Finding a good Chinese restaurant when you're in Hong Kong

  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /nfs/c03/h02/mnt/51424/domains/batgung.com/html/drupaldir/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 879.
  • strict warning: Declaration of content_handler_field::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /nfs/c03/h02/mnt/51424/domains/batgung.com/html/drupaldir/sites/all/modules/cck/includes/views/handlers/content_handler_field.inc on line 208.
  • strict warning: Declaration of date_handler_field_multiple::pre_render() should be compatible with content_handler_field_multiple::pre_render($values) in /nfs/c03/h02/mnt/51424/domains/batgung.com/html/drupaldir/sites/all/modules/date/date/date_handler_field_multiple.inc on line 185.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument::init() should be compatible with views_handler::init(&$view, $options) in /nfs/c03/h02/mnt/51424/domains/batgung.com/html/drupaldir/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 745.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /nfs/c03/h02/mnt/51424/domains/batgung.com/html/drupaldir/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 589.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /nfs/c03/h02/mnt/51424/domains/batgung.com/html/drupaldir/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 589.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /nfs/c03/h02/mnt/51424/domains/batgung.com/html/drupaldir/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 135.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /nfs/c03/h02/mnt/51424/domains/batgung.com/html/drupaldir/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 135.

If you’re planning to visit Hong Kong, you’ll no doubt run into someone who’s lived here, or you’ll read a guidebook or website, and they’ll all tell you the same thing: you’re going to love all that great Chinese food in HK! It’s the world’s best!!

And that’s likely true. There may be other cities that feature more authentic and consistently delicious versions of their local food, but in Hong Kong you’ll find many excellent restaurants representing all the major Chinese cuisines, and some you likely haven’t even heard of.

And yet – if you return to your guidebooks and websites for actual Hong Kong restaurant recommendations, you’ll see the same few restaurants named again and again. Some of these places deserve their plaudits; many don’t.

Since you’re a smart traveler, you know this. So when you arrive in Hong Kong, you decide you’ll just hit the streets and you’ll be bound to find great places at any point because, hey, just look around! There are restaurants everywhere! And again, yes, there are. But when you start trying to pick one, it can get pretty confusing, and for some of us, maybe a bit intimidating. Will the place on the corner have an English menu? It’s already 7:00 pm, and it’s only half full – does that mean it’s a lousy place? And so on.

So the Batgung are here to help you again, with some recommendations for finding good Chinese food in Hong Kong. We’ll give you some general tips, and then a few specific restaurant recommendations. We’ll be adding to the latter list as time goes by, and hope you will, too.

Finding a decent Chinese restaurant: general tips

Look up! If you restrict your search for restaurants in Hong Kong to street level, you will certainly find things to eat, but you will suffer significant culinary deprivation. That’s because many – maybe most – of Hong Kong’s good Chinese restaurants are not at street level. They’re on higher floors in commercial buildings and shopping malls. And, speaking of malls . . .

Mall food is good food If you’re an American like me, you may blanch instinctively if someone recommends you try a restaurant in a shopping mall. You expect over-decorated ‘atmosphere’ with lowest-common-denominator food. But this rule of thumb has no relevance in Hong Kong. Yes, there are mediocre restaurants in shopping malls here, but there are also lots of good ones.

Hotel food is not cheap food The big-name hotels in Hong Kong all have Chinese restaurants on-site. Most serve high-quality food, but they are expensive.

Show up early – or later As MrB has noted, you can show up anytime from early in the day to lunchtime at Chinese restaurants that serve dimsum. These restaurants typically close in the mid-afternoon, and don’t reopen for dinner till around 6:30 pm. Many – even the good ones – will remain quite empty until 7:00 or 7:30, when the dinner crowd really starts coming in. If you come across a Chinese restaurant here that’s already busy before 7:00 pm, it’s a pretty sure bet.

Don’t worry too much about finding English menus Nearly all Chinese restaurants in Hong Kong’s tourist areas have English menus. What they usually don’t provide in English, however, is a list of their current specials. This is a shame, since that list is often so lengthy and varied it comprises a small menu in itself, and usually features seasonal foods at their peak. You can of course order a perfectly satisfactory meal off the regular menu, but you might want to have a look around you, and see if you can identify any dishes that look particularly yummy that don’t seem to be available on the regular menu. A simple point-and-nod will then be enough to convince your waiter you’d like to try that, too!

