This wasn’t our first rodeo. We ate and drank our way through Hong Kong back in 2013. Did we think we would be back in 2015 – no way! Were we so excited about going back that we peed our pants just a little bit – hells yes!!!
During our last visit, we just fell head over heels in love with Hong Kong. The exceptional Cantonese and International food available. The funky bars serving everything from craft beer to some of the best wine on the market. The friendly & helpful locals that we are proud to still call friends today. And of course that harbour – what a sight!
During our last trip we hit the ground running, finding the best Food & Fun experiences Hong Kong had to offer. And we knew this trip would be exactly the same…
Places to eat in Hong Kong
If you know us – you might know that we are a little addicted to Hong Kong egg tarts. There is a raging debate on which ones are better – Hong Kong or Portugal. We personally are siding with Hong Kong for one reason, we love the biscuit base more than the flaky phyllo style base. Really it comes down to personal opinion, but seriously you could lose lifelong friends over this debate. All we know is they are damn tasty and we were on a mission to eat our body weights worth while we were in town!
Last time we were staying in a really local part of Hong Kong and there was a little no named store that made them every morning. This time around we were smack bang in the city, so we decided to try out a bakery institution in Hong Kong – Tai Cheong Bakery. For almost 6 decades this bakery has made some of the tastiest egg tarts in Hong Kong, and today they have over 14 outlets still churning out the same buttery tasty goodness to the public.
As much as we wanted to live on egg tarts alone we decided to head to Lan Kwai Fong one of the hippest areas of town, and dine at the incredibly funky Alchemy-Concept restaurants. There are two different levels to Alchemy 1. Restaurant & Lounge and 2. Restaurant in the Dark. Each are very different and unique dining experiences – so we just had to try both!
Lets start with Alchemy Restaurant & Lounge.
Here design is key. The minute you walk through the front door you can see that the design was very carefully thought through. And it doesn’t end with the decor, the meals are all so perfectly designed and prepared, it all blends together to be a complete beautiful dining experience.
They spoiled us rotten and we had the pleasure of dining on delectable dishes like:
Venison carpaccio with shaved truffles and truffle oil (Hint: for the perfect mouthful include the rock salt that’s on the dish. It sends the flavours into overdrive)
Calamari pan fried with garlic aioli, chilli flakes lemon, and roasted cherry tomatoes – we can honestly say one of the nicest servings of calamari we’ve ever had. It had terrific texture without being chewy at all. Delicate and delicious.
Raspberry macaroon, butter sponge cake with cream cheese and fresh pavlova (house favourite)
Even though these dishes are what we were lucky enough to dine on in November 2015 – that doesn’t mean the menu will remain the same. You see, Chef Pascal who trained at La Tour d’Argent (The Silver Tower) in Paris, sources only the freshest produce for the restaurant, and menu items can vary depending on what’s in season. Once all of the produce is sourced and brought back to Alchemy, everything is made in house, from the fresh rustic bread to the pressed duck, a La Tour d’Argent speciality, now available in Hong Kong.
We left completely stuffed, as so immensely satisfied that we knew we just HAD to come back and try out their specialty dining experience – Alchemy: Restaurant in the Dark.
If you have never heard of dining in the dark before, it’s a very special experience. It is exactly as the name suggests, you eat a meal in complete darkness. It’s so pitch black that you can’t even see your hand in front of your face. But what makes it a meaningful dinner is the fact that the wait staff are themselves all visually impaired.
Dining in the dark is the opportunity to put yourself in someone else’s shoes for the night, and learn what it’s like to eat a meal if you were blind. You have no idea what is being served to you, you only find later in the evening when you are shown the images on an iPad.
I like to play the game “In my mouth, not in my mouth” where I drive Tom nuts by announcing every time I actually get food in my mouth while using a knife a fork. But to tell you the truth I rarely actually get any food on my fork, and I end up eating with my hands.
Our host for the night was the fabulous Michael who from beginning to end took care of us, and made sure that we were more than comfortable in our new surroundings. Michael also took the time to tell us his own personal story of living life visually impaired, which was truly fascinating and inspiring.
We have tried dining in the dark before in Cambodia which was an awesome experience, but I have to admit that Chef Pascal outdid himself and “Fine Dining in the Dark” is more my forte.
Best places to eat in Hong Kong – Cantonese
For those looking for a more local Hong Kong foodie experience, we recommend checking out the local food markets in Hong Kong. One of our favourites is Bowrington rd Cooked Food Market. This is where you go if you want to eat where the locals eat. There are plastic tablecloths on the tables, there’s the roar of people talking and eating and there are the smells of the incredible local food being dished to the hungry hoards. Just the kinda place we love to visit.
It can sometimes be a little tricky finding English menu’s that offer all the available dishes (only what they think foreigners want to eat), so we recommend showing up with some pictures of what you want to eat. If you have no idea what to eat then Google translate works a treat. You might get some weird translations here and there like “affluent shrimp” or “benevolent clam”, but most of the time you can figure out what you’re ordering.
If this all seems a bit too much you can always take a Hong Kong Food tour and have a personalised guide help you find the best food around town.
Here are a few of our favourites that you can keep an eye out for:
While we were visiting we were SUPER excited to find out that the annual Wine and Spirits festival was being held at the convention centre. If you are in town at this time you must drop in and explore the best of the best of the wine world – all under one roof. We have a soft spot for Australian wines (naturally) but since we visited Portugal in the beginning of the year, their wines and ports have left us wanting more. We also got to sample some wines from China, Germany, Romania, Spain, and some more from Oz and Portugal (cause it’s awesome), and the big surprise of the day Thailand.
