[Hong Kong, Taipei] Recommendations requested

Visiting both HK and Taipei for a few days each, shortly. I am doing research but would appreciate recommendations. Not really high-end (though can afford a splurge if it is merited), not really low-end (I’d like to stay healthy but have had some great street food over the years), more like mid-range good value for money (seems to be vanishing everywhere). I can deal with spicy, partner cannot (I am alone for some HK meals). I have braces on my teeth currently, so crunchy and chewy are problematic (also makes much street food hard, I use knives a lot). I have a few words of Mandarin and a few characters only. Thanks for any info you can provide!

Edit: If it matters, we are staying in Da’an in Taipei, and in the Kowloon Shangri-La in HK (above my pay grade but it is the conference hotel).

Just sharing some of my go-to places in HK:

  1. Lin Heung Teahouse in Sheung Wan for dim sum. Crazily packed but gives you the quintessential HK experience. Its dim sum have this old-fashioned flavours which I remember from my childhood but cannot find in Singapore anymore. I try not to miss Lin Heung each time I am in HK.

  2. Ho Hung Kee Congee & Noodle shop in Causeway Bay. One of the best places for HK-style wantan noodles.

  3. Yat Lok in Central for roast goose - order a crispy-skinned goose-drumstick on noodles. To-die for.

  4. For a slightly pricier Cantonese treat, try Tang Court in Tsimshatsui. 2-Michelin-star these days. Great seafood dishes. Try the sauteed prawns & crab roe with golden-fried pork-crabmeat puffs, and the much-touted Baked Seafood Rice with cream sauce, served in a crabshell.

  5. Fung Shing restaurant in Hung Hom for Shun Tak cuisine. Its offerings are similar to 1-Michelin-star Pang’s Kitchen (Happy Valley) but much cheaper.

You can find good food in HK at almost every street corner. Do let us know if you are looking for any specific dish or cuisine.

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Not knowing your preference for the type of food, this blog has many interesting places and it is written in English. :slight_smile:

What’s your familiarity and comfort level of Cantonese food? Just note that you get a wider range of Cantonese food in HK compared to SF, and the best rendition of any type is better than SF. So if you already have Cantonese food you like, we can point you to the best rendition in the city.

Here are some of my favorites:
Ming Court (Mongkok for high end dim sum). Others with view may be difficult to secure if the trip is soon. Yan Toh Heen may be closer to you- I haven’t been.

If you have enough people and have the time, consider reserving Tasting Court. Its an outstanding private kitchen.

Consider a seafood feast unlike any other in North America. If not at places like Lei Yue Mun where you buy and bring for someone to cook, then go to places like e.g. Star Seafood.

Give Chiu Chow cuisine a try. They don’t have much presence in SF other than Teo. e.g. Pak Lok is solid and steady. A bunch of them in Sheung Wan. I think there are some in Prince Edward. Braised goose, etc.

Wonton noodles- In addition to @klyeoh, there are other options such as Mak’s, Jor Lun Yau Lei (Hung Hom, close to TST), etc.

Congee: Mui Kee, Law Fu Kee, Sang Kee

Si Chuan: San Xi Lou in Midlevels, or Si Jie in Causeway Bay

Beef brisket noodle soup:
Sister Wah (Tin Hau) / Kau Kee (sheung wan). Sun Sin in Kowloon. See this post:

Roasties:
also consider Kam’s if you are in Wanchai.

Egg tarts: Honolulu/ Tai Cheong

Are you interested in classic street dining experience of dai pai dong in the street? There are some in e.g. Sham Shui Po (So Kee) or Central (Sing Heung Yuen), Ball Kee

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Thanks for the replies so far! I appreciate the suggestions and I will investigate them. Tang Court has three Michelin stars now and is a little out of my price range. I’m comfortable with $60-75USD/person (before tax/tip) for a splurge, $30-50USD for midrange. I tend to gravitate towards Sichuan/Hunan (perhaps because of my heritage) but when I was last in HK thirty years ago (and Guangzhou and Chengdu) I enjoyed the food and I can afford a bit better now! I’m ashamed to say I know very little about Cantonese food; I’ve eaten Hakka, have at least heard of Chiu Chow, but not of Shun Tak. Is Shang Cuisine (in my hotel) worth a visit? I prefer dim sum from a menu, without carts. Not sure I should take a chance on dai pai dong.

