China South of the Clouds

Traveling and Cooking in China's Yunnan Province

Elsewhere in Asia: 6 Great Places to Eat in Hong Kong

March 20th, 2015

This article about was first published in the food journal the Art of Eating, Issue 92, in February of 2014 under the title “Six Addresses in Hong Kong.” Josh provided the photography for the article, and I’ve included a couple more of his lovely photographs here.

City Hall Maxim’s Palace Hong Kong has no shortage of excellent dim sum places, but this elegant ballroomlike restaurant is a local institution and provides a quintessential dim sum experience. While most restaurants in the city have abandoned the use of circulating trolleys, Maxim’s embraces the tradition, using them to serve an unparalleled assortment of dumplings, buns, and steamed dishes, and sweets. Look for the crispy shrimp and corn egg rolls, the orange peel-flavored beef cheong fun (tender rice noodle sheets wrapped around a meat filling), plump har gow (shrimp dumplings), and steamed spareribs in black bean sauce. City Hall, 5 Edinburgh Place, Low Block, second floor, Central, tel 852.252.1303,


Lan Fong Yuen This little white-and-red tea stall-cum-lunch spot in Soho is easily the most famous cha chaan teng, or tea restaurant, in the city. People queue up all day to take away their fantastic Hong Kong-style milk tea, made with strong Ceylon, sugar, and creamy evaporated milk, and their yuan yang, a combination of milk tea and coffee that tastes something like coffee ice cream. Locals pack into the back room for a quick lunch of a juicy pork chop on a hamburger bun, fried ramen noodles topped with chicken or pork and lightly pickled vegetables, or quick laksa noodle soup with a light coconut broth and bright chile oil. 2 Gage Street, Central, tel 852.2544.3895, no website

Da Ping Huo Hidden away on a winding road, this little Sichuan restaurant was the city’s first “private kitchen.” It began when an opera singer, Wang Sui King, started making her hometown foods for friends in the late 1990s, then grew into a kind of secret restaurant that inspired countless other cooks to open similar ones. Wang still does most of the cooking for two nightly seatings. The fixed-price menu includes dishes such as cucumbers in vinegar and sugar, ma po tofu, cold chicken enrobed in Sichuan chiles and peppercorns, and delicate pork dumplings in chile oil. Reservations required. 49 Hollywood Road, Soho, Central tel 852. 2559.1317, no website


Australia Dairy Co.This popular breakfast spot is Hong Kong’s answer to the New York diner. Patrons wait in line for as long as 20 minutes, find seats at crowded Formica tables, and order from the short, never changing menu. (An English version is available if you ask.) The restaurant’s famous scrambled egg sandwich is said to be the fluffiest in the city, but to my mind the best meal is the chicken and macaroni soup topped with slivers of ham, and a deep bowl of cold, creamy, comforting milk custard. (After WWII, canned milk, which was cheaper than fresh milk, became a popular ingredient in Hong Kong foods.) 47-49 Parkes Street, Jordan, Kowloon, tel 852.2730.1356, no website

Yardbird As a major hub for business and travel, Hong Kong boasts restaurants serving cuisines from all over Asia. Most popular in the last couple of years have been a series of excellent Japanese restaurants like this yakitori (“grilled chicken”) specialist. American and European expats and young, hip locals have fallen in love with it’s carefully crafted cocktails; excellent range of sakes; juicy skewers of chicken necks, wings, hearts, and skin; sweet, crisp balls of tempura corn; and inventive dishes like ox tongue with Japanese herbs and mustard vinaigrette. 33-35 Bridges Street, Sheung Wan, tel 852.2547.9273,

Above and Beyond The best Cantonese food is a sublime mix of delicate flavors and textures that doesn’t rely on the chiles, onions, or vinegars that define other Chinese cuisines. In recent years, many Cantonese chefs have also begun to add complementary non-Chinese ingredients. This sleek restaurant with stunning views of the harbor serves an excellent version of this contemporary Cantonese cuisine. Sheets of tender bean curd are topped with both Chinese mushrooms and earthy morels; Angus beef is prepared with five-spice; and a delicate vegetable-mushroom dumpling (one of the dim sum appetizers served with the restaurant’s multi-course lunch sets) contains a generous spoonful of black truffle. Hotel Icon, 17 Science Museum Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon, tel. 852.3400.1000,

— Georgia Freedman

Josh Wand (3)