Header image courtesy of @changantaste (via Instagram)
Located between the higher-profile areas of Sai Ying Pun and Kennedy Town is the petite neighbourhood of Shek Tong Tsui, whose modest charm belies its colourful history as a red-light district. Home to the main HKU campus and swarming with students, there is a huge selection of wallet-friendly eats to be found in Shek Tong Tsui—so we’ve rounded some of our favourite cheap lunch spots in Shek Tong Tsui where meals can be had for under $100!
For a devilishly good—and supremely affordable—Thai lunch, there is no better choice than 666 Boat Noodle, a retro, shabby-chic eatery where a bowl of the eponymous noodles in long-simmered pork bone broth will only set you back about $25 to $48. The curries, soups, and Thai-style Hainanese chicken rice are all similarly priced, with a whole Hainanese chicken ringing in at a princely $198. Now that’s what we call a good deal.
666 Boat Noodle, 366 Des Voeux Road West, Shek Tong Tsui | (+852) 3618 4544
Given the history of Shek Tong Tsui’s Chiuchow population, we couldn’t write about the neighbourhood’s food scene without a nod to Tak Kee, which has had a Michelin Bib Gourmand since 2018. What started as a hawker stall on the street has blossomed into one of the finest Chiuchow eateries in the area, with office workers flocking to the restaurant daily for the oyster rice porridge ($50; pictured), pregnant woman fried rice ($50), and braised goose soup noodles ($50). You can also find other Chiuchow classics like oyster omelettes and sugar & vinegar pancakes ($88 and $68, respectively), which are best enjoyed in a group.
Tak Kee, 3 Belcher’s Street, Shek Tong Tsui | (+852) 2819 5568
Who said that fresh Japanese food had to cost a bomb? Certainly not the folks at Katsuisen—a grilled mackerel set lunch, which comes with side dishes, salad, rice, and soup, will only set you back $65. There are dozens of lunch sets available, ranging from rice bowls and noodles to sushi platters, with the most expensive—a 12-piece sushi set—ringing in at a very reasonable $148. If you’re mad for uni, try the sea urchin rice set ($78), which comes with salad and soup for a well-rounded meal.
Katsuisen, 503 Queen’s Road West, Shek Tong Tsui | (+852) 2168 4428
Broaden your knowledge of regional Chinese food at Chang’an Taste, a Shanxi snack shop where you can get northern Chinese classics like roujiamo (肉夹馍; crispy meat sandwiches, starting from $23) or hand-ripped belt noodles with minced pork in soybean paste ($58). If you’re fond of red meats, the beef stew ($88) and basin-stewed mutton ($88) are hugely comforting in the colder winter months.
Chang’an Taste, 406D Des Voeux Road West, Shek Tong Tsui | (+852) 9827 9209
What would life be without milkshakes? Luckily, you don’t ever have to find out, because Shek Tong Tsui’s got its very own shake shack, serving up everything from the eponymous milkshakes to cheat day-worthy comfort food. This quirky hole-in-the-wall joint is beloved by local university students for its cheap and cheerful lunch options, including the popcorn bacon buttermilk pancake with caramelised banana ($80), fish & chips ($88), and the classic grilled cheese ($55).
No Milkshake No Life, G/F, 31–37 Hill Road, Shek Tong Tsui | (+852) 6471 3339
For brunch vibes without the bottomless bubbles price tag, consider Dear Neighbor, a light-filled café whose all-day breakfast ($90) comes with truffled eggs, mushrooms, black pepper sausage, smoked salmon, garlic toast, and green salad. Fancy something with more carbs? No problem—just ask the staff about the daily pasta, which changes up every day but always stays at a cool $65. You can even cap off the meal with a peanut butter cinnamon toast ($45), which will juuust push you over the $100 mark.
Dear Neighbor, 9–15 Po Tuck Street, Shek Tong Tsui | (+852) 6067 5007
This chain restaurant, which has branches all over Hong Kong, is beloved by office workers for its affordable Straits cuisine and casual canteen vibe. Try the boneless Hainanese chicken rice set ($68), which comes with a clear soup that can be upgraded to a heartwarming bowl of laksa or Klang-style bak kut teh for an extra $14. For something a little different, try the fried chicken with nasi kerabu ($48; pictured), which is flavoured with herbs and tinted blue with butterfly pea flower.
Is this the worst kept secret in Shek Tong Tsui? Despite its humble appearance, this dim sum house is probably one of the most famous restaurants in the area. It’s got a lot of things going for it: Not only is the food affordable, but it’s also excellent—and because Saam Hui Yaat’s been around for so long, it’s a local institution, where gai fong (街坊; neighbours) hang out as soon as the doors open at 5 am. Come for the so-cheap-you-don’t-have-an-excuse-not-to char siu bao ($18), stay for the convivial atmosphere. Just make sure you come early, because they sell out of popular dishes fast and close at around 2 pm.
Saam Hui Yaat, 11 Pok Fu Lam Road, Shek Tong Tsui | (+852) 2547 3917