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I have just visited Hong Kong in July and 1 year ago, you can check up my reviews in HO. (I didn’t finish writing up the meals this year, I will try my best to hurry up…)

For dim sum, I second Ming Court too, they are better than average.

Shang Palace in Shangri la has a good reputation, you should give it a try.

I strongly recommended Cantonese roast meat from Kam’s in Wanchai (they have 1 star Michelin), I have a post on it here.

With a budget of 60-75USD, you can go to eat in high end dim sum for lunch without problem. Bear in mind, it is usually cheaper if you go with more people, and you can try more dishes. If you go with locals, they have discount with certain local credit cards especially HSBC card. Most of my meal fall in the your mid range budget.

By the way, Shang Palace seems to have discount with the open rice website.

plrgde, if you are looking for Sichuanese in HK, try:

  1. Mask of Si Chuan, which is at Shop 33 at East Tsim Shat Tsui station, relatively near your hotel.
    Order:
  • Ma-la shrimps
  • Crab in Sichuan chilies and garlic
  • its super-spicy beef in dried red peppers soup.
  1. Yun Yan (you may have tried this before as it is more than 20 years old), but it’s moved fron Tsim Shat Tsui to Times Square in Causeway Bay. Still, HK is small enough to move around fairly quickly on its MTR network.
    Order:
  • Sichuanese chicken with dried peppers
  • cold tofu with various condiments

Your budget will allow you to have excellent meals every day. Unless its top end dinner, these price range should let you eat just about everything (provided you don’t order certain pricey live deep sea fish).

One thing to note, however, is Cantonese food is not spicy, and Cantonese people on average don’t eat very spicy. The cuisine is a bit like Californian cuisine of the regional Chinese cooking- find fresh ingredients and let them shine, unlike Hunan and Sichuan. What I meant is that while there are nice Hunan and Sichuan options here, the number of world class Hunan and Sichuan options are highly limited. But you won’t find better breadth and depth of Cantonese food anywhere else in the world. Toronto and Vancouver may got some good ones, but they still don’t have the sheer count of capable Cantonese kitchens.

My opinion has always been that the top Cantonese restaurants in SFBA is in the range of pretty good in Hong Kong. And the good ones in SFBA are average. And the average ones in SFBA are mediocre in HK.

Thinking about this more, assuming that you are spending the majority of your time at the conference hotel, it will be best to look for dining options easily assessible from TST. Some of my suggestions may be practical only if you can get away from the conference long enough so you don’t have to hurry back.

Re: Shang Cuisine- I haven’t been. Its got 2 stars so it can’t be that bad. And its right there at your hotel. By all means, try it and tell us about it. The chef Mok Kit Keung has cooked in Singapore for 20 years so perhaps @klyeoh may know something about him.

sck - Actually, no - I didn’t hear much about Mok Kit Keung’s Singapore stint, despite his bio-data saying that he worked for 20 years here, in Raffles Hotel and then Suntec City Convention Centre.

Since Raffles Hotel doesn’t have a Chinese restaurant, I presume he worked in the main kitchens which provide room service or else the international buffet at the Long Bar?

Suntec City sounded more likely to have a need for a Chinese sous chef as they are pretty busy.

Hey, I can’t really recommend much on Taipei because I’m honestly not too familiar with the area. I had a really fun time getting beef noodle soup at Taipei Main Station’s food court. There is this advertisement with a chefs doing iron chef like poses of their beef noodle soups. From what I gather, they won some awards in certain categories. With my family, I ordered four different versions and tried them all!

I went to a few other beef noodle joints, but the only one I can truly recall was Pin Chuan Lan (I’m looking at some of the older pictures but nothing else I can recall matches the google maps photos oops…) They did a good job there, seemed bit more clear and subtle but not my favorite.

Din Tai Fung is a must for me to go eat and enjoy their version of XLB. I had a nice meal at Shin Yeh in Taipei 101 but that was more of a tourist trap kinda feeling to it. Its awesome that you can see from the top of Taipei 101 but the food to me didn’t strike me as that special.

