Hong Kong Must Eat Places
Shopper’s Paradise. Bruce Lee. Jackie Chan. East Meets West. Skyscrapers. Milk Tea. Dim Sum. Cantonese. Culinary Adventure. Hong Kong Must Eat Places. Feng Shui. Former British Colony. These are some of the many things that you hear in a discussion of Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is all of this. Made up of 200 islands and 7.4 million people, it is connected to the Chinese mainland. Since the British handoff in 1997, Honk Kong has been an autonomous territory of China that have been allowed to operate (mostly) independently of China. Traditional Chinese medicine shops are next to malls full of high end designer stores. Night markets abound. There are 74 Michelin starred restaurants in Hong Kong, more than in New York City. If you’re a shopper, a foodie, sightseer—you can find it all in Hong Kong.
Kam’s Roast Goose—Delicious food, No Lingering
At 11:30 precisely, the doors open and we are ushered into the restaurant. There are about 10 tables—seating for about 40 people. Immediately, the server appears at our table for our order: goose, barbecue and roast pork, vegetables, noodles and rice. Within minutes the food appears. Succulent goose that nearly melts in our mouths. Pork cooked to perfection—two kinds, both equally delicious. Noodles and veggies round out the meal. The food occupies us and we don’t talk much. The table across from us finished and leaves at 11:55 am. After a few looks by the staff, we are not far behind.
So it goes at Kam’s Roast Goose in Hong Kong. Roast Goose is a specialty in Hong Kong and Kam’s is one of the best, awarded 1 star by the Michelin guide for the past 4 years. Our friend Chris told us to meet him at 10:45—a full 45 minutes before the restaurant opened. We were rewarded by being the first in line. Within a few minutes of our arrival, the line began growing. Fifteen minutes later, there were at least 80 people in line. Kam’s is small, and you are expected to eat and leave quickly as there is always a line during lunch and dinner. The food is reasonably priced—our bill was $70USD for 3 people. An amazing price for a Michelin starred restaurant. It is frequented by locals as well as tourists.
Kam Shan Seafood
On our way to the Temple Night Market, we saw a large group of people standing in front of a restaurant. A man stood in front of the door, speaking Cantonese. Handing out slips of paper with numbers and occasionally sending a group to the side door and up the stairs. Razor clams, shrimp (9-10 inches long—the largest I have ever seen), eels, and other fish were in buckets at the side of the door. Waiters came down to hand slips of paper with orders to the man staffing the fish section. He selected seafood, used an old fashion scale to weigh them and then handed it through a small window to the kitchen. It was a well-orchestrated dance. We had to eat there.
Waiting at a Honk Kong Must Eat Place
We waited and waited. We were told we were next. Then we waited some more. Finally, after 45 minutes, we were given a slip of paper with our table number. On the way up, we selected our fish—razor clams and king prawns. The prawns ($98 HK a kilo), were 8 inches long and not even the largest in the tanks. Up we went 3 flights of stairs, turned left and were seated in a small room with about 5 tables and 25 people. The lights were bright, the walls were white, and the food held center stage. The room was all locals, speaking in Cantonese and Mandarin. There was an English version of the menu and the waiter are friendly and helpful. The razor clams, the highlight if the meal, were tender and cooked with black bean sauce. We would go back to Hong Kong just to eat those clams. The prawns came with scissors to cut them open. We were a little scared to eat them. We need not have worried, they were excellent. And the noodles were perfection. Our meal with beer came to $600 HK (about $75 USD and Cash only).
Mr. Wong’s is a legend in Hong Kong. It was very close to our hotel. The actual name of the restaurant is Hon Lok, but Mr. Wong is such a presence that everyone calls refers to the place as Mr. Wong’s. When we arrived, there were no empty tables. No matter. Mrs. Lee told someone to finish eating and give us the table. We protested, but to no avail. The table was ours.
Lunchtime does not have the same set menus and beer as in the evening. We had noodles with vegetables and spare ribs. The noodles were homemade and tasted wonderful. The sweet and sour spare ribs were just the right amount of tangy. Our server decided that I needed to have the lemonade. It was homemade with real lemonade and not like lemonade that you find in the US. They do have menus in English though most of the servers speak Cantonese. We were also given a complementary Cantonese vegetable soup. It was delicious with big chucks of veggies. The restaurant is only a couple of blocks from the Mong Kok MTR (subway) station and the Langan Place mall.
Eat Like a Local
Hong Kong is a food paradise that does not have to be very expensive. There were hundreds of Hong Kong must eat places within a 5-block radius of our hotel. Many were inexpensive local places with makeshift seating for 5 or so people. Restaurants in the hotels and in the malls can be mid-range or very expensive.
Hong Kong can be intimidating. All the signs are in Chinese. The menus are in Chinese. The customers and the owners speak Cantonese. No worries. Most of the little shops have an English version of the menu—usually with less items. If all else fails, point to something on the menu and be surprised. Our first morning, we ate dim sum ($5USD) at Ho Gay Dessert store (119 Yuen between Fife and Argyle streets in Mong Kok a few blocks from our hotel). The woman running the store cooked all the food herself. The next day, we found Little Congee House (501 Shang Hai Street) where we had Sampan Congee and rice rolls for $6 (USD).
I had no idea that there were than many starred restaurants in such a small area! You certainly had a culinary adventure. Ordering blindly from a menu I couldn’t read at some of the smaller places would be a little scary for me though.
Kris-Thanks for your comments. It is risky to order blindly. I once had steak and beer for breakfast at 7 am by ordering blindly.
I wish I had tried all these restaurants when I visited HK. The dumplings are excellent there. And fish cakes too.
Loved reading about your culinary adventure.
Rajlakshmi-Thanks. Definitely lots of good food in Honk Kong
Who knew they’d be so many amazing restaurants! You’re definitely braver than me with your chooses though
Rachel-Thanks. I figure if it is not expensive and I don’t like it, I can order something else.
I ADORE the food in Hong Kong and have wanted to visit Kam’s for some time now. I am one jealous lady of your melt in th mouth goose. I tend to scoff dim sum the entire time I’m there but will definitely be branching out next time I visit.
Rosie-I love dim sum too!
I have to admit that I would be horrified to order something and not know what I was getting. You are an adventurous soul if you’re doing that. I do feel like food is such an integral part of a culture though, so I might just have to go for it! 🙂
Once I had steak and beer at 7 am for breakfast in Brazil–picked from the menu, didn’t know Portuguese and too tired/starving from overnight flight to figure anything out.
Oh man, I used to live in Singapore so Hong Kong was a close stop away! I wish I could go back- I’m missing Asian food a little extra today! I haven’t tried about half of these places, so I guess that’s a reason to return 😉
Any-I love Singapore. There are some pretty good restaurants in NYC with food from Singapore (Malalsian). So maybe a visit to NYC if you are in the US.
Great and detailed post. Saving this for my bucket list! 🙂
Shruti. Thanks. Hope you get there.
I cannot believe how many Michelin star restaurants are in Hong Kong! This city is truly a food lovers paradise. Kams roast goose sounds like a great place and they have everything down to a science. No muss or fuss. Get in eat delicious food and get out. Kam Shan seafood also seems like a great place to try a multitude of dishes you’ve never seen before. All of these places sound great!
Hong Kong is hands down my favorite city in Asia. Although, I tend to not be overly adventurous when I’m eating in a new country. Great roudup of restaurants!
Thanks, Mary. It’s scary sometimes to be adventurous.