjoy them while you are here.

The other staples such as siu mai, egg rolls, beef balls, etc. are all very tasty and live up to their hype. And don’t forget to save room for dessert. The sweet red bean soup with taro is close to heavenly. Takeout menu is available. Cash only. No credit cards.

Ho Choi Seafood Restaurant

A collage of dim sum pictures including egg rolls, dumplings, and spareribs.

Tsim Tsa Tsui East (TST East) on the Kowloon Peninsular offers delicious cuisines as well as the most spectacular view of Hong Kong Island. However, most restaurants with a decent view charge an arm and a leg for their premium locations. Ho Choi (literally translated as good luck in Cantonese) Seafood Restaurant, is located in the Empire Centre right at the waterfront and offers an amazing harbor view. Prices are reasonable and moderate for this high-end area.

Here you will rub elbows with the local folks and truly enjoy local flavors. However, be warned that the staff speak limited English, so be patient and understanding.

I usually go there for dim sum, and they are good, but not the top-notch. Pictured here are my favorites (clockwise): Bean curd roll in tomato & egg soup, veggie and mushroom siu mai (pork dumpling), beef balls, and pork spareribs in black bean sauce.

If you go there for dinner, you can get a glimpse of the Symphony of Light show from your table which starts nightly at 8pm.

Ming Garden

With a family-oriented atmosphere, reasonable prices, and great food, Ming Garden has been a favorite neighborhood family restaurant in Hong Kong for a long time.

Goose is a family dinner staple in most of China. I am teaming up with local foodies Tammy, Terry, and Crystal and we order a whole goose which has been roasted to perfection. The bird is meaty, and the meat is moist, tender, and flavorful. If you have eaten goose before, you’ll recognize the rich and unique flavor and you’ll know it is not duck. Duck meat won’t even come close to its yumminess and richness.

Another of their signature dishes is the BBQ pork on a sizzling plate. The BBQ pork is melt-in-your-mouth tender. The flavor of the dish is greatly enhanced by the sauce that has been reduced to a glaze by the sizzling hot platter, that coats the pork with yumminess. To complete our feast, we are also getting a whole fried chicken, squabs, and a steamed whole fish.

Hong Kong Style Cafés

Tai Ping Koon

A roasted squab is cut into four quarter pieces and accompanied with a side of dark sauce.

Tai Ping Koon was founded back in the Qing Dynasty and is arguably the pioneer and inventor of Hong Kong style Western food. Their most renowned signature dish is roasted squab (most people in Asia call it pigeon, but it is really a squab) with Swiss sauce, which is a rich and sweet soy sauce. The story is that some Westerners really liked the sauce and called it a “sweet sauce”. However, the owner thought these people were from Switzerland and they meant “Swiss” hence the name “Swiss sauce” was created.

Their other well-loved dishes include Portuguese style chicken, pan-fried rice noodles with beef, house-made ox tongue, and the most delicious borscht soup that you’ll find in town. Visitors will enjoy not only a delicious meal, but also get to experience a taste of the original flavors that blends Western food with a local twist.

Their four locations are in the vibrant districts of Central, Causeway Bay, TST, and Yau Ma Tei.

Tsui Wah

Tsui Wah was first established in 1967 and has long been the city’s iconic “café” or “Cha Chang Teng”. Back in the seventies, Tsui Wah itself can be considered a destination when visiting the ex-colony.

Tsui Wah has now grown to several dozen locations and is no longer the single destination that you have to go. They are now almost everywhere so you will very likely run into several of them during your visit in the city. Today, Tsui Wah remains a favorite spot for locals seeking their comfort food as well as tourists seeking the unique “Hong Kong Style Café” experience.

Pictured above to the left is their baked pork chop rice which is my personal favorite. Fried rice topped pork chops is layered with tomato sauce, fresh tomato slices, and cheese, and baked until the cheese is golden brown. How can you resist the aroma of this dish? To the right is a local breakfast which includes Borscht soup with macaroni, ham, “slippery” scrambled eggs and a butter roll.

Kam Wah

A pineapple bun is cut in the side with a slab of butter inserted into it.

