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9 cooked food markets to eat your way through in Hong Kong

Hidden above busy wet markets are local-run food halls that serve very delicious, very authentic and very affordable Hong Kong-style favourites.

Street food can come in many variations in Hong Kong. You have the typical local-run shops of skewered and steamed snacks. There’s dai pai dongs for all your wok-fragrant cravings. And then there are cooked food markets, which are very much Hong Kong’s answer to hawker-style eating where stalls are arranged in a spacious hall with communal tables, but instead of a stand-alone structure, they’re located within municipal buildings above, or adjacent to, busy wet markets.

But there’s considered strategy in its design. Being in close proximity to wet markets also mean a recurring selection of fresh ingredients. It’s the reason you’ll find lots of seafood restaurants and stir-fry stands, amongst other easy local serves including tea time cha chaan teng staples. Another benefit from the location: lower rent and a much more affordable menu than say, a ground-level brick and mortar. It takes some searching for visit-worthy locations, there are after all over 20 of them across Hong Kong. Here are some of our favourites.

Hong Kong’s cooked food markets for your street food cravings:

Sheung Wan Cooked Food Market

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Within Sheung Wan there are two cooked food centres worth your visit, this one, Sheung Wan Cooked Food Market, located on the corner of Bonham Strand is where you’ll find Shui Kee Coffee, a long time institution for over six decades serving a traditional Hong Kong-style cafe menu of Hong Kong-style French toast, corned beef sandwich served in a hot dog bun and freshly steeped milk tea.

Also available on its second floor location: a varied range of stalls serving a selection of Cantonese and regional Chinese eats, including fragrant dai pai dong serves from Dong Kee (棟記), with the occasional international menu of Thai and Japanese delicacies.

Sheung Wan Cooked Food Market, Sheung Wan Municipal Services Building, 345 Queen’s Road Central, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, +852 2853 2629

Queen Street Cooked Food Market

Just a few blocks away is Queen Street Cooked Food Market. While the smaller venue in comparison of the two, the Queen Street location is still a site for many well-worthy eats. Among local staples, you’ll discover a further range of Chinese regional cuisines, including Tsang Kee, a tuck shop dedicated to Teochew sweets and pastries, as well as international-influenced restaurants like ABC Eatery, dedicated to Italian-inspired continental fare and Chautari Restaurant for authentic Indian dishes.

Queen Street Cooked Food Market, 38 Des Voeux Road West, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, +852 3542 5915

Haiphong Road Temporary Cooked Food Market

Not so much a temporary location, Haiphong Road Cooked Food Market in Tsim Sha Tsui has been around for over 40 years, earning a much-needed face-lift that unveiled back in 2020. Fully settled into its refreshed interiors, here it is a dedicated directory of easy, simple Cantonese tea house and cafe serves, especially at crowd favourites like Hap Heung Yuen and Wah Heung Yuen. Both with a similar revered 40 year history, the former serves a signature claypot-steeped milk tea and satay beef sandwiches, while the latter prepares a pork chop bun that’s generous in its proportion and crisp to no ends.

Haiphong Road Temporary Cooked Food Market, Haiphong Road Market, 30 Haiphong Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Java Road Cooked Food Market

When it comes to a list dedicated to cooked food markets in Hong Kong, there’s no skipping over Java Road in North Point, being the most talked location for the address of the infamous Tung Po Kitchen. The local-run dai pai dong, owed to short cameo in Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, is a favourite venue for boisterous get-togethers and a sampling of classic Cantonese dishes including sweet and sour pork, salted egg yolk deep-fried prawns and salt and pepper squid.

But, seeing as you’ve made your way here, don’t skip out on other Java Road favourites including Chuk Yuen, a humble eatery dedicated to Chongqing-style ma la chicken casserole.

