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The best local food and drink brands to try in Hong Kong

A true taste of the city

Written by
Time Out editors
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When it comes to food options in Hong Kong, we literally have the world at our fingertips. From big openings by overseas chefs to cult-favourite burger chains from the US, the city has everything to satisfy the well-travelled gourmet. At the end of the day, though, there's no taste like home, which is why we’ll always have a soft spot for brands that were born in the 852. Whether you’re hankering for an ice cream cone or baked Chinese pastry, go local and support one of these great brands.

RECOMMENDED: Why not check out the best local dishes in Hong Kong, as well as the oldest restaurants in the city?

Best Hong Kong food brands

Appolo

Appolo

Local ice creamery Appolo was serving Magic House long before froyo became a mid-2000s fad. Customers could choose from vats of frozen fruit, which would then be fed into a machine that rumbled loudly as it churned out a frigid swirl of yoghurt very much unlike the soft-serve variety that’s more common nowadays. Over the course of its 30-year history, Appolo has released plenty of much-loved chilled treats, including the Monaka ice cream wafer sandwich, ice cup, magic cone and ice cream mochi.

Café de Coral

Café de Coral

The first Café de Coral opened its doors in Causeway Bay in 1968. The tiny fast-food store has since grown into a listed company as well as the largest Chinese restaurant chain in the world with multiple brands under its name. But no matter how big Café de Coral has ballooned to, cheap, fast and filling fare still remains at the heart of what it does, whether it’s in the form of a silky milk tea or its signature baked pork chop rice. It’s the sort of food that feeds more than 300,000 Hongkongers a day.

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Garden Bakery

Garden Bakery

Founded in 1926 by two cousins, Garden Company was one of the first brands in Hong Kong to produce western-style biscuits, cakes and bread on a mass scale. It’s no exaggeration to say that the company has fed Hongkongers through thick and thin, including through the Second Sino-Japanese War, until it was forcibly shut down by the occupying Japanese. In 1960, Garden launched its most famous product – Life bread. Packaged in blue-and-white chequered sleeves, these sliced loaves of fortified sandwich bread are still a breakfast staple to this day.

Hung Fook Tong

Hung Fook Tong

Initially a traditional Chinese herbal tea store in the late 80s, Hung Fook Tong has evolved into a modern-day one-stop shop for consumable wellness. Fusing health with Hong Kong-style efficiency, Hung Fook Tong is as known for its omnipresence at MTR stations as it is for its ready-to-drink herbal beverages and nourishing snacks. If you’re ever feeling under the weather, you’ll never need to look far for a detoxifying flower tea or a digestion-aiding sour plum drink.

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Kee Wah Bakery

Kee Wah Bakery

Kee Wah was established in 1938 as a small grocery and confectionary store on Shanghai Street. The company has only grown since then, mainly by establishing a production plant, which allowed it to make a wide range of products, including its now-famous bridal cakes, Chinese cookies and mooncakes. An industry leader that’s always evolving with the times, Kee Wah continues to launch new projects and products every year, including this year’s mooncake line, featuring beloved Japanese cartoon character, Chibi Maruko-chan.

Kowloon Dairy

Kowloon Dairy

When Kowloon Dairy was established in 1940, it was just a small outfit that delivered fresh milk to parts of north Kowloon. It’s a far cry from what the company has become. These days, Kowloon Dairy is a beefed up operation that supplies freshly made milk, yoghurt and ice cream to Hongkongers at more than 3,000 points of sale every day.

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Lee Kum Kee

Lee Kum Kee

The story of Lee Kum Kee dates back to an accident that happened 130 years ago when the brand’s founder, Lee Kum Sheung, operated a small teahouse in Guangdong province. While preparing oysters for his guests, he got distracted and forget to put out the fire. Not only were the molluscs overcooked as a result, they were reduced to a dark and delicious gravy. From there, oyster sauce was born. To this day, this pungent condiment remains the most famous of Lee Kum Kee’s 200-plus products and is eaten and loved all around the world.

Maxim's

Maxim's

Now one of the largest food and beverage groups in Hong Kong, Maxim’s started off as a humble standalone restaurant in Central’s Lane Crawford House in 1956 (pictured above). The space was opened by the Wu brothers, who wanted a high-end western restaurant where local diners could eat comfortably. The venue was a huge hit and was even visited by The Beatles in the 1960s. Maxim’s followed this success with its first Cantonese restaurant in 71, a fast-food unit in 72 and a plethora of other concepts that span cuisines and food types. It’s also brought Shake Shack to our shores. For that, and many other things, we’re eternally grateful.

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Pacific Coffee Company

Pacific Coffee Company

Local java spot Pacific Coffee Company opened its first store at the Bank of America Tower in 1992 before the advent of the big western chains. Proudly born and brewed in Hong Kong, PCC – as its affectionately called – is not just a coffee shop, but also a space for people to relax, study or socialise amid the cramped confines of the city. And with more than 100 outlets around town, you can always easily find a Pacific Coffee where you can sink into a plush chair or surf the web over a cup of joe.

Vitasoy

Vitasoy

When life gives you war, make Vitasoy. At least that’s what happened in 1940 when Dr Lo Kwee-seong came up with this nutritious and affordable soya milk drink to nourish the public. The company’s expanded beyond soya since and has gone on to become one of the biggest beverage companies in Hong Kong. Impressively, it’s also credited with creating the world’s first-ever ready-to-drink lemon tea.

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Young Master Brewery

Young Master Brewery

Young Master was only founded five years ago but it’s already become one of the most recognisable craft beer labels in town, poured everywhere from the Mandarin Oriental and The Peninsula to Second Draft, which the brewery opened with Little Bao’s May Chow. A lot of its success has to do with the quality of the suds, which are unfiltered, unpasteurised and freshly brewed without any artificial stabilisers. And as the foam on top, the results are often named with a playful nod to the city they’re brewed in, whether it’s the Cha Chaan Teng Gose or the seasonal Mo’ Mo’ Wit, which is scented with aged mandarin peel.

Looking for more great local brands?

10 iconic products that are made in Hong Kong
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