Chefs behind bar tables, good food, no chairs are what make up a standing restaurant. Originating in Japan, the concept of a standing restaurant is to serve high-quality dishes at affordable prices in convenient locations so that people in a rush – or typically busy businessmen – can quickly stop by for a delectable break.
As a food paradise, Hong Kong is always graced with hordes of amazing eateries from all corners of the globe, and this novel stand-up dining style is no exception. Although many would think eating while standing is would be too tiring to get used to, the unfettered space and promising dishes that each of these restaurants specialise in will certainly make you forget your fatigue. Check out the list below to see where you can devour a delicious meal, or stand around with friends while enjoying a few good bites. By Angel Hong
Located in the busy Mong Kok district, Akune Wagyu Tachikui Yakinikumise is the first standing restaurant that serves Japanese-style BBQ in Hong Kong. Apart from the classic Japanese wood sliding doors and red lanterns decorated at its front, the long chimney cooker hoods and the mini barbecue stove placed on the bar tables also give the restaurant a refined elegance. Offering different cuts of A4 and A5 Wagyu beef from Kagoshima, briskets and plates are softer and oilier in texture while the chuck part is more tender and richer in taste. All the beef cuts are charged by piece with the cheapest costing only $12. There are also a variety of sauces, salt and spicy powder available for you to match with. An unmissable place for all carnivores indeed.
As the first standing restaurant in Hong Kong, Sushi Tachi has always been popular since its opening in 2018. Despite its small space, the wooden bar table and cherry blossom tree decoration along with soft lighting give the restaurant a decent Japanese flair. To ensure the dishes are served fresh, all kinds of fish and seafood are selected directly from Japan’s Tsukiji Market every day, and the sushi is made exclusively using rice from Fukui Prefecture, mixed with premium red vinegar – which has the best effect in balancing the oil and bringing out the best in sashimi. Signatures include the mini urchin bowl rice, grilled olive flounder sushi, and jumbo pink prawn sushi. The restaurant also updates its menu on a monthly basis, featuring seasonal and rare fish species sometimes. It’s a blessing that the price is not as high as the quality of its dishes.
Grill Thai is a Thai-style street food restaurant in the heart of Lan Kwai Fong, recognisable with its huge flaming neon signage blazing against the black backdrop. To bring out the best in its signature juicy meat and veggie skewers, the restaurant offers an abundance of seasonings such as satay sauce, sweet chilli sauce and Thai spicy sauce for you to drizzle over, and a variety of Thai fried rice can also be served on the side to fill your belly. With standing tables placed outside the restaurant in an open area, this is the perfect spot to grab a bite after having several drinks at bars nearby.
Perhaps not as well-known as it should be, there is a street of standing restaurants hidden in Tin Shui Wai’s Tin Shing Wet Market, and Wing’s Laksa is one of the spots that you must step into and try. Specialising in Laksa, the place doesn't offer many options other than laksas and a couple of Vietnamese and Malaysian side dishes. Soaked in a slightly spicy coconut milk soup base, each laksa paired with different combinations of ingredients stands out at its best. You can also choose the level of spiciness and types of noodles (yellow noodles, rice vermicelli or mixed) on your own to make sure every slurp suits your taste.
Using fresh seafood and sashimi delivered straight from Japan, Sushi Sooshi specialises in creating contemporary and inventive sushi dishes, as well as offering omakase sushi sets customised to your taste. With the head chef receiving training at the famous Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, every dish served at the restaurant is of consistently high-quality. Favourites here include the botan shrimp with truffle sushi, seared flounder fin and Alfonsino Konbujime with Yuzu Jelly. Despite its cosy interior design, seats are limited and no reservations are allowed, so make sure you get here ahead of the crowds. If that's not possible though, don't worry because the food here is worth the wait!