Some specific recommendations

Here are some Chinese restaurants in Hong Kong’s tourist areas that we Batgung particularly like, with the region or type of Chinese cuisine they specialize in noted. We'll start with broad introductions to the restaurants, but if you're already too hungry to wait you can skip ahead to the list of addresses.

  • Maxim Group’s ‘XXXX Garden’ restaurants
    Maxim’s group offers very good restaurants covering a whole range of Chinese regional cuisines. They are not especially cheap, but given their generally authentic, high-quality food, you may find it worth spending a bit more for one or two really good Chinese meals.

  • Lei Garden group Cantonese
    Some of the same strengths – very good, reliable food – and weaknesses – quite spendy – as the Maxim’s group. Lei Gardens are often very busy, so booking is recommended.

  • Kung Tak Lam Shanghainese vegetarian
    Kung Tak Lam is a very moderately-priced and pleasant chain with a couple of convenient locations. I like the Peking Road one better, as it's got an excellent view and is generally more roomy and relaxed.

  • The Peking Restaurant Beijing/northern
    This long-standing temple to the glories of northern Chinese food features the requisite cranky waiters in white shirts and black ties. Pretty good food, and loads of old-fashioned atmosphere.

    The Peking Restaurant is on Nathan Road, near the Jordan MTR station. It’s a bit hard to find. Walk along Nathan Road on the west side of the street, between Austin Road and Jordan Road, look for the sign, then it’s up a red-carpeted stairway.

  • The Spring Deer Beijing/northern
    What I said about the Peking Restaurant, but with more tourists.

  • Crystal Jade Shanghainese
    This chain of not-quite-fast-food-but-not-really-full-scale-traditional restaurants has been a huge, and much-deserved, hit in Hong Kong. Excellent food at reasonable prices. The only drawback is the long lines that are almost ubiquitous outside these places!

  • Hak-ka Hut Hakka (a Chinese ethnic subgroup)
    Hak-ka Hut combines an interesting and lesser-known Chinese cuisine at quite low prices, and again this chain has been a massive hit.
Here are the above restaurants' branches that are easiest to get to. You can click on a column heading (eg 'Type') to sort the list. Also a couple of abbreviations: 'TST'=Tsim Sha Tsui, and 'CWB'=Causeway Bay.

DistrictTypeRestaurantAddressPhone
AdmiraltyBeijingPeking GardenPacific Place shopping mall 
AdmiraltyShanghaiShanghai GardenHutchison House 
AdmiraltySichuanSichuan GardenPacific Place shopping mall 
CentralCantoneseLei GardenShop No. 3007-3011, 3/F.,
International Finance Centre
 
CentralCantoneseTai Woo92 & 100 Caine Road, Central 
CentralChiu Chow GardenChiu Chow GardenJardine House 
CentralHunanHunan GardenThe Forum tower,
Exchange Square
 
CWBBeijingPeking GardenLee Theatre Plaza 
CWBCantoneseJade Garden1 Hysan Avenue 
CWBHakkaHakka Hut21/F Lee Theatre Plaza,
99 Percival St
 
CWBShanghaiCrystal JadeShop B224 (basement),
Times Square
2506-0080
CWBShanghai vegetarianKung Tak Lam31 Yee Wo Street 
MongkokCantoneseLei Garden121 Sai Yee Street2392-5184
TSTCantoneseJade GardenStar House 
TSTBeijingPeking GardenStar House 
TSTBeijingThe Spring Deer36-44 Mody Road, 1st Floor2723-3673
TSTHakkaHak-ka Hut6/F, Miramar Shopping Centre,
132 Nathan Road
 
TSTNorthern / Hot-potTai Fung Lau1/F Windsor Mansion,
29 Chatham Road South
2366-2494
TSTShanghaiCrystal Jade3328 Harbour City,
Canton Road
2622-2699
TSTShanghai vegetarianKung Tak Lam 7th floor, 1 Peking Road 
TST EastCantoneseLei GardenB-2, Houston Centre2722-1636
WanchaiCantoneseLei Garden1/F., CNT Tower,
338 Hennessy Road
2892-0333
WanchaiCantoneseTack Hsin84-86 Morrison Hill Road,
Tsung Tsin Mansion
 
Yau Ma TeiBeijingThe Peking Restaurant1/F, 227, Nathan Road 

We’ll be adding more to this list, and as always, readers, we welcome your recommendations!


Here’s a set of recommendations from Spike over at Hongkietown.

I'd add:

Tai Woo, East Ocean. Tack Hsin and Hoi Tin -- four chains all over HK, very competent and reasonably priced Cantonese seafood palaces and decent dim sum.