This is another decades-old iconic Hong Kong style café and bakery (cha chaan teng) that gives diners a heart-felt feeling of nostalgia as well as cravings for those almost legendary “bo lo yau” or literally translated as “pineapple oil”. What it actually means is a pineapple bun which is usually freshly baked and kept warm, sliced open, and accompanied by a thick slab of butter that melts nicely inside the bun. And the “pineapple bun” is not really made with pineapple. It got the name because of the appearance of the crust which looks like the outer rind of a pineapple.

And don’t forget their famous egg tart, which is another one of their signatures. Pair them up with a cup of silky milk tea and enjoy the experience just like a local. Other staples that serve the community well include a good variety of rice and noodle dishes. Their curry chicken with rice is very popular, and so is satay beef noodle soup. Soup macaroni is a favorite breakfast treat as well as a Chinese comfort food.

Noodles and Congees in Hong Kong

Mak’s Noodles (Mak Un Kee)

Four wonton dumplings sit atop a bowl of noodle soup with egg noodles in a yellowish broth.
Credit: Mak’s Noodles

Your trip to the Pearl of the Orient is almost incomplete without a taste of one the most popular local comfort foods known as the wonton noodles soup (won ton mein). While there are plenty of great places to eat in Hong Kong, getting the perfect bowl of this local favorite is no easy task. There are numerous noodle places, but only a few are the best. I always trust Mak’s – the iconic establishment of the won ton mein since the 1960’s.

Slightly chewy (al dente) egg noodles are served in a rich broth typically made with pork bones and seafood and filtered so that it is clear. The won ton are like shrimp and pork dumplings wrapped in a skin that is thin but somewhat consistent that holds the dumpling in place. A sprinkle of green onions adds the final touches to the aroma.

Be warned that there is a slight alkaline taste to this noodle soup – this is just the way it is and it is truly a local thing. Some people may not like it. But if you like it, or get accustomed to it, you will know it is comfort food indeed.

Tsim Chai Kee

Three large wonton dumplings sit on top of a bowl of noodle soup sprinkled with green onions.

Tsim and Mak (see above) have been across-the-street rivals on Wellington Street for decades and the debate over whose wonton noodle soup is better can often turn into heated arguments between friends and families. So, I am not going to go there and I’ll let you be the judge.

The last time I was there, Tsim appeared to have slightly larger wontons and they were also more bouncy when I sank my teeth into them. The broth was less traditional hence lesser of a fishy smell and taste, but this is just my personal experience. Tsim’s menu is much smaller and is focused on noodle soup with only a few options to choose from. If it is your first time there, don’t hesitate and go with the signature wonton noodle soup.

Ho Hung Kee

Although Ho Hung Kee is also well known for their wonton noodle soups, their menu is more diversified, and they have a wider spectrum of signature dishes as compared to their cross-town wonton rivals. Ho’s congees are some of the bests in town and I recommend the chicken and black mushroom flavor as well as pork and century egg. You can also choose to have a combo of two or three ingredients.

As far as noodles are concerned, Ho is also well known for their “lo mein” which are noodles quickly stirred in oil and sauces. The one topped with spicy shredded pork (above left) is my favorite. It has a medium level of heat and is also slightly tangy and sweet. Their pan-fried crispy noodles are also very good. My wife loves their pork with sliced black mushroom fried noodles topped with a rich and thick gravy and garnished with plenty of bean sprouts (above right).

Can’t wait to taste these yummy noodles? They have a location in the arrival hall of HK International Airport so you can literally grab a bowl as soon as you get off the plane.

Mui Kee Congee

A pair of chopsticks picks up a piece of fish filet from a bowl of congee.

Mui Kee is one of very few true family-owned and operated eateries that span three generations, with the grandfather first started the business as a street stall in 1979. The foundation of a good bowl of congee is that the rice needs to be thoroughly melted after hours of slow cooking, until it reaches a cream-like texture. Mui Kee’s congee base was not only slow-cooked for hours, it was also cooked with pork bones and fish broth to richly enhance the flavor.

One particular element that makes Mui Kee stand out from it peers is that the congee has a special “fragrance of the wok”, or “wok hei” in the local language, which is hard to achieve. For each individual order, the congee base is hand cooked in a copper pan under high heat until boiling when the ingredients – typically raw meat or fish – are stirred in and cooked very quickly. The congee itself is silky smooth and the taste is rich and flavorful.

