Header image courtesy of @mott32hk (via Instagram)
Cantonese cuisine boasts a presence on China’s culinary map that is rivalled by few other regional fares; and in Hong Kong, where the food culture is historically dominated by Cantonese influences, it firmly reigns supreme. Informed by the region’s subtropical climate and opportune coastal geography, Cantonese cuisine is known for its focus on the natural, primary flavours of various meats and seafood, with modest use of spices and herbs relative to its northern brethren.
While seafood stir-fries and braised dishes are undoubtedly at the forefront of Cantonese cooking, there’s also a whole host of cooking techniques and flavour profiles that reveal themselves upon a more in-depth exploration of the cuisine. If you’re looking to embark on a gastronomic tour of the Canton region, here are the best Cantonese restaurants in Hong Kong to get you started.
Pulling off the commendable feat of maintaining a three-Michelin-star rating for 13 consecutive years, Lung King Heen is practically a sainted legend in Hong Kong’s Cantonese dining scene. Spoiling you with views of Victoria Harbour through floor-to-ceiling windows and exceptional seafood and dim sum dishes, the Chinese fine-dining stalwart is the sort of establishment that sets the gold standard for its counterparts all around. Lung King Heen’s claim to fame is the baked whole abalone puff with diced chicken ($86), a masterful display of dim sum excellence and culinary finesse. Meanwhile, the crispy suckling pig ($480) and roasted Peking duck ($980) steal the spotlight on the à la carte menu.
Lung King Heen (龍景軒), Four Seasons Hong Kong, 8 Finance Street, Central | (+852) 3196 8332
Tucked away in what used to be the bank vault of Standard Chartered Hong Kong’s headquarters, entering Mott 32 feels like being led into a luxurious secret tavern as you take in a sensory feast of grey industrial walls juxtaposed against elegant, lounge-like seating and stunning Chinese artwork. Impeccable service and ambience are a given, but what keeps customers coming back is the meticulously curated menu, courtesy of chef Lee Man-sing.
Presenting a refined yet playful landscape of Cantonese flavours, Mott 32 is known for modernising traditional Cantonese mainstays like roast meats, dim sum, and stir-fries with Western culinary techniques. Its signature barbequed Pluma Ibérico pork ($350) is made with top-grade Iberian pigs and undergoes a painstaking cooking process that results in a perfectly smoky, charred crust that gives way to a juicy, melt-in-your-mouth bite.
Mott 32, Standard Chartered Bank Building, 4–4A Des Voeux Road, Central | (+852) 2898 3788
The Chairman really hits the nail on the head when it comes to coaxing out and spotlighting the natural flavours of its principal ingredients—a key component of the art of Cantonese cooking. Making it a priority to use only the best and freshest ingredients, the restaurant sources ingredients from local farms and purveyors, as well as prepare much of its sauces and marinades in-house. Yet, while sticking to the ingredient-driven ethos crucial to traditional Cantonese gastronomy, they are not afraid to creative liberates with their seafood and meaty offerings, with the steamed flowery crab with aged Shaoxing wine and fragrant chicken oil ($980) and braised spareribs with preserved plums in caramelised black vinegar ($75 each; minimum four orders) prevailing as undisputed favourites for their layered and unique flavour profiles.
The Chairman (大班樓), 18 Kau U Fong, Central | (+852) 2555 2202
Lurking in the basement of Eaton HK, this moody, subterranean enclave evokes the atmosphere of a hidden gem, but we’ll bet that it’s among the first restaurants on speed dial for gourmands across the city craving quality Cantonese cuisine. Honoured with one Michelin star, Yat Tung Heen boasts a menu filled with well-designed takes on all the classics, making it an easy one-stop gateway to authentic Cantonese fare. Graze your way through exquisite bites like the steamed pork dumplings with fresh scallop ($38), deep-fried custard buns ($48), and taro puffed with assorted seafood ($38) or enjoy a sumptuous feast with the Michelin degustation menu ($880 per person), featuring acclaimed signatures like the honey-glazed barbecued pork, deep-fried tiger prawn with crispy rice and sweet and spicy sauce, and braised sliced abalone with Chinese yellow wine.
Yat Tung Heen, B2, Eaton HK, 380 Nathan Road, Jordan | (+852) 2710 1093
Let Kin’s Kitchen be your guide to the joys of home-style Cantonese food. Run by father-and-son dream team Lau Kin-wai and Lau Chun, this family joint directs its focus on real, quality ingredients, taking a farm-to-table approach to its menu of modern dim sum, barbecued meats, seafood dishes, rice and noodles, and more. Recipes combine the best of timeless traditions and newer cooking techniques like sous vide in order to bring out classic Cantonese flavours at their pinnacle. The drunken abalone ($58) and deep-fried chicken broth custard ($25) are moreish starters to whet your appetite, while the fragrant smoked chicken ($408) and pigeon slow-cooked in Shaoxing wine sauce ($138) make for sublime main courses.
Kin’s Kitchen, 5/F, W Square, 314–324 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai | (+852) 2571 0913
Its name a nod to the Mandarin pronunciation of “Cantonese” (粵), Yue in Sheraton Hong Kong Tung Chung Hotel breaks from the usual white tablecloth and round-table setting prevalent in Cantonese fine-dining and instead sports a pared-down brand of elegance by way of turquoise leather booths, dark wood, and rattan features. Matching the contemporary-chic surrounds, the menu does not bind itself to traditions either, incorporating revamping classic dim sum and Cantonese dishes to lure in both the culinary purists and the adventurous palates.
Usual suspects like baked salted chicken ($590) and sweet and sour pork ($228) have withstood the test of time for good reason, but the menu makes plenty of room for inspired creations, wandering to experimental dishes like the roasted, honey-glazed chicken liver with toasts ($138) and stir-fried diced beef and foie gras with Thai basil in soy sauce ($428), as well as levelled-up dim sum like pan-fried Parma ham turnip cake ($69), shrimp dumplings with citrus ($69), and deep-fried soft-shell crab with fish roe and sweet and sour sauce ($138).
Yue (采悅軒), 2/F, Sheraton Hong Kong Tung Chung, 9 Yi Tung Road, Tung Chung | (+852) 2535 0028
Step onto the twenty-fifth floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and you will find yourself in the chic and intimate confines of Michelin-starred restaurant Man Wah—a royal blue dream accented by Chinese motifs and lacquered window panels that frame Victoria Harbour like a real-life painting. Its exquisite dining space does justice to executive chef Wong Wing-keung’s refined menu of Cantonese cuisine, which hones time-honoured classics and explores forgotten regional delicacies at the same time, giving them a modern update. Come for beautifully executed dim sum or à la carte highlights like the deep-fried matsutake mushroom pudding ($360), classic barbecued duck feet roll ($198), and sauteed lobster with superior fish broth ($638).
Man Wah (文華廳), 25/F, Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 5 Connaught Road, Central | (+852) 2825 4003