Hong Kong has a reputation for amazing cuisine and world class restaurants but a lot of the best food can be found for well under 50 HKD. Unfortunately, a lot of these places are either unavailable on Google Maps or have no English menu.
I’ve set about searching Hong Kong, Kowloon and the New Territories for the best food available at the cheapest price so that you can eat well without wondering where the 500 dollar withdrawal you made this morning ended up. Not only that, but I’ll also be uploading English translations Chinese menus with the original characters on the side so you can easily point out what you want.
If you’re looking for the best Tea Restaurants, dimsum and roast meat in Hong Kong, this is where you’ll find it.
Street Fast Food is a pretty generic name for a restaurant. You wouldn’t really expect it to serve Nepalese food unless you walked by and saw the pictures of momo and pani puri all over the walls or breathed the air within a 20 meter radius. In a city where anything Indian or Nepalese usually comes at a premium, it’s always nice to find a place that doesn’t destroy your wallet. As it turns out, there’s a few of those near the Jordan MRT station in Yau Ma Tei and Street Fast Food is probably the best option if you’re looking for some great hangover food or a snack.
A lot of people claim that momo is the best dish you can get at a Nepalese restaurant. Sure, there’s something pretty magical about a plate of dumplings filled with perfectly spiced meat and drizzled with hot sauce. Still, that doesn’t mean that dahi puri isn’t the best Indian and Nepalese snack ever. Consisting of a crunchy puri shell filled with chickpeas and onions, dahi puri is a lot like pani puri. Instead of pouring the dipping sauce in the shell though, you’ll find it’s already covered with tangy yogurt and tamarind chutney. This tastes great but makes it a bit hard to eat and you’ll want to get the whole thing in one go unless you’re in the mood to blast yogurt all over your shirt. Street Fast Food will give you seven of these for 30 HKD; a pretty good deal considering that Manakamana around the corner will charge you about 15 dollars more for the same thing.
So far, I’ve tried the chicken momo, dahi puri, pani puri and gulab jamun. They’re all delicious except for the gulab jamun, which was a total miss and just kind of doughy.
English Menu: Yup
Average Price Per Person: $30-$45
Recommendations: Everything except for the gulab jamun. Whatever you do, don’t get that.
Hong Kong is full of tea restaurants, cha chaan teng or ice rooms with very similar menus serving both Cantonese and Western-inspired fare at affordable prices. Ma Sa stands out as one of the best that I’ve tried in the Sheung Wan / Central Area. Granted, I’ve only eaten a few things on the menu because I keep ordering them over and over again. But I can say for sure that set A is fantastic, set B is pretty good and set C is sort of ok. For 31 HKD or 27 HKD before noon you get a decent portion of spaghetti with satay beef, fried eggs or ham over some mildly spicy stir-fried spaghetti along with buttered toast and tea or coffee. Add one more dollar and they’ll give you some classic Hong Kong style iced milk tea.
Here are the main lunch sets: ($27 before 12:00 / $31 after 12:00)
Set A: 1. Toast 2. Satay beef with spaghetti 3. Coffee or tea
Set B: 1. Toast 2. Choice of pickled mustard greens & meat, lunchmeat or ham with rice noodles 3. Coffee or tea
Set C: 1. Toast 2. Ham, spam or diced meat in macaroni soup 3. Coffee or tea
Ma Sa also has an extensive main menu where you can find usual tea restaurant fare like tofu pork rice (豆腐火腩飯), tomato beef stir-fry (鮮茄牛肉飯), and fried beef noodles (乾炒牛河). The only problem is that they’re usually sold out of all the good dishes by the time the lunch-rush is over. That means you probably want to arrive before 12:30 or else you’ll end up getting Set A every single time.
English Menu: Available, but you have to ask.
Average Price Per Person: Under $50
Recommendations: You really can’t go wrong with the satay beef noodles or tofu pork belly rice.
When I think of SoHo I usually think of bougie gastropubs and other overpriced western restaurants with names like “Fish & Barley”. Still, there’s plenty of good places to eat if you’re not in the mood for avocado toast and activated charcoal. One of those places is Sui Kee, an outdoor wonton and brisket noodle restaurant which happens to be right up the hill from The Butchers Club.
It’s pretty noticeable because it’s one of the only remaining food stands in the area and has clearly been there quite a long time. In fact, I don’t think they’ve ever reprinted the menu. But, if you read Chinese you’ll notice that the price for big bowl of wonton noodles was updated at some point to $36. That’s enough to buy a few pieces of bokchoi at Mak’s Noodle down the street if you’re into that sort of thing.
The great thing about Sui Kee though, is how big the portions are compared to the more touristy wonton noodle places in Hong Kong. My bowl came with about five wontons (sorry I ate them too fast to count) and a generous helping of perfectly chewy noodles. The broth itself was also incredibly flavorful and had clearly been cooking for hours by the time I stopped in for lunch.
English Menu: Cannot. Just ask for wonton noodles or brisket noodles.
People like to say that the best dim sum in Hong Kong comes from those little hole-in-the-wall places. Usually, if it looks like the menu hasn’t been printed in the last thirty years and there’s a decent crowd inside you can assume that they’re serving some pretty good stuff. Kam Fai Dim Sum in Wanchai happens to be one of those places. Located next to my favorite BBQ joint, Kam Fai is a no frills classic dim sum experience where you can wash your utensils with tea and watch reruns of HK soap operas.
With most dishes priced at under $25, it’s possible to order quite a bit without even breaking 100. In fact you’d be hard pressed to exceed 50 HKD per person unless you order a huge amount. The BBQ Pork Buns are just as fluffy and juicy as the one’s you’d get from One Dimsum or Dimsum Corner but they aren’t marked up for tourists here. The Rice Rolls, Har Gao, and chicken sticky rice are equally delicious, but you may have to wait a few minutes for the cook to steam them in the oven outside.
English Menu: There isn’t one outside but they’ve got a few if you ask
If you’re in Wanchai and thinking about waiting in line for Kam’s Roast Goose, I highly recommend checking out Wong Kei Chinese Barbecue instead. It’s right across from exit A3 on 14 Spring Garden Lane right next to an amazing dimsum restaurant. For 56 HKD you can get some of the most succulent and crispy roast goose available in Hong Kong Island with a perfect amount of sauce drizzled over your rice. Add $7 and you’ve got some amazing iced milk tea to go with it.
Like any good Cantonese Barbecue, Mong Kee also serves Char Siu, Siu Yuk, Roast Duck and other traditional favorites, which you can order over rice for 38 dollars. The great thing about Wong Kei though, is that you’re not paying 150 HKD to wait in line for half an hour. While the restaurant is often full at peak hours, I have never had to wait for a table and service is quite fast and attentive.
Average Meal Price: < 60 HKD including a drink
Recommendations: Definitely try the roast goose, roast pork or four treasure with rice. You can’t get better for that price in the area.