Hong Kong has created one of the most successful societies on Earth.
– Prince Charles
Here's a fun challenge for your hotel concierge: wrangle a reservation at Mr. Shanghai Tang's exclusive retro dining penthouse (and private club) on top of the old Bank of China.
Traditional high tea is not to be missed. Neither is the gorgeous jewel box known as The Mandarin Cake Shop. Get the check, then go take a look.
Chef/hostess Margaret Xi worked at Yuen long before moving to her private kitchen. Parties of six can call ahead to reserve the little '50s style dining room on the ground and top floors of a nondescript building (an old-fashioned Smeg refrigerator sits in the corner), and enjoy amazingly fresh, local ingredients-driven menu of seafood and meats (roasted in a specially commissioned terracotta Chinese urn).
"Hong Hong's back garden," on the backside of Kowloon, is a rustic fishing port where many fine seafood restaurants have an outpost. You can point to any of the tanks to get your lunch freshly prepared while you post-up at a seaside table. (Look out for the Michelin-starred Chuen Kee.) Junk boats are for hire on the water and will take you to sandy enclaves (like Tai Long Wan, a large bay with white sand beaches).
What's a trip to Hong Kong without elegant dim sum at the Four Seasons? This is Cantonese dining at its finest (harbor views, incredible flower arrangements, shiny silverware), led by Lung King Heen, the first Chinese chef to ever be awarded three Michelin stars. Be sure to order crispy skinned roast pork and crispy scallops with pear.
A colorful 21st-century modern cafe with detox juices, tai-tai tea (with grapes and ginger ale), boozy pick-me-ups, and free-flow champagne.
A landmark '50s-era casual cha-chan-teng (tea food hall) with cute booths and a well-preserved throwback feel. Order milk tea and western toast, a slice of pullman bread smothered with butter and condensed milk.
Art deco Sichuan and Peking menu with a moody old-world vibe and plenty of red lanterns.
Sunday roasts, Scotch eggs, pints. It's serious Brit food at this charming gastropub and music venue in a former colonial-era pawn shop.
Follow the buttery scent down a tiny lane and cul-de-sac to this beautiful, minimalist Japanese patisserie, where artisan French-japanese breads and baked goods are made from scratch on the premises.
A whimsical and surreal dining experience with a smart Brit aesthetic – the kind of place where cooked squid becomes hot popcorn and peanut butter pâté is served with bourbon marshmallows.
An intimate example of the private dining trend taking place in HK. Reservations are hard to come by, but if you can snag one of the ten place settings, be prepared for chef Esther Sham's modern Chinese cooking with a passionate twist: uni spaghetti, red bean dumplings with red wine jelly and honey, silken pumpkin soup with Parmesan cream and salami chips.
A little tea shop celebrating all that is sweet, low-key, and made from scratch. Carve out a place to sit with a magazine and cup of Masala chai, a few drop scones, and green tea cheesecake.
Chaotic, cheap, and Michelin-starred dim sum for die-hards who don't mind waiting two hours for a table.
A 24-hour cultural institution (there are several locations around town) known for HK-style milk tea (they even have a "champagne" version which comes in a glass bottle over ice in its own bucket), fried rice (perfect for the 4 a.m. post-clubbing crush), HK-style western food, and the piece-de-resistance: a toasted sweet bun with condensed milk.
A local gathering spot (dai pai dong) on the top of a wet market in North Point. Gather around round wooden tables and get ready for hot woks of seafood and cold beers. Order: blue crab (fa hal) steamed with egg and lotus wrapped rice.
A laid-back chicken Yakitori den from a former fancy Masa chef. Food-focused menu clucks with chicken oysters, chicken hearts, and fried cauliflower. Fun for groups, as nearly everything is served on a stick.
Everybody goes to this 70-year-old dining spot for the famous roasted goose, char siew (barbecued pork), and 100-year egg with pickled ginger. So should you.