Hong Kong street food is one of the city’s great offerings, cultural or otherwise. Unfortunately, a variety of conditions and legislation are making dai pai dongs (famously big stalls selling hot food) harder and harder to find. At time of writing, there are only 25 registered dai pai dongs remaining in Hong Kong. Happily there are still a multitude of smaller stalls selling delicious and piping hot food in variety of local styles.
Pinning down individual stalls and dai pai dong is nearly impossible, especially without advanced knowledge of Cantonese, as they frequently change locations and multiple kitchens will often meld into one. All the same, we’ve assembled some of the best places to hunt for Hong Kong street eats below.
Graham Street is a street in Hong Kong and location of Graham Street Market, one of the oldest markets in Victoria City.
The market is 160 years old and is Hong Kong’s oldest continuously-operating street market. The street is narrow but allows a row of stalls on either sides and sells fresh food like seafood, vegetables, meats and other dry goods.
One of the earliest cinemas in Hong Kong, the Bizhao Dianying Yuan, opened in Graham Street in 1907. Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by Governor Murray MacLehose, visited the Graham Street market on 5 May 1975 to speak with locals. Graham Street was featured in a scene from the 2001 film Rush Hour 2.
The Urban Renewal Authority is planning to redevelop Graham Street and Peel Street and demolish the market. This will affect over 37 buildings in the process.
Where: Graham Street, Central, Hong Kong
Temple Street is a street located in the areas of Jordan and Yau Ma Tei in Kowloon, Hong Kong. It is known for its night market and one of the busiest flea markets at night in the territory. The night market is in the Yau Ma Tei, Jordan part of the street and not the Mong Kok part of the street. Popular with tourists and locals alike in the evening, it is common to see the place crowded at dusk. It sells cheap merchandise and food items. The place is sometimes known as Men’s Street.
Where: Temple Street, Yau Ma Tei, Yau Tsim Mong District, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Haiphong Road is a road south of Kowloon Park, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong. The road links Canton Road and Nathan Road.
It was initially named as Elgin Street but its name changed in 1909 to Haiphong, a city in Vietnam to avoid confusion with another Elgin Street on the Hong Kong Island. As such, it is one of the few streets in Hong Kong not named for a Chinese or English subject. Along with Nathan Road it was one of the first two streets laid out in Tsim Sha Tsui. Indian merchants, mostly Hindus from the province of Sindh, began establishing shops on the street in the 1920s, supplying Indian goods to soldiers stationed in the adjacent Whitfield Barracks.
Where: Haiphong Road, south of Kowloon Park, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
A good selection of dai pai dong can be found on Hau Fook Street, and there’s usually a wider range of food for the taking. Both Shanghainese and Beijingese are well represented, as is the usual Cantonese fare. You’ll be hard pressed to find any English, so you know the drill: keep your phrasebook handy.
Where: Hau Fook Street, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
5. Causeway Bay
Causeway Bay is a heavily built-up area of Hong Kong, located on Hong Kong Island, and covering parts of Wan Chai and Eastern districts. The Chinese name is also romanized as Tung Lo Wan as in Tung Lo Wan Road. The rent in the shopping areas of Causeway Bay was ranked as the world’s most expensive for the second year in a row, after overtaking New York’s Fifth Avenue in 2012.
Where: Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong
6. Chan Sze Kee
Two words: wonton noodles. Okay, actually, some other relevant words for this spot: omelets showcasing preserved turnip and mincemeat. Spicy stir-fried lamb is also available and exceptional.
Where: 74 Stanley St, Central
7. Leaf Dessert
We really recommend the beef noodles over here, as well as the green bean sweet soup – a novelty dessert that deserves not to be a novelty in your confectionary repertoire. Glutinous rice balls with peanuts and sesame seeds are also not to be missed.
Where: 2 Elgin St, SoHo, Central
8. Lee Fung
At Lee Fung’s stall, even the most discerning oyster pancake connoisseur need look no further. Sweet and sour pork, wok-fried clams in black bean sauce are all also on another level: we checked. Go crazy.
Where: Shop 1A, Cooked Food Stall, Ching Tak St, Wong Tai Sin