Header image courtesy of @samsenhk (via Instagram)
The Hong Kong and Macau Michelin Guide has just dropped its 2022 star ratings, and that means scores of devout foodies are ready to pounce all over the city’s latest and greatest culinary hits. With a notoriously cut-throat standard for its gastronomic rankings, the acclaimed Michelin Guide’s coveted stars are, unsurprisingly, largely bestowed upon fine dining restaurants that are beyond the reach of most people’s wallets.
Fortunately, the esteemed international dining guide also has a Bib Gourmand and Michelin Plate selection to shine the spotlight on budget-friendly establishments. If you want to chow down on top-quality dishes without breaking the bank, here‘s our list of the best Michelin-recommended cheap eats in Hong Kong—including some 2022 additions.
Moon Tong Lok may be a fresh face in the Michelin Guide, but it’s certainly no stranger to Hung Hom’s dining scene, having served as a steadfast anchor to the local community for 25 years.
Although the Shanghainese joint has a slightly run-down appearance that makes it easy to pass by, its famed sticky rice rolls ($20) are most definitely worth turning back for, featuring chewy glutinous rice stuffed with crispy youtiao (油條; Chinese fried dough), pork floss, and preserved vegetables. Make a hearty meal out of it and pair the breakfast classic with the savoury soy milk soup (鹹豆漿) or Shanghainese-style deep-fried pork chop noodles ($36).
Moon Tong Lok, 4 Ming On Street, Hung Hom | (+852) 2363 6488
Another new entrant to the Bib Gourmand category is Tai Wai Dining Room, a charming neighbourhood restaurant that excels in conjuring up the nostalgic flavours of Cantonese classics while adding its own cheeky twists. Upon entering the venue, the space immediately pleases with its imperial Chinese charm and character, replete with glowing red lanterns and wood furnishings etched with intricate latticework.
Once seated, diners are invited to tuck into a wide variety of dim sum, roast meats, seafood stir-fries, and other delectable Cantonese dishes. Particularly worthy of your stomach’s precious real estate are the signature barbecued pork ($168), ginger and garlic steamed crab rice ($258), and black truffle fried rice with shrimp and pine nuts ($168).
Tai Wai Dining Room, G/F, 92 Chik Fuk Street, Tai Wai | (+852) 2339 1319
If Cantonese roast goose is your idea of comfort food, then Tin Hung Restaurant needs to be on your radar. This long-standing, no-frills specialist in Yuen Long has its black-bearded geese shipped straight from a farm in Foshan, before marinating and roasting them fresh for customers every day.
With birds coming hot out of the oven multiple times a day, Tin Hung’s roast geese are always served with the promise of beautifully crisp and lacquered skin, and succulent flesh that virtually bursts with juice and melts in the mouth. Apart from the signature roast goose, the eatery also peddles other Cantonese-style meats like honey-glazed char siu, drunken chicken, roasted duck.
Tin Hung Restaurant, Shop D, G/F, Yan Yee Building, 88 Kin Yip Street, Yuen Long | (+852) 2474 8849
After making its debut in the Michelin Guide’s Bib Gourmand selection in 2021, the buzz around this 20-seater, hole-in-the-wall noodle shop quickly skyrocketed to a cult-like status—and it certainly lives up to the hype. Its owner—a former chef at Four Season’s Caprice—brings more than 20 years of experience in French cooking to this venture, crafting an avant-garde menu of “East-meets-West” soup noodle dishes filled with nothing but fresh, quality ingredients.
Among the 12 different options, the Sichuan spicy Wagyu beef cheek and French braised oxtail in beef broth ($102) is always in high demand, in part thanks to a painstaking two-day cooking process that effectively draws out the luxurious and robust flavour of the natural ingredients.
Hao Tang Hao Mian, 20 Chik Chuen Street, Tai Wai | (+852) 2813 5077
An old-school speciality shop with a history of over 130 years, Kung Wo Beancurd Factory has a legendary reputation built on their signature tofu pudding (starting from $10)—a creamy dessert rich with soy fragrance and boasting a silky-smooth texture that glides like a dream.
Not to be missed, however, are the other varied and unique soy derivatives, ranging from savoury snacks like deep-fried tofu puffs ($12) and golden fish and soya cake ($12) to sweet treats like tofu ice cream with ginger syrup ($13) and black soya bean milk ($15). Everything is made from scratch using hand-ground soybeans—a tell-tale sign that the tofu experts here are serious about their craft.
Kung Wo Beancurd Factory, G/F, 118 Pei Ho Street, Sham Shui Po | (+852) 2386 6871
Set in a vibrant, shabby-chic atmosphere that helps your senses travel to the streets of Bangkok, Samsen consistently ranks as one of Hong Kong’s best destinations to savour top-tier modern Thai fare. Earning the Michelin Bib Gourmand award is just another testament to how successfully it has managed to capture the cuisine’s authentic, punchy flavours.
While the original shop in Wan Chai is much loved for the location-exclusive Wagyu beef boat noodle soup ($148)—featuring a flavourful broth that is simmered for six hours—its outpost in Sheung Wan equally commands your attention with its own standout specialities like the Northern Thai classic khao soi curry with fresh egg noodles ($148) and house-made fresh roti ($68).
No list of Michelin-recommended cheap eats could be complete without mentioning local dim sum stalwart Tim Ho Wan, which is widely recognised as the most affordable Michelin-starred restaurant in Hong Kong.
With most of the dim sum on the menu priced under $30, diners can go ham on all of their favourite steamed dumplings, rice rolls, congees, and deep-fried delicacies without worrying about going overboard on their budget. A must-order above all else, however, is the restaurant’s signature baked bun with BBQ pork ($23), a decidedly Hong Kong spin on the classic char siu bao topped with a crispy-sweet pineapple bun-esque crust.
Tim Ho Wan, 9–11 Fuk Wing Street, Sham Shui Po | (+852) 2788 1226
Delightfully decked out in memorabilia and rustic fittings to recreate the colourful atmosphere of the food stall-lined alleyways in Taipei, Yuan is Here offers an exceptional dining experience for anyone looking to sample authentic Taiwanese cooking and night market bites.
Boasting an all-encompassing food selection of rice and noodle dishes, street snacks, and dessert soups, alongside a beverage menu of nearly 50 different Taiwanese teas, juices, and smoothies, every palate is guaranteed to leave satisfied. As regulars will affirm though, the real knockouts here are the braised pork rice ($43), oyster and pork intestine noodles ($40), and deep-fried popcorn chicken ($37).
Yuan is Here, G/F, 31 North Street, Kennedy Town, Western District | (+852) 3579 2460