Little Sheep -- China-based chain famous for northern style hotpot.

Under Bridge Spicy Crab -- as the name says.

Xiao Nan Guo -- Shanghai-based chain

and reading the Cha Xio Bao blog for lots of great, off-the-beaten path tips.

Mr Tall adds:

I’ve done a bit of googling about for some specifics. I certainly haven’t tried all of these places, and if you know of one that’s moved/closed/terrible, please let us know.

  • You can find Tai Woo restaurant branches as follows:

    Causeway Bay Branch:
    27 Percival Street.
    Tel: 2893 0822; 2893 9882

    Shau Kei Wan Branch:
    192 - 198, Shau Kei Wan Road, Sai Wan Ho

    Central Branch:
    92 & 100 Caine Road, Central

    Tsim Sha Tsui Branch:
    14 – 16 Hillwood Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

  • There are East Ocean branches as follows:

    5/FL., Miramar Shopping Ctr.,
    132 Nathan Road, Tsimshatsui, Kowloon.
    Phone: 2317 8889

    Level 3-302, New World Centre,
    Tsimshatsui, Kowloon.
    Phone: 2367 1133

    Shop 3202, Harbour City,
    Tsimshatsui, Kowloon, H.K.
    Phone: 2956 2882

    B1 East Ocean Ctr., 98 Granville Road,
    Tsimshatsui East, Kowloon.
    Phone: 2723 8128

    2/FL., Sun Hung Kai Centre,
    30 Harbour Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong.
    Phone: 2827 9938

    3/FL., Harbour Centre, 25 Harbour Road,
    Wanchai, Hong Kong.
    Phone: 2827 8887

    5/FL., CITIC Tower, 1 Tim Mei Avenue,
    Central, Hong Kong.
    Phone: 2877 2211

    Shop G201 The Repulse Bay,
    109 Repulse Bay Road, Hong Kong.
    Phone: 2803 1882

  • Now how about some Tack Hsin outlets:

    1-13 Sugar Street
    Causeway Bay HK
    2894 8899

    84-86 Morrison Hill Road, Tsung Tsin Mansion
    Wanchai, HK
    2572 0898

    Shop 5, G/F, Pearl Court
    2-12 Holland Street, HK
    2872 6168

    2/F Peninsula Centre, 67 Mody Road
    TST East, Kowloon,HK
    2721 8102

    4/F Chong Hing Square
    601 Nathan Road, Kowloon, HK
    2780 0182

    3 Tak Hing Street
    Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, HK
    2723 2646

  • There’s a Hoi Tin restaurant on:

    Elizabeth Bld, Causeway Bay
    Tel: 2891 3886.

  • There are Little Sheep hotpot restaurants as follows:

    Wanchai Hot Pot
    Causeway Bay Plaza, Wan Chai
    Tel: 2893 8318

    Mongkok Hot Pot
    16 Kar Lo street, ground floor/1st floor
    Tel: 2396 8816

    Tsim Sha Tsui Hot Pot
    26 Kimberley Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui
    Tel: 2722 7633

    Tsuen Wan Hot Pot
    City Landmark, Tsuen Wan
    Tel: 2940 7678

  • Now, for the marvelously-named ’Bridge under spicy crab’ restaurant:

    Shop C, G/F., Wah Fat Mansion, 405-419 Lockhart Road,
    Wan Chai, Hong Kong

    and/or

    Shop 6-9, G/F., 429 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
    Tel: 2893 1289 or 2573 7698

  • And finally, a Xiao Nan Guo outlet:

    12th floor, Shell Tower, Causeway Bay (i.e. near Times Square)
    Tel: 2894 8899

    I think there may be one in Man Yee building in Central as well, but would appreciate confirmation!

Comments

Chao Inn / Chiu Lau

Another good restaurant at One Peking Rd in Tsim Sha Tsui is Chao Inn, or 'Chiu Lau' in Cantonese. Good food, good view and reasonably priced. Like most Chinese restaurants it's noisy, and best visited in a large group to get plenty of different dishes to try. It gets busy so worth calling ahead to book - ask for a table by the window.

Chao Inn, 潮樓, 10/F 1 Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Tel: 2369 8819

MrB

Tai Fung Lau

It's a northern-style hotpot restaurant with charcoal-fired hotpots.

1/F Windsor Mansion, 29 Chatham Road S, Tsim Sha Tsui. Tel:2366-2494. (The entrance is from a side-street, Hart Avenue).

