I had a great time in Hong Kong and here’s how you can do the same too! Whether you’re visiting HK for the first or x-th time, here are 11 things you absolutely cannot miss.
Indulge in local HK cuisine at the Cha Chaan Teng
Hong Kong’s bourgeoning tourism is primarily driven by its amazing cuisine. Home to Hong Kong, the Cha Chaan Teng offers visitors a unique café experience. Unlike most cafés where you have the luxury of sipping your cup of coffee, you’d likely find yourself rushing through your meal in the Cha Chaan Teng, sandwiched between strangers in a shared table. Cha Chaan Teng – It’s not just home to local comfort food, it’s also where you truly experience Hong Kong’s fast-paced, chaotic life.
While the experience varies from café to café, the menu remains similar across Cha Chaan Tengs. Must tries include the famous HK Milk Tea, Bolo Bun, French Toast, Maggie Noodles and the standard breakfast set –buttered toast, scrambled eggs, macaroni soup with ham and coffee or tea. Here are a few popular Cha Chaan Tengs worth visiting in HK:
Shop B1, G/F, Kwong Sang Hong Building, 6 Heard Street (10 min walk from Wan Chai MTR)
Opening Hours: 7am – 11:00pm
Signature dishes – Black truffle scrambled egg toast, breakfast set, Piglet Bun with Condensed Milk and Butter
Australia Dairy Company
G/F, 47-49 Parkes Street (MTR Jordan Exit C2)
Opening Hours: 7:30am – 11:00pm (Closed on Thursdays)
Signature dishes – Scrambled egg toast and milk pudding
Kam Wah Cafe金華冰廳
G/F, 47 Bute Street (Prince Edward MTR, Exit B2)
Opening Hours: 6:30am – 12:00am
Signature dishes – Egg tart, Bolo bun, HK Milk Tea
After visiting 1-2 Cha Chaan Tengs, we found them to be pretty similar. The only one that truly stood out was Chau Kee. It’s so good, it deserves a spot of its own.
Head to Chau Kee for warm, oozy Salted Egg French Toast + Dim Sum
Notorious for its signature Salted Egg Yolk French toast, Chau Kee definitely lives up to its name. While it is a distance away from downtown, Chau Kee is well worth a visit. Unlike the typical Cha Chaan Tengs, Chau Kee offers a unique take on its dishes. It does away with the traditional scrambled egg toast and French toast, and offers modern day alternatives like the Salted Egg Yolk French Toast and Sesame Mayo Toast. While you’d probably still find yourself sharing a table with strangers, the experience at Chau Kee is definitely less chaotic than that of a traditional Cha Chaan Teng.
If you’re short on time, definitely visit Chau Kee. Because only Chau Kee allows you to settle both your dim sum and Cha Chaan Teng cravings in a single visit.
Chau Kee 周記點心
Shop H1, G/F, Tung Lee Mansion, Water Street (HKU MTR Exit B1)
Opening Hours: 6am – 5pm (Tue-Sun), Closed on Mon
Relive your childhood days at Ocean Park or Disneyland
Deciding between Ocean Park and Disneyland was a true struggle. Yet, having heard how Disneyland is not comparable to the ones in the States, we decided to head to Ocean Park – one of the few places in the world where the zoo, theme park and cable car converge in a common space. The price difference between the two also made it easier for us to decide – Ocean Park HKD385 vs. Disneyland HKD539.
At Ocean Park, we not only enjoyed the spectacular view of HK on board the cable car, we also had a good laugh watching the animal shows and screamed to our hearts’ content while on board the roller coaster ride.
Regardless of whether you decide to visit Disneyland or Ocean Park, make sure you visit at least one theme park. Your trip to Hong Kong would not be complete without it.
Visit Star café for its signature Tomato Egg Maggi
If you intend to try the HK’s famous tomato egg noodle, be prepared to embark on a treasure hunt. Star Café is an old, shabby cafe tucked away in the basement of a building at Tsim Sha Tsui. Despite its run-down interior and inaccessible location, Star Café enjoys high patronage both from locals and tourists alike.
With Star Café, you’ll never see instant noodles in the same way again.
Star Cafe 星座冰室
Shop No. 36, Champagne Court, 16-20 Kimberley Road (Tsim Sha Tsui Exit B1 or N5)
Opening Hours: 8am – 930pm (Mon – Sat), Closed on Sun
Shop and slurp away at Argyle Centre
On first look, Bai Wei noodles may seem ordinary or even unappetising. But don’t let its humble packaging fool you. It has a taste so unique, you probably can’t find it elsewhere.
How it works: Choose a type of cold noodle and add your desired toppings. Toppings range from basic choices such as corn, seaweed and bean sprouts to exotic options like red octopus and chicken feet. Prices vary depending on the ingredients added in noodles. A pack of noodles with 3 ingredients would cost about HKD20.
