First things first, there is no such thing as Chinese food - just like there is no such thing as European food. Instead--like Europe has Italian, Spanish, Polish and more--China has many completely distinct regional cuisines. The simple flavors of Cantonese cuisine bear little resemblance to the spice heavy food from Sichuan or the starch and potato based menus up in Harbin. There are close to half a dozen major Chinese cuisines.
The good news is that Hong Kong is probably the best place in China to find fantastic restaurants from each cuisine. Below we've picked the four best Chinese food restaurants for the biggest and most popular Chinese cuisines. If you're looking for Cantonese food restaurants – we've got one of those as well – but if you want more head over to our top four Hong Kong seafood restaurants.
The restaurants below have been picked as the best Chinese food restaurants in Hong Kong. In many cases, this means the interiors are basic and the service brusque, but the taste is top class. Price is ranked from $- $$$$$.
Best Cantonese Restaurant in Hong Kong - Kau Kee
It's almost impossible to pick one Cantonese restaurant in Hong Kong – even Michelin can't get it down to more than a few dozen. You really can't go wrong; from the high-class hotel eateries to working class neighborhood restaurants.
One of our favorites is Kau Kee right in the heart of Central. Aimed at locals rather than tourists, the cheap noodle and rice dishes here deliver a classic Cantonese menu and are proof that you would be wasting your money spending a fortune on Hong Kong food. These basic neighborhood diners make the best flavors in town. With strip lighting and stools, there's little to recommend about the interior, but once you dig into the BBQ pork and rice or beef brisket, you'll never look back.
Address: 21 Gough Street, Sheung Wan
Drunken meats, shrimp buns and oversized crabs are just some the dishes that make Shanghainese food second only to Cantonese on Hong Kong plates.
While the location of the Lao Shang Hai restaurant inside the Novotel in Wan Chai may not promise much, the food itself has gained plenty of praise from local food critics and more importantly the local Shanghainese community. The simple but well turned out interior is host to the grand Shanghainese families of Hong Kong digging into timeless dishes from home, like steamed shrimp and chicken soup with wontons. The excellent teas are also not to be missed.
Address: 238 Jaffe Road, Wan Chai
While Beijing cuisine hasn't made quite the splash around the world that many competitor cuisines have, it's popular in Hong Kong. There are similarities with many other Chinese cuisines but with more an accent of flavor because of the colder climate; instead of rice, expect pancakes and thick noodles as well as strongly flavored bean based sauces.
Hong Kong stalwart Spring Deer has been serving up Beijing food right for years, and there is little reason to look past this dingy restaurant on the main stretch of Tsim Sha Tsui. The depressing facade is matched by an equally unimpressive bland interior, but don't be dissuaded because the food is faultless. Don't miss the crispy Peking Duck – which consistently earns rave reviews – although booking in advance is highly recommended.
Address: 2/F, 42 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Best Dim Sum Restaurant in Hong Kong - Tim Ho Wan
Dim Sum is Cantonese, but it warrants a cuisine category all to itself – not only for the food but for the experience. Expect cluttered rooms, packed with people where waiters bark orders at staff and diners alike. It's not for the faint-hearted, and, while more sedate restaurants exis,t that would be to miss out on electric experience. The clattering pans and the chattering business people are all part of this shared experience. The food itself is bite-sized morsels to be shared between friends; shredded pork buns, steamed shrimp buns, and tofu.
Our pick of the best dim sum restaurant in Hong Kong is a popular one; Tim Ho Wan. This hole in the wall canteen hit the headlines a few years back when it became the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world. It was confirmation of what locals had known for a while – that the HK$60 you pay for a meal is incredible value for what is a world class meal. Very popular so expect queues.
Address: 9-11 Fuk Wing St., Sham Shui Po