Despite Hong Kong being a real short 2 night trip for us, I must say it was truly a blast! They say you can never see a country the same way twice and it was really the case for me. It felt like a totally different country I was stepping into compared to my last visit back in November 2012.
Although the agenda for the trip was food and a hike. We ended up just eating and shopping. Well, in our defence, the poor weather was to blame. It’s definitely not an understatement when you hear people saying Hong Kong is a food paradise. Locals and tourists alike flock to get a table even if entails a waiting time. It’s easily a 30 minute wait at most places. Another concept you have to embrace when in Hong Kong, would be the idea of communal dining. It’s almost always you are sharing the same table with strangers and sometimes you end up having a stranger right across you. If you are lucky, it’s at least a 1m spacing, mind you.
Transport and SIM Matters
The transport in Hong Kong is very well developed and easy to accustom yourself to even for first timers. From the Airport, we got ourselves a MTR Pass which included 2-way Airport express for 350 HKD (about SGD58). The validity for the pass was 3 days, which was sufficient for us.
Before my travel, I bought myself a 1.5GB SIM via KLOOK for SGD 7. It was really useful as travel these days, unfortunately, relies a lot on Google Maps to bring you places.
Having landed in Hong Kong close to 2pm, we headed straight with our luggage for a late dim sum lunch at the famous One Dim Sum at Prince Edward. It was about a 20 minute wait before we got ourselves a table for 2.
A stone’s throw away is another popular Dim Sum place, Famous Dim Sum. Following the theory of the more crowded a shop is the better the food is, we stuck to our wait at One Dim Sum. I found the variety of dim sum that was offered pretty limited as opposed to the options we had back in Singapore. But, however, there is no competition when it came to the quality and size of the meat. The prawns and meat portion were sizeable as well so succulent.
Expected damage: HKD 113 for 2
I daresay, the dinner at the end of first day, at Butao Ramen at their Tsim Sha Tsui outlet, was hands down the best meal in our trip, for me at least. You get to customise nearly every aspect of the dish from garlic to oil level to noodle texture etc.
To begin with you have 4 options to choose from for the choice of ramen as well as on lucky days, you have an option called limited edition as well. No surprise, it had run out by the time we got there for dinner.
1) Butao King 豚王: the original, with a tonkotsu pork bone broth
2) Green King 翠王: an Italian inspired pesto, basil and Parmesan cheese ramen
3) Black King 黑王: a tonkatsu squid ink broth
4) Red King 赤王: a spicy miso broth
This bowl of goodness was perfect comfort food for the soul especially after our rather bad experience of the Symphony of Light show. It didn’t help that the sky was so foggy.
Again, relatively close by to Butao Ramen is another more popular ramen shop, Ichiran. This post compares both Butao and Ichiran for those of you undecided on which ramen store would better suit your palette. Given that I was fully satisfied with my bowl of goodness at Butao, I gave Ichiran a miss this time round.
Expected damage: HKD 263 for 2
Everyone is familiar with Mak’s Noodle at Jordan. However, we missed original, one-star Michelin Star Mak’s Noodle and landed ourselves few stores away at Mak Man Kee Noodle Shop instead. This is literally right next to Australian Diary Co, which has a queue of at least 15 people at any time of the day, so it’s quite hard to miss this.
Again, some reviews claim that Mak Man Kee Noodles are better than the original Mak’s Noodle. But, we were not too fussed that we learnt we ended up at the “wrong” noodle shop at the end of our late lunch. As hard as it is, you have got to pace yourselves in Hong Kong as there is literally something good to try at every corner. We swung by a dessert store for some sugar rush after our light lunch at Mak Man Kee Noodle’s.
Expected damage: HKD 157 for 2
Australian Diary Co.
This place definitely was better than I expected it to be because when I first chanced by it enroute to Mak’s Noodle I wondered to myself “how good can eggs on toast taste that people don’t mind queuing for it.” But, low behold, the next day (which was also the last day in HK) I dragged the husband for breakfast. Let’s just say, you’ll tolerate communal dining as well as rude waiters who pounce within seconds when your plate is empty to help clear them for you, just to have a good start to the day. At least, I didn’t mind. Added bonus, amazing milk tea!
Expected damage: HKD 80 for 2
Thanks to the staff at Urban Coffee Roasters (next up!) our craving for Japanese for fulfilled on the last day for lunch. He recommended this joint (Hokkaido Katsu) which was nothing too fancy but high quality sushi and sashimi which was rather affordable.
Expected damage: HKD 170 for 2
Grassroots Pantry is a rather high end restaurant that serves fully vegetarian plates with a totally different twist. Some of the dishes on the menu include popcorn “chicken”, pulled jackfruit nachos and dragon maki roll. Wasn’t the most enjoyable meal for the trip but it was definitely refreshing on our taste buds, having had meat for every meal in our time in Hong Kong.
Coffee and Drinks
Having done my homework before the trip, I planned on checking out Urban Coffee Roasters for their speciality coffee as the husband is a huge coffee enthusiast. I planned it such that a good cup of coffee would help kickstart our fitness for the trip. But, turns out, as I mentioned earlier, the weather diverted our plans to staying indoors.
Nothing fancy on the menu for food, the coffee is the real deal. Another joint we checked out was The Cupping Room located near Central. There are more food options in The Cupping Room so for the non coffee enthusiasts, don’t miss checking this one out.
There a plenty of bars that have opened up, especially around Central, but we only had one to check out over our 2 nights in HK. The Iron Fairies! I’ll let photos to do talking about this whimsical underground bar.
If you have only time for to visit one market, Ladies Market has to be your choice! From bags to electronics to toys the market has nearly everything for every age group. The bulk of our first day was spent frequenting the Ladies Market. Our hotel, S Hotel Yau Ma Tei, was about a 10 minute walk to the Market. Temple Street Night Market located at Mong Kok is another popular one. However, do note, it’s a night market so arriving after 8pm would be your best bet to see the market in it’s full glory. Here’s a list of the best 9 markets in Hong Kong for the shopping enthusiasts.
Aside from markets, Mong Kok area has a plethora of electronics stores as well as sports stores. We frequented the area twice in the 3 days we had in Hong Kong.
For my next trip to Hong Kong, conquering the Lion’s Rock is in my to-do list. Hopefully, our travel dates coincide with good weather. This guide has full details on what to expect during the hike. Another popular hiking trail is the Dragon’s Back. Some day soon I shall conquer you (both).
There were a couple of websites that helped me planned my food trail though HK. So, passing it on folks.
Till then, eat your way though Hong Kong guys!
All images belong to Solosingaporean unless otherwise credited for. Please give credit where it’s due.