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Where to find the best Southern soul food in Hong Kong

By Beverly Ngai 29 June 2021 | Last Updated 14 July 2022

Header images courtesy of Henry (via Facebook) and Graceland

Originally published by Beverly Ngai. Last updated by Jen Paolini.

Classic Southern dishes like mac and cheese, barbecued ribs, and honey-smothered buttermilk biscuits may not be the comfort foods most Hongkongers grew up on, but their fulfilling appeal is universal. Hailing from the southern states of America, Southern soul food is characterised by its slow-cooking techniques, barbecue-centric dishes, and rich flavours—all the right makings for a food coma-inducing affair! If you are ready to take a trip down south (and a nap right after), here’s where to find the best Southern food in Hong Kong.

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Photo: Graceland

Graceland

Enjoy a taste of what the American South has to offer at Graceland, where chef Jake Johnson dishes up soul food that comes from the heart. Honouring Elvis Presley’s former Memphis home in its name, the restaurant specialises in classic Southern fare like hot Nashville chicken sandwich ($135) and Mississippi catfish ($120). For a full-blown comfort food feast, go for Momma Knows Best ($290 per person)—this spread of Graceland signatures will ensure that you get to experience the best dishes in one sitting.

Graceland, Shop B, G/F, Lisa House, 12–14A Yim Po Fong Street, Mong Kok

Photo: @henrygrillhk (via Instagram)

Henry

Southern soul food is hard to come by outside of Hong Kong Island, but this well-appointed American smokehouse has successfully filled the culinary gap, bringing its superior barbecued meats to Tsim Sha Tsui. With a knack for grilling premium cuts using time-honoured Southern methods, Henry’s famed whiskey- and ash-aged steaks are a must-try. Round off the meal with their strawberry and rhubarb shortcake ($138), which combines buttermilk biscuit with strawberry sorbet and Chantilly cream, or the sweet corn sundae ($138) of corn cake, corn ice cream, caramel popcorn, and maraschino cherries.

Henry, 5/F, Rosewood Hong Kong, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

Photo: @cheesecakefactoryhk (via Instagram)

The Cheesecake Factory

Come to The Cheesecake Factory for the titular speciality, but stay for the elevated renderings of Southern classics! Browse through the restaurant’s winding menu—which covers all sorts of regional American fare, including a sizable offering of Southern staples—for the crowd-pleasing fried macaroni and cheese balls ($138), coated in crispy crumbs and slathered in a creamy marinara sauce, creating a satisfying combination of textures.

Further whet your appetite with the likes of gravy-doused chicken and biscuits ($218), the spicy Louisiana chicken pasta ($188) for a Southern twist on Italian-American fare, and the mouth-watering meatloaf ($248). A friendly word of advice: Portions served here are as big and bold as the food, so arrive with a few hungry friends and prepare to share!

The Cheesecake Factory, Shop G102, Gateway Arcade, Harbour City, 25 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2791 6628

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Photo: @smokeandbarrelhk (via Instagram)

Smoke & Barrel

Pull out your stretchy pants, because Southern comfort is in full force at this darling American smokehouse. We’re talking authentic Texas barbecue served alongside butter-laden, lip-smacking sides and New Orleans-style beverages!

Smoke & Barrel’s signature smoked meats, including the destination-worthy beef brisket (starting from $108), are cooked low and slow using an imported wood-fired smoker, yielding the aromatic hickory-wood flavour and fall-off-the-bone tenderness characteristic of Southern barbecue.

With four house-made sauces to add to your plate, you are in for a truly euphoric barbecue experience! Pair your mains with the loaded tater tots ($88), New Orleans slaw ($68), or jalapeño cornbread ($68), which is cooled down with a zingy lime and herb sour cream.

Smoke & Barrel, 32 Wyndham Street, Central | (+852) 2866 2120

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

If your stomach is a’rumbling after climbing up to The Peak, then pop into this quirky restaurant for a hearty meal of Southern and Cajun-style seafood. Made in the spirit of the 1994 movie Forrest Gump, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. is designed like a seaside shack and decked out in photos and memorabilia from the hit film.

But whether or not you are a devoted Forrest Gump fans, the mouth-watering Southern fried shrimp ($169), jambalaya ($188), and New Orleans shrimp with jasmine rice ($198) will be enough to make you squeal in delight. Food aside, Bubba Gump’s stellar cocktail menu also has a few nods to the names of Southern states, such as the gin-spiked Georgia peach iced tea ($99) and the rum-based Louisiana lemonade ($99).

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Shop 304–305, 3/F, The Peak Tower, 128 Peak Road, The Peak

Popeyes 

Don’t expect much in terms of décor and ambience, but for a quick, fuss-free fix of Southern fried chicken, Popeyes is your go-to spot. Ubiquitous as a fast-food chain in the United States, its lesser-known Hong Kong counterpart occupies an unassuming spot in the basement of a small Mong Kok shopping mall, but it still slings some of the tastiest Louisiana-style fried chicken ($52), wings ($55), and tenders ($62) around.

Popeyes checks all the boxes for the perfect fried chicken: crunchy skin, juicy meat, and bursting with flavour—thanks to a 12-hour marination process in a robust Louisiana Cajun seasoning. In addition to fried bird, Popeyes also pays special attention to their sides: try the Cajun fries ($16), popcorn shrimp ($25), and buttermilk biscuit ($15).

Popeyes, Chefs’ Society, B/F, T.O.P. This is Our Place, 700 Nathan Road, Mong Kok

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Beverly Ngai

Editor

A wanderer, chronic overthinker, and baking enthusiast, Beverly spent much of her childhood in the United States before moving to Hong Kong at age 11 and making the sparkling city her home. In her natural habitat, she can be found baking up a storm in her kitchen, journalling at a café, or scrolling through OpenRice deciding on her next meal.

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