Seafood in Hong Kong is a passion, and an integral part of Cantonese cuisine. With a population that demands ‘caught hours ago’ freshness and knows its mussels from its cockles, most of the city’s chefs have become masters at cooking up creatures from the deep. However, unlike New York or London, don’t expect to see your first class fish served up in a five star stetting. The best Hong Kong seafood restaurants are in small villages and island communities, where the dining is firmly down to earth.
The locations below are almost all plastic seated, al-fresco affairs. In return you'll find very fair prices for buckets of excellent seafood.
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Lei Yue Mun
Probably the most famous of Hong Kong’s seafood districts, Lei Yun Mun was once a small fishing village that netted a name for itself thanks to its fishing fleet and seafood markets. Locals used to arrive and pick out their favourite fish at the market, before taking the victim to a local restaurant for execution. In recent years the area has been somewhat gentrified to appeal to the increasing number of tourists, but the bustling streets, packed with around thirty, excellent seafood restaurants have lost none of their appeal. Try and visit on a weekday when the crowds are a little more manageable.
- How to Get There: MTR to Tau Kong, Exit A2, green minibus 24 Sam Ka Tsuen.
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One of the most popular bolt holes for Hong Kongers looking to escape the stresses and strains of the big city, Sai Kung has, over the years, developed into a town in its own right without surrendering its laidback, seaside atmosphere. Seafood fans will want to set sail for the seafront promenade, where small sampans still sell freshly caught fish straight off the deck. You can pick your dinner, before taking to one of the restaurants that line the promenade – although the restaurants are also happy to supply you with fish. Sai Kung is best enjoyed on a lazy Sunday afternoon, leaving you time to do some hopping around the nearby islands.
- How to Get There: MTR to Diamond Hill, bus 92 or 96R (Sundays and holidays only).
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Setting for some of Hong Kong’s most famous seafood restaurants, Lamma Island offers outstanding food against the picturesque backdrop of the South China Sea. The restaurants are set either in Yung Shue Wan or in the smaller and more appealing Sok Kwu Wan with both villages individually accessible by ferry. Some restaurants, such as the famed Rainbow Seafood Restaurant, offer customers free transport to the island from Central in return for a minimum spend. The restaurants here tend to be priced a note or two higher than those in Sai Kung and Lei Yue Mun, although the extra cents are well worth it to enjoy the waterside view.
- How to Get There: Lamma Island Ferries
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Aberdeen Fish Market
You’ll need to start early to eat at the Aberdeen Fish Market, but in return you’ll be rewarded with fish fresh from the boat. Much of Hong Kong’s local catch is still unloaded here at dawn before being shipped off to restaurants around the city. Get here before six and you can join the fisherman and five star chefs digging into their pick of the best fish and shellfish.
How to get there: You can take bus 70 or 72 from Central Hong Kong to reach Aberdeen.