Hong Kong

Etiquette

etiquette
 

Chinese food is generally eaten with chopsticks, but don't expect restaurants serving western food to supply chopsticks; diners will routinely use a knife, fork and spoon. Do not stick your chopsticks vertically into a bowl of rice, as this is reminiscent of incense sticks burning at the temple and has connotations of wishing death on those around you. In addition, chopsticks should not be used to move bowls and plates or make any noise. Dishes in smaller eateries might not come with a serving spoon, although staff will usually provide one if you request.

A few Hong Kong customs to be aware of:

etiquette
tap two or three fingers

To thank the person who pours your tea Cantonese style, tap two or three fingers on the table. The legend suggests a story involving a Chinese emperor travelling incognito and his loyal subjects wanting to kowtow bow to him without blowing their cover — hence the "finger kowtow".

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If you want more tea in the pot, leave the lid open, and it will be refilled.

etiquette
rinse their plates and utensils with hot tea

It is not unusual for customers to rinse their plates and utensils with hot tea before starting their meal, and a bowl is often provided for this very purpose.

etiquette
 

Except for very expensive places, there is no real dresscode in Hong Kong. You will often see people in suits and others in t-shirts in the same restaurant.

See also Chinese table manners for more details. While certain etiquette is different, Chinese manners for using chopsticks apply to Hong Kong too.

This guide uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget Under $50
Mid-range $100-$200
Splurge Over $300

Cuisine plays an important part in many peoples' lives in Hong Kong. Not only is it a showcase of Chinese cuisines with huge regional varieties, but there are also excellent Asian and Western choices. Although Western food is often adapted to local tastes, it is a good place for homesick travellers who have had enough of Chinese food. If you can afford it, you can also find some Western restaurants that are featured in the Michelin guide to Hong Kong.

Magazines for local gourmets are published every week and the Michelin Guide for Hong Kong has been published since 2008. According to Restaurant magazine in 2010, four of the best 100 restaurants in the world are in Hong Kong.

A long queue can be a local sport outside many good restaurants during peak hours. Normally, you need to register first, get a ticket and wait for empty seats. Reservations are usually only an option in upmarket restaurants.

Compare HK with SZ.

where to eat

While dining out, it is easy to find places selling mains for well under $80, offering both local and international food. Local fast food chains such as Café de Coral (http://www.cafedecoral.com) and Maxim's MX (http://www.maxims.com.hk) offer meals in the vicinity of $30, with standardised English menus for easy ordering. Mid-range restaurants generally charge in excess of $100 for mains. Whilst at the top end, restaurants, such as Felix or Aqua, can easily see you leave with a bill in excess of $1500 including entrées (appetizers, mains, desserts and drinks).

A uniquely Hong Kong-style eatery starting to make waves elsewhere in Asia is the cha chaan teng 茶餐廳, literally "tea cafe", but offering fusion fast food that happily mixes Western and Eastern fare: innovations include noodles with Spam, stir-fried spaghetti and baked rice with cheese. Usually a wide selection of drinks is also available, almost always including the popular tea-and-coffee mix yuenyeung 鴛鴦, and perhaps more oddities to the Western palate like boiled Coke with ginger or iced coffee with lemon. Orders are usually recorded on a chit at your table and you pay at the cashier as you leave.

Hong Kong also has a staggering range of international restaurants serving cuisines from all over the world. These can often be found in, though not restricted to, entertainment districts such as Lan Kwai Fong, Soho or Knutsford Terrace. Of these, Soho is probably the best for eating as Lan Kwai Fong is primarily concerned with bars and clubs and on Friday and Saturday nights especially can become crowded with revellers. Top chefs are often invited or try to make their way to work in Hong Kong.

Barbecue BBQ meals are a popular local pastime. Many areas feature free public barbecue pits where everybody roasts their own food, usually with long barbeque forks. It's not just sausages and burgers - the locals enjoy cooking a variety of things at BBQ parties, such as fish, beef meatballs, pork meatballs, chicken wings, and so on. A good spot is the Southern Hong Kong Island, where almost every beach is equipped with many free BBQ spots. Just stop by a supermarket and buy food, drinks and BBQ equipment. The best spots are Shek O under the trees at the left hand side of the beach and Big Wave Bay.

Wet markets are still prevalent. Freshness is a key ingredient to all Chinese food, so frozen meat and vegetables are frowned upon, and most markets display freshly butchered beef and pork with entrails, live fish in markets, and more exotic shellfish, frogs, turtles and snails. Local people often go to the market everyday to buy fresh ingredients, just like the restaurants.

Cooked food centres are often found in the same building as some of the indoor wet markets. Tables that were once located on the street have been swept into sterile concrete buildings. Inside, the atmosphere is like a food court without the frills. Cooked food centres provide economic solutions to diners, but you might need to take along a Cantonese speaker, or be brave.

Supermarkets include Wellcome, (http://www.wellcomehk.com), Park N Shop, (http://www.parknshop.com), and CRC Shop (http://www.crc-shop.com). Speciality supermarkets catering to Western and Japanese tastes include City Super (http://www.citysuper.com.hk) and Great (http://www.greatfoodhall.com). 24 hour convenience stores 7-Eleven and Circle K can be found almost anywhere in urban areas.