Dining at the best local restaurants in Hong Kong is one of the most popular activities for the millions of visitors who touch down in this bustling city-state each year. Truly a food-centric destination, Hong Kong is at its best around meal times, with all manner of delicious and (sometimes) bewildering local dishes on offer on every street in downtown Hong Kong and Kowloon. Restaurants often specialize in one particular dish or set of dishes so knowing where to go is as important as what to order when it comes to dining locally in Hong Kong.

    This list of Hong Kong’s best local restaurants features those we return to again and again when we want to dine elbow to elbow with the locals and enjoy an authentic meal that won’t break the bank. It can be a little challenging to get exactly what you want sometimes due to the language barrier, but with an adventurous spirit we think a meal at any of these restaurants will live long in the memory.


    Tsui Wah Restaurant


    Tsui Wah is an example of a cha chaan teng, also known as a Hong Kong-style tea house. There are several Tsui Wah branches dotted around the city, but the Wellington Road branch is ideal for all day and all night snacking as it's just steps from Central MTR and the party zone of Lan Kwai Fong. In fact, this is one of the go-to restaurants after a drinking session on Lan Kwai Fong, 1 block up the hill, and it is open all night so it’s a great place to satisfy your late night cravings.

    The Hong Kong milk tea is served deliciously thick, creamy and bitter, while dishes such as noodle soup, pork cutlet or even a simple Hong Kong-style sandwich give you a real sense of what locals eat on a daily basis.

    Location: G-2/F, 15-19 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong

    Open: 24/7

    Phone: +852 2525 6338


    photo by Hamlisnawin (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Lin Heung Tea House

    Sheung Wan

    Lin Heung Tea House does dim sum the way they did back in the ‘50s. Old aunties push the freshly steamed dumplings around on a cart and you just stop her and point. Tables are packed and piled high with bamboo baskets, fans whirl overhead and the whole vibe harks back to days gone by.

    If you want something in particular, Lin Heung Tea House has order sheets (though you may need some help unless you can read Cantonese). Thanks to the number of tourists, the staff can speak a bit of English. 

    Location: 162 Wellington Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

    Open: Daily from 6 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +852 2544 4556


    photo by Jonathan Lin (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Kau Kee Food Cafe


    The classic Hong Kong noodle dish – beef brisket with yellow egg noodles – is best enjoyed at Kau Kee Food Cafe. The queue is pretty much constant at this Central Hong Kong eatery, located just off the mid-level escalators on Gough Street, so expect at least 10 minutes waiting in line around mealtimes. The broth is incredibly rich, the beef tender and soft, and the ‘yee-fu’ flat wheat noodles are silky smooth.

    Location: Ground Floor, 21 Gough Street, Central, Hong Kong

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 12.30 pm to 10.30 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +852 2850 5967


    photo by Jonathan Lin (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Sai Kung Seafood Street

    New Territories

    Many people familiar with Hong Kong claim that Sai Kung in the New Territories is the place to go to sample fresh local seafood. There are many restaurants located in small coastal villages, where the dining is unpretentious but world class.

    The Sai Kung Seafood Street draws a huge crowd to its seafront promenade, where local fishmongers sell freshly caught fish straight off the deck or, in some cases, straight from the boat. Pick your choice of fish or crustacean, take it to one of the promenade restaurants, and have it cooked according to your preferences.

    Location: Market Street, Sai Kung, Hong Kong

    Open: 24/7


    photo by Rob Chan (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Queen’s Street Cooked Food Market

    Sheung Wan

    One feature of local dining in Hong Kong is the many hawker centres with stall after stall of little restaurants, which in Hong Kong are called Cooked Food Centres. You can find a cooked food center in almost every district of Hong Kong, usually close to a fresh market.

    The one on Queen’s Street next to Sai Ying Pun MTR Station caters to the residents of this growing area with many dinnertime treats including Italian, Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, and Cantonese stalls. Find it on the 2nd floor of a government building, next to Ibis Hong Kong Central and Sheung Wan hotel.

    Location: 38 Des Voeux Road West, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 6 am to 2 am, Sunday from 6 am to midnight


    Sing Lum Khui Noodles


    Spicy and sour pork noodle soup is the order of the day at Sing Lum Khui Noodles. Located next to Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station, it's in the center of the shopping area of Kowloon. It's often packed with locals throughout the day, which is always a good sign.

    Your bowl of Yunnan-style noodles can be cooked according to preference by filling in the order sheet and thankfully the staff do have a working knowledge of English. Be careful if you order the spiciest level of broth because it can knock your socks off.

    Location: 23 Lock Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 11 pm

    Phone: +852 2416 2424


    photo by Conpezslisra (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Under Bridge Spicy Crab 橋底辣蟹

    Wan Chai

    Under Bridge Spicy Crab has pictures of local and international celebrities adorning the walls, all of whom have sampled its siganture dish: spicy crab topped with deep fried garlic and chilli. Under Bridge Spicy Crab also specializes in seafood offerings such as mussels, shrimp and garoupa. There are 3 restaurants owned by the same group, which are located on Jaffe Road and Lockhart Road. 

    Location: G/F-3/F, Ascot Mansion, 421-425 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 3 am

    Phone: +852 2893 1289


    photo by Derek Tam (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Tim Ho Wan


    Tim Ho Wan is the original branch of the famous (and constantly packed) dim sum restaurant. It shot into international fame after becoming one of the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurants. It’s foreigner friendly, though you may have to wait for up to 1 hour to secure a table.

    Choose your dim sum by ticking what you like on an order sheet – there are around 30 options, from har gao (crystal shrimp dumplings) to braised chicken feet. Tim Ho Wan has several outlets throughout Hong Kong, though most head for the one in Central for convenience.

    Location: Shop 12A, Hong Kong Station (Podium Level 1, IFC Mall), Central, Hong Kong

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +852 2332 3078


    photo by Christine Rondeau (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Yat Lok Restaurant


    While Yat Lok Restaurant does a variety of roasted meats, it is the roast goose that brings people from far and wide to sample the rich and juicy offerings from the huge ovens out back. The dining experience is typical of local Hong Kong joints, with Chinese-speaking staff and abrupt service.

    But if you are looking for a fill of delicious roast goose, head to Yat Lok in Central – you won’t be disappointed. Roast pork belly and soy-marinated chicken are also recommended at this Central restaurant. 

    Location: 34-38 Stanley Street, Central, Hong Kong

    Open: Monday–Tuesday and Thursday–Saturday from 10 am to 9 pm, Sunday from 10 am to 5.30 pm (closed on Wednesdays)

    Phone: +852 2524 3882


    photo by Eakzowuweb (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Spring Deer


    Spring Deer is most definitely a Hong Kong local diner by look and taste, but you'll be queuing with Hong Kong families, guidebook wielding tourists and hip young expats. Legendary for the succulent Peking duck with hoi sin sauce, portions are large for local standards, so try to go in a group for the best experience and value for money.

    Location: 42 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong

    Open: Daily from 11.30 am to 2 pm and from 6 pm to 11 pm

    Phone: +852 2366 4012

    Paul Smith | Compulsive Traveler

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