Breakfast in Hong Kong is one of the best meals of the day. Whether you’ve hankering for a traditional English fry-up, hipster fave avocado-on-toast or a bowl of instant noodles with satay beef, Hong Kong is blessed with a wealth of great breakfast options. Follow us as we eat our way through the city’s various cafés and cha chaan tengs to select the top 10 places to grab breakfast and fuel up for the day ahead. Sarah Moran and Olivia Lai
Hong Kong’s best breakfast spots
Australia Dairy Company’s breakfast set is its raison d’être. Fluffy, creamy scrambled eggs – considered among the best in Hong Kong – come served on thick slices of buttered toast, along with a bowl of macaroni and ham soup and a cup of coffee or tea. Just remember, this cha chaan teng is not a place where you can linger. Even in the morning, the queue for seats here is long. Order fast, eat fast and leave fast to avoid being on the receiving end of staff’s infamously curt attitude.
With drinks served in mason jars, turquoise mugs and IG-worthy floral cups, this chic, semi-open-air café in Sheung Wan looks like a Pinterest fan’s dream kitchen. The comfy couches, mismatched wooden tables and chairs afford the café a homey vibe, making you feel as if you’re simply catching up in a friend’s kitchen. The breakfast menu has something to please everyone, whether you’re hungry for an all-day breakfast, pancakes, french toast, breakfast burritos or even huevos rancheros.
With its red leather stools and booths and checkered-tiled floor, The Diner is exactly the kind of stereotypical American eatery you often see on US TV shows. No surprise then that the menu offers classic American diner fare like ribs, chicken wings and burgers. For a hearty breakfast, scarf down the All-American, which includes eggs, bacon, sausages, home fries and a buttermilk pancake. Pair it with a creamy milkshake or, if you’re still recovering from last night, a Morning After Smoothie that’s full of antioxidants to help make your hangover disappear.
This locally grown coffee chain offers a pretty decent selection of eats when it comes to breakfast. The premises on Star Street was the first of EG’s four branches to offer all-day dining, so you can enjoy a sit-down healthy brekkie like yoghurt and granola, avocado toast, or a spinach and mushroom toast combo. You can also grab a pastry, banana bread, a brownie or a spinach puff to go. It goes without saying, but the coffee here is a winner, too.
Who says breakfast food is only for the AM? The Flying Pan offers a vast menu of solid Americanised breakfast offerings 24/7. That means it doesn’t matter if you’re hankering for some pancakes at 3am or an omelette with tons of fillings for dinner – The Flying Pan is always ready to cook up a storm. Just be ready to get seriously stuffed as it tends to serve large, American-style portions.
Although Little Creatures is best known for its award-winning craft beer offerings, the food menu offers far more than just your average pub grub. Breakfast is served on weekends and public holidays from 8am until late, and includes morning favourites such as a classic fry-up as well as other fun options like breakfast pizzas. Aussies will be delighted with Little Creature’s grilled sourdough with your choice of jam, peanut butter or vegemite. The waterfront view comes as a bonus.
Kick off your day with a stellar egg sandwich, a favourite morning munch for Hongkongers. And there’s no better spot than Luen Fat for this style of sando. Aside from the signature super-smooth scrambled eggs, this cha chaan teng serves all the Hong Kong staples like satay beef macaroni, thick toast and rich milk tea.
Feel bad about leaving your dog at home while you head out for breakfast? Take them with you to OpenDoor Cafe, a pet-friendly coffeeshop nestled down near the harbour in Sai Ying Pun. Start your morning with a hearty English breakfast and feed bits of sizzling bacon under the table to your pooch. If you want to start your day on a more healthy note, opt for one of the café’s super smoothies like its Wakey Wakey (muesli, banana, chia seeds, cinnamon, yoghurt and almond milk) or Power Pack (banana, blueberries, goji berries, protein powder, almond milk, whey and acai berries) offerings to energise your morning. For those with sensitive stomachs, the café also offers a wide range of vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan meal options.
Despite being tucked away along the far-off Ping Shan Heritage Trail in Yuen Long, this legendary cha chaan teng still manages to attract long lines. The crowds come for its mouth-watering crispy pineapple buns stuffed with egg, tomato and a generous slice of butter that melts in your mouth. Wash it all down with a bottle of cold milk tea which, unlike most other restaurants in Hong Kong, is chilled rather than diluted with ice, preserving the rich, strong flavour of the tea. The original Mrs Tang Cafe in Yuen Long is said to be the best, but if that’s too far for you, the branches in Kwun Tong and Wan Chai are of comparable quality.
While it may not look like much, this open-air food stall on Gough Street is one of Hong Kong’s most popular dai pai dongs. The allure of this place lies in its no-frills way of putting together simple ingredients and turning them into signature dishes beloved by Hongkongers. While the menu is limited – it’s mostly noodles and different types of sandwiches – the options for toppings and fillings are endless. Order the famous tomato soup base with macaroni or instant noodles and pair it with a topping of your choice – including red sausage, eggs, spicy pork cubes, pork chop, luncheon meat, beef and more. Be sure to leave room for the iconic butter and honey lemon crispy bun. It’s a must-try.
Because coffee counts as breakfast too
This guide will lead you to all the best coffee shops in Hong Kong, all the way from Sheung Wan to hidden gems in Cheung Chau.
It’s no wonder this city never sleeps given its abundance of excellent coffee shops and cafés. If you’re one of the millions who enjoys a good brew, check out the best places to grab breakfast, coffee cocktails, or looking ahead, the best cosy coffee shops for winter. With all this choice, the real connoisseurs know that no matter how good the latte art is, it’s the freshness of the roast that counts. We thought you might like to know which brew houses care about the flavour and freshness enough to source locally roasted beans, or for full flavour profile control, roast their own. That’s why we’ve put a list together of where to find the best locally roasted beans for a proper cup of joe. By Sam Sinha