Cheapest Awesome Food in Hong Kong
If you love food and are not one to be intimidated by hoards of pedestrian walking around you with zero personal spaces, then you should travel to Hong Kong. It is a must go for foodies looking for some unique affordable grubbing and was once a shopping mecca of East Asia. Coming back from Hong Kong last week, I want to share some travel tips of the very good and cheap places we went to from our trip, as well as some thoughts as a traveler from the United States visiting Hong Kong the first time. There’s a lot of food options in Hong Kong so this list here probably doesn’t even scratch the surface of all that Hong Kong can offer food-wise.
We have Congee (Rice Porridge) in US Chinatowns but experiencing it in Hong Kong is special. These shops that specialize in serving congee makes a variety of flavored congee. This one I had was seafood flavored in which I added an order of radish cake and fresh cold soy milk for only $5.60 USD total.
Curry flavored Fish Cakes are popular among the many street foods of Hong Kong. I tried the spicy flavored curry for $9 HKD ($1.16 USD) and it tasted pungent with the taste yellow curry powder. Spiciness mostly came from chili oil swimming in the frying pan.
Eel BBQ with Rice was only $45 HKD ($5.80 USD)! It was drizzled with black sweet and tangy terriyaki-like sauce. It wasn’t as good as the BBQ eel we had in Seoul but it was still quite good. I wish I can eat like this everyday in the US! It would cost two and half the price here for the same dish and maybe not even as good.
Hong Kong locals swear by Egg Waffles and is like a type of comfort food for them. They are $10 HKD ( $1.29 USD). Occasionally, I still see Hong Kong friends who immigrated to the US gush over them on Facebook. Personally, I find them okay but you should still try it for the experience since it is a local favorite.
Dimsum is a MUST eat when you visit Hong Kong, even if you’re not Asian. It’s quintessential food in Chinese culture. Although there’s literally hundreds of places to eat dimsum in Hong Kong, we recommend Tim Ho Wan this time, a three star Michelin restaurant that is both authentically Chinese, delicious AND cheap. You can find three branches in Hong Kong (but don’t go to the one on Kwong Wa Street, Mong Kok because that one is closed although some websites haven’t updated this information). I highly recommend the Glutinous Rice with Chicken, Har Kaw, Siu Mai and Osthmantus Cake. You may have had dimsum in the US, but this is NOT the same… it is MUCH BETTER. I ordered six to eight different types of dimsums enough for two people and it costed only about $30 USD.
Because it is always hot and humid in Hong Kong, there’s plenty of cold dessert options to help folks to cool down. In fact there are plenty of stores that specializes only on making desserts. Hui Lao San 许留山 is an example.
Hui Lao San 许留山is a Hong Kong-based franchise specializing in dessert soups called tong sui, snacks and desserts. I’m super excited seeing one in NYC from Fung Bros.’ video recently! Because yellow mangoes are sooo good and more abundant in Asia, we made sure to enjoy them as much as we can. My favorite are the super soft mango mochi stuffed with rich mango ice cream and coated with coconut meat flakes. It was an amazing nirvana mango moment in my mouth… I can’t say it enough. We were in Hong Kong only 4 days and I’ve been to this place two to three times.
Hong Kong Milk Tea is famously unique and it is not easy to replicate the flavor outside the city. It must be tried when visiting Hong Kong. Back in the day, Hong Kong used to be known for small restaurants set up along alleys and small side walks or dai pai dong as locals call it but there are very few left as sanitation and safety became an issue. We’re very fortunate that our local friend took us to one of the few remaining dai pai dongs located in the small local streets near Lan Kwai Fong area. Here, we tried some Toasted Bread with Sweetened Condensed Milk and Honey.
There are also other fancier milk tea stands with more variety in flavors operated by the popular Gong Cha which mixes premium teas with milk and add tapioca pearls, gello and etc. It’s also available in the US but only in places with larger population of Asians. A tall cup of mango drink cost $17 HKD ($ 2.19 USD) and just for a point of comparison, a cup of such tea here in the US is around $ 6 or more and maybe won’t even be available or tastes as good. 🙂
If you are feeling adventurous and there’s also BBQ intestines, grilled squid and fermented “stinky” tofus that you can buy for very cheap.
Here are some cheap foods I found but didn’t get to try. This is a genius idea although translation is off. Big serving of fries with topped with a variety of sauces, each for $32 HKD ($4.13 USD) and takoyaki for $25 HKD ( $3.22 USD).
Hong Kong has so much to offer and I barely scratched the surface. I have yet to go back for another trip and visit smaller restaurants cha chaan teng for even more localized Hong Kong dishes.