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Dim sum is a terrific breakfast or brunch in Hong Kong. Photo: Shutterstock
Dim sum is a terrific breakfast or brunch in Hong Kong. Photo: Shutterstock

Food & Drink

Eat your way through Hong Kong in 24 hours

Twenty-four hours is of course not enough time to “do” Hong Kong, but few cities permit you to do as much in such a short amount of time. The city is extremely compact, public transportation is excellent, and taxicabs are cheap. Hong Kong is also unquestionably the world’s greatest destination for Chinese food (and not only Chinese food!). So one way to spend 24 hours is … eating!

If you’re arriving in Hong Kong from overseas, you might be a bit jetlagged, and up early. The good news is, Hong Kong is a 24-hour city, and there is food available at all hours. To start the day right, there’s nothing more Hong Kong than buttered toast (or better, Hong Kong-style French toast!) and milk tea in a bing sutt, the traditional Hong Kong version of a coffee shop. Expect plastic tables and plastic chairs under fluorescent lights, and a very small bill when you’re done.

If you’re looking for something more upscale, or if you’re hungry a few hours after your toast and tea, dim sum is a terrific breakfast/brunch, and although there are few restaurants that serve dim sum from carts anymore, that doesn’t mean the food has suffered. Quite the contrary. Like traditional coffee shops, you can find good dim sum all over Hong Kong, but if you don’t mind queuing for several hours, Tim Ho Wan in Kowloon is very likely the world’s least expensive Michelin-starred restaurant.

Tim Ho Wan

Fuk Wing Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
www.timhowan.com

You’re feeling full at this point, I know, but it’s almost lunchtime, and you’ll certainly want to eat some Cantonese food before you leave the city. In many parts of the world, eating in a Chinese restaurant you may encounter dishes unknown in China, and created to suit local tastes. It has been said that China has the linguistic diversity of Europe, and the same can easily be said about Chinese cuisine. So for lunch, try Sang Kee in Wanchai. It’s noisy, booking is a must, and the waiters can be obnoxious, but the food is terrific.

After you’ve nipped back to your hotel for a post-prandial nap, you’ll want afternoon tea. Hong Kong may have reverted to Chinese rule in 1997, but some traditions live on. The iconic Hong Kong afternoon tea is served in the lobby of the Peninsula Hotel in Kowloon, but a number of other hotels (e.g. the Mandarin Oriental) and restaurants offer superb afternoon teas in a variety of themes.

The Peninsula Hotel 

Salisbury Road, Tsimshatsui, Kowloon
hongkong.peninsula.com

Afternoon tea has whetted your appetite for dinner, and because our time is limited (just 24 hours!), we may as well have a bit more local food before we head to the airport tomorrow morning. Mott 32 was named World Interior of the Year in 2014, and offers Cantonese food with an emphasis on fresh ingredients, plus a few Beijing (including Peking Duck) and Sichuan dishes. Arrive early to check out the decor, including the bar, inspired by a Chinese apothecary.

Mott 32

Standard Chartered Bank Building, 4-4a Des Voeux Road, Central
mott32.com

After dinner, because you’ve got only 24 hours, and because you need to burn off some calories, you’ll want to hit the clubs.
New on the scene is Bungalow, a 6,000-square-foot club that shares a building with dragon-i, which has been a major force on the Hong Kong club scene since 2002, attracting world class dance DJs on a regular basis and claiming to sell more Champagne than any other club in Southeast Asia. 
If you’ve got the stamina, you can party at Bungalow and/or dragon-i until dawn.

Bungalow

Shop 2, G/F, The Centrium, 60 Wyndham Street, Central
www.bungalow.hk

Dragon-i

The Centrium, 60 Wyndham Street, Central
dragon-i.com.hk

Then grab a taxi back to your hotel through empty streets, have a quick shower, pick up your bag, and head to the airport. Sure, you didn’t visit any museums, and you didn’t go hiking in any of Hong Kong’s many country parks, but … you can do those things next time.

Text: Roberto De Vido

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