Re: Taipei
There is now a new wave of exciting restaurants by young, talented chefs who use local in-season ingredients. This was highlighted to me by my foodie friends, Robyn Eckhardt & David Hagerman who’ve written about eating out in Taiwan extensively in the past.

Check out these spots which are guaranteed to be the hottest dining tickets in Taipei by now:

  1. Tairroir, helmed by Kai Ho.
    Tairroir, 6F, No. 299 Le Qun Third Road; 886-2-8501-5500

  2. RAW by Andre Chiang.
    RAW is at No. 301 Le Qun Third Road. Tel: 886-2-8501-5800

  3. MUME by Richie Lin. No. 28 Siwei Road; 886-2-2700-0901.

For Hong Kong, I think sck named a lot of good places. Just a few more:

If you want the quintessential (aka brusque manner) HK style cafe (cha chan tang) style breakfast I’d say check out Australia Dairy Company. They did a fantastic scrambled egg. Other wise, I had a good time at Capital Cafe as well. Though I don’t know if its the HK preference, but I found most places that serve macaroni to be on the very soft side (I prefer al dente).

Won ton soup was mentioned, but I enjoyed Mak’s Noodle on Wellington.

One topic I don’t think anyone ever really talked about are pineapple buns. I really enjoyed the ones at Kam Wah (for an extra punch, get a pineapple bun with a slab of ice cold butter in between).

For other bbq roasties, I liked Joy Hing’s char siu but I agree with Kam and Yat Lok for roast goose.

I don’t know exactly when you’ll be going, but for an interesting experience check out Ser Wong Fun or Se Wong Yee for some snake soup! I had Se Wong Yee’s double boiled soup as well and they did a fantastic job. Usually recommended to eat around winter time, but eh… I don’t mind it at any point, haha.

For clay pot rice I had a pretty tasty meal at Four Season Pot Rice.

Regarding dim sum, I recommend trying one of the top tier dim sum places (Lung King Heen, Tin Lung Heen, etc.). However on the side, I suggest Tim Ho Wan and their famed bbq pork buns; a must get I’d say. The sham shui po one or olympian city location is in theory closer foot wise, but might be easier just to take the MTR to the IFC location and grab a to go order.

Cantonese dinner places… there are tons to choose from but for higher ended versions, I actually quite enjoyed the double boiled soups at Lei Garden (multiple locations) and their dinner. Another suggestion is The Chairman, though some people have felt that it has dipped a little in quality, I’ve enjoyed both meals when I went (April 2015, and Oct 2016). Note, one of their chefs started their own restaurant that sck recommended --Tasting Court. A little bit different in approach, the Chairman is like a Californian (Alice Waters, etc.) take on Cantonese cuisine while Tasting Court is a return to older traditions.

Now, one thing that is more akin to street foods, the old school dai pai dong’s. One really interesting one is Tung Po which was featured on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. Fantastic wok hei. A throw back to a tasty breakfast in central, check out Sing Heung Yuen. A little campy, and to some the food is odd, but for some reason the beef and tomato macaroni in soup just hit the spot for me. Check out their toast as well!

For dessert places, check out Hui Lau Shan for their pomelo, mango, sago dessert (note, I believe Lei Garden was the one that invented the dish but oddly I never actually tried it there; the one at Yan Toh Heen was fantastic as well).

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I spent some time in Taipei around this time last year. I’d second @Night07 's rec for Din Tai Fung. I went to the original branch. This is near Dongman MRT station only 1 stop from Daan MRT. The pork and crab xlb were one of the best things I ate in Taipei. I tried the a Din Tai Fung branch in Kuala Lumpur and it was nowhere near as good. Both in terms of food and service.

I know you don’t really want street food but the beef noodles at Yong Kang were really good. This is also very close to Din Tai Fung.

Like @Night07 I also went to Shin Yeh at Taipei 101. It is a little bit touristy and there’s a minimum charge of 1800 TD but with two people it shouldn’t be a problem ( I had to bump up my bill with wine as I was on my own. The views were great though and considering it’s 500 TD to go up Taipei 101 I decided to get almost as good a view and put the 500TD towards lunch. The food is good but not outstanding but I would go back to have the Steamed Codfish with Taiwanese
Cummingcordia and preserved Mustard Leaf. Perfectly cooked fish and I’d never had cummingcordia before but they were delicious.

