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Hong Kong is quite simply one of the best places on earth to dine out and experience dishes from across the spectrum of cuisines. Some writers have dubbed this the 'World's Fair of Food' and a 'Gourmet Paradise'. One thing is certain: with over 7 million residents, Hong Kong is the third most densely populated place in the world and that means cut-throat competition and very competitive pricing. There are over 9,000 licensed restaurants and countless more traders, stalls and mobile eateries.
Hong Kong is best known for its outstanding Cantonese cuisine and the freshest ingredients and finest chefs can be found here. The city's cosmopolitan nature also ensures that there is a dynamic mix of other cuisines. Sushi joints abound, as do pasta houses, bakeries, sandwich shops and just about every other style of food you can imagine.
One experience you should not miss is trying the local dim sum. These are delicious, mouth-watering snacks prepared in steaming bamboo baskets and eaten as breakfast or lunch along with copious amounts of Chinese tea. Typical dim sum includes favorites like steamed pork buns, shrimp dumplings, beef balls and pan-fried squid with spicy salt.
Hong Kong residents generally eat five times per day and most meals are eaten outside the home. Meals are typically small, and always accompanied by a generous portion of carbohydrates such as rice or (noodles). For the visitor this means plenty of places to snack and experience a diversity of dishes in one day.
In a Chinese restaurant waiters will commonly bring tea, condiments and snacks to your table, which will be added to the bill. Most restaurants will automatically add 10 per cent to your bill as gratuity. During Chinese New Year, this charge may be a bit higher. Make reservations whenever possible, especially over lunchtimes.
The Bostonian Restaurant
American / Langham Hotel, 8 Peking Road, Tsimshatsui, Kowloon
The Bostonian has been included in the influential dining handbook and has been a Hong Kong favourite for more than a decade. The restaurant has a lively, sometimes humorous atmosphere (each table is equipped with crayons and paper tablecloths so diners can be creative while they wait) and its menu offers a wide choice of American fare, from the signature US prime rib to Boston lobster - all in huge portions! Creole dishes are also popular here, as is the award winning collection of Californian wines. The Bostonian is tucked away in the basement of the Langham Hotel, with a bar upstairs serving lunchtime sandwiches, and tapas in the evening. Bookings recommended for dinner.
Modern Eclectic / Peak Galleria, 118 Peak Road (ride up in the Peak Tram)
Apart from its vast and excellent international menu, featuring everything from American beef steaks to Hainan chicken, homemade pepperoncini pizzas and Indian tandoori specialities, the appeal of the Café Deco is its location - it's set in two high, glassed-in levels of the Peak Galleria Mall, overlooking the vista of Hong Kong. The Art Deco décor and stunning views make visiting this vibey restaurant, with its international chefs at work in show kitchens, a memorable experience. There are other Cafe Deco restaurants in Hong Kong but this one is the best. Café Deco is open for lunch and dinner daily.
Chinese / 3rd Floor, The Forum, Exchange Square
This friendly restaurant, where live Chinese music accompanies a range of mostly spicy dishes from the Hunan province, is conveniently situated in central Exchange Square, next to Hong Kong Station, making it a good spot for a business lunch. The dining room is spacious and brightly decorated in pink and green, with the Hunanese lotus motif much in evidence. The food, liberally spiced with ginger, chilli and garlic, ranges from the delectable soups to fish, chicken, meat and bean main courses. Reservations are recommended. Open Monday to Sunday.
Chinese / 32-40 Wellington Street, Central District (near Lan Kwai Fong)
Dim Sum is a Chinese tradition: an array of steaming baskets of dumplings and other delicacies from which diners make a selection, usually for late breakfast or a light lunch. Dim Sum is one of the specialities for which the Michelin-starred Yung Kee is famed, along with the restaurant's renowned Cantonese roast goose served up with sweet, tasty stewed beans, nick-named the 'flying goose' because so many visitors have insisted on taking a sample of this delicious dish home with them. Enjoy the clean Asian décor of this restaurant while being served by their well-mannered staff. Open Monday to Sunday; Dim-Sum dining from 2pm to 5.30pm on Monday through Saturday, and from 11am to 5:30pm on Sundays.
