There are a number of Must Do’s when visiting Hong Kong and when it comes to cuisine, it’s finding the best places for Hainan Chicken Rice, Dim Sum, Char Siu Fan (Barbecue Pork and Rice) and going in search of the wonders of Peking Duck. Of course, the “best” in anything comes down to subjective tastes.
Speak to Francesca Cumani, for example, and she has very definite favourites when it comes to where to enjoy the best dim sum and dumplings most of which are out-of-the-way restaurants in Quarry Bay and close to the CNN offices and studios.
After all, one man’s meat is another person’s poisson- that’s French, by the way- and one long-standing tradition in Hongkers is the one-upmanship of out naming everyone else with the most obscure restaurants for these classic Chinese dishes.
Frankly, to us, the best Hainan Chicken Rice is in Singapore. In Hong Kong, however, our number one choice would be the Coffee Shop of the Grand Hyatt hotel in Wanchai.
Grand Hyatt hotel coffee shop
No. 1, Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
T: +852 +852 2584 7722
The hotel might be the ghost of The Wolf Of Wall Street days past, but it’s Hainan Chicken Rice is superb, which we prefer without the skin and boneless and extra Ginger Sauce. But to each his own. When locals make the trek to have this dish in the coffee shop of a five-star restaurant, well, that speaks volumes.
GUESS WHO’S COMING FOR YUM CHA?
As for “the best” dim sum, we could be here for another year and still be none the wiser. For purely traditional reasons, one must have dim sum at the Lok Yue Teahouse with its old school waiters and where many old Hong Kongers meet for “Yum Cha” (breakfast) after their early morning walks with their birdcages.
Lok Yue Teahouse
G/F-3/F, 24 Stanley Street, Central
T: +852 2523 5464
Another favourite place for dim sum is the HKJC’s humongous Moon Koon Restaurant at Happy Valley Racecourse. If you’d rather enjoy your dim sum behind closed doors and away from the madding crowd, there are private rooms. Us? We prefer mixing it with the rabble and screaming to be heard. It’s as therapeutic as John Lennon’s Primal Scream Therapy unleashed on his bizarre and frightening recording called “Cold Turkey”.
Moon Koon Restaurant
2/F, Happy Valley Stand, Happy Valley Racecourse, Happy Valley
T: +852 2966 7111
Others strongly recommended are the following:
Maxim’s Palace City Hall
2/F, City Hall, 5-7 Edinburgh Place, Central
T: +852 2521 1303
It’s like Central Station here, but noise and screaming out for waitresses pushing their dim sum trolleys around is all part of the yum cha experience, and this tradition has been going on here for decades. Try everything in these trolleys just once. Dim Sum is more than Chinese Spring Rolls, Char Siu Bao (Barbecue Pork in a Steamed Bun), Har Kau (Shrimp Dumplings) and Siu Mai (Shrimp and Pork Dumplings in yellow skin ). We love the stuffed chillies with everything washed down with Jasmine Tea.
1st floor, Novotel Hong Kong Nathan Road Kowloon
348 Nathan Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong
T: +852 3965 8788
Probably has the most extensive dim sum menu around and another extremely spacious restaurant with much screaming to be heard over the din.
Lin Heung Teahouse
160-164 Wellington Street, Central
T: +852 2544 4556
One of the few remaining traditional dim sum restaurants for those who long for the good old days.
Fook Lam Moon
Shop 3, G/F, Newman House, 35-45 Johnston Road,, Wan Chai
T: +852 2866 0663
Upmarket and pricey, but excellent dim sum- fresh, light and, well, unadventurous but safe.
THIS WAY FOR THE BEST PEKING DUCK IN TOWN.
If it walks like a duck and squawks like a duck, it is a duck, but ask ten people here as to where the best Peking Duck is served and you’ll get ten different ducky answers. Of course, Peking Gardens will be on many Top Ten lists whereas we’ll sneak in a very good outsider in the Blue Bar of the Four Seasons, which will surprise many.
Anyway, because beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the joys of enjoying Peking Duck is cutting through the fat and a matter of taste with what drinks accompany the dish being extremely important to some, here’s our Peking Duck Top Five based on those who see themselves as experts on the subject. There’s duck, and there’s Peking Duck and with all the right ingredients- the cucumber, the plum sauce and the thinness of the pancake plus how to actually fold the pancake- in order to set off those taste explosions in one’s mouth.
Basement, Standard Chartered Bank Building, 4-4A Des Voeux Road Central, Central
T: +852 2885 8688
Specialises in an excellent apple-wood roasted Peking Duck that is sensational. Frankly, for the very best in Chinese cuisine in an extraordinarily creatively designed interior, it’s very hard to get better than Mott 32.
Mott 32 is top jockey Zac Purton’s favourite Chinese restaurant and is pictured below having hunger pangs for its food mid-race.
Shop B1, Basement 1, Alexandra House, 16-20 Chater Road, Central
T: +852 2526 6456
G-2/F, Ming Fat Building, 74 Wellington Street, Central
T: +852 3125 3228
Shop 411-413, 4/F., Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Central
T: +852 2522 2148
Both highly recommended by trainer Caspar Fownes who knows a thing or two about Chinese cuisine. Apart from the Peking Duck, he strongly recommends the char siu fan- Barbecued Pork with Rice- at Tycoon Tann.
Sha Tin 18
4/F, Hyatt Regency Hong Kong Sha Tin, 18 Chak Cheung Street, Sha Tin
T: +852 3723 7932
Mentioned by many of our Chinese friends as the best restaurant for Peking Duck in that also provided are the different teas to enhance the dining experience along with what wines go best with this much-discussed dish.