If Asia is to US, then Hong Kong is to New York City. Similarly, how New York City is the Big Apple, Hong Kong is the apple of my dad’s eye.
We often take trips to Hong Kong just because of the ambience, the crowd, the food, the shopping, the easy transportation… everything.
I have told myself a million times before and never fail to think every time I visit, “if I could live anywhere in the world, I’d live in Hong Kong”.
First, Hong Kong is filled with well-dressed people. Being well-dressed in one thing, having their own style is another. Everyone you meet on the street parades their own uniqueness translated in their clothing, accessories… their style. I don’t know how better else to put it. Hongkys just have that style when you just know they are from Hong Kong.
Guys there are not too shabby either. They don’t really flaunt what they have; in fact, they aren’t obnoxious nor are they really out there to show what they own. I’ve been on Tinder (what a shocker no? but expect an online-dating post soon!) in Hong Kong and trust me, the guys in Hong Kong are incredibly nice and aren’t stuck up. They are well-educated and are frank with their intentions. I have had a few really nice conversations with them.
Now, enough of what I can say about Hong Kong and let’s get down to serious business – food and shopping, because that’s what you’re here for, right? Here’s the truth : I’ve never had bad food in Hong Kong. There isn’t a time when I think “oh shit, that’s bad”. Never.
Micheline star restaurants are abundant in Hong Kong. I can, for one, say that Hong Kong has a vibrant F&B scene compared to the rest of Asia. Most of my friends would visit bars and Asian fusion/Western fine dining restaurants, but I haven’t really ventured out to those places because I usually travel with my mum and dad. You know, Asian parents can’t really see the value in expensive Western/Asian Fusion/Fusion food, more so what they serve in a bar.
But! Thankfully, my parents’ standards for food is quite up there so we are pretty picky in terms of what we categorized as “nice” and “not nice”, as how my dad likes to say.
A few staples in Hong Kong for us are Fu Shin Shark Fin Restaurant, SOGO Basement Supermarket, Tai Hing, and Four Season Pot Rice, one new spot where my friend took to me eat oyster omelette and claypot rice.
Fu Shing Shark Fin Restaurant is definitely one of my top to-go restaurants for dim sum. It is conveniently located in Causeway Bay, where I usually stay because that’s the main location for everything (think of it as the Orchard Rd of Hong Kong).
Judging from the entrance, one can see the various awards and gold plates that are not-so-subtly and strategically placed so that it is the first thing you see when you enter. 2 Micheline stars will greet you before the host does.
You will then be shown the specials of the day and seated inside what looks like a typical dimsum restaurant, very Chinese, very grand and ballroom-like.
Skip the service, the wait, because people go there for the food and not for the ambience. It is loud, it is hectic, it is quick – just like any other dimsum restaurant you come across (except in Indonesia).
No joke. All the dishes we have ordered the first time, the second time, the x number of times we’ve been there have always been…. perfect. Just the way how dimsum should be. Not too oily, juicy, savory, the right amount of sweet or salty. The best. I recommend everything because with 2 michelin stars, you can’t go wrong.
From an expensive restaurant to the cheapest eats you’d find in Causeway Bay… You can definitely visit SOGO’s basement where there are tons of Japanese stalls and small eateries. You can grab anything on the go. They always bring in different stalls every couple of months; the last time I visited, they had Kobe Beef meat pies, BAKE cheese tarts, and other Japanese stalls. Hong Kong is really influenced by the Japanese and Japanese food and goods are easily made available there. The prices? Affordable.
The only bad thing I can point out about the SOGO supermarket on the basement level is that it tends to get too hectic and crowded during peak hours. If you’ve been to Hong Kong, you know how rush hour feels like. You think Mangga Dua or the crowds in Jakarta malls are bad enough? This is certainly multiple times worse. You barely can even walk or in my case, since I am short, I couldn’t see anything. I tend to avoid the crowd by having an early dinner when everyone is commuting out of their workplace.
The queue in the supermarket? Horrendous. So avoid doing your shopping at that hour. My advice is to visit the supermarket early in the morning when everyone’s at work, and bring your goodies back to the hotel and head out again.
Good news, by the way, those of you who are fans of Tokyo Cheese Company… They have a stall selling their biscuits AND they do offer their fomage cheese cakes as well. I bought the combination box home – honestly, I can’t taste the difference.
SOGO Supermarket is the best for buying Japanese snacks and goodies or oleh-oleh for friends back home. People can’t even differentiate whether you went to Hong Kong or Japan because you literally can find any Japanese snacks all over Hong Kong.
If you are craving for more Hong Kong dishes, visit the local cha-can-tengs “tea shophouses”. You can easily spot them on the side of the roads – they are usually very down-to-Earth, no fancy hosts, tight spaces and plastic/aluminum chairs. Sometimes when it gets too crowded, you’d need to share your table with someone else and it is totally normal. There, they serve really classic Hong Kong dishes. I love going during breakfast as it is quick and easy (and filling). They usually serve pork dishes, or soupy noodles and egg buns, egg The thing is when you are in Hong Kong, you tend to walk a lot, and hence you will eat a lot and very frequently. If you visit Tai Hing or these tea shop houses, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.
Because I studied in Seattle for college, I had made friends from all over the world. One in particular is a close friend of mine, Jenny, and she happens to be from Hong Kong. Of course, I always find time to catch up with my friends whenever I visit their countries and have them bring me eat where the locals would.
This time, I was craving claypot rice really badly. It is what it is – rice cooked in a stone pot topped with different types of meat and condiments. Since it is cooked on top of fire, you get a crust of burnt rice at the bottom of the pot which adds another layer of that something-something to that whole dish. Jenny brought me to what seemed like where the locals go for a good clay pot rice and oyster omelet – Four Season Pot Rice. From what I see, I think their signature dish is more of their oysters than their clay pot rice.
I am not a huge fan of oysters, mainly because I just always come across those that smells really bad, or those which still have sand in them. Gross. But Jenny and her boyfriend insisted I ordered their oyster omelette and their oyster clay pot rice.
Truth behold, it was fantastic. The oysters… were so juicy yet has that sea taste with a tad bit of sweetness at the end of every bite. The combination of oysters, cured sausages and rice is naturally high in natural umami tastes and makes a nice finale to your meal for the day.
Hope this helps! Here’s my VLOG where you can catch some of these place mentioned in action: