The best cheap eats in Central & Western
This authentic cha chaan teng in Sheung Wan has a knack for transforming simple dishes into something truly delicious. Plus, it hands out generous portions for extremely low prices. The spam and egg rice is our favourite. The pork arrives with three perfectly runny eggs on a bed of fluffy steamed rice. The yolk and soy sauce soak beautifully into the rice and create a taste sensation with the spam.
Tucked away in an old building in Sai Wan Ho, I Miss U is a hidden paradise for those on a budget. Try the wildly popular savoury Taiwanese pancakes which come in a variety of flavours like purple potato or original. Similar to naan bread, the delicious dough is crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. The best thing about them? You can customise your own filling with ingredients like cheese, sausages and octopus.
Looking for an energy boost that’s also good for your body? This breakfast-friendly pudding contains healthy ingredients like chia seeds, granola and mixed fruits. They’re blended with coconut and almond milk for a sweet, creamy kick. What better way to kickstart the day than the vegan way?
This joint on the slopes of Sai Ying Pun is quickly becoming an Indian cuisine destination favourite. Apart from serving a number of satisfying and flavourful curries and tandooris, the samosas are large in size and packed with veggie goodness. One of the best ways to kick-off a curry night is to indulge in one of these meaty giants.
Emack & Bolio’s is always creative with its wide selection of cones and ice cream combinations. Go for the sweet selection of ice cream flavours like Cookie Monster and Trippin On’ Espresso and, for a little extra, add some flair to your order with cones crowned with Rice Krispies or Froot Loops covered in melted marshmallow. Cheap, chilled and awesome.
While most people only go for the signature delectable pho in this contemporary Vietnamese restaurant, no customer should miss the appetising house special fries. Dip the fresh, hot and richly-seasoned chips into the mentaiko mayonnaise for a cheap and joyful savoury experience. This is golden-fried goodness, the Pho Bar way.
Bringing a contemporary twist to traditional French pastries, L’Eclair de Génie tells customers to ‘feast their eyes and delight their tastebuds’. The raspberry éclair is a best-seller here but we adore the N°117 chocolat grand cru creation, which uses delicate Guanaja 80 percent chocolate cream as well as dark chocolate glazing. For all you chocaholics out there, head down to your nearest L’Eclair de Génie store and treat yourself. Now!
This Victorian-style shop, reminiscent of a scene from Harry Potter, brings you the best in traditional British confectionery. Here, a 100g bag of sweeties costs you about 20 quid. Sorry, we mean dollars. And the shoppe has a vast selection of retro treats to choose from, including cola bottles, wine-gums, gobstoppers and Wham Bars, as well as plenty of chocolates, toffees and fudge. Are you feeling that sugar rush yet?
Sometimes eating cheap means eating light and eating clean, even for suits working hard in Central. Law Fu Kee is the go-to place for Hongkongers’ staple comfort food – congee. There’s a variety to choose from but nothing beats the hallowed plain bowl. Made with a fragrant fish broth, it’s delicious, clean, soothing, healthy and all for a paltry 16 bucks? Hell yeah!
What’s a cheap eats list if we don’t mention a good ol’ bowl of wonton noodles? This quintessential Hong Kong meal is one we can’t do without. The use of king prawns at Tsim Chai Kee gives the wontons in this dish an extra springy texture, so there’s more bounce for your buck.
The best cheap eats in Wan Chai & Causeway Bay
This homemade bruschetta from Italian restaurant Assaggio in Tsim Sha Tsui is ideal for a light bite or a bar snack. The sweet flavours of the pumpkin and honey combine magnificently with the rich toasted pine nuts. Start with this cheap eat on the menu before moving on to a pricier main event at this renowned eatery.
In Hong Kong, Japanese food can often cost a bomb without leaving you satisfied. Not so at Okonomi, though. This restaurant, with a few branches across town, offers ace Japanese dishes for diners who are on a budget. Tuck into a rice bowl topped with salmon sashimi, cucumbers, eggs and crab roe. Come hungry for this quality raw fish and rice medley.
This homegrown burger joint serves up fresh handmade patties each day. Add fresh tomatoes, a slice of pineapple, some lettuce and bits of crispy bacon and you’re in for a big, juicy delight of a meal here. This bacon pineapple burger ain’t complicated but it’s hard to nail perfectly and, thankfully, the guys at Burger Home do just that.
We say superbowl, you think of American football. But this superbowl is served up by Pret and packed with enough energy to fuel a gridiron player. The beets and feta variety is our fave. The base of quinoa and rice mix comes layered with a combination of spinach, roasted beetroot slices and sweet roasted pumpkin. If you’re looking for a pick-me-up meal without trashing your wallet, touchdown in Pret this lunchtime.
Bake’s baked cheese tart comes all the way from Hokkaido, Japan, to tantalise our tastebuds. The crusty dark brown dough is filled with a creamy cheese mousse that is soft and silky in texture. And the egg, wheat and milk flavours are complimented by a tinge of saltiness. Irresistible.
Hokkaido milk is famous for its rich, creamy, almost vanilla-ish taste. Symbolised by its 3.6 percent fat content, any dairy product made with this stuff is good for you. Taste the original and unadulterated milky flavour at Milk Top or get it in a plethora of varieties such as matcha, strawberry and cookies and cream.
The double-boiled milk pudding at this local favourite cha chaan teng has become iconic over the years. The smooth creamy milk arrives at an almost lip-searing temperature. It’s an authentic experience. Not to mention, tasty too.