Oriental / 2nd Floor, California Tower, 30-32 D'Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong, Central District
For a special gastronomic treat, take a trip back in time to the age of colonial elegance at the Indochine 1929, where the setting evokes the breezy veranda of a Franco-Viet plantation house from that genteel era. Fringed lamps and gramophone music add to the ambience while diners tuck into the restaurant's signature dishes such as salt and pepper soft-shelled crabs or fish fried Hanoi-style, as well as any number of other Asian delights. Reservations are recommended. Open for lunch and dinner Monday to Saturday, and only for dinner on Sunday.
Indian / 57-59 Wyndham Street, Central District
The Wyndham Street area, close to central Hong Kong, abounds in Indian restaurants. The one that claims to be the oldest Indian restaurant on Hong Kong Island is the Ashoka, which has been serving up mouth-watering northern Indian meals since 1973. The Ashoka is popular not only for its tasty, extensive menu but also because of its very low-priced set menus, available at lunch or dinner - their fish and mutton dishes come highly recommended. À la carte specialities are also on offer. The restaurant is very small but the atmosphere is relaxed and casual. Open for lunch and dinner daily.
Jumbo Floating Restaurant
Chinese / Shum Wan Pier Drive, Wong Chuk Hang, Aberdeen, Hong Kong. (Shuttle ferries depart from Shum Wan Pier and Aberdeen Pier)
Hong Kong's famous floating restaurant, gently riding the swells in Aberdeen Harbour, consists of three sections which are all brightly lit by a myriad of dazzling lights making a fairy-tale night-time spectacle for the thousands who come to dine here every week. in Chinese means 'gem' or 'treasure', but the western meaning fits it just as well with its massive capacity for seating 2,300 diners simultaneously. The cuisine on offer is varied, but mainly seafood, which diners can pick out themselves from a selection swimming in a tank - the Flamed Drunken Shrimp is extraorinary. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Dan Ryan's Chicago Grill
American / 114 Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty
Homesick Americans visiting Hong Kong will find solace in the carnivorous cuisine served up at Dan Ryan's Chicago Grill. The menu tempts with sumptuous feasts such as rack of lamb roasted with rosemary, or char-grilled porterhouse steaks. Not-so-meaty specialities on the menu include homemade pasta dishes, as well as thick satisfying soups served in bread bowls. The bar is also popular for its informal beer-swilling atmosphere. Reservations are essential for this taste of gratifying down-home cookin'. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Fusion / Peninsula Hotel, Salibury Rd
This elegant and trendy restaurant's sleek interior boasts a long table occasionally used as a catwalk, suggesting Felix's fashion-venue ambitions match its culinary aspirations. The Dungeness crab cake, with an avocado and jalapeño remoulade, and the lobster risotto top the haute cuisine list but there's no telling what the haute couture has to offer... Reservations are recommended, open every night for dinner.
Modern Eclectic / InterContinental Hong Kong, 18 Salisbury Rd
At SPOON, diners are offered the opportunity to create their own meal from a selection of contemporary Asian, French and vegetarian ingredients. The steamed duck foie gras is a favourite, as are the Wagyu beef tenderloin and the pan-seared red tuna. Be sure to browse the six-course The sleek décor is made up of eel-skin upholstery and mink cushions, while hundreds of Venetian glass spoons adorn the ceiling. Reservations are recommended. Open daily for dinner, and on Sunday for lunch.
Din Tai Fung
Chinese / Shop 130, 3F, Silvercord, No.30, Canton Rd, Tsimshatsui, Kowloon
One of the most popular restaurants in Hong Kong for local cuisine, Din Tai Fung specialises in dim sum - small tapas-style dishes like Xiao Long Bao (steamed pork dumplings). Earning a Michelin star in 2011, Din Tai Fung is known for its excellent service and child-friendliness. Be prepared to wait at least 30 minutes for a table however, and even longer at peak times.