I've mentioned this one before, but we were there again with visitors last night and they really enjoyed it as 'something a bit different'.

MrB

Crystal Jade

There's also Crystal Jade in IFC 2 now, and in Tai Koo Place. I can eat 500 dumplings at one sitting. They are magnificent.

Speaking of dumplings . . .

. . . this article in Slate magazine is quite good. We should indeed be grateful for the sublime dumplings we can get so easily here in HK!

And thanks for the tip re Crystal Jade in IFC.

Xiao Nan Guo

Just re the confirmation: There is indeed a Xiao Nan Guo in Central, I believe the building is called Man Yee. The last I went there was in July, the food was pretty good, and the price was fairly reasonable, but I wouldn't say that the food is exceptional.

By the way, there is a restaurant next to the pedestrian bridge (Shanghai) in the building with Starbucks. I do not recall what it is called, but their xiao long bao is really nice..

food pricing

would like to know the estimated food price in HK$ and type of dishes/food ordered from the recommended restaurant listed.

we are travelling in triple and would like to budget for the food cost per pax.

please advise.

KITCHEN RESTAURANTS

Here are the details on some Kitchen reataurants in HK, given to me by an old time Hong Konger. Enjoy!

“The Secret Pantry”

15 St. Francis Street
Wan Chai
Tel No. 3421 2330

This restaurant specialises in Chiu Chow cuisine. It is hidden at the back of the Wan Chai district, and finding the address is just the beginning! Once you locate the building you go around the back into St. Francis Yard, then turn the corner into Kwong Ming Street. You will then see an open door and the Secret Pantry’s discreet sign. You then ascend candlelit concrete stairs, and sample the set menu which I believe will set you back around $50.00 per person

“Da Ping Huo”

L.G.Floor 49 Hollywood Road
Central
Tel No. 2559 1317

This restaurant specialises in fiery Sichuan dishes. It is situated below the well-known “Nove” restaurant in SOHO. There is only a small address over a side street doorway to identify the restaurant. After about 14 courses have been dispatched the chef, Wang Xiaoqiong, who is a classically trained singer, performs traditional Chinese music in the dinning room. In both of these restaurants the waiters speak good English.

“Mum Chau’s Sichuan Kitchen”

5th floor, Winner Building
37 D’Aguilar Street
Central
Tel No. 8108 8550

This is a less up-market experience, and unlike the other two restaurants that will set you back $50 per head, an evening at Mum Chau’s will cost you around $10 per head!! Once you have located the 5th floor in the Winner Building you walk through a door with a “Member Only” sign, and you magically become a member! You require a little help from one of the staff who speak a little English to know which boxes to tick on the Chinese menu.

“D Corner”

13/Floor, Soho Square,
Lyndhurst Terrace
Central
Tel No. 2869 8266

These restaurants are usually B.Y.O. wine only, but check if you can bring beer

Thanks for those. I've seen

Thanks for those. I've seen mention of these small restaurants in the local magazines, but never tried them. Do let us know what you think of them if you try them out.

If anyone is interested in giving these smaller restaurants a try, Cha Xiu Bao links to a local website (Chinese-language throughout) that rates all the local 'speakeasies'.

A google search for 'Hong Kong private kitchen' will also give you some other ideas.

MrB

Hong kong restaurant review site

If you read Chinese, I would recommend a site called Openrice, which probably covers 80% of the restaurants in Hong Kong. It is the most popular and largest site of the same kind and has over 100,000 reviews. The reviews are written by regular customers like you and me. It has ratings on food quality, service, price, environment etc.

K Chu

Spring Deer Restaurant

We took visitors along there last night, and we all enjoyed it. Mr Tall describes it above as "Peking Restaurant, but with more tourists". That's how I remember it too, but last night there were no other foreign faces to be seen, only a couple of small tables with mainland visitors, and mostly full of local families and groups.

We paid under HK$800 for five people. That was for just slightly more food than we could eat, several bottles of beer, and included a peking duck @ $280. Service was good too. We ordered small dishes of everything - don't be tempted to get medium unless there's a big group of you.

Oh, and book a couple of days in advance. We called up the day before and were initially told it was full, but by promising to be there at 6pm they found us a table. By the time we left the place was full (and noisy - don't go there if you're looking for an intimate dinner for two!).

MrB

I'd be sure to take a good

I'd be sure to take a good long look at the menu covers when ordering in a new country as well as talking to friends. You want to be absolutely 100 percent certain you are ordering what you think you are.