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 five 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 them as well – but if you want more head over to our top five 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 $- $$$$$.
01 of 05
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 the interior but once you dig into the BBQ pork and rice or beef brisket you'll never look back.
Address: 21 Gough Street, Central
02 of 05
Best Sichuan Restaurant in Hong Kong - Yunyan
Probably the most popular Chinese cuisine after Cantonese in the foodie capitals of the world, Szechuan has made a name for itself through its spicy chillis. It's not been quite the hit in Hong Kong that it has been in London and New York, perhaps thanks to the locals almost allergic approach to anything spicy, but there are still some quality choices.
Try Yunyan; an increasingly celebrated destination that has long been the choice of Szechuan fans in the city. Ingredients are shipped in straight from Sichuan and food is first class. The sliced beef in chili broth is suitably spicy but balanced enough to bring out the flavor of the beef while the Szechuan tan tan noodles may look like something out of Italy but the sauce has all the bursting herbs and spices that have made Szechuan food famous. There are plenty of non-chili based foods also available and prices are mid range and above.
Address: Mirimar Shopping Centre, 132 Nathan Road, TST
03 of 05
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: Novotel Century, 268 Jaffe Road, Hong Kong
04 of 05
While Beijing cuisine hasn't made quite the splash around the world that many of competitor cuisines have, in Hong Kong it's popular. 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 getting 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 the food is faultless. Don't miss the crispy Peking Duck – which consistently earns rave reviews – although booking in advance is highly recommended.
Price: $$$Continue to 5 of 5 below.
05 of 05
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 exist 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 that you pay for a meal is incredible value for what is a world class meal. Very popular so expect queues.
Address: 2-20 Kwong Wa Street