Due to Hong Kong’s past as a British colony and a long history of being a city of international commerce, its cuisine is a vibrant mixture of eastern and western flavors. With its vast influences from Cantonese, Japanese, mainland China (Teochew, Hakka, and Hokkien), Southeast Asian, and western cuisine, the variety of food Hong Kong has collected is astounding.
Since Hong Kongers are considered one of the most food-obsessed people in the world, we were eager to join them and start eating our way through our new city. On a rainy Friday night, our friend Andrew from Funemployment was kind enough to give us newbs a food tour to quench our local eats appetite. We decided to focus on local eateries on the Kowloon side. We started in Jordan, made our way through Yau Ma Tei, and then ended our night in Tsim Sha Tsui.
Mak Man Kee Noodle (51 Parkes St, Jordan, Hong Kong)
History: Mak Man Kee is a Guangdong restaurant that is known for their homemade egg noodles and fried fish bone broth. It is very popular with locals and tourists, especially after being featured on Anthony Bourdain, No Reservations.
What we ordered: Shrimp and pork wontons with egg noodles (dry). (Since we decided not to wait for a table, we chose dry noodles for easier consumption on the sidewalk. Next time I will make sure to grab a table and try their famous noodle soups!)
less intimidating with an English menu posted outside their window
The noodles had a light and chewy texture. The wontons were delicious with a firm yet bouncy bite.
Australian Dairy Co. (G/F 47-49 Parkes Street, Jordan)
History: Despite its name, there is nothing “Australian” about the place. It is a well-known cha chaan teng (tea house) in Hong Kong that supposedly serves the best-scrambled eggs, steamed milk pudding, and rude service.
What we ordered: steamed milk pudding (You can order the pudding cold or hot)
Not sure about the timing of the queue, but there were a lot of people waiting to get in!
One of the best desserts I have had. It was smooth and creamy with an intense egg custard flavor. Yummy!
Spicy Mama (7a-7b Tak Hing Street, Jordan)
History: Located on the quieter end of Temple St, Spicy Mama has a feisty storefront with an animal circus-themed decor. Their menu consists of items full of chili peppers either in fried, deep fried or soupy format.
What we ordered: Sichuan boiled chili fish stew (The stew had three types of peppers: Sichuan peppercorns, Thai red peppers, and dried chili red peppers.)
The dish came with fish, vegetables, noodles and of course tons of peppers! The broth was flavorful and gave your tongue a numbing after effect.
Mido Cafe: 63 Temple Street, Yau Ma Tei
History: Much beloved by art directors for its preserved 1950s decor, Mido cafe is the oldest cha chan teng in Hong Kong. Its menu is extensive, with almost over 200 items available. Their most famous dish is the Baked Pork chops or Baked Spareribs Rice.
What we ordered: egg battered toast (We were getting full and wanted a “lighter” Hong Kong dish to nibble on since we were only half way through the tour!)
Very popular with locals and tourists due to its proximity to Tin Hau temple.
The toast was soft and had a delicate butter and egg flavor. Unfortunately, it was a little too greasy for me.
Four Seasons: (46-58 Arthur Street, Yau Ma Tei)
History: Complete with long lines, Four Seasons is a Temple Street celebrity. This is a BYOB establishment so you can grab some drinks at the nearby 7 eleven and go wild with their signature clay pot rice dishes.
What we ordered: sausage/chicken clay pot rice and ginger eel clay pot rice
using the traditional charcoal cooking method for a smoky flavor
Sweet Chinese sausage cooked with chicken on top of white rice.
Delicate eel cooked with pickled vegetables on top of white rice.
Tim Kee French Sandwiches (30 Man Yuen St, Jordan)
History: This small shop has been open for 30 years, attracting locals, tourists, and food bloggers. So popular, in fact, local celeb gastronomer Chua Lam declared it to be the best banh mi in Hong Kong and even better than those sold in Vietnam.
What we ordered: Combination meat banh mi
You can choose from ingredients like pate, Vietnamese ham, pork belly, and pickled ham hock.
Not the best banh mi I have had but it was better than expected for Hong Kong. The baguette was light, airy, and crispy. The sandwich could have used more pate and pickled vegetables to balance the flavor.
Yau Yuen Siu Tsui: (36 Man Yuen Street, Jordan)
History: This restaurant specializes in Shanxi cuisine and they are known for their biang biang noodle dishes. The character for “biang” is the most complicated character in the Chinese language!
It is made of 58 strokes and is not even found in modern dictionaries!
What we ordered: deep fried glutinous rice balls and biang biang noodles (thick flat noodles served in spicy sauce)
The noodles were delicious with a thick and chewy texture. The dish itself, however, could have used a bit more of the spicy sauce.
This pastry was delicately fried and filled with sesame paste. Pretty good!
Royal Dessert: (23 Man Wai Street, Jordan)
History: Located at two locations, one at Jordan and the other in Kowloon City, Royal dessert has an extensive dessert menu written in Chinese and English.
What we ordered: Mango tapioca bowl
A light and refreshing tapioca dessert! Bits of sweet mango mixed with longan, grapefruit, and tapioca balls.
Lab Made: (132 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui)
History: Lab Made claims to be Asia’s first liquid nitrogen laboratory. They use extremely cold liquid nitrogen at -196° Celsius to rapidly freeze the ice cream, resulting in smaller ice crystals and a creamier texture.
What we ordered: liquid nitrogen Hong Kong custard and black sesame ice cream
The custard flavor was creamy and rich. The black sesame was too overwhelmingly smoky and left a slight bitter after taste.
By the end of the night, we went to nine restaurants and devoured eleven dishes! It was a great affordable feast with the total tally being only $230HKD ($29USD) per person. We got home feeling fat and happy like this cat right here!
Alfred staring into the far distance… thinking about his next meal.