The first rule of the 852 is: you eat everything in the 852.
The one where you dine Michelin-star style.
When it comes to Michelin stars, Hong Kong is that over-achieving sibling whom you just can’t hate because they are so damn good at what they do. There are plenty of places to go for the top-notch Michelin experience – looking at you, Bo Innovation, L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon and T’Ang Court.
But what makes Hong Kong so unique is that you can also enjoy the Michelin experience for next to nothing. How does BBQ pork buns and all the dim sum you can muster for under US$20 a person sound? Head to Tim Ho Wan, the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world, dear friends.
The one where you eat straight off the street (cart).
Turns out Hong Kong’s street food stands are just as awesome. Whether you’re after tofu balls, calamari on a stick (anything on a stick, really), or the gloriously light egg waffles, you’ll find a cart on pretty much any street corner.
Small vendors also line the popular night markets at Temple Street and the Ladies’ Night Market in Kowloon, as well as the wet markets in Wan Chai. Stuff your face stupid with decent, cheap grub before you head off to bargain for souvenirs, clothes and, er, genuine designer handbags.
The one where you can’t read anything on the menu.
Where’s the fun in playing it safe? A dinner in HK that relies solely on guesswork is almost guaranteed to be a winner. The only skills you’ll really need are keen eyes – to follow where the locals go – and pointing skills, as most menus have pictures.
The one where you get crabs.
It ain’t just dim sum that Hong Kong does well. Its spicy crab brought Anthony Bourdain et al. to the yard, and they’re like “It’s the best we’ve ever had.” (Probably.) Catch the MTR to Causeway Bay then make like the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and head under the bridge to Under Bridge Spicy Crab. If you get lost, don’t stress, as there are actually three branches of the same restaurant within a short stroll of each other, I’m assuming so that they can all stay ‘under bridge’.
You’ll know you’ve reached the main restaurant as its windows very subtly display photos of previous celebrity dinner guests.
Prices of the crab in question vary each day, but whatever the case, it’s always best enjoyed with friends and a whole bunch of Christmas pants-worthy side dishes. Under Bridge has been around for 20 years and the chef heads to the fish market daily to hand-pick the catch. Needless to say, you’re in top hands.
The one where you eat the most gluttonous dessert known to man.
There’s dessert, then there’s Oddies Foodies. I’ve raved about this place before – or rather, it’s insane-soft-serve-egg-waffle-all-chocolate-errything – and now Oddies has officially franchised to a second location on Gough Street in Sheung Wan.
The new branch brings a new menu with it, including ridiculously good looking ‘Drama Cones’ like Kiddies – a chocolate-encased cone lined with Nutella and pie crust, filled with chocolate semifreddo, lemon gelato (because health), smothered in Choc-top and decorated with Kinder Bueno, sprinkles and M&Ms.
You’ll probably be at severe risk of food coma by this stage, so you can waddle it off with a stroll down to Hollywood Road, home to ace antique shops and Man Mo Temple.
Excuse me, I believe one of my arteries has just exploded.