Header photo courtesy of @taku_sw (via Instagram)
Originally published by Catharina Cheung. Last updated by Annette Chan.
The neighbourhood of Sheung Wan is where the Localiiz office resides, so you best believe our team has all its nook and crannies sussed out. As unapologetic foodies, we are also regularly on the lookout for good places to have lunch at. There are so many different cuisines to try out just within this small district, and plenty of options with reasonable price tags. Here are our top picks for lunch spots in Sheung Wan that won’t break the bank. Say hi if you bump into us at these locations!
This newly opened Japanese restaurant does have seating, but considering how limited it is, we recommend grabbing one of their refined lunch boxes to go if you happen to live or work nearby. For something fresh, we like the negi toro rice box ($75) which comes topped with diced raw tuna belly and spring onion, or one of the excellent mixed sushi boxes (starting from $88). If you’re in the mood for something hot, try the grilled chicken or unagi rice box (starting from $85).
Taku, 36 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan | (+852) 5104 7178
This little takeaway has drawn in local office workers for years with the irresistible scent of roast chicken—seriously, you can just follow your nose along Hillier Street instead of looking up the shop number—and turned them into regulars thanks to the affordable lunch sets. For $88, the best-selling set classic comes with a quarter of roasted chicken, a side dish, and either soup or iced tea; throw in an extra $10 and you can swap the chook for roast duck. Sharing with friends? Opt for the half or whole birds (starting from $148), which come with two or four side dishes respectively. For an easy, filling lunch on the go, the roast chicken sandwich ($62) is an excellent choice.
La Rotisserie, 33 Hillier Street, Sheung Wan | (+852) 9791 9045
While we love Japanese food, the range in quality can be pretty vast, especially if you’re working within a limited budget and time-frame. But you don’t have to necessarily shell out the big bucks for a high-quality donburi (rice bowl) or sushi platter—just look at Sushi Masa. The daily lunch specials at this lovely little restaurant start from $128 and comprise delicious sets like grilled miso cod ($175) and tempura donburi and soba noodles ($158), which come with miso soup, salad, and chawanmushi (茶碗蒸し; steamed egg custard). Dining with a friend? Try the deluxe sashimi rice bowl set for two ($260).
Sushi Masa, 105 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan | (+852) 2886 9009
Though Sai Ying Pun burger joint Electric Ave is due to close its doors soon, the team’s spin-off concept, Smashed, is still going strong. The focus at this little takeaway shop is smashed burgers—a.k.a. burgers with patties that have been smashed down on the grill to get a deliciously crispy, browned crust while retaining a juicy centre. Besides the classic American burger (starts from $58) with the usual toppings of lettuce, pickle, tomato, and red onion, there’s also the Hangry Bird ($68) burger, featuring a deep-fried chicken schnitzel, spicy mayo, shredded lettuce, maple syrup pickled onions, and hot sauce. Don’t forget to leave space for Electric Ave’s famous rosemary fries ($35)!
Smashed, Shop 1A, G/F, 31 Hillier Street, Sheung Wan | (+852) 5919 1560
The menu at this underrated neighbourhood spot is a mix of Sichuan and Shanghainese—meaning you can enjoy Chongqing spicy and sour tapioca noodles in soup ($48) and steamed or fried Shanghainese buns (mántóu; $28) in the same meal, which is a win-win in our books. If you can take the heat, the chicken in spicy sesame sauce ($52) is a favourite for its fragrant (and extremely fiery) sauce.
Mrs Vinegar, G/F, Wing Hing Commercial Building, 139 Wing Lok Street, Sheung Wan | (+852) 2470 9070
For a quintessential Hong Kong meal, head to this no-frills siu mei (燒味; Cantonese roast meat) joint on Bonham Strand. For a taste of pure comfort, go for the classic combo of barbecued pork & suckling pig ($53) on rice, or try the roast duck rice ($60); don’t forget to ask for a pot of ginger and scallion sauce (薑蓉; geung1 yung4) to drizzle over the barbecued meat. You can get about $10 knocked off if you order your food to go, but remember to bring your own container as typical rice boxes (飯盒; faan6 hap2) come in styrofoam packaging with single-use plastic bags and cutlery.
Dragon State Kitchen, 38 Bonham Strand, Sheung Wan | (+852) 2342 3189
Even transient travellers who are not in Hong Kong for long know about our famous cha chaan teng cafés, but did you know that the cha chaan teng’s humble predecessor is known as a bing sutt? These Cantonese “ice rooms”—that’s the literal translation—are traditional shops where locals would pop in for cold drinks, prevalent in the 1950s and 1960s. There really aren’t very many of them left, but Hoi On Café is one such bing sutt.
This is a small diner that has been around for nearly 70 years, only affording enough space for elbow-to-elbow table sharing, with decor that barely seems to have changed over the years. They specialise in homey, simple foods that have always been popular in Hong Kong—noodle dishes, pineapple buns, toast, classic beverages, and the like.