We have been to Thailand many times before, and we can assure you that beer is what you will often find on the menu, or imported wine. But we were pleasantly surprised to discover that 2 wineries: GranMonte & Silver Lake in Thailand are making some tiny tracks in the Asian wine industry – and we were even more surprised to discover that it’s good! Really good!
So often when you think of wine you think of the big players – Italy, France, Australia, USA etc so I really love finding unique wine regions that I never even knew existed. Bratislava, Bulgaria and Hungary were ones that we discovered earlier in the year, and now Thailand – who knew!
Fun things to do in Hong Kong – Hong Kong Harbour Cruise
There are not too many harbourside cities that can boast the stunning views that Hong Kong can. It is one of the main fun things to do in Hong Kong, especially if you see the nightly Symphony of Lights.
Generally, you have the option to stand at certain viewpoints around the harbour to watch the show – but we decided that we wanted the ultimate view this time around. And what better view could there be than on a traditional Hong Kong junk boat floating in the middle of the harbour. It’s one of the only ways you get to experience seeing the Symphony of Lights from both sides of the harbour, where usually you have to choose either one side or the other.
The Aqua Luna is one of the world’s last remaining red sail Chinese junk boats, and as we stood waiting for her to dock, I have to admit the sight of this stunning vessel takes your breath away. I’ve been on many different my boats during my travels, but this was my first experience on a famous red-sailed Hong Kong junk boat.
We were warmly welcomed by Freddie the ship’s captain as we boarded the boat and from the crew as we then all took our seats. When it was time to set sail we were all given a complimentary drink – woo hoo! You have a choice of beer, red wine, white wine or orange juice. Naturally, we went with red wine – no surprises there!!! nom nom nom
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before – but I love being on the water. Actually on the water, in the water, it doesn’t matter I love water, so I was already pretty excited to be heading out on the harbour. It was a beautiful warm November evening, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, it was perfect.
A cruise out on the Hong Kong Harbour (which is actually called Victoria Harbour) is a must if you are staying in the city. It just allows you to sit back, relax and soak in the amazing lights of the city.
Best places to stay in Hong Kong
If there is a OZO Hotel in town – we will always stay there. There’s a few reasons for this.
- We have never slept as well as we have at OZO hotels. Everything about OZO is focused on sleep – and as sleeping is one of my favourite things to do, it makes sense that I love staying at these hotels.
- We love hotels that focus on design. Anyone can stay in a room that looks the same as every other hotel room on the face of the planet. We like places that turn the stay itself into an experience – not just a place to crash every night.
- The service and facilities have always been exceptional.
There’s a few things that really sold us on OZO Wesley Hong Kong.
- Location. The hotel is in the business district of Hong Kong Island which means most things are simple walk away. However, if you have ever been to Hong Kong before you’d know how amazing the public transport system is. Being in a central location meant we could access pretty much anything in Hong Kong with ease.
- Room design. Hong Kong is known of its high density housing – most rooms are small, very very small. We loved how OZO made the most of the space they had. A nice little window seat to relax and answer a few pressing emails. The mini-est mini fridge we’ve ever seen. But you are never without anything that you would expect from a 4 star hotel.
For more information or to book a room at OZO Wesley Hong Kong: CLICK HERE
Another fantastic accommodation option we found that also has a focus on design is The Mahjong boutique hostel.
I know that we swore of dorm rooms forever after the great snoring yeti disaster in Bucharest earlier this year, but we were really intrigued by the idea of double bed capsule dorms.
This is something that is relatively new to the hostel world, and it’s really interesting that couples or even good friends can now get the cheaper dorm experience – while not having to sleep apart. It isn’t as cheap as getting a single dorm bed of course – but it is cheaper than a private room in Hong Kong that’s for sure.
As I said before – the design aspect was something that grabbed our attention. The whole hostel was beautifully put together, and you felt like you were staying in a creative art display, rather than a hostel. Being right over the top of a bakery that sold egg tarts didn’t hurt either (it did, however, hurt our waistlines a bit – but we regret Nothing!!!)
The double bed dorm rooms had 6 capsules that accommodate 2 people each. In the capsule you have fresh clean bedding, a decent size safe that you can keep all of your valuables in, and a blind that you can raise or lower depending on how much privacy you want. Also, there were 3 private toilet and showers for the 6 pods – more than enough for all guests in the double dorm.
The Mahjong is located in a very local Chinese area where you can find some of the best local food.
Want tasty and affordable dim sum? Ask the staff to direct you to some of their favourite restaurants – there’s plenty to choose from. One of our particular favourite restaurants was an award-winning restaurant simply called in English “BBQ Pork Restaurant” (sadly not on Google Maps, but we have a picture of the shopfront) where we had some of the tastiest honey pork and slow roasted goose – a Hong Kong speciality!
From the moment we first arrived in Hong Kong we instantly fell in love, and we are happy to report that 2nd time around, nothing has changed. It’s a place to indulge in all the things we love in the world Food & Fun – and it’s available in abundance
Looking for more hotel or hostel options in Hong Kong? We recommend HotelsCombined – they help you source the best possible price online.
Love this post? Why not pin it on your fav travel Pinterest board?
Disclaimer: We received our meals at Alchemy, Aqua Luna Cruise and our stays at OZO Wesley and The Mahjong complimentary. All opinions remain our own. This article contains affiliate links, thank you for supporting our blog by using these links