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Spike Art Magazine - Going Out in Hong Kong 2024

Need a foot massage during Art Basel Hong Kong? A Spike confidante has some suggestions – and plenty of tips on the city’s best dim sum, speakeasies, and cha chaang tengs.

A former colony of the British Crown and a hub of Asian finance, Hong Kong is a city of contrasts that seduces like no other metropolis – a harmonious mix of East and West, of antiquity and the future. 100-year-old double-decker trams chiming among rows of Mercedes; scents of ancient herbal tonics wafting pass global luxury boutiques; hi-rises covered in bamboo scaffolding soaring above the hustle and bustle of wet markets; equity tycoons, salarymen, and blue-collar workers slurping Cantonese milk tea elbow to elbow in neon-lit food stalls and hole-in-the-wall greasy spoons: Hong Kong is a strange legacy of the encounter between Britain and China, where finance and Feng Shui have largely come to co-exist.

Hong Kong also happens to be one the culinary capitals of the world, and its cornucopia of eateries is an incomparably good way to get a taste of its culture and history. Hong Kong offers a multitude of restaurant typologies and cuisines that keep foodies busy and full – dim sum and noodles, of course, but also palettes from across southeast Asia, with a garnish of European cookery. It’s a food lover’s paradise.


A meal at a cha chaan teng is the quintessential Hong Kong experience and it is my favorite kind of breakfast. The name cha chaan teng literally means “tea restaurant.” A unique and enduring symbol of the city's food culture, these eateries rose to popularity after WWII, bringing western-style cuisine with a Cantonese twist to the Hong Kong public on the cheap, resulting in an idiosyncratic comfort food cuisine. Many eclectic cha chaan teng dishes—ranging from breakfast items like condensed milk toast and pineapple bun, to savory dishes like baked pork chop rice, and drinks like the iconic HK style milk tea and yin yang (half coffee half tea with milk) - are now considered staples of local cuisine. In fact, cha chaan tengs play such an important role in Hong Kong society that a local politician suggested in 2007 that they be listed in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.

This is the undisputed king of cha chaan teng in Hong Kong. Their signature dish is scrambled egg and corn beef sandwich on untoasted fluffy white bread (蛋牛治 - 不烘). It is divine! If you don't like corn beef, just get it without the corn beef (蛋治 - 不烘) which is just as delicious. Also try the toast with butter and condensed milk (奶油多). For your caffeine fix, order a HK style milk tea or yin yang (half tea half coffee with milk). These are all quintessential cha chaan teng breakfast classics. Don't leave Hong Kong without frequenting this institution.

This casual joint serves the smoothest HK-style milk tea and the fluffiest scrambled egg sandwiches in town. Their award-winning milk tea is brewed to perfection by Law Tak, a renowned HK-milk tea brewer. The scrambled egg sandwiches come in many varieties. My two favorites are their triple scrambled egg sandwich (chicken egg, duck egg, and thousand-year-old egg) and scrambled egg in pineapple bun (a HK-style brioche that does not contain pineapple).

Another local institution known for its excellent HK style milk tea and pineapple bun (a brioche topped with a sweet, crusty pastry that takes its namesake from its resemblance to a pineapple). It is steps away from the Wanchai street market which makes for a nice stroll after breakfast.

Not exactly a cha chaan teng but a dai pai dong, an open-air food stall that serves similar fares as cha chaan tengs . Sing Heung Yuen is Hong Kong's most famous dai pai dong and their signature items are their tomato and beef with instant noodles (yes, hongkongers eat that for breakfast!) and their toasted buns with butter and condensed milk (奶油脆脆). Of course, a HK style milk tea is a must.


Founded in 1952, Lan Fong Yuen is one of Hong Kong’s most iconic cha chaan tengs. Treat yourself to a cup their famous ‘silk stocking milk tea’ paired with a crispy bun with pork chop or their signature stir-fried instant noodles with chicken cutlet and scallions.

