Food, Restaurants and Eating
The Chinese built a nation on their stomach and nowhere that you have a large Chinese population will you go hungry, for sustenance or for choices. That is no better exemplified than in Central where a perfect storm of cheap Chinese eats, high end fine-dining and ethnic choices have come together to making it one of the dining capitals of the region.
Here are some of the must-tries from the high to the low, from the familiar to the exotic, and from the expected to the surprising.
While big names and fancy budgets are found in high end shopping malls, luxury hotels and the like you'll find some of the most interesting and authentic places to chow-down on in the many little side streets that run between the main roads of Central.
This historic side street running between Queen's Road Central and Des Voeux Road Central it is packed choices of food, catering mostly to local office workers it is cheap, cheerful and tasty take on both traditional Chinese staples and Hong Kong cafe cuisine which merges English and European standards with local ingredients and techniques.
Just walk in, take a seat - or more likely a stool - and order by pointing. Despite being very local and not at all commonly frequented by tourists you'll find that the staff are quite familiar with serving non-Chinese patrons, due to the large number of Expatriate workers in the district.
It isn't just Hong Kong / Chinese dishes of course either, how about a Malaysian Laksa? The King Laksa at #20 Gillman's Bazaar. With lunch sets under $50 and authentic Laksas including plenty of coconut milk broth, friend bean curd cubs, bean sprouts and meats of your choice you can't go wrong here if you love a spicy noodle in soup dish. Be prepared to wait if arriving at lunch time, but there is more seating than there appears with tables upstairs as well.
Sing Heung Yuen and Kung Lee
These two historic restaurants allow you to enjoy the foods, feels and atmosphere of Hong Kong 50 years ago in its golden age. Sing Heung Yuen is at 2 Mei Lun Street, just off Gough Street. A branch of the famed Mong Kok cafe it serves tasty snacks and light meals in a decidedly down-market environment. Site outside on a plastic stool at a round folding table and eat a Condensed Milk & Button Crispy bun for just $13. A Honey & Slated Lemon cold drink will cost just $15. A great way to re-power while walking the hills in search of antiques in nearby Hollywood Road.
Meanwhile at Kung Lee , nearby at #60 Hollywood Road is somewhere you visit as much as for the décor and the atmosphere as the drinks it serves. Specializing on Sugar Cane juice, the preferred sweet drink before the days of soft-drinks, it maintains authentic styling from the early days of Hong Kong. Pay only $8 for a cup of their famed juice, but do try the various snacks and desserts also made with the same ingredients.
The Mandarin Oriental Hotel needs no particular introduction, widely known as one of the top hotels in the world it isn't where you would stop in for a quick cup of tea. No, but instead dedicate an entire afternoon to enjoying their modern take on the British classic "Afternoon Tea".
Served in the Clipper lounge with soft seats and peace and quiet it is a place for the wealthy family and the discrete celebrities of the world to take in some light refreshment.
Can't get enough of their classic Rose Petal jam for your scones? Pick up some extra at the Mandarin Cake Shop upstairs in the same building.