Essential food in Hong Kong includes the traditional dim sum, delicious sea food, and Chinese barbeque. If you have time, wander into any old-fashioned tea house and enjoy a “milky tea” or a cup of Yuanyang.
If you eventually get tired of local food in Hong Kong, there are plenty of other options: you can try every type of Cantonese dish, and indulge in food from other cuisines such as India, Vietnam or the Philippines.
The local food in Hong Kong cannot be missed. To find out more about Hong Kong’s culinary tradition and legends connected with certain dishes, check out the food section of the Tourism Board website.
The most important thing to remember when enjoying Cantonese food in Hong Kong is that it is very, very spicy. If it specifically says on the menu that a dish is spicy, you’d better believe that it is extremely hot!
Cantonese food in Hong Kong is usually eaten with four main staple dishes: noodles, rice, rice noodles, or congee – a sort of porridge, also made from rice. One of these side-dishes is always served with your meal, even if it is not explicitly mentioned on the menu.
The most popular food in Hong Kong is dim sum. In most restaurants, waiters roll around trolleys full of different dim sum, such as dumplings filled with meat or seafood, shrimps, chicken feet, or buns with various fillings. In other places, you order the dim sum treats off a menu. Usually, it all comes with a main dish such as fried rice, noodles or vegetables.
You should also sample the sea food in Hong Kong: its freshness is guaranteed! Enjoy the fish and shrimps at one of the prime locations right down by the waterfront – Sai Kung, Lei Yue Mun, Lamma Island, or Cheung Chau Island.
Finally, step into one of the siu mei shops you can find all over the city. In Cantonese cuisine, siu mei, or – as often referred to in English – “Chinese BBQ”, is the generic name for meat roasted over an open fire or in a wood-burning rotisserie oven and complemented with traditional sauces.
Food in Hong Kong is varied, and there are hundreds of restaurants offering international plates. Expect to enjoy Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, and Filipino cuisine, alongside plenty of Italian, French and American restaurants. Inevitably, you can also find branches of McDonalds & co on every corner.
On a stroll through one of Hong Kong’s dining districts, you will probably find more than just one appealing option. You can choose between enjoying traditional food in Hong Kong’s traditional street eateries, and paying for an expensive, fancy upscale restaurant.
These will certainly be clean, have English menus and staff that speak good English. However, most will add 10% to the bill as a service charge. Often, you will automatically be served tea and some snacks, which you also have to pay for. Make sure to check with the waiter before being seated.
Otherwise, walk into a smaller family restaurant. These often have a menu at the door for you to check beforehand. Prices are usually moderate, and service charges are listed on the menu. No tip is expected.
To sample food in Hong Kong like the locals, try one of the small street-side restaurants. Prices here are generally very low, and there is no service charge. On the downside, there are probably neither English menus nor English-speaking staff, and if you need a fork, you will have to bring one with you. Hygienic conditions may also not be up to scratch, so you might want to exercise extra caution if you know you have a weak stomach.
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