For Kee Restaurant200 Hollywood Rd, Shop J-K, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong(official address is on Hollywood road but the restaurant is located along Pound Lane, a small road off Hollywood Road)

Fanatics cross town to this hidden gem for its famous pork chop and HK style milk tea. Get the pork chop fried rice with vegetables and fried egg, the golden medal pork chop rice and satay beef toasted sandwich and enjoy the view of the incense-wreathed temple across the street while you eat the best pork chop you have ever tasted in your life.

Kau Kee has been around for nearly a century and it is a beef brisket legend. They are most famous for two items – beef brisket with noodles in clear broth and their curry beef brisket noodles.

You don't know what wonton noodles are until you have tasted the ones at Mak's. This famous wonton noodle joint has been in the same family for generations and is a slice of Hong Kong heritage.

My favorite restaurant for dim sum. Everything they make is delicious but their stir-fried flat noodles with beef and their crusty pork buns are to die for.

Another wonderful restaurant for dim sum but this establishment specializes in food from the Chiu Chow province.

A two-Michelin-starred restaurant that serves refined Cantonese cuisine with a modern twist. Overseen by award-winning chef Hung Chi-Kwong, RÙN is famous for its exquisite-crafted dim sum which is served only during lunch.

A retro-chic, cozy 35-seater serving flavorful Thai street classics.

A quaint and modern Vietnamese noodle spot serving the most authentic pho in town. They only serve 120 bowls a day.


Excellent Cantonese cuisine with a modern twist. They serve one of the best roast suckling pigs in town.

One of my favorite restaurants for refined Chiu Chow cuisine. The cold crab is a must and no Chiu Chow feast is complete without an oyster omelette and a platter of braised goose.

A trendy spot that serves delicious modern Southern Vietnamese cuisine.

One of the best Cantonese home-style cooking (with an emphasis on seafood) restaurants in Hong Kong. Their fried salt and pepper squid is one of the best in the city. Other signature dishes are stir-fried plum crabs, fried lotus root patties, salt-baked chicken, stir-fried noodles with soy sauce and scallions, and congee with rabbit fish.

One of the best and funnest hot pot restaurants in town with a 70s HK retro setting.

Using ingredients sourced from local farms and a zero-waste philosophy, Chef Barry Quek serves a tasting menu of modern European dishes with Singaporean influences. Highlights include brioche with buah keluak emulsion, and Maoshan Wang durian ice cream with Cristal caviar.

Argentinian chef Agustin Balbi serves an innovative tasting menu that is rooted in tradition that fuses Spanish flavors with Japanese influences. Don’t miss his signature caldoso rice dish called Sin Lola, a homage to his grandma.

Hansik Goo takes its name from hansik – which means Korean food – and goo, short for sikgoo - which means family. The creative tasting menu is comprised of dishes inspired by Korean home-cooking. The signature dish is the samgye risotto - a chicken and duck roulade stuffed with mushrooms drizzled with ginseng chicken rice soup - a reinterpretation of the classic Korean ginseng chicken soup samgyetang. Modern Korean fine-dining at its best

A wine bar that serve delicious Chinese tapas.

A small private kitchen that serves an exquisite 10-course prix fixe Cantonese feast. Must book in advanced as they only have three private dining rooms.

This trendy tandoor grill restaurant specializes in Northern Indian traditional dishes. It is named after a social club founded during the British era. Despite its small menu, everything is delicious and special.

A favorite among the local Shanghainese community serving authentic and delicious Shanghainese classics. I am addicted to their smoked duck eggs and crispy rice crackers covered with salty egg yolk. Other favorites are their drunken steamed chicken, sauteed small prawns, smoked crispy fish, crispy eel, steamed pork dumplings with crab roe, sauteed crabs with preserved duck egg, braised pork belly, roasted duck with special sauce, and for dessert, their eight-treasure rice.

Ho Lee Fook, which means 'good fortune for your mouth" in Cantonese is a modern Chinese restaurant that reinvents classic Chinese favorites into unconventional surprising dishes. Try their prawn toast served with shaved cabbage, stir-fried garlic chive blossoms tossed with dried shrimp and spicy chorizo, scallops with sumac and finger lime dumplings, and their wagyu short ribs.

