Perhaps the number one highlight of Hong Kong is the cuisine. Not only is it a showcase of traditional and modern Cantonese cuisine, the various regional cuisines from around China, such as Teochew and Sichuan are all well represented. There are also excellent Asian and Western restaurants as well.
Residents tend to eat out a lot more than in other countries. Perhaps because of this eating out can be fairly cheap, as long as you stick to local restaurants, and avoid the often overpriced western counterparts.
Above all, Hong Kong is known for its dim sum, delicately prepared morsels of Cantonese cuisine served from a neverending procession of carts and eaten with tea. Dim sum is usually eaten for breakfast or lunch and is often the focus of family get-togethers on Sundays.
A uniquely Hong Kong-style eatery starting to make waves elsewhere in Asia is the cha chaan teng, literally "tea cafe", but offering fusion fast food that happily mixes Western and Eastern fare: innovations include noodles with Spam, stir-fried spaghetti and baked rice with cheese. Usually a wide selection of drinks is also available, almost always including the popular tea-and-coffee mix yuanyang, and perhaps more oddities (to the Western palate) like boiled Coke with ginger or iced coffee with lemon. Orders are usually recorded on a chit at your table and you pay at the cashier as you leave.
For those who wish to eat Hong Kong's famous seafood, there are different locations in Hong Kong's coastal areas where freshly caught seafood is cooked and served. Places like Sai Kung, Po Doi O, Lei Yu Mun, Lau Fau Shan are good places to find restaurants specialized in seafood. These restaurants have different tanks to keep the seafood alive and will present live seafood specimens to their patrons for them to choose before cooking.
As with Chinese cuisine elsewhere, food in Hong Kong is generally eaten with chopsticks. The usual etiquette when using chopsticks apply, such as not sticking your chopsticks vertically into a bowl of rice. Dishes in smaller eateries might not come with a serving spoon though they would usually provide one if you request.
Cooked food centres provide economic solutions to diners, and they are popular with local citizens. There are many cooked food centres in various districts. The cooked food centre in Sha Kok Estate, Sha Tin is easily accessible by KCR. It is adjacent to Sha Tin Wai Railway Station. It is highly recommended to tourists, as this is where you will find true Hong Kong cuisine and experience a local's way of life.
Wet markets are still prevalent. Freshness is a key ingredient to all Chinese food, so frozen meat and vegetables are frowned upon, and most markets display freshly butchered beef and pork (with entrails), live fish in markets, and more exotic shellfish, frogs, turtles and snails. Maids who cook for their employers usually go to the market everyday to buy fresh ingredients, just like the restaurants.
Park N Shop
Western gourmet supermarkets:
24 hour convenience stores 7-Eleven and Circle K can be found anywhere
Hong Kong also has a staggering range of international restaurants serving cuisines from all over the world. These can often be found in, though not restricted to, entertainment districts such as Lan Kwai Fong, Soho or Knutsford Terrace. Top chefs are often invited or try to make their way to work in Hong Kong.
Barbecue (normally spelt BBQ) is a popular local pastime. Many areas feature free public barbecue pits. Locals enjoy a style where everybody roasts their own food, usually with barbeque forks. It's not just sausages and burgers - the locals enjoy trying a variety of food at BBQ, such as fish, beef meatballs, pork meatballs, chicken wings, and so on. A good spot is the southern part of HK Island. Every beach is equipped with many free BBQ spots. Just stop by a store, buy meat, drinks and BBQ equipment. The best spots are Shek¡¯O (under the trees at the left hand side of the beach) and Big Wave Bay
Drinking has not been something the locals were big on in the past but it is becoming much more popular with the younger generation. There are plenty of bars . The traditional hotspot for both eating and drinking with westerners is Lan Kwai Fong in Central. Wan Chai is also fun, if slightly sleazier with numerous girly bars along Lockhart Road, while Causeway Bay and Eastern Soho out beyond Quarry Bay offer a less touristy experience.
Popular lagers include Tsing Tao (pronounced 'ching doe') or San Miguel.
Imported San Miguel is better than the locally produced variety. More expensive bars will likely serve this, but at others you may have to specifically ask for "Philippine San Miguel" (and pay more). At the lower end only locally stuff will be available. Imported bottles can be easily distinguished as they have brown glass with white frosted lettering. Locally filled bottles use a label.
One of the best ways to drink in Hong Kong is to have a walk around all the bars first and have a look which ones are doing special offers and what time they run Happy Hour. Most bars have a Happy Hours, which makes for a more cost effective way to drink. Also keep in mind the races on a Wednesday night at Happy Valley race course, you only pay $10 for entry and pay around $100 for a jug of beer. Also Wednesday nights is ladies night, during which many bars in Wan Chai give free drinks to the ladies.
The legal drinking age is 18.
Ned Kelly's Last Stand A really good bar to go for pre-partying. Located on Ashley road parallel to the famous Nathan road on Kowloon side, it's an Australian themed jazz bar with great food and good live music almost every night starting at 21-22, which is about when the happy hour ends. The place is laid out with long tables where total strangers can sit together, it's quite big with the frequent visitors of Hong Kong such as traveling businessmen and the art-community.
Sticky Fingers The awesomest place around? Who knows, but its a nice place to get some women and listen to a great house-band play live rock music on stage. The drinks are pretty good too.
Knutsford Terrace is a popular drinking and dining spot in Kowloon but there are many other places in and around Tsim Sha Tsui. Some of them can get pretty expensive though - up to USD10 for a drink in some places!
Joe Bananas A wonderful place located on Lockhart road, where the drinks are friendly and the women are cheap (or was it the other way around?).
A word of caution for non-southeast Asian women: Western bars and restaurants on Lockhart Road, Wan Chai are where prostitutes from Southeast Asia (Thailand, Indonesia) work, sometimes as "waitresses" till the bar/restaurant closes. Other women often aren't as warmly welcomed as Western men.
A word of caution for Western men: Almost all Thai and Indonesian women in Western bars and restaurants on Lockhart Road Wan Chai eg Pussy Cat, Mes Amis are prostitutes. They sometimes have a second job as 'waitresses', till the bar/restaurant closes. Scams involving drugged drinks, inflated bills, and once more personal info is exchanged, blackmailing the men, a sick mother back home in Thailand needing an urgent, expensive, life-saving surgery, etc. are very common. Don't fall in love with them, only to be ruined economically and personally by them. The bars with curtains on the doors are very clearly brothels where your drinks may be cheap but those for the girls will be expensive. Bar fines run from HK$1500-HK$3000 and up.
To really go to town, spend a few hundred $ drinking in the Felix bar at the top of the Peninsula Hotel, Kowloon-side. Possibly the best view in the world, especially from the gents'!
Editor: canton fair