The Foodie’s Guide To Causeway Bay, Hong Kong’s Most Fashionable Neighborhood
Greetings, friends! Welcome to Caffeinated Excursions’ second food guide. The first one I wrote was for Mexico City, a place I lived for almost a year before moving to Vietnam. I recently spent about five days in Hong Kong, undoubtedly one of the most interesting cities on the planet. This wasn’t my first trip, though; I had been to HK once before in 2014, so I had an idea of what the city was like and how to get around.
Originally, I was going to write a general post about how to spend a few days in Hong Kong. However, I decided against it and instead wanted to focus on all the amazing food options in the neighborhood I stayed in this trip: Causeway Bay.
If you’re curious why I’m focusing on restaurants in one particular part of Hong Kong instead of writing a more general post, there are a few reasons. The first is that I’m sure the internet is already inundated with blog posts explaining how to do a few days in Hong Kong. And you probably don’t even need to read those; Hong Kong is easy to navigate, it’s very safe, and it’s incredibly international, so English will almost always be understood. You honestly don’t need to do a ton of research before visiting this incredible metropolis!
In addition, it ended up raining for all five days of my visit, so I didn’t really get to explore as much as I would’ve liked. I originally wanted to check out some of Hong Kong’s less developed areas and many, many parks and nature reserves, but I’ll have to wait until my next trip to do that when hopefully it’s sunny.
Despite the fact that Hong Kong is very visitor-friendly, the one thing that is probably overwhelming to most travelers upon arrival is food. The choices are endless, and it’s hard to know where to begin. In this post, I want to give readers an idea of what the city’s culinary scene is like. If you happen to find yourself in Causeway Bay, try one of the restaurants, bars, or cafes mentioned below and let me know what you think in the comments section!
Hong Kong’s culinary scene is arguably one of the world’s best. Since the city is incredibly international, the variety is honestly unlike anywhere else I’ve been to in Asia. Withdraw a thick stack of Hong Kong Dollars (HKD), prepare to be seated with strangers because most dining rooms are tiny, and let’s dive right in!
I don’t know about you, but I love me some dim sum! If you happen to live in a city with good dim sum restaurants (New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Vancouver, etc), give it a try before coming to Hong Kong. Figure out which plates you like the most, and if you’re really ambitious, learn how to read or say them in Cantonese. This could potentially come in handy in Hong Kong.
I ended up trying four different dim sum restaurants around Causeway Bay, which basically means I ate dim sum for lunch every day I was in Hong Kong. I can’t say I was able to pick a favorite, but it was a lot of fun to compare the places I tried!
I have a couple of items I really like, including xiaolongbao (小籠包), shumai (燒賣), har gow (蝦餃), chicken feet (鳳爪), and tripe (牛柏葉). Now, I understand that not all foodies may be dying to try everything on that list. It’s important to note that none of those things are vegan or vegetarian, either. However, if you don’t have dietary restrictions, be a little adventurous! You might find that the more interesting dim sum dishes grow on you! It could definitely be an acquired taste for some people. In any case, here’s the list of places I tried in Causeway Bay!
Option 1. Dim Dim Sum
Option 2. Dragon Prince
Note that the menu at Prince Dragon is only in Chinese. You could ask if they have an English version or try to ask someone to help you translate, but if you don’t want to risk it, head to one of the other places on the list.
Option 3. Dim Sum Heritage
Option 4. King's Dim Sum
What I liked about this place was that the service was lightning fast. It also had the most local vibe of the four I tried. On top of that, their chicken feet were so tender!
Dim sum is not necessarily the cheapest meal in Hong Kong, but it also wasn’t the most expensive. Depending on how much you order, expect to spend about 100 to 150 HKD per meal. Most “long” (籠, the name of the little wooden steamer most dishes are served in) go for about 30 to 40 HKD, and three to four “long” per person would be pretty filling. Below, I list some other options for visitors on a budget.
This guide doesn’t focus a ton on prices, but you should know that food (like almost everything else in Hong Kong) is expensive. It’s honestly more similar to New York than anywhere else I’ve been in Asia. The best advice I can give if you’re trying to save some cash is to avoid restaurants in malls, which tend to be upscale.
Even then, prepare to spend at least 10 to 15 USD per meal. The area near the intersection of Cannon Street and Jaffe Road (pictured above) has quite a few options, some of which looked like they were on the cheaper end of the price spectrum.
Restaurants so local that there's no English menu, such as "Snake King 2"
One way to avoid exorbitant meal prices is to avoid the places frequented by tourists. This may be a bit of a challenge if you don’t speak or read a bit of Chinese, but it’s often worth the extra effort.
One such place I tried was called 蛇王二, which translates directly to “Snake King 2.” I ordered a simple plate of rice with duck which cost around 9 USD. This is one place without an English menu, as you can see if you zoom in on the wall in the picture above.
Since I’m semi-literate in Chinese, I had a general idea of what I was ordering. I’m not sure to what extent staff in places like this would be able to help translate what they offer into English. If you’re feeling up to it, you could look around at what other customers are eating and point to something that looks good. However, according to Michelin, their most famous dish is snake soup, so you may unknowingly end up with an adventurous dinner if you decide to take that approach…
Nom Nom Dumplings
A slightly more tourist-friendly place was Nom Nom Dumplings. Not only is the menu bilingual, but there are also clear pictures of every item. The dumplings I ordered were good, and every table has a large topping and sauce rack so you can decide exactly how spicy you want them to be.
BBQ Meat Skewers
These may not end up being a proper meal, but they are a good snack. You order by the stick, and my favorite was the hot dog wrapped in bacon. Why isn’t that a thing in the US??