Bai Wei Shi Pei 百味食品
G/F, Argyle Centre, 688 Nathan Road, Mong Kok
If Bai Wei noodles alone is not compelling enough for you to visit the Argyle Centre, the good news is, there’s more to Argyle Centre than just Bai Wei noodles. As the “Platinum Mall” of Hong Kong, Argyle Centre offers endless variety of female clothing at highly affordable prices.
Hike the Dragon back trail
When it comes to views of Hong Kong, most would recommend the famous Victoria Peak. While we had no doubt how amazing it would be standing on top of the Peak, we were not sure if it would be worthwhile spending hours standing in line. So, we went in search of another “Peak” and found the Dragon’s Back Trail, the perfect alternative to the Victoria Peak.
The Dragon’s Back Trail is one place where you can admire Hong Kong’s scenery without the need to jostle your way through the crowd. Hiking up the Dragon Back Trail also helps work off your calorie intake from indulging in HK’s amazing cuisine 😉
How to get there:
- Take a taxi from Chai Wan MTR Station Exit C to To Tei Wan. It costs approximately HKD50-70 and takes about 15 minutes or
- Take bus 9 from Shau Kei Wan MTR Station Exit A3. It costs approximately HKD4-5 and takes approximately 25 minutes. Depending on the day and time, the bus comes by between 7 – 30 minutes.
While the hike is relaxing, it is still recommended that you wear proper shoes and be dressed in appropriate attire as the hike takes about 1-2 hours. There are many vantage points along the way so remember to bring your camera and snap away!
Experience local night life at Sai Yeung Choi Street South
Ask about night life in Hong Kong and you’d probably get directed to Lan Kwai Fong. However, there’s so much to Hong Kong’s night life than just Lan Kwai Fong. What happened to be an incidental passing by, turned out to be the discovery of one of our favourite places in Hong Kong.
Sai Yeung Choi Street South is like “little Taipei” in Hong Kong. This is where you’d find youngsters hanging out, queueing up for local delights such as bubble tea, and finger food. Apart from street food, Sai Yeung Choi Street South also offers a variety of activities, which include photo taking against Hong Kong’s busy streets and caricature drawing by aspiring artists.
Sai Yeung Choi Street South 西洋菜南街
Mong Kok MTR Exit B3, D2/3, E2 or Prince Edward MTR Exit B2/3
Head down to Sai Yeung Choi Street South. You’d not just have access to delicious street food, you would also have meaningful souvenirs to take home – semi-professional photos of you and your loved ones against Hong Kong’s bustling night life.
Visit the local market streets
While most would have heard of the famous Ladies Market and Temple Street Night Market, not many realise Hong Kong offers a lot more variety than these two markets. For a switch away from touristy, gimmicky products, try out other markets such as:
- Apliu Street Flea Market for electronics
- Jade Market for jade and jewellery
- Goldfish Market for pet fishes. You’d also find many pet stores selling puppies and fur babies.
Shop for Jenny Cookies
I had always heard people talk about Jenny Cookies but I never imagined how much hype it had, until I actually visited the store in Hong Kong. Perhaps it is only at Jenny Bakery where you’ll find customers patiently standing in line under the hot afternoon sun, waiting for their turn. While inching our way in, we received numerous requests from Chinese nationals to buy on their behalf as they had maxed out their quota. As if that wasn’t bad enough, we even witnessed a Chinese lady threaten to call the police as the staff refused to sell her the amount she wanted.
Visit Jenny Bakery, not just because their cookies are amazing but because, it’s probably the only place where you see adults fight over cookies. Jenny Bakery has definitely brought the term “Cookie Monster” to life.
Click here to find out more about their outlets and how to get there.
Visit Oddies for a hipster twist on HK’s famous eggette
Dating back to the 1950s, eggettes or bubble waffles are iconic Hong street food. Just as its popularity started to wane away, Oddie Foodies brought this traditional snack back to life and even made it Instagram worthy. Combining it with western varieties of dessert such as Gelato ice cream and Pana cotta, Oddies puts a modern twist to this traditional snack.
Despite its very small store front, Oddies is pretty easy to locate. You know you’re at the right place when you see customers standing by the roadside, snapping photos of their dessert.
Shop 1F, G/F, 149 Wan Chai Road
Opening Hours: 1pm – 10pm (Closed on Mondays)
Signature item – Night Wolf
Stand in awe of HK’s beautiful skyline at the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade
If you’re looking for to spend a nice evening in HK, head down to the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade and take a walk by the waterfront. It is a beautiful sight, watching the skyscrapers light up against the night sky.
And if you find yourself getting there too early, fret not! While your time away at the Avenue of the Stars 星光大道* and pop back to the Promenade to enjoy the setting sun. Alternatively, take the Star Ferry and soak in the different water front views of HK. It only costs HKD3-4.
How to get to Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry pier
Tsim Sha Tsui MTR, Exit L6. Walk to the Clock Tower along Salisbury Road.
*Note: Avenue of Stars 星光大道 is closed for redevelopment from Oct 2015 and is expected to reopen in end 2018
There’s so much more to Hong Kong than just shopping and eating. So stay safe, have fun and be awesome.
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