It’s the early bird that catches the worm. They open at 7am and typically sell out before 3pm when they close for the day.

Western Cuisines in Hong Kong


Wooloomooloo is an Australian steakhouse in Hong Kong
Credit: Wooloomooloo

Most of the steakhouses in Hong Kong are familiar American name brands, such as Ruth Chris, Wolfgang, Morton, just to name a few. But I am going to recommend a place with a funny name that you’ve probably never heard of (assuming that you are not an Australian.)

Wooloomooloo is an Australian steakhouse with locations in Wanchai and Tsim Tsa Tsui East. I like the Wanchai location more, where the rooftop terrace view is spectacular. You can have drinks there before or after dinner and enjoy the nightly light show – the Symphony of Lights – which starts nightly at 8pm. The dining room is elegant and romantic and is perfect for a date night.

They are best known for their steaks grilled in ultra-high temperatures, perfectly searing in the juices and leaving the center pink and medium rare. Some of their well-known signature dishes are Australian wagyu carpaccio and beef Wellington.


A cut-up whole lobster is served in a long platter along with spaghetti in a red sauce.

Grappa’s, with its roots originally from England, has been a popular Italian restaurant in Hong Kong for three decades, since the city’s colonial days. It is a favorite spot for locals to hang out after work and enjoy beers and cocktails with pizza and pasta.

Although it is a moderately priced eatery with casual vibes, let me assure you that their food is every bit as good as many fine dining restaurants. At Grappa’s, you get the best bang for your buck.

My wife and I had their Maine lobster special pasta the last time we were there, and it was fantastic! The lobster was perfectly cooked and cracked at all the right places to make it easy to eat. The sauce tasted like it was freshly made with tomatoes and it was rich in flavor but also refreshing in taste. It was one of the most memorable dishes that we’ve had in the city in many years.

Brick Lane

For an authentic taste of British gastropub fares in the streets of Hong Kong, look no further than Brick Lane, and there are four locations on both sides of the Victoria Harbor to serve and to spoil you. Let’s first start with the quintessential full English breakfast that includes eggs, ham, bacon, sausage, hash brown, grilled tomato, baked beans, and Yorkshire pudding. You can’t get anymore British than this. And to make it even better, breakfast is served all day.

For those seeking some classic pub fares there are Guinness beef pie and England’s iconic fish and chips. And don’t forget to go there for a British afternoon tea experience that comes complete with the classic three-tier platters.

Brick Lane also cooks up some of the most sumptuous steaks, baby back ribs, and seafood. The last time I was there for lunch, I had a sirloin steak that was perfectly charred on the outside, medium rare inside, and accompanied by a medley of sautéed baby potatoes. For your after-dinner drink – or just a coffee break – be sure to get their signature Brick Lane Cappuccino.


Sliced medium rare steaks are served on a platter sprinkled with French fries and garnished with cherry tomatoes.

Frites is a Belgium beer hall with 8 locations scattered across Hong Kong and Kowloon. The first time I went in there, their traditional European style bench-like seating with a Medieval touch reminded me of the vibrant beer halls in the area surrounding La Grand Place in Brussels. Frites is just as lively, from happy hours to the late hours of the night. It is a popular place where locals hang out after work to wash down yummy good eats with pints of Belgium beers. Belgium is certainly well known for its beers and most people know the names like Stella Artois or Hoegaarden. But Frites, aka Belgium on Tap, boasts its stock of over 30 varieties.

As the name may suggest, steak frites is one of the specialties there and they do serve the best cuts of USDA Black Angus beef. For those who a super hearty appetite, they also offer an all-you-can-eat steak night on weekends. Other quintessential Belgian and European favorites include pork schnitzel, pork knuckle, and the iconic half a meter long “good wife sausage”. For dessert, get the waffle bomb Alaska, which is made with ice cream sandwiched between two Belgian waffles and topped with whipped cream and chocolate sauce.

Shake Shack

A cheeseburger topped with lettuce and tomato is accompanied by a side of crinkle cut fries.

While you may not be able to find a restaurant of this famous burger chain from New York in your home state, you can easily find one of them in the streets of Hong Kong. They are located in the IFC, Times Square, Element, and a few other trendy and upscale shopping centers. This iconic burger chain with its roots in the Big Apple is famous for its 100% Angus and never frozen beef – almost the same concept as In N Out in California (which does not expand overseas). This promises to be one of the best fast food burgers that you’ve ever savored.

