Hong Kong is one of my favorite cities. These are three must-do things when you go: Food tour, Tsui Wah, and the Hong Kong Museum of History.
3 Must-Do Things
1. Sign up and pay for a food tour.
“Sign up” = you need to register at least a day in advance
“Pay” = I did some of the free walking tours, and they were not good.
[VIDEO] Dim Sum in Hong Kong
Dim sum video diary with my friend Noah Kagan…
The Best Food Tour Operators in Hong Kong
- Dim Sum Experience is a well-run, affordable (cheap!) visit to a locals-only dim sum restaurant.
- Humid with a Chance of Fishballs is my current favorite tour operator in Hong Kong. I signed up (and paid full price for) the Sampan Dinner Experience. You could sign up for any of her tours, even the free one, and I bet it would be great.
2. Have breakfast at a Tsui Wah diner.
This is equivalent to the Waffle House of Hong Kong. Do it because it is delicious, consistent, and open early when you’re jet-lagged. Order one of the breakfast specials. I enjoyed the Satay Beef w/Instant Noodles in Soup, which includes scrambled eggs, bread, and a famous cup of Hong Kong milk tea. See Tsui Wah and what I ordered for a few seconds right here at the 0:12 mark from my vidblog.
3. Visit the Hong Kong Museum of History.
Skip the prehistoric stuff when you first enter. Focus your time on Hong Kong’s history starting with the British occupation. Fascinating. Watch the video in the big theater.
Bonus Tips: OpenRice, SIM cards
- Download and use the app “OpenRice” to find restaurant recommendations in Hong Kong. Similar to Yelp. I also used Foursquare a lot during my visit.
- We bought fast SIM cards at the airport after landing. Glad we did.
- Sheung Wan Cooked Food Centre 上環熟食中心 — YES!! Almost made my Must-Do list. There are 18 districts in Hong Kong, and each of them have something like this government run centre. There are at least 10 food stalls upstairs, very cheap, very blue-collar, very locals.
- PMQ — YES!! Come here!! Almost made the Must-Do list. Many many small shops selling arts, crafts, clothes, etc. Independent small business owners. Large complex. Walk around and explore. It is big and imposing at first. On-site is a nice restaurant, Sohofama, which I would definitely check out. Also curious to see the Gong Fu Teahouse onsite.
- Dr. Fern’s Gin Parlour — Very special if you like gin. My father does, so I would definitely bring him here. Speakeasy in a random mall space. Well-designed interior, friendly staff, free snacks (I think they gave us a huge bowl of chips).
- Advanced: get the Hong Kong Taxi Cards app to help you show taxi drivers where you need to go. Uber didn’t work for us in Hong Kong in Feb 2018, but there are lots of cabs. The drivers rarely speak a lot of English. This app helps you type your popular destination in English, then show the Cantonese characters to your driver. I paid $1.99 for the app, and the three times I used it, it felt like a life-saver and that I had super-powers.
More Things To Do in Hong Kong
I went to many restaurants and bars during my last visit. These were memorable but not mandatory:
Bars and Desserts
- Mizunara: The Library — Japanese whiskey house. This place is very cool! Tucked inside, immaculate design, very welcoming. It was the type of place where we felt ashamed to not order and only looking. People were warm and friendly and the space felt the same.
- Dr. Fern’s Gin Parlour — Very special, especially if you like gin. Speakeasy in a random mall space. Well-designed interior, friendly staff, free snacks (I think they gave us a huge bowl of chips).
- Tai Cheong Bakery — Get the egg tart!! I don’t like sweets, but even I liked this.
- Elephant Grounds — When you just need a coffee shop that feels very Western to hang out in, come here. Local brand, chill vibe. A few locations in HK.
- Shun De Kung Seafood Restaurant 順德公漁村河鮮酒家 — Authentic locals-only dim sum restaurant. We did the Dim Sum Experience tour and they took us here. See my video from here about Hong Kong Dim Sum Tour
- Yue Hing 裕興大排檔 — I wrote in my notes “Must return. Alleyway dinners”
- Yat Lok Restaurant 一樂燒鵝 — Same, I wrote “Come back and try the goose noodle rice soup”
- Kai Kee Noodles — I came here a few times, in Kowloon, for breakfast
- Gingko House 銀杏館 — I wrote down, “Come back here, vegetarian restaurant and they hire old people to be the waiters to encourage them to have more social interaction”
Guided Group Tours
Best Tour Operator: Humid with a Chance of Fishballs. I highly recommend. The owner is engaged and entrepreneurial. They have free tours. I signed up (and paid full price for) the Sampan Dinner Experience.
The Hong Kong Museum of History is my favorite. You can skip the prehistoric stuff and focus on the history starting with the British invasion / occupation. Fascinating.
Other and Misc
- Visage One — Tiny. Famous spot for music on Saturday nights, also barber shop by appointment only.
- Pak Tsz Lane Park — The Street Art Tour took us here. It was a cute park that seemed very locals-only.
- Victoria Peak Garden — Nice on a sunny day! Locals-only, away from the big tourist view.
- Homeless — Good design shop. Located next to an insanely popular noodle spot that always had a huge line.
Random Photos I Took
These were all taken in early February 2018.
Good morning from Hong Kong! These are two essentials that you need. The Octopus Card and the money. Here with Noah, my buddy and we’re going to walk to breakfast. Tsui Wah Restaurant is a famous 24 hour diner that many people told me about.
We ordered one of their breakfast specials. It was apparently the most famous thing on the menu. It was a beef curry in instant noodles. We also got scrambled eggs and buttered toast and a black tea. Here’s something interesting.This was the bill that they gave to us at the table and it has a QR code right at the bottom. What you are going to see is Noah is going to take this bill up to the front menu and pay for it with his Octopus card. Just like that! Magic! Cha Ching!
Next up, we went on a Dim Sum tour that we read about on Trip Advisor and they took us to this place. It was very fantastic. It’s a local hot spot. Alright, we are going to do a Dim Sum tour here. I am in a very large Dim Sum hall and they have the fresh fish here behind me which you can see they will cook for us.
I’m walking through the hall right now to go to our private room where we have secured to have a Dim Sum extravaganza right in here. Dim Sum pro tip: There are two colors of chopsticks that Noah shows here. This is the red one which is used to pick the pieces up from the Dim Sum platter on to my plate and then once it’s on my plate, I can then use my black chopsticks. These should never touch the stuff on there. Is that right? Alright, I’m taking the picture.
Noah, how was it? I’m full. It’s nap time. It was fun to talk to some of the travelers on the tour. This was some of the people. I met this guy named James. These two awesome women. We went to a flower market later and we saw a bird market. We did more things later in the day, but then we got into a taxi and we drove or we tried to drive to Shenzen, China. Our taxi driver was crazy! That’s basically the end of day one.
To be continued….in Shenzen, China.
- VIDEO: Visit to Shenzen Manufacturing. My friend Noah Kagan hooked it up, big-time, with this behind-the-scenes tour.
- VIDEO: China Business — My Tour of Tech Factories (And More) video by Noah during our trip together
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