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Hoi On Cafe
Photograph: Courtesy Freddie Rodgers

Hong Kong's oldest restaurants to visit

The very best golden oldies

By Time Out Hong Kong
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Hong Kong's dining scene is fast-paced and ever-changing, with new places popping up and disappearing all the time, it can be easy to forget that the vibrant food and drink scene here has existed for decades and decades. There are plenty of restaurants in Hong Kong that have truly stood the test of time and have survived the war and numerous rounds of gentrification. While we have to stick to ordering food delivery and takeaways right now, it's good to know that some of Hong Kong's decades-old restaurants are still very much alive and kicking, waiting for you to enjoy when the time's right. Here are some of the oldest remaining restaurants in our city.

RECOMMENDED: Feeling nostalgic? Take a trip down memory lane by checking out these historic streets in the city.

The oldest restaurants in Hong Kong

Gaddi's
Gaddi's
Photograph: Courtesy Gaddi’s

Gaddi’s, The Peninsula

Restaurants French Tsim Sha Tsui

The first restaurant in this corner of the world to serve truly exquisite European cuisine, dining at Gaddi’s has been a five-star experience for more than 60 years now. Its classically posh interior is a beautiful example of neoclassical architecture and the impeccable service has never faltered over the years. 
Recommended dish: Wagyu beef sirloin baked in pastry crust

Gala Cafe (嘉樂冰廳)

Restaurants Tsuen Wan

A trusted name since opening in 1978, Gala Café is no stranger to queues and crowded tables. This famous spot is well-known for its liberal portions – specifically when it comes to its egg sandwich. There’s more fried egg than bread at play here. While that might seem to throw things out of proportion, in actuality this eggy mess is comfort food in its purest form.
Recommended dish: scrambled egg sandwiches

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Hoi On Cafe
Hoi On Cafe
Photograph: Courtesy Freddie Rodgers

Hoi On Cafe (海安咖啡室)

Restaurants Sheung Wan

Step back in time to the 1950s at this quaint neighbourhood cafe. The simplistic layout, rustic furnishings and the loyal crowd perfectly personify the Hong Kong of yesteryear. A cup of the smooth and gloriously creamy milk tea is guaranteed to hit you with a wave of nostalgia as well. One of the very few authentic old-school HK diners keeping it real in this fast-moving cosmopolitan city.
Recommended dish: French toast

(Hoi On Cafe is temporarily closed until July 30)

Honolulu Coffee Shop (檀島咖啡餅店)
Honolulu Coffee Shop (檀島咖啡餅店)
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Wikicommons/Laisuadoleml

Honolulu Coffee Shop (檀島咖啡餅店)

Restaurants Wan Chai

Many assert that this is the first proper cha chaan teng in Hong Kong. That claim may be dubious but its credentials as a local culinary institution most certainly are not up for debate, having been around since the 1940s. All the standard cha chaan teng fare here is good but it’s the coffee and egg tarts that have kept people coming back to this patch of Wan Chai for over 70 years.
Recommended dish: Egg tarts

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Leaf Dessert (玉葉甜品)
Leaf Dessert (玉葉甜品)
Photograph: Time Out Hong Kong

Leaf Dessert (玉葉甜品)

Restaurants Central

This slope-side eatery has been famous for its classic Chinese desserts for more than a century. Yuk Yip has remained a popular spot for some late-night meals and as a place to satisfy any sweet cravings after dinner or drinks.
Recommended dish: Green bean soup with seaweed

✓ Available for takeaways

Lin Heung Tea House (蓮香樓)
Lin Heung Tea House (蓮香樓)
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Wikicommons/N509FZ

Lin Heung Tea House (蓮香樓)

Restaurants Sheung Wan

First founded in Guangzhou in 1889, Lin Heung made the move to Hong Kong in 1926 and has been a beloved fixture in our territory ever since. The quaint tea house has maintained its roots, continuing to serve traditional dim sum from a trolley – a practice long-abandoned by most places in the city.
Recommended dishes: Quail egg or pork liver siu mai

✓ Available for takeaways

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Mido Café (美都餐室)
Mido Café (美都餐室)
Photograph: Time Out Hong Kong

Mido Cafe

Restaurants Yau Ma Tei

Even if you’ve never heard of Mido Cafe, you’ll most certainly recognise its interior. This cha chaan teng-bing sutt combo hasn’t changed one bit ever since it was established in 1950, and oozes nostalgia thanks to its well-worn coloured windows, mosaic tiles, and ceiling fans. It has served as a backdrop for numerous films and TV shows, including The World of Suzie Wong, Moonlight Express, Street Fighters, and Revolving Doors of Vengeance. Try and grab a seat in one of the booths near the window so you can admire the scenery outside - if you’re lucky, you can even capture the cafe’s glorious neon sign in your Instagram pic.
Recommended Dish: Baked spare rib rice with tomato sauce

✓ Available for takeaways

Oi Man Sang (愛文生)

Restaurants Sham Shui Po

As unfussy and unpretentious as it gets, Oi Man Sang has been a Sham Shui Po staple since 1956 – making it one of the oldest dai pai dongs in all Hong Kong. The menu's changed little over the years with the tiny resto still serving authentic local fare.
Recommended dish: Deep-fried squid with peppered salt

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The Peak Lookout
The Peak Lookout
Photograph: Courtesy The Peak Lookout

The Peak Lookout

Restaurants Contemporary European The Peak

Perched up on The Peak, this festive hotspot provides seating in either a cabin-esque interior or in its outdoor garden. Though it may look all fancy and new, The Peak Lookout has a long history, having opened in 1947 as The Peak Café before being renovated and re-named The Peak Lookout in 2001.
Recommended dish: Spicy calamari

Sammy's Kitchen
Sammy's Kitchen
Photograph: Yu An Su

Sammy's Kitchen

Restaurants Sai Ying Pun

A Sai Ying Pun institute for over 50 years, the latter half of the 2010s was not kind to Sammy’s Kitchen. They were forced to remove their famous cow-shaped neon sign in 2015, and came close to relocating in 2017 after their rent was doubled overnight. Thankfully they survived, and continue to serve up both cha chaan teng staples and vintage Hong Kong-style Western food, which is an increasingly rare cuisine.
Recommended Dish: Beef Stroganoff with Buttered Rice

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Ser Wong Fun
Ser Wong Fun
Photograph: Calvin Sit

Ser Wong Fun (蛇王芬)

Restaurants Chinese Central

Altogether almost 130-years-old through its various iterations, Ser Wong Fong has been an institution here for generations. The restaurant has retained a fiercely loyal following who come in their droves for the shop’s delicious snake soup which has a supposed myriad of health benefits.
Recommended dishes: Snake soup or preserved sausage

 

Tai Ping Koon
Tai Ping Koon
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Wikicommons/Walkers3

Tai Ping Koon Restaurant (太平館餐廳)

Restaurants Jordan

A favourite among neighbourhood locals, the food at Tai Ping Koon is consistent and plentiful. The signature dishes are the roasted young pigeon, TPK dry fried rice noodles with beef, and Swiss sauce chicken wings. Tai Ping Koon is one of the oldest existing names in Chinese restaurant history, having first opened in 1860 in Guangzhou before coming to Hong Kong in 1937.
Recommended dish: Swiss sauce chicken wings

✓ Available for takeaways

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