Asia’s world city can be hard on your wallet, but it serves up some of the most delicious, vibrant flavours, and best-value food anywhere in the world — if you know where to look. Read on for the best places to eat in Hong Kong on a budget.
1. Tim Ho Wan
This dim sum restaurant is the perfect definition of best-value dining. Founded by a former Four Seasons chef in 2009, Tim Ho Wan has gone on to become synonymous with dim sum in Hong Kong. It has also opened branches all over Asia. If you’re not lucky enough to live near one of their restaurants, stop in to the oldest location in Sham Shui Po to enjoy some of the cheapest Michelin-starred food in the world. Most of the dishes are between HKD10 to 24 (USD1.50 to 3), and three to five dishes will make a solid meal for two. The must-eat fried BBQ pork buns are only HKD16 (USD2).
Opening hours: Sham Shui Po Branch – 10am to 9.30pm (Mon to Fri), 9am to 9.30pm (Sat and Sun); there are multiple locations around Hong Kong
Address: 9-11 Fuk Wing St, Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong
2. Chua Lam’s Pho
If a celebrity food writer opens a restaurant, you can be sure it’s good. Local food writer Chua Lam’s Vietnamese noodle house is a much-hyped but still affordable spot for a meal in the pricey Central neighbourhood. Noodle bowls run from about HKD65 to 130 (USD8 to 17), and spring rolls and other small bites are even cheaper. The cold noodle bowls and lemongrass pork neck are great, but the main attraction is the beef pho. Chua has recreated the soup base used at Pho Dzung in Melbourne, which he says is the best in the world.
Opening hours: 10am to 12am (Mon to Sun)
Address: UG/F, 15-25 Wellington Street, Hong Kong
3. Kau Kee Food Café
No trip to Hong Kong is complete without delicious noodles from a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, so make sure you stop in to Kau Kee in Sheung Wan for their classic beef brisket noodle soup. Tables are cramped and service is brusque, but generations of diners have been more than happy to put up with it — this tiny shop has been going strong since the 1930’s. Their signature beef soup will run you HKD180 (USD23), but most other dishes are under HKD100.
Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/S29wFLwnDpp3yg2b8
Opening hours: 12.30pm to 10.30pm (Mon to Sat)
Address: Ground Floor, 21 Gough St, Central, Hong Kong
4. Kelly’s Cape Bob
If you’ve been gorging on noodles and dumplings, you might be looking for some healthy food in Hong Kong on a budget. Head to this tiny Wan Chai shop for fresh, unfussy Korean street food. The restaurant serves up tasty kim bap (a hearty Korean rice roll similar to sushi), fried chicken, kimchi pancakes, and other street food staples, almost all under HKD100 (USD13).
Opening hours: 11am to 8pm (Mon to Sun)
Address: C1 G/F Southorn Mansion 55-61, Johnston Road, Wan Chai
5. The Alley
While it might not be the classic Hong Kong milk tea, Taiwanese tea shop The Alley offers some of the most buzzworthy bubble tea in Hong Kong from two shops in Mong Kok and Tsim Sha Tsui. Despite the homemade tapioca pearls and legendary brown sugar milk tea, the biggest draw might be how beautiful the drinks are. The Alley’s website describes itself as “iconic in beverage aesthetic”. All of their Instagrammable drinks cost less than HKD35 (USD4.5)
Opening hours: 12pm to 10pm (Mon to Sun)
Address: Tsim Sha Tsui Shop – F, G/F, Alpha House, No. 27-33, Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong
6. Toast Box
If you’re looking for the best places to eat in Hong Kong on a budget, follow the university students. This Singaporean import is a student favourite for cheap, comforting food. Toast Box’s instant noodles gussied up with spam and a fried egg are only HKD36 (USD4.5). The set meals, including Singaporean Laksa, curry chicken or classic coconut rice all cost around HKD50 (USD6.4). There are about a dozen locations in most of the major neighbourhoods around Hong Kong, but the one in the Shun Tak Centre is a good choice if you’re looking for a quick breakfast before hopping on the ferry to Macau or an outlying island.
Opening hours: 8am to 10pm (Mon to Sun)
Address: Shop Nos. 239-240, 2/F., Shun Tak Centre, 200 Connaught Road Central, Sheung Wan
7. Ma Sa Restaurant
This classic Cha Chaan Teng in Sheung Wan is famous for its generous portions of spam and eggs on rice, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anything on the menu that costs more than HKD50 (USD6.4). You can expect long lines at peak hours, but it’s worth the wait for such affordable and filling food.
Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/XZzriFiqVsLSA8JU9
Opening hours: 6am to 4.30pm (Mon to Fri) 7am to 4.30pm (Sat, closed Sun)
Address: G/F, 23 Hillier Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
8. Butao Ramen
If you’re looking for affordable Japanese food, Butao serves up some of the best bowls of ramen in the city. While the menu is short and simple, each bowl of ramen starting at HKD80 (USD10) is fully customisable, and the Butao’s offerings are unique and exciting, including squid ink broth and green pesto with parmesan (don’t knock it till you try it).
Opening hours: 12pm to 10pm (Mon to Sun)
Address: Tsim Sha Tsui branch – Shop No.6, G/F, Champagne Court, 40-46 Carnarvon Road, Tsim Sha Tsui; there are multiple locations around Hong Kong
9. Paisano’s Pizzeria
Among the best places to eat in Hong Kong on a budget, you’ll normally see lots of traditional Cantonese food. If you’re really craving a western meal, a giant slice of New York-style pizza from Paisano’s will satisfy your cravings without emptying your wallet. Slices start at just HKD30 (USD3.8), and calzones run around HKD55 (USD7). If you’re not feeling pizza, there are salads, sub sandwiches and even pasta. Look out for the lunch sets and all-day meal deals.
Opening hours: 9.30am to 12am (Mon to Fri)
Address: Wan Chai Branch – 5 O’Brien Road, Wan Chai; there are multiple locations around Hong Kong
10. Mak An Kee
No list of the best places to eat in Hong Kong on a budget would be complete without wonton noodles, one of the most classically Cantonese dishes. Mak An Kee is one of the several “Mak” noodle shops around Hong Kong, all run by descendants of Guangzhou wonton master Mak Woon-chi. The elder Mak’s noodles have been served noodles to everyone from Chaing Kai Shek to Anthony Bourdain, but Mak An Kee, run by the wonton master’s oldest son, comes recommended by Hong Kong locals. While the portions are small, a bowl of the renowned wonton noodle soup costs only HKD36 (USD4.6).
Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/Bvt2gcYsXmi8aLpHA
Opening hours: 10.30am to 8pm (Mon to Sun)
Address: 37 Wing Kut St, Central, Hong Kong
Wherever you go in Hong Kong, there’s delicious food to be found. From dim sum to noodles to sweet desserts, Hong Kong has something for everyone. Finding the best food on the cheap is a bit more challenging, so hopefully this guide will point you towards the best places to eat in Hong Kong on a budget.