One of their most well-received offerings is lo meen ($48), a dish of instant noodles mixed with greens and flavouring and topped with char siu. For a set meal that comes with coffee or tea, this is a great deal for a lunch spot in Sheung Wan. Another special we’ve tried is the claypot instant noodles ($45), which comes with assorted meats and a sunny-side-up egg. Expect some queuing during lunch hours, but the turnover is generally very quick, and there’s not much lingering around after you’re done.
Hoi On Café, 17 Connaught Road West, Sheung Wan | (+852) 2540 6340
Note: Temporarily closed
We do always love us a nice bowl of phở, especially in this cooling weather. This cosy little corner restaurant can get quite packed at lunchtimes, but they’ve got a comfy bench outside with order papers so you can tick off your choices while waiting. Their beef phở ($68) is quite affordable for very decent portion sizes, and you can choose two toppings to go with it, including raw beef, rib finger, skirt steak, tendon, beef ball, tripe, and Vietnamese ham. If you’re indecisive or want a bit of everything, then their signature mosnter beef phở ($88) will sort you out. They also have bánh mì sandwiches for under $50, and fantastic spring rolls.
Pho Woo Viet, G/F, AKVO Hotel, 57 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan | (+852) 2668 0398
This Korean “fast food” concept was founded by three Korean mums who decided on the venture when their children’s schoolmates developed an interest in eating their homemade kimbap (a roll of rice and fillings wrapped in seaweed similar to Japanese sushi rolls), so much so that they would regularly go home hungry because they’ve been sharing their food so much!
Apart from the eponymous kimbap K-rolls ($55), they also serve bibimbap ($80), spicy soup with rice or noodles ($80), bento-style K-boxes ($95), burritos with a Korean twist called Korrito ($70), and much more. We love how their menu is hearty and filling without feeling heavy or unhealthy. Roll on up!
K-Roll, G/F, Sen Fat Building, 6A Bonham Strand, Sheung Wan | (+852) 2234 5505
This beloved yum cha spot doesn’t have a massive range of dim sum, but the ones that are available are done well. Our go-to choices are the crab roe siu mai ($29), glutinous rice balls with shrimp and pork stuffing ($20), pan-fried turnip cake ($20), and the spring rolls wrapped in rice rolls ($26).
Dim sum is obviously a meal best enjoyed in a group, so bring your colleagues or friends, and you can also split a chicken and mushroom steamed rice pot ($32). Seating is pretty tight, and diners are expected to share tables with strangers, but we think it just lends to the authenticity of a dim sum experience.
Dim Sum Square Kitchen, LG/F, Tern Center Tower 2, 78 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan | (+852) 3521 0868
For an affordable vegan lunch, look no further than Confusion. This plant-based kitchen has a daily set menu ($128) that includes a choice of starter, mains, dessert, and tea or coffee, which is a great deal for nutritious, sustainable food.
The hedgehog mushroom quesadilla ($90), with tandoori-spiced mushrooms and vegan cheddar served with fresh salsa and guac, is well worth a try. We’ve also heard good things about the burger ($145), which features a Beyond Burger patty, tofu chipotle mayo, purple sauerkraut, and vegan cheddar in a handmade rye sourdough bun. There’s no confusion whatsoever about the quality and feel-good factor of this Sheung Wan lunch joint!
Confusion, G/F, 103 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan | (+852) 2563 3699
Much loved by both locals and expats in the know, Ma Sa is so famous that it’s even been featured in Stephen Chow’s classic film God of Cookery. Their absolute must-try dish is the triple egg char siu rice ($35), which has people flocking to Sheung Wan for lunch from all across Hong Kong.
Make sure you arrive early to beat the crowds because they will often run out of char siu during lunchtime, in which case you’ll have to swap to luncheon meat or ham—still tasty as heck, but not the classic after all. There’s something so satisfying about popping the egg yolks and letting it run over the soy sauce-drenched rice, then digging in with the perfectly half-fatty char siu. If you’re wary of the protein overload, rest assured that Ma Sa has an extensive menu full of other traditional Hong Kong eats. This really is local no-frills fare at its very best.
Ma Sa Restaurant, G/F, 23 Hillier Street, Sheung Wan | (+852) 2545 9026
Another traditional Hong Kong institution that’s been knocking around for a good while, For Kee specialises in pork chops. They serve a huge variety of pork chop rice dishes, and the most popular would be the signature pork chop rice ($49) served with their homemade sauce. Diners can choose to upgrade this dish to a set with coffee or tea for $5 more.
The tomato pork chop rice ($61) is perfect for those who like something tangier; the sweet and sour tomatoes really whet the appetite. If you don’t feel like a full-on rice and meat dish, opt for the pork chop bun ($32) instead. This cha chaan teng is very local and doesn’t even have an English menu, so bring a friend who can speak Cantonese along. Don’t forget to give the resident cats a pat goodbye before you leave!
For Kee Restaurant, Shop J–K, 200 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan | (+852) 2546 8947