‘Best’ butter toast, super char siu: Hong Kong food and restaurant recommendations from an adventurous eater

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Chiang Oi-ling is the founder of Oi Ling Antiques in Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, established in the mid-1990s. She spoke to Andrew Sun.

I grew up in Hong Kong and therefore my first love will always be Chinese cuisine. My father was very particular about how food was prepared. Lucky for him, and the rest of the family, my mum was an exceptional cook and very creative with local market ingredients.

Because of this home tradition, I enjoy food very much and am always happy to discover and experiment with new dishes from different culinary traditions.

My favourite restaurants in Hong Kong include Leung Shun Hing (Shop 60, Phase 1, Fu Tor Loy Shopping Centre, 9 Pok Hok Lane, Tai Kok Tsui, tel: 3611 5435). They serve high-quality traditional home dishes like steamed minced pork with eggs at a very good price.

The owner and cook used to be a chef at a five-star hotel and decided to set up his own kitchen doing the simple and wholesome dishes he enjoyed eating as a child.

The cooked meat platter at Hopers’ Base in North Point. Photo: Instagram / @hopersbasehk

Hopers’ Base (Shop A, 6-8 Fort Street, North Point, tel: 2570 8616) is another local eatery that doesn’t compromise on quality. The char siu is among the best in Hong Kong.

Sing Heung Yuen (2 Mee Lun Street, Central, tel: 2544 8368), the dai pai dong just off Hollywood Road, has the best butter toast and salted kumquat drinks that I know of. I enjoy taking visitors there as they are so typical of the East-meets-West style of food.

It has such a strong local vibe and I can share lots of interesting stories, like the medicinal properties of the kumquat drinks for a sore throat. It’s close to Hollywood Road, so I can easily take my friends on a tour there.

Sing Heung Yuen in Mee Lun Street, Central. Photo: SCMP
Moroccan lamb chops at Ollies Bar & Grill. Photo: Instagram / @olliesbargrill
Translucent lotus root from Chinesology. Photo: Chinesology

When we get tired, there are many cafes along Hollywood Road too. My favourite is Ollies (151-155 Hollywood Road, Central, tel: 2811 8183), as it has outside seating and the staff are warm and welcoming.

For dinner, I might visit Celestial Court (2/F, Sheraton Hong Kong, 20 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2369 1111) for its traditional dishes from Shunde, a district [in the southern Chinese city of Foshan] well known for delicate and sophisticated cooking. I also like Chinesology (Shop 3101-3107, IFC Mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, tel: 6809 2299).

For something very different or for special occasions, I like One Thirty-One (131 Tseng Tau Village, Shap Sze Heung, Sai Kung, tel: 2791 2684). It’s a small private kitchen with its own herb and vegetable garden. The restaurant is on the waterfront and has a large open space to walk around or explore, making it an ideal weekend place for families with young kids.

One Thirty-One’s A4 beef strip loin with vegetable salsa and truffle sauce. Photo: Instagram / @onethirtyone.hk

Outside Hong Kong, there are a few places that I like to go back to regularly, not just for the divine food offered but also for their exceptional service and environment.

Restaurant Gill (8 Quai de la Bourse, Rouen, France, tel: +33 2 35 71 16 14), a stellar high-end French restaurant serving Norman-inspired cuisine, is one example that I had a chance to visit a few years ago.

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