Cart noodles aren't a fussy affair, but they're a tasty one. The noodles are drenched in broth with tons of goodies thrown in. At Wing Kee, there are three variations including chicken wings, pig skin and pig’s blood.
Baking fresh handmade cupcakes from scratch daily, Twelve Cupcakes provides an array of choices tailor-made to suit all tastes. The cookies and cream is a delight but we love the rose lychee cupcake. The floral and fruity flavours complement each other perfectly and is always a popular choice.
Just one of Lee Tung Avenue’s Japanese imports, this place should need no introduction. There’s just something so wrong, it's right when it comes to combining fresh crisps and soft serve, smothered with chocolate sauce. Calbee has created a ‘typhoon shelter spicy wavy’ flavour just for Hong Kong. Flavoured with just the right amount of kick, this is one guilty pleasure not to miss.
The best cheap eats in Kowloon
People come from all corners of Hong Kong for a helping of these Islamic ‘beef burgers’. The ground-up beef is finely seasoned and oozing with delicious meat juices. Cheap as chips ($38 for two) and tasty as hell if you are willing to wait in line.
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.
What’s so special about an egg sandwich? Ah, this one comes from the Australia Dairy Company cha chaan teng in Jordan and contains the best scrambled eggs in the city. Always just the right balance of runny and creamy textures, and chock full of rich yolky notes, you can get this in a set meal for different prices throughout the day.
This salmon musubi is the best quick, cheap lunch or dinner on the go. Grab it if you’re rushing around in Lai Chi Kok or near any of Hana-musubi’s branches in the city. The cheap and cheerful rice ball that’s stuffed with a generous sliver of salmon can certainly tide you over until suppertime.
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.
The best cheap eats in New Territories
Some say that good things come in small packages. This is definitely true for Grandma’s Dumplings and, no, we don’t mean any innuendo there. This fab restaurant in Tai Wai, in the New Territories, boasts small-but-hearty beauties. The dumpling wrappings are thin and tender, and the fillings are well balanced with meat and vegetables. Get them fried or boiled and served with a delicious broth.
The lolly waffle at Haru & P in Kwai Fong is big in size and big in heart with a glorious range of flavours. A range of different toppings and icings make the lollies shine, plus there are some fab seasonal toppings on offer too. Haru & P’s maple-syrup waffle is a supreme winner, as is the chocolate variety.
Tai Po is a top place to go for excellent cheap eats. And you know it’s a good sign when the crowds line up outside a restaurant on a daily basis just for one type of dish. At Chan Hon Kee, they queue in their droves for the claypot rice. There’s a big selection to choose from but the sirloin beef and egg variety is this eatery’s star. Enjoy the juicy meat alongside just the right amount of egg. Open from 6pm daily, dine and devour this sizzling neighbourhood favourite.
We know, we know. This place is best known for its burgers but the scrumptious hotdogs shouldn’t be overlooked. You can’t go wrong with this no-frills chilli dog. A plump sausage snuggled inside a warm, squishy bun that’s smothered in mouthwatering chilli con carne is a veritable protein on protein meal. It’s a messy ordeal to eat but the pairing of sauce, sausage and bun should keep you coming back for more. Simple, cheap and delicious as hell.
Thin noodles served with generous amounts of shrimp roe, beef balls and wontons in a full bowl of soup. Squeeze your way into the perpetually busy Tai Po Market to get a taste of this eatery’s signature dish that exemplifies comfort food. The smell of dried shrimp powder stimulates the appetite. And, when you dig in, the umami flavours satisfy your palate.
Solid takeaway sandwiches are the order of the day at Couple and the Bao, although the name uses some artistic license as the bread used is toasted ciabatta. With fillings of slow-cooked pork belly, fried pork chops and boneless chicken wings, amongst others, these are some meaty baguettes, and at around $50 a piece they’re a decent choice for a snack.
This chillaxed spot is perhaps the best kept secret in the industrial area of Fo Tan. Spacious, with vintage furniture and homeware scattered around the eatery, it feels like some sort of private members-only club. Claim a sofa, buy yourself a cuppa and soak up the live music during the weekend. Oh, and don’t forget to try the ice cream brownie for the perfect sugar rush! Nothing beats ice cream on a brownie, particularly at this price.
Egg waffles are a Hong Kong classic and More Eggettes is where the classic becomes the iconic, providing a delicious twist on egg waffles. The eatery combines chocolate and Honey Stars into the mix. You read that right. The kid’s favourite cereal is added on the surface of each ‘bubble’, giving the soft and gooey waffle a satisfying crunch. Perfect for those with a sweet tooth.
Many restaurants in Hong Kong serve up an unfair chicken-to-rice ratio. Basically, by the time you’re done munching down the meat, you’re left with a huge portion of leftover rice. But at Tai Wai’s Eight Treasure Chicken, you get extremely generous portions of soy sauce-marinated and braised pieces of chook with a perfectly proportional amount of rice. A cheap eat treasure. Eight of them, in fact.
When it comes to hotdogs, Yuen Long doesn’t immediately comes to mind, but thanks to Hotdog Brothers, they are changing up the food scene with their signature meaty hotdogs. Options worth trying are the barbecue pulled pork ($48) and the Mega Cheese ($46) – melted from four different cheese. Make it a full meal and order up some mozzarella sticks and onion rings.
Boozing might not be cheap in Hong Kong, but after all those cheap eats, you'll have some change for cocktails. Check out our ultimate guide to Hong Kong's best cocktails.