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
Right inside the hub of a cooked food centre in Fo Tan, this down-to-earth restaurant serves amazing Qingyuan (northwestern Guangdong) cuisine, including the must-have wooden bucket chicken. You get a whole bird that’s boiled in a similar way to Cantonese style but in an amazing marinade and then cut up into pieces, as well as some cucumber slices, a bowl of soup and rice. Incredible. Feed the brood or pig out on your own.
One of the social enterprise restaurants under non-profit organisation Gingko House, O Veggie encourages senior employment with the aim of serving farm-to-table organic grub. The menu includes a great variety of pan-Asian food as well as Western vegetarian cuisine. The knockout cheap dish here is the e-fu noodles, which are Cantonese flat egg noodles. They come with assorted mushrooms and taste delightful and nutritious.
A Yuen Long institution, Ho To Tai has been banging out steaming bowls of noodle soup for 70 years. The noodles, soups and wontons are all handmade on the premises, and are among some of the best in the territory. Its low prices and quality cooking have earned Ho To Tai Bib Gourmand status in the Michelin guide, especially for the wonton noodles ($28).
There are good desserts and then there are sinfully good desserts. Uchi’s banana chocolate waffle is an example of just such a superior treat. It’s an artful construction of banana slices, almond flakes, powdered sugar and rich chocolate syrup, all on a fluffy waffle.
Hidden away on the third floor of an industrial building in Fo Tan, Canapés Room welcomes you with its unexpected earth tone interiors. And then you’re welcomed by an unexpectedly impressive, given the bargain price, melted double-cheese hotdog. The dog is big, it’s dripping with cheese and it’s super-moreish. It’s also only served during the afternoon, though. Top it off with a 62°C hot spring egg if you're feeling messy.