Hong Kong dining recommendations

I know a place: Charlotte Chen, Spottly travel app

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 May, 2014, 11:14pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 October, 2015, 2:33pm

Little Bao (66 Staunton Street, Central, tel: 2194 0202) may be new to the dining scene, but it's definitely a game changer. They make good, hip, unpretentious food and the place has an awesome vibe. Casual food doesn't mean not thoughtful.

This Asian-American diner's favourite, pork belly bao, is a melt-in-your-mouth treat smothered in hoisin ketchup, sesame dressing and leek salad. Calorific but a must. Save space for their dessert, a deep-fried salted caramel bao.

A foodie's heart would skip a beat for Serge et le Phoque (Tower 1, The Zenith, 3 Wan Chai Road, Wan Chai, tel: 5465 2000). This minimalist spot is a breath of fresh air in the Wan Chai wet market. Their quasi d'agneau, milk-fed Lozere lamb rump from French butcher Hugo Desnoyer served with Greek yogurt and shaved cauliflower, is divine.

Tucked away in Chinese curio heaven in Sheung Wan, Man Mo Cafe's (40 Upper Lascar Row, tel: 2644 5644) hutong-style eatery takes dim sum staples and sprinkles them with French magic. Try their hamburger sweet bun with a squeezy bottle for sauce, the scallop xiao long bao, and the deep fried sesame balls filled with Nutella.

For visitors, I would suggest Mott 32 (Basement, Standard Chartered Building, 4-4A Des Voeux Road, Central, tel: 2885 8688). The dim sum never fails, and what better place to take a first-timer than this immaculately renovated, massive 8,000 sq ft restaurant. It's luxury evening dim sum in an industrial space. Book the Chinese paintbrush-themed private room and order the quail egg siu mai and Iberico pork char siu, which are to die for.

Duddell's (1 Duddell Street, Central, tel: 2525 9191), with its art focus and Cantonese food, has a lovely outdoor terrace that is perfect for a quiet drink while peering at the art-covered walls. Try the Sun Yat Sen, a cocktail served in a Chinese teapot with a spray of baijiu.

I eat like an old lady when it comes to lunch. Wah Fung (112-114 Wellington Street, Central, tel: 2544 3466) is a favourite.

It has been around for decades and my grandparents used to buy char siu there when they were young.

I used to live in Repulse Bay and I loved Spices (The Arcade, 109 Repulse Bay Road, tel: 2292 2821). It feels like you've gone out of town. Sit outdoors on the terrace, order an umbrella drink and get a platter of spring rolls and prawn cakes.

I wouldn't call Leaf Dessert (2 Elgin Street, Central, tel: 2544 3795) a hidden secret since it's one of those quintessential dai pai dong experiences.

There's something about slurping down black sesame soup while sitting on a rickety stool, sloping forward al fresco on the pavement, while traffic is rushing back and forth.