Our city is filled with all sorts of fancy dining joints – al fresco restaurants, Michelin-star restaurants, top steakhouses, dim sum restaurants – you name it, we have the very best. But the truth is, nothing beats the soulfulness of down-to-earth street eats (plus, they're cheap as chips too). So, next time you're pondering around Kowloon and your hunger pang strikes, how about giving these local street food vendors a try?
Best street food in Kowloon for under $50
This little shop offers Japanese treats not easily found in Hong Kong. Among them are several kinds of rolled Japanese omelettes called tamagoyaki. They’re made fresh with eggs from Hiroshima, a splash of dashi and toppings that include pink dried shrimp, ruby red shrimp roe and shredded seaweed. Or, for a quick and cheap lunch, grab a bento ($40).
If you think you've had hot dogs before, think again. One bite of these Korean hot dogs and you'll forget everything you thought you knew about this staple street food. If you've never had Korean hot dogs before, they're pretty much like your average hot dog, except instead of stale, cold bread, the hot dog is dipped in a dough batter and deep-fried until golden brown. Crowd favourites include the Potato and Mozzarella hot dog stick ($34) and the cheddar hot dog stick ($32). There is also a range of sauces and seasoning shakers for you to pile on some extra flavours too, we definitely recommend trying the honey butter seasoning. Yum.
Street food is a staple in Hong Kong cuisine but few compare to this popular local vendor. While Fie Jie offers expected options like cuttlefish balls and soy-braised snacks, the menu is famed for its more unusual yet insanely delicious skewers. Namely turkey kidney and pig offal. It may not sound appetising but throw on some sweet sauce and a dash of mustard and you’ll know why there’re long queues every day. Prices vary, but usually, you can get three skewers for less than $30.
Running low on energy? Then it's time to carb up, and no place can do it better than Potato Corner. With over 900 store locations around the globe, this Philippine chippy franchise is known for serving up mouthwatering flavoured fries – sour cream and onion, BBQ, chilli BBQ and cheese – that come in four different sizes ($28-$62), along with combo options such as mozzarella sticks, Smileys and tater tots.
A typical uni hand roll can cost up to $100 in high-end restaurants. But not at this popular Kowloon spot. Indulge in a delectable, melt-in-your-mouth version of the Japanese classic for less than half the price here. And despite being cheap in price, this doesn't skimp on quality. The sea urchin boasts a smooth custard-like texture that’s tucked in rice and wrapped in top-tier crunchy seaweed. Uni-d to try it.
Your deep-fried bird comes in a range of unusual flavours here – rose, wasabi and lime, and salted lemonade being just a few of the different sauces in which this restaurant dresses its chicken wings. Sure, some of them might sound weird, but they work well as a contrast to the crispy wings. Our pick? That classic Hong Kong flavour combo: black truffle and garlic.
This family-run shop has been serving the traditional steamed rice pudding treats known as put chai ko for over 30 years, and they still do it the old-school way. From 2am onward every morning, one member of the family grinds rice into flour; combines that flour with sugar, water and red beans; and steams the mixture in cups. Try the brown sugar version, and celebrate this dying tradition while it lasts.
What stuff you ask? You know, stuff. Let us first warn you, if you're an indecisive person, especially when it comes to choosing what to eat, this place is not for you. There's everything here: chicken skewers, lo meen, octopus balls, fried quail egg, triple cheese dumplings and even something called Stuff in a Cup Treasure Box that is basically just random bits of food combined in a to-go cup. Nothing on the menu here goes above $50, in fact, we're pretty sure that nothing goes beyond $30! Of course, with anything that cheap, don't be expecting Michelin-star quality here, but hey, if you're down to your last few dimes before your next pay cheque, this is your perfect solution.
There’s no shortage of mouth-watering Thai dishes in Kowloon City. When it comes to Thai-style skewers, it’s tough to beat Kam Thai. Of all the options, the grilled pork really stands out. Crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, the meat bursts with flavour as you bite into it. Drizzle it with the house-made satay or hot-and-sour sauce.
Although known for its star-patterned eggettes, this shop offers so much more than gimmicky treats. There are tons of flavours to choose from, including some unconventional options like candied pineapple and corn with pork floss. To make the most waves on social media, order the ‘taro starry’, a sweet purple-andgold eggette with awesome texture.
The homemade glass sheets here are smoother than silk. But the real star is the spicy sauce, made with the holy trinity of chilli oil, garlic and vinegar – it’s equal parts spicy and numbing. Cucumber strips, coriander, dried tofu and peanuts provide cooling elements and textural contrast, taking this snack to another echelon.
The smells emanating from this Indian-Pakistani eatery will have you salivating before you even know what direction they’re coming from, and that’s a good sign that you’re in for something special. For a fast and filling meal, pick up a hearty and fragrant curried mutton paratha from the to-go counter. Bring napkins, but expect to walk away with orange-tinted fingers anyway.
This popular street food stall in Sham Shui Po is known across Hong Kong for its singular creation: deep-fried salt and pepper rice rolls. Made to order and best enjoyed hot, the rice rolls have great crunch. They taste even better with a dollop of mayo or Thai sweet chilli sauce.
Sham Shui Po has no shortage of mouth-watering street food but Hop Yik Tai’s cheong fun, or rice noodle rolls, are worth crossing the harbour for. Made fresh every day, their cheong fun is incredibly smooth and paired perfectly with sweet sauce, sesame sauce and soy sauce. It’s no wonder why there are queues all the time.
This old-school shop specialises in the cheap and delicious baked goods endemic to Hong Kong: pineapple buns, ‘wife cakes’ (lou po beng) and siu bang, stuffed mochi-like pancakes topped with a sprinkle of sesame seeds that are becoming harder and harder to find these days. Beat the queues here to pick up siu bang stuffed with peanut butter, custard, red bean and more.