Java Road Cooked Food Market, Java Road Municipal Services Building, 99 Java Road, North Point, Hong Kong, +852 2516 9404

Tai Po Hui Cooked Food Market

If you ever find yourself in conversation about the city’s best, Tai Po Hui Cooked Food Market is bound to come up. With 40 stalls spread across the spacious second floor area, it’s a wide selection of local Chinese and Cantonese street food fare including age-old dim sum parlours, casual cha chaan tengs, seafood restaurants and dessert houses. Come — and you may have to also queue — for Sweet Bon Bon, serving a homemade Hakka-style mochi that’s busting at the seams, and Tung Kee, home to soupy bowls of Shanghai-style noodles served with a gargantuan piece of fried pork chop.

As for something beyond local cuisine, there’s Golden Delicious Thai that’s well-known around the neighbourhood for its affordable and near-authentic cook of Thai dishes.

Tai Po Hui Cooked Food Market, Tai Po Complex, 8 Heung Sze Wui Street, Tai Po, New Territories, Hong Kong, +852 2638 1948

Mong Kok Cooked Food Market

It’s easy to find street food whenever in Mong Kok, but the cooked food market is where you’ll discover the neighbourhood’s hidden gems. Navigating the area might be difficult as it’s a bustling network of local eateries and stalls of all variations including dai pai dong, steamed rice speciality shops, family run cha chaan tengs and congee restaurants — Mui Kee being the best. The most popular venue however, belongs to Tsui Yuen Restaurant, a Macanese eatery dedicated to the traditional dishes of our nearby neighbour. The Curry Bread Bowl is the signature, a round toasted loaf filled to brim with a Portuguese-style curry.

Mong Kok Cooked Food Market, 2/F, Mong Kok Complex, 557 Shanghai Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 3514 4125

Mui Wo Cooked Food Market

Perched on the edge of pier, seaside Mui Wo Cooked Food Market is probably the most picturesque on the list. There might not be specialty dish or a fascinating list of international cuisines at this open-air location, but it’s a honest dedication to local Cantonese fare with simple and straightforward favourites. Find cha chaan tengs amongst dai pai dongs, which usually serves up a delectable menu of seafood with fresh catches sourced directly from adjacent fishing boats. Wah Kee Restaurant is a favourite.

Mui Wo Cooked Food Market, 3 Ngan Wan Road, Mui Wo, Outlying Islands, Hong Kong, +852 2984 2250

Nam Long Shan Cooked Food Market

Wong Chuk Hang might seem too far to travel for a cooked food market, but anyone who patronises the neighbourhood well tell you Nam Long Shan’s one is worth the trek. Even better if you work around the area. Because not only will you have an excuse to spend the day at nearby Ocean Park, you’ll also be welcomed to a plethora of delicious eats, including very authentic Thai serves. Green Curry House is one such stall, known and loved for its generous plate of boneless Hainanese chicken rice, and of course their green curry is a must. For local fare, there’s the aptly named Nam Long Restaurant which serves a piping hot rendition of the cha chaan teng favourite, cheese-baked pork chop rice.

Nam Long Shan Cooked Food Market, 1 Nam Long Shan Road, Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong, +852 2553 3730

Bowrington Road Cooked Food Market

Though located in the buzzing district of Causeway Bay, Bowrington Road Cooked Food Market manages to hold its own amongst glittering shopping malls of Hysan Place and Times Square. As it should — this cooked food market has been a long time staple of the area and managed to stay popular with a seasonal menu (the lamb casserole here is especially popular during winter) and lengthy opening times that runs past midnight. Stop by Kau Kee for authentic Hong Kong-style beef brisket cart noodles, Hoi Kee for a familiar plate of barbecue siu mei, and Wai Kee, serving a very queue-worthy halal curry lamb brisket.

Bowrington Road Cooked Food Market, 21 Bowrington Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2834 7729

Lead image courtesy of @KaryWong/ Unsplash; Featured image courtesy of @feivouritefood/ Instagram

Lorria Sahmet

Editor

After two years writing in luxury retail, Lorria now covers food and drink happenings in Hong Kong. When not taste-testing for the best fries in the city (shoestring, always!), find her at home obsessing over tableware and attempting a fruit garden on her tiny bay window. She is happiest by the ocean with a giant fishbowl-glass of Aperol Spritz.


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