Header image courtesy of Chickpea HK (via Facebook)
Whether you see them as a pit stop between a jam-packed day of work, a refuelling station for some casual grub to share between friends, or a destination in their own right, grab-and-go eateries are sure to have played a role in your life at some point.
Perhaps due to a potent cocktail of prohibitive rent and the social restrictions around dining out, Hong Kong has upped its game in elevating these tiny modest stalls into fully-fledged takeaway counters that deserve their own visit. Here are some of the best takeaway counters around the city to order delivery from or hit up in person to get your fill.
Helmed by the same team behind brunch favourites Catch and Elementary, Chickpea specialises in a range of Mediterranean-inspired options centred around the eponymous legume. You can customise your own hummus bowl (starting from $98), salad bowl (starting from $88), or pita pocket (starting from $78) to pair with your protein of choice, though the shop’s signatures—like the chicken-based Old Faithful ($88) and the pulled brisket saucy fries ($98)—are items that are definitely worth trying.
Bringing Indian street food to the alleys and lanes of Wan Chai, Bengal Brothers boasts a vibrant range of kati rolls, biryani bowls, spiced snacks, and cool lassis. Equally as colourful is the pale cornflower blue and baby pink storefront that looks like it has leapt straight off the screen of a mesmerising Wes Anderson feature.
Pulling culinary influences from all over India to merge into one special type of dish, the headliner here is the scrumptious kati roll, which features grilled fillings such as the tamil pepper beef roll ($108), achaari paneer roll ($98), and new market chicken tikka ($98). Line your rolls with freshly beaten eggs and green chilli ($10) for the full experience!
Bengal Brothers, G/F, 6 Johnston Road, Wan Chai
Led by chef Gavino Pilo, this Neapolitan-style pizzeria is all about authenticity. Lined with beautiful navy blue tiles to pay tribute to the delicacy’s seaside origins, the pizza here is as Neapolitan as can be and is baked to perfection in the patented brick oven. You can never go wrong with the classic Margherita ($188) but we would encourage you to expand your palate and explore regional specialities like the Rustica ($248) and Dana ($218).
Chef Pilo’s pies are best enjoyed hot and folded in half so that all the fantastic toppings can fit in each bite. Don’t worry if the shop’s one counter table is occupied, as the chef himself has designed the takeaway boxes specifically to hold in the heat and maintain freshness!
Little Napoli, 8 King Kwong Street, Happy Valley
Emphasising farm-to-table dishes that incorporate influences from different cultures, Fresca is a vegan and vegetarian joint along Hollywood Road that opens its doors to hordes of eager eaters looking for a healthy meal. Its rotation of salads is made fresh daily, with options ranging from the zesty cashew cream coleslaw and Chinese-inspired caramelised tofu knots with fungus to seasonal specials that put bountiful local harvests to good use.
Its salad boxes come with three toppings for the regular size ($97) and four toppings for the large size ($120), with a delicious handful of gluten-free baked goods and Asian snacks to choose from as an accompaniment or nibble to save for the afternoon slump.
Fresca, 54A Hollywood Road, Central | (+852) 2770 2282
Fronted by a minimalistic finish of concrete and understated wood furnishings, Taku serves up bento boxes of mouth-watering sashimi don and sushi selections from its tranquil den. Packed into adorable bamboo containers that make you feel as if you are embarking on a quaint riverside picnic, Taku’s selection of Japanese takeaway meals centres around simple yet satisfying flavours, as well as top-notch catches.
From the negi toro rice (starting from $78) of raw fatty tuna and the eclectic combination of hanamai sushi mori ($95) to the grilled Japanese Awa-odori chicken rice ($98), its compact menu is sure to have something that will satisfy you.
Taku, G/F, 36 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan | (+852) 5104 7178
Recreating the New Yorker bodega experience in Hong Kong, Fat Chad’s offers a list of robust sandwiches that will have your taste buds sighing in pleasure. Aside from the quintessential Reuben (starting from $140) stuffed with corned beef brisket, the signature chopped cheese sandwich (starting from $80)—available with either ground beef or lamb—and the PB&J French toast ($75) with a cornflake crust are also worth digging into.
Fat Chad’s, Shop D, 119B Second Street, Sai Wan | (+852) 5536 9665
Although modest in size and minimal in ingredients, these bright purple swirls of goodness pack a hefty punch when it comes to sating your nutritional needs and hunger. Specialising in smooth and creamy açai bowls (starting from $45), you can build your own nutrient-laden meal that blends in toppings like homemade granola, fruit, seeds, and other various superfoods. Supabowl also offers pre-made combinations, such as the photogenic Cocobowl ($96) that is served in a half coconut.
As Hong Kong’s first poké outlet, the bowls at Pololi pay homage to classic Hawaiian flavours as well as introduce unique, new twists. Going by the mantra “We only serve what we eat,” its menu is stocked with up to 30 varieties of poké made from sashimi-grade catches that are sliced up and drenched in gorgeous homemade marinades or sauces.
Your bespoke poké bowl (starting from $90) comes with rice, salad, or mac salad, and there are also specials of the day for you to take advantage of if you are up to try new flavour combinations. Be sure to also save space for the hearty spam musubi ($20) as well.
Pololi, G/F, 35–39 Graham Street, Central | (+852) 2755 8099