Mak’s Noodle is a chain with other locations outside of Causeway Bay, but I decided to check out the one here. I went with their standard dumpling noodles in soup. You can’t see it in the picture below, but there are a couple of pork and shrimp dumplings hiding under all those noodles. The serving is small, but it only costs about 40 HKD, which is probably the cheapest meal I came across in Hong Kong.
If you're down to splurge
In case you’re looking for a nicer meal, higher-end restaurants are everywhere in Hong Kong. Although mall food in the States is usually average at best, many of the more expensive restaurants in Hong Kong are located in the city’s massive malls. Two I tried were both located in a shopping center called Lee Theatre Plaza, and both ended up being around 45 USD for dinner (although I did order a lot of food at both).
This restaurant on the sixth floor of the mall was such an experience! They’re famous for xiaolongbao, an item typically found on dim sum menus. What’s interesting about Paradise Dynasty though is the fact that they offer a ton of unique flavors, including cheese and black truffle. They even offer a “sampler” that will allow you to try one of each flavor. Not only is it the most Instagrammable meal I had in Hong Kong, but it also was so much fun to try each one!
Paradise Dynasty has a bunch of other stuff on the menu, and when it all came to the table, I realized I had ordered way too much food for just myself. Their other side dishes were fine, but I sort of wish I had just ordered two servings of their sampler. It would’ve been cheaper and probably a more manageable amount of food.
Putien, a Fujian-style seafood restaurant on the seventh floor of Lee Theatre Plaza, was recommended by an article online. I ordered a fish platter, a plate of oval-shaped mussels or shellfish that seemed to be their specialty, and a seaweed salad. I left feeling quite full, but none of those dishes were spectacular. The shellfish especially were cooked in a way that didn’t have any sauce or seasoning, leaving them with only a generic “seafoody” taste.
Meals in Causeway Bay run the gamut from staples like fried rice to exotic dishes like snake soup. Prices range from about 70 HKD to upwards of 300 or 400 HKD per meal. Good restaurants are spread out throughout the neighborhood, but if you’re craving a drink or looking for happy hour deals, there’s one small street you should head to right away, which I’ll share with you in the section below!
At the Yiu Wa Street Bars
B & W Lounge
This chic little bar was the perfect place to stop in for a glass of wine. The vibe was cool but relaxed, and I assume the name is a reference to the collection of Polaroid cameras displayed along the wall on one side.
Only a few doors down from B & W, Ruggers was a little sports bar boasting a ton of local beers on tap.
Although I only made it to these two places, most if not all the bars on Yiu Wa Street had similar setups (i.e., they were small) but each seemed to have its own personality and character. I can’t think of a better street for bar hopping, especially if it’s raining out!
Since the weather was rainy and cloudy the entire time I was in Hong Kong, I spent a fair amount of time in cafes working on my Sa Pa blog post (and also wasting time online).
Why the Standard Coffee Chains Were a Disappointment
Hong Kong has all the international coffee chains you might expect (such as Starbucks) as well as some local chains including Pacific Coffee. The problem with all of them is that one beverage purchase only comes with a measly 30 minutes of WiFi access. You need to enter a unique password that comes on the receipt, a timer does count down from the moment you login, and you will be disconnected after half an hour.
With all that in mind, finding a place to actually chill and login was harder than I thought it would be. The two places I found that I really liked were both on Yiu Wa Street, the road with all the bars mentioned above. Coffee, alcohol… Yiu Wa really does have everything!
The Coffee Academics
This cafe is located on the corner of Yiu Wa Street and Canal Road East. It’s the flagship store of a chain with locations across Asia. What I liked about it: the unique drinks, the atmosphere, and the ability to actually sit and use WiFi for multiple hours without feeling like I was being pressured to leave. What I didn’t like were the really high prices.
Drinks at The Coffee Academics were genuinely delicious and original. They had one latte with black pepper sprinkled on top, which may sound weird but ended up being so good! The atmosphere was also a major plus. Although most of the tables were set up more like a dining room than a coffee shop, there were a couple of seats at a windowside counter as well as two large communal tables for people to sit and work. Since it was a welcoming space and the drinks were good, I returned to The Coffee Academics a couple of times and stayed for a few hours each time I did.
Despite all that it has going for it, every item on the menu at The Coffee Academics is really overpriced. Sure, the lattes are smooth and the ambiance is comfortable. But at 60 HKD (approx. 7.50 USD) for some of their cheaper options, they make Starbucks’ 45 HKD lattes look like a bargain (which they are not!). The meals on the menu were even more expensive, which is the main reason I never bothered to try any of their breakfast or brunch items.
Caffe Kenon has everything that The Coffee Academics does, except the coffee is slightly cheaper. Their menu may be a little more traditional, but I still really liked every latte and mocha I tried here. Caffe Kenon also feels slightly more like a restaurant, but with much more counter seating and an open and fast WiFi network, it’s clear that they don’t mind if you stay for a while to work.
What I really liked about Caffe Kenon though was their breakfast, which only cost about 50 HKD. The fact that all the food pictured below cost less than a single drink at The Coffee Academics is saying something!
In any case, both The Coffee Academics and Caffe Kenon are both great places to sit and work or relax. In general, coffee is expensive in Hong Kong so prepare to pay a pretty penny for a cup no matter where you go. To read more about coffee shops in Hong Kong, click here.
The Tip of the Iceberg for Hong Kong’s Foodie Scene
Well, that’s all I have! Keep in mind, this was only a small fraction of the options in one of the city’s many neighborhoods. Hong Kong may be a center of international business and finance, but it’s also an amazing place for anyone who loves food. If you happen to be in Causeway Bay, I hope this post gives you a couple of ideas!
Have any questions about the places listed here? Do you have an all-time favorite restaurant in Hong Kong? Let me know in the comments section below! Thanks for reading!