To complement your burger, grab an order of their famous crinkle cut fries and a shake which are freshly made in house with ice cream. One signature flavor that is available in the Pearl of the Orient is “Mango Bubble Shake” which comes with plenty of boba and is topped with vanilla frozen custard, mango puree and whipped cream. While you are in town, don’t miss the chance to taste this “Hong Kong Exclusive”.

Burger Joys

Burger Joy in Hong Kong - the place to eat nice burgers
Credit: Burger Joys

Burger Joys is somewhat (loosely) the equivalent of In N Out in California or Shake Shack in New York. No matter how you put it, the meat is fresh, flavorful, and grilled to perfection. And to put them one notch above of their peers, the burgers here are served in a brioche bun, which does separate them from the other players.

The menu has a few options, but I am going to make it easy for you: Get the Signature Double Cheeseburger which is a quarter pound of Angus beef topped with cheese and their secret homemade sauce and accompanied by lettuce and tomatoes. A ring of raw onion and slices of pickles add the final touches to this yummy burger.

Its Wanchai location in Lockhart Road is open until 2:30am every day and is perfect for those craving a hearty and quick meal in the wee hours of the night.

Trendy Asian Dining in Hong Kong


Greenhouse - Great restaurant in Hong Kong

Greenhouse, located in Time Square in Causeway Bay is a hip and trendy restaurant with a lively atmosphere and a vibrant feel.

Their theme is “Asian cuisine with a Western twist”. The menu is very extensive and covers pretty much all of Asia. There are the typical Chinese favorites as well as Southeast Asian cuisines from Singapore and Malaysia. A large selection of western foods such as pizza, burger, and pasta are also available.

Shown above is a peach and duck salad. Slices of smoked duck breast are accompanied by a blend of greens that’s tossed in a slightly sweet and mild vinaigrette. The finishing touch is a sprinkle of pine nuts and pomegranate seeds which make the dish a refreshing salad.


Sliced duck meat is served on a platter skin up with garnishments and a dark sauce.

Duckee calls themselves a “Chinese Gastrobar” and takes pride in serving contemporary and creative cocktails in a vibrant atmosphere alongside trendy Chinese cuisines.

The moment I walked in there, I found the place elegant but with a youthful and chic décor that exudes relaxed and casual vibes. Its main signature dish is the barbecued Peking duck with very crispy skins. The meat is typically eaten with the skin and rolled up in a thin steamed flour pancake, seasoned with a sweet sauce, and garnished with vegetables.

For apps I recommend the drunken chicken which is tender and rich in Shaoxing wine flavor. They also serve a variety of dim sums, many of which are on the trendy and creative side. I particularly like their xiao lung bao (XLB) and baked turnip pastry. For dessert, get the delicately made and delicious red bean purée pancakes.

Ming Bistro

Ming Bistro is a trendy Hong Kong dim sum restaurant with a bistro-type menu and vibes. It is definitely not the typical and traditional dim sum places that you might be familiar with. Its menu focuses on creativity and uniqueness, and you will indeed be able to sample dishes that you won’t be able to find anywhere else.

I team up with a couple of local foodies and order a variety of dim sum dishes, all of them are very good. Shown in the pictures above, clockwise from the left are shrimp and seafood rolls (my #1 favorite), pan-fried BBQ pork buns, pan-fried lotus root cakes, and shrimp and potato pancakes. Har Gow (shrimp dumpling), butterfly sandwich with “Kum Wah” ham, quail egg siu mai (pork dumpling), and steamed sponge cake (amazing dessert).

Kee Wah Bakery

Your trip to the Pearl of the Orient will be incomplete without a visit to a Kee Wah, the bakery icon of Hong Kong. They have numerous locations and can be found in major city centers, malls, and MTR (subway) stations. Bear in mind that most locations are takeout only so plan accordingly

My personal favorites are egg custard tarts, walnut cookies, almond biscuits, buttery egg rolls, and their seasonal mooncakes.

I am showing you above the giftbox and its contents that I bought. Believe me… The recipients of any of your giftboxes from Kee Wah will be endlessly grateful. Don’t forget to buy one for yourself!

You may also like...