I’ll be in Hong Kong in February so will be following this thread with Interest but I think Tasting Court is a definite.

Since it’s only a few days, and I don’t gravitate to Cantonese elsewhere, I should probably go for good examples in my price range while in HK. My partner is at the conference, I’m not, so I will look for lunches not to her taste (and perhaps some dinners if she is networking). Are there places where the lunch menu is a particularly good deal? We have one day together and since she has not been to HK before, we’ll take the ferry and the Peak tram, but otherwise we’ll probably make food a priority in free time.

Don’t forget to check out at least 1 night market in Taipei. Shilin is extremely touristy but if you are pressed for time then go there anyway.

Oh, you’ll be alone for lunch then? I’d say maybe get some roasties and wonton noodles. Its easier for a single person to get in/get out (and cheaper haha). Dim sum is a little hard since you’re more limited to items (unless you can really scarf down that many dumplings). Higher end dim sum places tend to have dumpling trios and other assorted sets; I recall Yan Toh Heen (right next door to your hotel) has some good samplers.

For a more formal lunch, how about The Chairman?
http://www.thechairmangroup.com/index.php?c=lunch&lang=enus

228 per head for a 4 course meal though the star of the show really is that steamed flowery crab, but if you’re getting reservations at Tasting Court, go with that version of the crab instead (10 year vs 25 year old rice wine). If you’re able to get reservations at Tasting Court wednesday night, check out Happy Valley Racecourse if you want to see nighttime races.

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Both Tairroir and RAW are out of OP’s price range ($60-75 USD). MUME is doable since they are a la carte.

You can find Cantonese food in Hong Kong and in China’s Guangdong Province.


Eg. Dim sum, roasted meat: pork, goose, duck and roasted suckling pig.
These are dishes most people would like.
Dishes suitable especially if you are eating alone: Congee (rice soup), beef chow fun, wanton.
Other dishes like hotpot, or seafood from Pei Fung Tong (in the past in causeway, there was a style of cooking from people who lived on the boat).

There is also Hong Kong food, it can be a mix of western and Chinese food. It can also be snacks like fish ball type of street food, or claypot rice.


A very good example of these are egg tart, or egg waffles.

Also, there are French toast or Western toast or the famous milk tea.

The list is long, if I were you, I would try to first define what type of food I would like to eat, then choose the place accordingly.

Since you live in Tsim Sha Tsui, with MTR (metro), you can go everywhere quickly.

I would avoid to eat at the Peak though.

I just got back from Taipei and enjoyed these midrange restaurants, all in or near Da’an district.

My 灶
No. 9-1, Lane 100, Songjiang Rd, Zhongshan District, Taipei

  • braised pork on rice was very good. Good, well executed standards

TUA
No. 15-1, Lane 44, Siwei Road, Da’an District, Taipei

  • fusion-ish, between Taiwanese and Spanish.
  • I found its upselling a bit distasteful but the food was good. Excellent steamed fish and vegetable ‘tapas’

Tang
No. 18, Sec. 3, Jinan Rd., Da’an Dist., Taipei

  • owned by the same people as TUA so same warning about upselling
  • this was more traditional, homey cooking. If you want to have stinky tofu but can’t manage the street markets, they did a good rendition though your partner might find it hot. The beef soup was delicious and mild.

Hualien
No. 9, Lane 31, Yongkang Street, Da’an District, Taipei

  • tea house but has very good tea and tea snacks. A little on the expensive side for snacks, but they were good enough that I thought it worth mentioning.

For Taiwan, I’d like to suggest a genre of restaurant that is fun, cheap and offers a broad variety of simple foods at a good price. These are categorized as 100 Stir Fry restaurants.

Most of them have a display of live/fresh seafoods out front, large menu with most items priced at 100 NT ($3 usd), a fun atmosphere reminds me of an izakaya.

Each menu seems to have close to a hundred items.

Oyster tofu, stir fry frog (skin on!!??), bitter melon salted egg, frog deep fried, basil egg, fiddlehead fern and chicken cartilage.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold