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 specialise in one particular dish or set of dishes so knowing what to order is as important as where to go 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.
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Tsui Wah is a great example of a ‘cha cha teeng’, the name given to Hong Kong style local cafes. There are several Tsui Wah branches dotted around but the Wellington Road branch is ideal for all day and all night snacking as it is 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 one 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 gives visitors a real sense of what locals eat on a daily basis.
- Opening Hours: 24 hours a day
- MRT: Central
- Address: G-2/F, 15-19 Wellington Street, Central
- Tel: +852 2525 6338
Lin Heung Tea House does dim sum the way they did it 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 there is a huge order sheet although you will need some help unless you can read Cantonese. Thanks to the number of tourists on a nostalgia trip, they do speak a bit of English here, although the famously abrupt service style means you won’t have long to chat even if you wanted to.
- Opening Hours: 06:00 - 23:00
- MRT: Sheung Wan
- Address: Tsang Chiu Ho Building, 160 Wellington St, Sheung Wan
- Tel: +852 2544 4556
The classic Hong Kong noodle dish, beef brisket with yellow egg noodle, is best enjoyed at Kau Kee Beef Noodle. 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. As with all the most famous local restaurants in Hong Kong, expect long queues to get a seat at peak times.
- Opening Hours: Mon - Sat 12:30 - 22:30 (closed on Sunday)
- Address: 21 Gough Street, Central
- Tel: +852 2850 5967
Many people familiar with Hong Kong claim that Sai Kung in the New Territories is the best place to sample local seafood. There are many restaurants located in small coastal villages, where the dining is unpretentious but world class. Sai Kung is one of the most popular. Seafood fans head for the seafront promenade, where sampans sell freshly caught fish straight off the deck or, in some cases, straight from the boat. Pick your dinner and take it to one of the promenade restaurants to be prepared according to your preferences.
- Opening Hours: 11:00 - 22:00
- Location: Sai Kung, New Territories
- How to get there: MTR to Diamond Hill, bus 92 or 96R
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 centre 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, as well as Chinese and Cantonese stalls. Quick, convenient and very cheap, this is a local food experience everyone can afford! Find it on the second floor of a government building next door to Ibis Hong Kong Central and Sheung Wan hotel.
- Opening Hours: 10:00 - 24:00
- MRT: Sai Ying Pun
- Address: 38 Des Voeux Rd West, Sai Ying Pun
Spicy and sour pork noodle soup is the order of the day at this local restaurant in Kowloon. Located just next to Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station, it is one of the easiest restaurants to find on this list, and despite being in the centre of the shopping area of Kowloon it is 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.
- MRT: Tsim Sha Tsui
- Address: 1F, No.23 Lock Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
- Tel: +852 2415 2424
Visited by Anthony Bourdain is just one claim to fame of this exceedingly popular local restaurant. Picture of local and international celebrities adorn the walls, all coming to sample the deliciously fresh and spicy crab topped with deep fried garlic and chilli, along with other seafood offerings such as mussels, shrimp and garoupa. In recent years, the price of a meal at Under Bridge Spicy Crab has increased with its popularity, but that is the common trend among Hong Kong restaurants that make their way into travel guides. There are actually three restaurants all owned by the same group located on Jaffe Road and Lockhart Road between Causeway Bay and Wan Chai.
- Address: G/F-3/F, Ascot Mansion, 421-425 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai
- Tel: +852 2893 1289
This is the original branch of the famous (and constantly packed) dim sum institution. Tim Ho Wan become world famous when it became the cheapest ever Michelin-starred restaurant and everyone flocked to check it out. It’s foreigner friendly, although you may have to wait for up to an hour to secure a table (there is a no reservation policy in place at all branches of Tim Ho Wan). Choose your dim sum by ticking a piece of paper; there are around 30 options in all. Everything from har gao (crystal shrimp dumplings) to chicken feet is available, depending on your adventurous spirit.
- Opening Hours: 10:00 – 22:00
- Address: 9-11 Fuk Wing Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
- How to get there: MTR to Diamond Hill, bus 92 or 96R
Although Yat Lok 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 as a whole is entirely mundane, with a cranky owner and so-so service, this is fairly typical of local Hong Kong joints. The barbequed pork (char siu) is passable although a bit chewy and dry compared to other places. But if you are looking for a fill of delicious roast goose, head to Yat Lok in Central – you won’t be disappointed.
- Opening Hours: Mon - Sat 10:00 - 21:00, Sunday and public holidays 10:00 - 17:30
- Address: 34-38 Stanley Street, Central
- Tel: +852 2524 3882
The only reason Spring Deer isn’t higher on the list is because it’s no longer a local restaurant owing to its incredible popularity with everyone who comes to Hong Kong. Although this is most definitely a Hong Kong local diner by look and taste, you will be queuing with three-generations of Hong Kong families, guidebook wielding tourists and hip young expats. Legendary among Hong Kong locals for the succulent Peking duck with hoi sin sauce, portions here are large so try to go in a group for the best experience and value for money.
- Opening Hours: 12:00 – 23:00
- Address: 2/F, 42 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
- Tel: +852 2366 4012