They say you eat with your phone first, and with Hong Kong’s obsession with appearance and aesthetics, this has never been more true. In the past year, everything from mapo burrata to animal-themed dim sum provided the visual fodder to ignite our appetites and drive our culinary cravings. Here are the top dishes that rose to Instagram fame in 2016.

1
Dim sum at Yum Cha

The cute googly-eyed animal-shaped dim sum at Yum Cha took the cake for the most Instagrammed dish of 2016, popping up all over our IG feeds in both photo and video format (the custard-spewing dim sum bun never gets old). @getupandaway‘s flatlay nails the ‘too cute to eat’ factor to a tee. Who knew food with eyeballs could be so adorable?

Yum Cha, 3/F, 20-22 Granville Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 3708 8081, yumchahk.com

 

2
Wagyu steak and sea urchin bowl at URA

Something about the bright red and orange colours and the fact that it features two of the most decadent ingredients around — A5 wagyu steak and sea urchin — makes  URA’s signature dish completely irresistible. Height, colour and the glistening marble fat on the beef make this dish Instagrammable from pretty much any angle, as shown here by the close-up from @thisgirlabroad.

URA, 2/F, The Wellington, 198 Wellington Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, +852 2111 9381, facebook.com/urajap

3
Wagyu boat noodles at Samsen

Newcomer Samsen’s signature wagyu beef boat noodles not only became one of the most photographed dishes of 2016, but also one of the most loved. Rich, aromatic and brimming with spices, these boat noodles shot Samsen into Hong Kong’s foodie hall of fame, capturing the hearts and feeds of foodgrammers such as simplyb313.

Samsen, 68 Stone Nullah Lane, Hong Kong, +852 2234 0001, facebook.com/SamsenHK

4
Tsukemen ramen at Fujiyama 55

The ramen craze may be nothing new, but that didn’t stop the ubiquitous noodles from being major phone bait in 2016. Fujiyama 55 signature tsukemen noodles seemed to be everyone’s favourite ramen bowl of the year and with snaps like @gerrary‘s mouthwatering pic, who can blame them?

Fujiyama 55, Shop 7-8, G/F, South Sea Centre, 75 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 2723 7737, facebook.com

5
Donuts at J.CO Donuts & Coffee

Indonesian donut chain J.CO rode into Hong Kong at the tail-end of 2016, but it’s already making waves on social media, an instant hit on feeds like @lolleroll‘s. These brightly coloured jelly- and cream-filled delights come in regular and mini sizes and are just about as delicious as they are snap-worthy.

J.CO Donuts & Coffee, Shop 1 & 2, G/F, 55 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 6982 8282, facebook.com/J.CoHongKong

 

6
Mapo burrata at Second Draft

A perfect example of the creative East-meets-West fare at gastropub Second Draft, the signature mapo burrata begs to be embraced by Hong Kong’s hipster foodies (just ask @agnes.b.foodie). With owner May Chow recently awarded the title of Asia’s Best Female Chef 2017, we have a feeling this dish is going to be seeing a lot more social media fame.

Second Draft, G/F, 98 Tung Lo Wan Road, Tai Hang, Hong Kong, +852 2656 0232, facebook.com

7
Berries and mascarpone tartine at Tartine

The berry-licious dessert tartine at the eponymous Central eatery doesn’t need much help in the way of lighting or photog skills. A quick snapshot from @skeatravelife shows why this dish snags the social media spotlight with its vivid, ruby red colours and adornment of fresh flower petals.

Tartine, 38 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2808 0752, thetartine.com

8
Pastrami sandwich at Morty's Delicatessen

Hong Kong proved they’re a sucker for pastrami when New York-inspired deli Morty’s opened in Central’s Jardine House to wide acclaim. Layers upon layers of thick, smoked meat means there’s only one way to properly shoot this monstrous sandwich — from the side-on like @timmyeatsworld.

Morty’s, Shop 2-14, LG/F, Jardine House 1, 1 Connaught Place, Central, Hong Kong, +852 3665 0900, mortys.hk

9
Toro-wich at Kishoku

The “toro-wich” from sushi joint Kishoku was an Instagram darling with foodies like @tc_cheukwong for both practical and aesthetic reasons: simply pick up with one hand, shoot with the other, then pop into the mouth for ultimate fatty tuna satisfaction.

Kishoku, 5/F, 38 Yiu Wa Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2893 0333, kishoku.hk

10
Whole roast chicken at Belon

There’s only one reason the whole roast chicken at French bistro Belon gets brought out in all its herb-stuffed glory before being carved up in the kitchen: to enjoy its 10 seconds of fame in front of the camera (shot here by @supertastermel). The accompanying Pommes Anna is another stunner that gets almost as much Insta love.

Belon, 41 Elgin St, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2152 2872, belonsoho.com

Leslie Yeh
Editor in Chief
Having worked as a lifestyle editor for almost 10 years, Leslie is thrilled to be writing about the topic she loves most: wining and dining. When she's not out pounding the pavement for the latest new restaurant opening or tracking food trends, Leslie can be found at home whipping up a plate of rigatoni vodka and binge-watching Netflix with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc in hand.