Hong Kong has lots of impressive stats when it comes to food: 15,000 restaurants, nearly 100 Michelin stars, and some of the most expensive dining in the world. Luckily, you don’t have to shell out too much cash to appreciate all the variety that Hong Kong has to offer. Follow these tips to the best Hong Kong cheap eats.
How to save money on food in Hong Kong
One of the easiest ways to find Hong Kong cheap eats is to follow the locals. Old-school restaurants like Cha Chaan Tengs, Dai Pai Dongs, and cooked food centres offer the best value.
Cha Chaan Tengs are Hong Kong-style diners serving a mix of Chinese and Western food, perfect for a quick breakfast or late-night bites. Dai Pai Dongs are Hong Kong’s version of the classic Asian “plastic chairs in an alleyway” street food restaurant. They often specialise in stir fries and seafood.
While true Dai Pai Dongs are increasingly rare since the government stopped issuing licenses for them (only about 30 officially remain), many were moved into cooked food centres. These centres offer all the variety, speed, and prices of street food in a (sometimes) air-conditioned space.
Many of these cheap, homey restaurants are Michelin starred. If you’ve always wanted to try Michelin dining, Hong Kong has many cheap food options recognised by the guide, like Tim Ho Wan Dim Sum and Kam’s Roast Goose.
Another excellent resource for finding Hong Kong cheap food is OpenRice, the local version of Yelp. The app is available in both English and Chinese.
If you’re craving Western food, seek out the happy hour deals and daily specials. Many restaurants have deeply discounted snacks and drinks in the late afternoon (“tea time” in this former British colony) and early evening.
Lunch specials in the business centres of Central and Tsim Sha Tsui can also be a great deal. High-end restaurants that might be out of budget travellers’ reach at dinner time serve affordable set meals to office workers at lunchtime.
Another budget traveller’s godsend in Hong Kong are the thousands of convenience stores on nearly every block in the city. Stores like 7-Eleven and Lawson’s offer just about any Hong Kong cheap eats or drinks you’d need at any time of day. Grab your daily coffee (or beer) from a convenience store and you’ll have more money left over to explore Hong Kong’s cheap food scene.
Where to eat street food in Hong Kong
Want to know where to eat street food in Hong Kong? Here are some of the best options:
1. The Chungking Mansions
If you’re looking for a Tsim Sha Tsui street food, one place stands out: the Chungking Mansions. This crowded, chaotic tower on Nathan Road is best known for its cheap hotel rooms, but it’s also a great destination for international food. Indian, Pakistani, Turkish, and African food are all readily available in the maze of stalls on the ground floor (to those who can brave the sounds, smells, and pushy vendors to reach them). Sher-E-Punjab Indian restaurant on the first floor comes highly recommended.
2. Mammy Pancake
Just around the corner from the Chungking Mansions, you can try a Hong Kong delicacy in a Michelin approved spot-eggs waffles from Mammy Pancake. These slightly sweet, crispy waffles can be eaten plain or wrapped around toppings like ice cream, Nutella or fruit.
3. Kwun Chung Market and Cooked Food Centre
If you’re still looking for Tsim Sha Tsui street food, the Kwun Chung Market and Cooked Food Centre has you covered. While it’s technically in the Yau Ma Tei neighbourhood, this cheap eats emporium is just a quick walk north through Kowloon Park.
4. Mong Kok
A bit farther north of Tsim Sha Tsui, Mong Kok is arguably the best Hong Kong street food spot. Between the night markets, hole in the wall restaurants, and cooked food centres, you can spend days eating your way through this bustling neighbourhood.
5. Kam Wah Café
If you’re already full on Tsim Sha Tsui cheap eats, visit the Kam Wah Café for dessert. Their pineapple buns (which don’t actually contain pineapple) and egg tarts are Guangdong specialties perfect at any time of day.
6. Temple Street Night Market
Make sure you stop off at Temple Street Night Market for a late-night meal or snacks. This is a great place to try curry fish balls, octopus, and other Hong Kong cheap food classics.
Hong Kong street food prices
Hong Kong street food prices are far from the cheapest in Asia and they’re comparable to what you’d pay for street food in a major European city. Expect to pay between HKD30-120 ($4-15) for snacks and meals.
Smaller foods like pastries, ice cream, and skewers of meat and Tofu might cost around HKD30-60, while a bowl of noodles or rice with a main dish will likely cost HKD50-120. Dim Sum dishes (in accessible, low-end restaurants) will usually run around the same price range. A meal for two of several dishes usually costs about HKD150-300.
1. Tim Ho Wan (multiple locations)
While it’s well known to tourists, Tim Ho Wan is an essential stop for anyone on their first trip to Hong Kong. You can get a taste of all the Hong Kong dim sum essentials in one of the cheapest Michelin starred restaurants in the world. There are multiple locations around the city, but the one in the IFC is convenient for anyone arriving in Hong Kong via the airport express train.
2. Lin Heung Teahouse (Sheung Wan)
Lin Heung Teahouse is another popular spot that’s known for its old-school Hong Kong atmosphere. Expect chaos and brusque service, but the cheap and delicious dishes are certainly worth it.
Cooked food centres
There are cooked food centres in most Hong Kong neighbourhoods, but here are some of the standouts.
1. Bowrington Rd Food Centre (Wan Chai)
This large food hall is right next to some of Hong Kong’s priciest malls, so it’s a good choice for food if you’re window shopping. It also stays open later into the night.
2. Java Road Market (North Point)
This market is most famous for Tung Po Kitchen seafood restaurant and its owner’s entertaining antics. Come for the black ink squid, stay for the beer and dancing.
3. Queen Street Cooked Food Market (Sheung Wan)
This market is a great place for cheap street food from outside Hong Kong. There’s Thai, Indian, Beijing style dumplings, and even an Italian restaurant selling cheap pizza and risotto.
1. Fini’s (Lan Kwai Fong)
For the cheapest, most gut-busting happy hour deal in Hong Kong, look no further than Fini’s Italian-American. For HKD108 ($14), you can get unlimited Asahi beer, wings and fries every weeknight from 5pm to 7pm.
2. Posto Publico (Soho)
For a more upscale Italian dining experience, head to this central Hong Kong restaurant for HKD208 ($26) free flow standard drinks (beer, wine, and highballs) and unlimited antipasti from 5pm to 7pm on weeknights.
3. Scarlett Café & Wine Bar (Tsim Sha Tsui)
For a cheap Kowloon happy hour, Scarlett offers half off their food and beverage menus every day from 3pm to 6pm.
Cha chaan tengs
1. Australia Dairy Company (Jordan)
This nearly 50-year-old restaurant is a Hong Kong institution. A meal set with their legendary scrambled eggs and chicken soup will set you back less than HKD45 ($5.75), but you’ll likely have to queue for it. Arrive early in the morning if you don’t want to wait, and be prepared for rushed and rude servers. It’s all part of the experience.
2. Tsui Wah (Multiple Locations)
This Hong Kong-style diner chain is another local classic. Many of their locations are 24 hours, so they’re a great spot for late-night food. It’s not the cheapest Cha Chaan Teng, but you can easily put together a meal for less than HKD100. Tsui Wah is a reliable pick for Hong Kong comfort food.
There you have it. Continue to the next guide to discover more places to eat in Hong Kong on a budget. Hope you find this Hong Kong cheap eats guide handy. Happy food trip in Hong Kong soon!