Favourite Eats in Hong Kong - Part 2 (Tsim Sha Tsui & Mongkok)
A common conversation that happens every now and then…
Random Local: “You born in Singapore? You no speak Chinese?”
Me: “Oh yeah I do…”
*proceeds to speak to me in Cantonese*
Me: (still in English) “Uh but that’s… never mind”
Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok are considered the more local side of Hong Kong. While Hong Kong island is a melting pot of cultures, the true existence of east meets west, language wise, is a very different story on the Kowloon side. This is a much more humble part of the city where you will still encounter English signs but the locals may not speak it. You will find, the further north you go, the more you need to converse in Cantonese. Even down to cantonese-only menu in many instances. Unless you are Caucasian, you will have to check if they have an English menu. Even if they do, some don’t offer it and let you struggle through the menu while they stand next to you with a dirty side glance. Locals tend to assume you can speak and understand Cantonese if you look Chinese. And they mean Cantonese when they say “speak Chinese”.
Fun fact: Did you know Cantonese almost became the official language for all of China at some stage in history?
For Part 2 of our Favourite Eats in Hong Kong, we focus on Tsim Sha Tsui and Mongkok which also includes Jordan and Yau Ma Tei.
Wing Nin Noodle Shop
34 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Cart noodle shop with a good variety of choices. If you have no idea what cart noodles is, it’s basically like Yong Tau Foo for the Singaporeans and Malaysians. You pick a noodle, a soup base and as many choices you like, ranging from tofu to vegetables to seafood, chicken, fish and beef balls. Only difference with Yong Tau Foo, you don’t get to see the ingredients. They are all listed in Cantonese on the board. So if you don’t really read, you kinda have to get help. This was our most recent addition to our list on this side of Hong Kong. Our friends from Malaysia discovered this place, took us here and we were pleasantly surprised. Very understated cart noodle shop with a young and modern vibe. There is no table service and the menu is on a board above the cashier, where you place your order before taking a seat. Find your seat first though. The place isn’t big and gets crowded quite quickly especially during lunch and dinner time.
Dim Dim Sum Jordan
26-28 Man Wui Street, Jordan
Our favourite dim sum spot on TST side. One of the less crowded 'tourist spot' for dim sum. They are a bit tucked away so getting seats are usually not a long wait like some of the other more popular ones. One of our go-to dim sum places. Affordable and delicious. They have some unique twists on classics like the wasabi infused 'hamsuikok'. There have a few branches, one in Mongkok and one in Wanchai. Even one in Taiwan.
A Fat Hot Pot
53-55 Chatham Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Honest to goodness hotpot place. Pronounced ‘AH-FAT Hotpot’, the decor of the place is on the hipster spectrum, using classic Hong Kong old school aesthetics without being pretentious. Hot pot selection is usually very fresh. A good variety of seafood and fresh cuts of tender juicy marbled beef. Many types of soup stock to choose from. Depending on what you order, per person about HKD350-500. There are also private smoking dining rooms and usually a hit with the locals.
La Vache TST
12 Hart Ave, Tsim Sha Tsui
Really really good steak. So good, this is the only mains on the menu. Book a table and when you arrive, they will serve you steak with unlimited fries. Starts at around HKD300 for just mains per person. They do have a drinks and a desserts menu which are also also quite good. They bring out a push trolley of desserts like a dimsum trolley. I’ve been to this one on TST side. There is also another one on Central side. Incidentally, La Vache is also operated by the same people who run Ho Lee Fook.
1/F Kok Pah Mansion, 58-60 Cameron Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Google Maps search for all other locations
University student haunt with many branches peppered across Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. We love it. Super affordable and delicious. A Hong Kong cafe chain, Satay King serves a good variety of local classics. In our opinion, the white curry ramen is a stand out here. It is essentially a Hong Kong style Ramen. Lemongrass pork chop with white curry on rice and a variety of cheese baked rice dishes are also standouts. Lots of delicious sides like deep fried chicken cartilage, soft shell crab and garlic butter wings to fill you up too.Our Singaporean friend who’d been working here for several years raved about it when we first arrived. Yet we were incredibly puzzled. We could not find satay here. Well, there is no satay at Satay King. At least that’s not what they are known for. In fact, I don’t remember seeing satay anywhere on the menu! But the food here is really quite something.
Yee Shun Milk Company
513 Nathan Road, Yau Ma Tei
63 Pilkem Street, Jordan
Silky soft melt in your mouth milk pudding. This is a unique Hong Kong cousin food to Tau Foo Fa, the soy beancurd. You can get different toppings, like gingko nuts and red beans. There is an English menu but you have to ask for it if you don’t look caucasian. They also have several shops, with one in Causeway Bay.
iSquare, 30th Floor, 63 Nathan Road
Drinks with a view of the harbour. You can also grab dinner at the restaurant and drinks at the balcony later. Hidden gem of a bar but quite popular. You get rooftop views overlooking Hong Kong Island.
Also check out…
42 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Quite a famous and long standing restaurant but always full. We tried to do a walk-in and it was 2 hour wait. Haven’t had a chance to eat here, but if you do, call ahead to book is probably recommended. Then tell us what you think!
8-12E Carnavon Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Classic Hong Kong ‘louporpeng’ aka Wife Cake. Hang Heung is a traditional cake shop with historic roots dating back to 1920s Hong Kong. Award winning cakes, these are pretty legit snacks to bring home. We especially love the century egg version. Eat it warm for a hearty snack. They have several shops with the original bakery in Yuen Long. The shops in SOGO, Causeway Bay sells fresh baked ones.
8 Minden Ave, Tsim Sha Tsui
The famous Japanese chain from Fukuoka. There is also one in Causeway Bay. Opens almost 24 hours (8am - 5am next day). Prices are pretty steep almost 3 times the price of a regular ramen shop in Hong Kong but quality is legit.
In the mood for good coffee? Check out these…
N1 Coffee & Co
34 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
21 Hak Po Street, Mongkok
Urban Coffee Roaster
7 Bristol Ave, Tsim Sha Tsui
The Coffee Academics
Kiosk 1, 2/F, Gateway Arcade, Harbour City, 3-27 Canton Road
(China Ferry Terminal end)