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10 affordable lunch spots in Sheung Wan

By Catharina Cheung 12 December 2019

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!

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Hoi On Café

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

Akamaru • Don

This fuss-free Japanese diner is easily recognisable from a distance—you can’t miss the eye-catching mural of giant salmon fish against Hokusai-style waves. This lunch spot in Sheung Wan has a huge selection of don—Japanese rice bowls topped with meat or seafood—all priced at only $68. We particularly like the Negitoro and Salmon Roe option, but we’ve not had complaints about the other variations, either.

Apart from sashimi toppings, they also offer hot dishes such as Tonkotsu Rice Sets, which also come with a serving of miso soup. It’s a very no-frills place where diners are expected to clear their own tables after the meal, but at such bargain prices for a filling lunch, we’ll take it gladly.

Akamaru • Don, Xiu Ping Commercial Building, 104 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan | (+852) 5546 3394

Pho Woo Viet

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 Monster 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

Hit the other end of the spectrum with these decadent menus:

Favourites
By Catharina Cheung 22 November 2019

K-Roll

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

Dim Sum Square

We see queues going around the block almost daily at Dim Sum Square, and it’s easy to understand why. This Sheung Wan restaurant 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, G/F, Fu Fai Commercial Centre, 27 Hillier Street, Sheung Wan | (+852) 2851 8088

Schragels

The best bagels that Hong Kong has to offer! Schragels was established in 2014 by Rebecca Schrage, whose grandparents ran Jewish delis in 1950s and 1960s New York, so you know her bagel recipe is legit. These circles of carby goodness are hand-rolled, kettle-boiled, and stone-baked to order every morning.

We love the Poppy Seed Bagel (from $25) with Scallion Schmear ($15) or Honey & Pecan Schmear ($15). You can also choose from their pre-set menu—our favourites include the SchReuben ($90), with beef pastrami, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese, and the Schmoked Whitefish ($90), with smoked mackerel salad. Schragels operate a counter pick-up service and over Deliveroo as well, so grab your mates and order a whole bunch for the gang!

Schragels, 17 Po Yan Street, Sheung Wan | (+852) 9667 3709

Some more food-related articles for your viewing pleasure:

Confusion

The lunch menu at Confusion is 100 percent vegan, won’t burn a hole in your wallet, and is drawing in crowds daily. 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

Ma Sa Restaurant

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

Chrysos Thai Cuisine

This newly-opened little Thai eatery in Sheung Wan is takeaway only, but that hasn’t stopped us from making repeat visits for lunch. Our go-to choice is the Bay Leaves Minced Pork Rice with Fried Egg ($52), a savoury and spicy affair that makes for a very hearty meal. It also comes with miso soup, which strikes us as a weird choice for a Thai food place, but it’s nevertheless an appreciated addition to wash the rice down with. Their Pad Thai with Prawns ($52) is an amazing deal because the portion is so big that it can last us two meals. Our one complaint is that it only comes with two (decent-sized) prawns, but the noodles itself are great.

Chrysos Thai Cuisine, Shop A, G/F, 31 Hillier Street, Sheung Wan

Get something warming to drink in this cold weather:

For Kee Restaurant

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

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Catharina Cheung

Senior editor

Catharina has recently returned to her hometown of Hong Kong after spending her formative years in Singapore and the UK. She enjoys scouring the city for under-the-radar things to do, see, and eat, and is committed to finding the perfect foundation that will withstand Hong Kong’s heat. She is also an aspiring polyglot, a firm advocate for feminist and LGBTQIA+ issues, and a huge lover of animals. You can find her belting out show-tunes in karaoke, or in bookstores adding new tomes to her ever-growing collection.

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