The Chairman uses mostly organic ingredients from a network local fishermen and farmers. Try their famous steamed fresh flowery crab with aged Shaoxing wine, braised spare ribs with preserved plums and caramelised black vinegar, soy sauce chicken, and smoked baby pigeon with Longjing tea and chrysanthemum.

Stylish beak-to-tail yakitori restaurant that specializes in chicken on skewers grilled over traditional Binchotan charcoal. Apart from the yakitoris, their appetizers are also delicious. Their KFC (Korean fried cauliflower), brussel sprouts with black garlic and sweet corn tempura are also massively popular.


With panoramic views of Victoria Harbor and Hong Kong’s famous skyline from Mandarin Oriental’s 25th floor, The Aubrey’s plush clubby interior is inspired by Japonisme, a 19th century art movement of Japanese aesthetics in Western art. Star mixologist Devender Sehgal serves up exquisitely-crafted Japanese libations with a focus on shochu to create drinks such as the Rokku with shiso, pineapple, citrus, bourbon and barley, and a highball with sweet potato and rice shochu, banana and champagne.

LockdownG/F, 27 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong KongAn intimate 30-seat speakeasy that serves a cocktail menu that is divided into three different categories—Experimental, Vintage and Remastered—with 35 concoctions made using the latest technology and trends in mixology.

Tucked away in a nondescript building in Wan Chai, this Ginza-style whiskey bar features a tranquil Japanese garden and a lush wood and leather interior.speakeasy holds over 700 whiskey labels from Scotland, Japan, Taiwan, India and beyond.

An outpost of an Osaka bar that focuses on Japanese mixology in which every cocktail is prepared to perfection.

Mostly Harmless1/F, 110 Queen’s Road West, Sai Ying Pun, Hong KongThis discrete white-tiled omakase cocktail bar serves a menu that changes daily using fresh seasonal produce from local farms.

Heya is a 18-seater tucked away on the fourth floor of a commercial building in Wanchai. With over 30 different labels of sake with a focus on lesser-known wineries, the bar serves Japanese tapas and Cantonese soups to complement the sake experience. You can even bring you own food and the owner Billy Au will pair your food with the right sake.

A mix between an art club and fine dining boasting a spacious terrace and elegant interiors that serves Chinese-inspired cocktails at their trendy ‘Salon’ bar. It is the gathering spot of choice of the beau monde in Hong Kong.

A speakeasy hidden behind a fake umbrella shop that's inspired by the classic British gentleman from the 1950s, Foxglove's oozes old-school luxury and charm. It features secret private rooms, a menu of prohibition cocktails and a decadent European-style menu.

Landmark’s hidden gin palace boasts over 250 types of gin and serves cocktails . If you’re having trouble locating it, look for the facade made to mimic that of a doctor’s clinic. A handsome and intimate space decorated to look like a vintage apothecary.

Café Gray Deluxe at the Upper HousePacific Place, 88, Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong

Chic bar on the 49th floor of the Upper House with a sensational view of the Victoria Harbor.


Nature and massage

Most visitors are unaware of the fact this vibrant cosmopolis is actually an archipelago made up of 236 islands and islets and that parks and preserves make up 40% of the cityscape. Beyond the urban cacophony and accelerated tempo, Hong Kong has no shortage of quiet beaches and scenic nature trails within a short distance to the city center, offering respite to locals and visitors from the hectic urban chaos. Take a pause from looking at art and explore an outlying island, take a hike on one the many scenic nature trails, or simply unwind on one of the many pristine beaches.

Short of time?

Take the 10-minute Star Ferry ride from Central to Tsim Sha Tsui during sunset to breathe in the sea breeze and soak in the spectacular view of Hong Kong’s skyline.

Or … simply get a massage.

Foot HK8F Regent Center, 88 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong

When overcome with fair fatigue, head to Foot HK to get your sole-weary feet massaged and kneaded for a lot less than what you would pay in other cities in the world. Apart from their reflexology treatments, their full body massages are also excellent. Private rooms are available for small groups. Open till 1am.


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