Previous Next

This and all photos are courtesy and property of the author.

Nothing is nicer than getting some cheap, tasty eats in an expensive city.

HONG KONG IS unfortunately becoming increasingly expensive, but the best food is the cheap stuff that can be found in little, street corner dives. These are my favourite scuzzy, little joints in Hong Kong.

Butt Food Centre

Chungking Mansion is said to be the dodgiest place in Hong Kong, and who knows, maybe it is.

Photo: author

But it definitely isn’t dodgy compared to most European countries and I’ve had no problems going in there on my own. Just be strong and don’t let the pushy men force you into buying a handbag or watch. The first two floors are shops that sell pretty much everything under the sun, including some incredible food.

My favourite little hole-in-the-wall there is Butt Food Centre, and not just for its name. It’s not much to look at, but I have never had a finer curry than in this little joint. And it’s dead cheap too. Whatever you order, make sure you get a marsala chai with it.
Butt Food Centre Shop 21G/F
Chungking Mansions
36-44 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, MTR exit D.

Hau Fook Street

Hau Fook Street is a non-descript street in Tsim Sha Tsui that happens to host a whole slew of cheap, Asian restaurants with Vietnamese, Thai, Cantonese, Japanese and Taiwanese fare to choose from.


Surely the cheapest sushi in HK, this conveyor belt restaurant offers $15HKD ($1.93 USD) sashimi. And no, you will not get food poisoning.
Ichiban, 3 Hau Fook Street

Photo: author

China Town

This is a dessert parlour that whips up crazy ice cream creations that look a bit like driftwood.
China Town, 11 Hau Fook Street

Easy Drink Easy Go

Ok, so I’m cheating here because it’s not technically on Hau Fook Street, but it joins onto it with another street. It’s easiest to just walk down to the end of Hau Fook Street and badda bing, badda boom, yummy bubble tea on your lefthand side.
Easy Drink Easy Go, the end of Hau Fook Street on the left (just after 9 Hau Fook Street).

Hau Fook Street – MTR Tsim Sha Tsui, exit B2

Snake Soup at Ser Wong Fun Restaurant

Nothing warms you up better on a cold winter day than a steaming bowl of snake soup- yum yum yum. At $60 ($7.72 USD) a bowl, it’s not that cheap, but how many opportunities do you get to try snake? Plus, this place is eternally packed, which is always a good sign.
Ser Wong Fun Restaurant, 30 Cochrane Street, Central, MTR Central exit D2

Street Food Stalls- xiao shi dian (小食店)
Ada Snacks

I love this place. They do all the usuals and they make the best milkshakes ever,

Photo: author

and at only $9 ($1.16) what’s not to love? Sadly they shut at about 11PM, which means it’s not an option for a post-Lockhart Road drunken snack.
Ada Snacks, 2 O’Brien Road with Lockhart Road, MTR Wan Chai, exit C.

Chez Jia – 佳記 (jiā jì)

This place’s specialty is the best deep fried squid I’ve ever had.

Photo: author

$15 ($1.93 USD) might seem a bit steep for street food, but it is worth every greasy, spicy penny. This is oily, deep-fried goodness at its finest. Get served in the true HK fashion, with wonderfully brash staff, ever ready to scream at you in Cantonese. Expect lots of shouting and gestures and woe betide anyone who tries to take a photo.
Chez Jia – 佳記 (jiā jì), corner of Sai Yeung Choi Street South with Dundas Street, Mong Kok, MTR Mong Kok exit D3

Prosperous – 生財 (shēng cái)

This venue’s greatness is due to its location on goldfish street. Oh the irony- it’s delicious!
Prosperous – 生財 (shēng cái), 30-32A Tung Choi Street with Nullah Road, MTR Prince Edward, exit B2

One last thing

While writing this I discovered that two of my favourite xiao shi dians had closed down, one in Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) and the other in Central. They were both always full, so I have no idea how they went under, but the one in TST is now a Swatch shop. Disgusting. We need to work together to save the crappy food stall! Take to the streets and eat!

Quick and Dirty Street Food Guide
Rule #1: Elbow your way to the front and shout any of the following
yut goh (I want one)…
siu mai (烧卖) – steamed dumplings of pork, fish and vegetables, in yellow noodlle, usually five on a stick
yu dan (鱼蛋) – fish balls, often curried, served on a wooden stick
zha you yu si (炸鱿鱼丝) – deep fried squid with spices
ji dan zai (鸡蛋仔) – Hong Kong’s answer to the waffle
la (辣) – spicy
géi chín a? (幾錢呀?) – how much does it cost?
uum goi sai (唔該) – thank you very much
That’s it!

*The Chinese I’ve given you is a mixture of Cantonese and Mandarin. I know that Hong Kong is technically Cantonese only, but if you say it in Mandarin you will have no problems.

Community Connection

Thinking of going to China? Be prepared by boning up on the Chinese Government Manual: How to Beat up Street Vendors, How to Learn Chinese: Student Versus Teacher, and be ready for love when you least expect it by checking out Matador Classic I Was on the Rebound With a Chinese Clown.



About The Author

Asia Lindsay

Asia Lindsay has had an interesting year: after deciding to move to Peru she fled after a particularly terrifying encounter involving bricks, jenga and flimsy safety helmets. She went onto Chile where she wrote for The Santiago Times and Revolver Santiago Magazine and then onto Hong Kong where she did a stint at HK Mag. Asia currently resides in Russia.

  • Eve

    Yum, yum, yum. Can’t wait to try these out. Love knowing about places off the beaten track.

  • joan | the backpack chronicles

    Making this a reference for our upcoming Hong Kong / Macau trip. Can’t wait to try them!

  • Nigel Wabadabadoo

    Currently on a four month exchange in Hong Kong to study, definitely going to check these out. Thanks for the article, and in particular for the inclusion of the addresses

  • Lucy Wong

    I’m going to try! Thanks!

Many of the best cheap-eats places in the Holy City are located in strip malls,...
A new site lets you turn ordinary dining rooms into freelance restaurants.
Diana Edelman brings us her top picks for paella, presidential oysters and spots to bliss...
An increasing number of restaurants in Montreal are becoming socially engaged, on top of...
Get off the bridge, take a left, and get ready to eat.
It’s simple. Yet, if you do it wrong, you can be kicked to the end of the line.
Pam Weis has dug into the local cuisine for the past 18 months and shares some of her...
Eat in bed or underwater, drink from an IV bag, or chow down on 8000 calories in one...
I seriously considered the Hot Mess (don’t we all, at some point or another).
How lovely to have fatty food arrive in an athletic stance!
Cure your cravings for Spätzle, Wienerschnitzel, and Salzburger Nockerl.
Happiness can be found in greasy foods.