If you’re among my close friends, you know full well that I’m borderline obsessed with Hong Kong. A couple years ago, I would up living in this fabulous city for about six months. I’ve gone back a few times since then to visit friends—in fact, I’m planning one this year!
Besides seeing some of my favorite faces in the world, I’m excited to dive head first into the culinary scene there, because it’s always changing.
Whether you’re in Hong Kong for a brief layover or an entire month, here are some of the best ways to eat like a queen but on a pauper’s budget.
Sign up for a food walking tour
One of the very first things I did after moving to Hong Kong was signing up for a few walking tours. Sure, I like to explore on my own but when it comes to certain activities (like eating!) I prefer to do it in a social setting. Withlocals has a Hong Kong food tour that sounds amazing—it takes you to THREE Michelin Star restaurants. While it’s pricier than their other offerings, it’s well worth the splurge considering that you’ll be visiting some of Hong Kong’s most exclusive restaurants.
For something a bit more budget friendly, try their Hong Kong Favorite Food Tour, that includes a whopping 10 tastings in the €54.50 price. Plus, the tour takes you past some of the city’s most iconic landmarks and picturesque neighborhoods, making this one extra ideal for travelers on a time crunch.
Take advantage of daily lunch deals
When I lived in Hong Kong, I found restaurant prices fairly similar to both New York and San Francisco. That said, these are three of the most expensive cities in the world so while I was used to paying top dollar for food, it can come as quite a shock for more budget-minded travelers.
After my first week or so, I started to take advantage of daily lunch deals offered in hundreds (probably thousands) of restaurants scattered across Hong Kong. These deals usually include a starter, a main, and either a drink or a dessert. The portions are usually on the larger side, so you might not be hungry for a big dinner later.
Best of all, it’s a great way to sample different cuisines in different neighborhoods.
Eat and shop at a night market
Hong Kong has several night markets and these are great opportunities to grab some grub while you shop. One of my favorites is the Temple Street Night Market. There’s so much going on and it’s really fun to just wander around with no plan. You’ll find everything from stir fries to seafood and seafood.
Another area I really like is the Sheung Wan neighborhood, where you’ll find the curio and antique shops of Cat Street (stop for a coffee around here), Hollywood Road, and the Man Mo Temple.
Otherwise, you can always find plenty of fruit stands throughout Central and other areas of Hong Kong for a cheap but totally satisfying breakfast or mid-day snack.
Chow down on snacks during happy hour
As I quickly learned upon arriving to Hong Kong, happy hour is a daily occurrence. Not that I’m encouraging you to drink more than you’re comfortable with, but it’s a great way to meet fellow expats, sample local flavors and indulge on some small bites.
If you’re new to the city, I suggest walking along Hollywood Road to start. It’s a really pretty walk and there are bars that suit every price point. Also, don’t be shy about showing up alone. Some of my favorite memories in Hong Kong involved a glass of wine, a people-watching, open-air seat, and a good book.
Stick to non-western cuisines when you can
Nothing against Western food, but if you’re visiting Hong Kong, I really encourage you to try cuisines out of your comfort zone. More often than not, restaurants serving western food is more expensive while local joints are reasonably priced.
One of my favorite places is Din Tai Fung (there are a few locations). Every few weeks my girlfriends and I would indulge in dumplings and beer for hours on end. Besides being a truly authentic experience to have in Hong Kong, it’s super budget-friendly and ideal for larger groups. But make sure you reserve ahead of time, as it’s a popular spot.
What is YOUR favorite foodie memory? Tell me in the comments below!
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