Food and drink - Hong Kong - Travel | Monocle


Din Tai Fung, Causeway Bay

Din Tai Fung launched in the Taiwanese capital of Taipei in 1958 but Hong Kongers have since heartily embraced it as one of their very favourite places for a dumpling moment. No visit to the restaurant would be complete without sampling its beloved signature dish: the delectable xiao long bao .  A Shanghainese steamed-pork dumpling, each soup parcel is intricately folded 18 times before it’s cooked in bamboo steamers. Ask the staff to show you the best way to enjoy the dumplings; generous helpings of Chinese black vinegar and ginger are key.

Although Din Tai Fung may be best known for dumplings, it also serves an array of cold appetisers, speciality noodles including a Taiwanese braised-beef-soup variety, and a selection of Chinese desserts such as red-bean-paste buns. We recommend arriving early to avoid queues or just stopping by for a mid-afternoon snack. Even if there seems to be a wait, the restaurant’s efficient staff and seating system mean that you won’t be standing around for too long.

Shop G3-11, 68 Yee Wo Street 
+852 3160 8998

Amber, Central

The city’s first homegrown fine diner of modern European fare to make an international impact, Amber in the Landmark Mandarin Oriental has been helmed by Richard Ekkebus since opening in 2005. During breakfast and lunch on weekdays it’s not uncommon to see the Adam Tihany-designed dining room filled with suits – but don’t let that frighten you. Dinner is a more indulgent affair with an eight-course degustation on offer, as well as a five-course menu and à la carte, while an elaborate lunch menu is available on weekends. 

Drawing on Ekkebus’s Dutch upbringing and experience in the tropics (Barbados and Mauritius) via France, the food takes inspiration from around the world with Japan at the forefront. The dishes change according to the season but the Hokkaido sea urchin with lobster jelly is something of a modern classic.

Drinks are central to the experience too, with pairings on set menus designed by sommelier John Chan. Inside the wine cellar is a private room for those wanting a more intimate experience. The restaurant has an impressive pop-up guest-chef calendar, attracting top names from around the globe. For these special sessions – or even just regular dining – book well ahead.

7F, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, 15 Queen’s Road 
+852 2132 0066

Common Ground, Sheung Wan

While neighbourhood cafés serving tasty salads and good coffee are common in cities such as New York or Sydney, they are rare in Hong Kong. Tucked away on a set of stairs connecting bustling Soho with the residential Mid-Levels, Common Ground café fits the bill. 

Having studied in LA, twin brothers Caleb and Joshua Ng wanted to create a laid-back restaurant reminiscent of those on the US West Coast. The menu features comfort-food dishes, hearty soups and signature scrambled eggs on toast. The Ng brothers also take pride in their coffee, made from three beans all roasted in Hong Kong. In a corner of the café the team maintains a retail outlet with an array of products, including enamelware from UK brand Falcon and local honey.

19 Shing Wong Street
+852 2818 8318 

Mido Café, Yau Ma Tei

Much loved by the city’s directors and actors for its well-preserved interiors, little has changed here since the 1960s. The Mido Café has been the backdrop for many Hong Kong films, photo shoots and TV shows. Don’t miss the restaurant’s slightly unusual signature dish: baked spare-ribs rice. 

63 Temple Street
+852 2384 6402

Butler, Tsim Sha Tsui

Butler has the feel of an old-world Japanese bar, reminiscent of Tokyo’s finest drinking establishments. With several years of experience at Ginza’s best cocktail bars, Japanese owner Masayuki Uchida wanted to create a space that provided the best in Japanese bartending culture. At Butler the details count: more than 200 different spirits line the shelves, while Uchida and staff dress in white dinner jackets. 

The leather-bound menu features an expansive list of cocktails and a selection of Japanese-influenced snacks but Uchida will also mix drinks according to a customer’s palate. Despite its location just shy of East Tsim Sha Tsui’s strip of rowdy bars, this quiet 20-seater den prides itself on meticulously made drinks and thoughtful service.

5F, 30 Mody Road
+852 2724 3828

Images: Lit Ma, Carmen Chan

Go back: Hong Kong


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