In our new Neighbourhood Guides, our dining editor charts a culinary path across Hong Kong, tracking down the absolute best eats to be had in every neighbourhood in town.
Once peppered with industrial complexes, wholesale and export shops, the rapidly gentrifying Lai Chi Kok (wedged between Kwai Chung and Cheung Sha Wan) is fast becoming a dining and shopping hub, with a spurt of trendy new restaurant openings, boutique stores, and even Hong Kong’s first 270-degree cinema located in the booming shopping complex, D2 Place. With businesses and people flocking to live, work and eat here, now’s a prime time to pay a visit to this Kowloon neighbourhood for a bite of its mouthwatering, eclectic eats.
Greater China Club
For classic Cantonese fine dining, look no further than Man Hing at Greater China Club, where chef Chan Wai Teng excavates the dusty canons of old Guangdong cuisine to put a fresh spin on dishes from baked fish intestines with dried mandarin peel to Cantonese-style fish pies and barbecued duck feet. Diners will find your traditional roasts — barbecued pork and duck with Chinese pancakes are a specialty — as well as a selection of exquisite dim sum and throwback desserts. Keep your eyes peeled for frequent pop-up menus and guest chef collaborations. Fancy a post-dinner tipple? Head to Cadenza next door, Greater China Club’s Italian restaurant and bar with adjoining terrace for classic cocktails and live jazz bands evoking 1920s, Gatsby-era vibes.
Man Hing, Greater China Club, Unit A, 10/F, D2 Place One, 9 Cheung Yee Street, Lai Chi Kok, Hong Kong, +852 2743 8055
Opened by the same group as GCC, this cosy Spanish taverna delights with its simple Catalan specialties and homey atmosphere. A welcome date night spot (we’d recommend seating inside the portico with its cosy green planters and high-top tables for two), dishes run the gamut from tasty tapas to crispy paella and suckling pig. An emphasis is placed on premium seafood, with the chefs putting a Spanish spin on buttery sea bass, codfish rice cooked “a la Catalana” and jumbo red prawns tossed with garlic and chilli. Dinner is best prefaced with a small plate of fried padrón peppers and croquettes, before digging into larger mains such as the Mediterranean-style seafood and Iberian pork paella for two — all washed down with copious jugs of red and white sangria.
Rustico, Shop G01, G/F, D2 Place One, 9 Cheung Yee Street, Cheung Sha Wan, Hong Kong, +852 2743 4511
Cheng Banzhang Taiwan Delicacy
This local gem tucked away in an industrial complex is popular with neighbourhood residents seeking out soothing bowls of spicy beef noodle soup, dong po rou (fatty pork) buns, and Taiwanese-style fried chicken. Lines are out the door most nights, but don’t fret — the turnover is quick. Opened by Taiwanese owners, the restaurant evokes a bustling Taipei night market with its communal long tables, no-nonsense service, and made-to-order xiao shi which arrive steaming hot and fragrant with garlic and spring onions. We’d recommend the spicy beef noodle soup slicked with oil and dotted with hunks of braised beef, accompanied by cold plates of crispy pig ears, preserved egg and garlicky fried tofu. Don’t miss the selection of grass jelly desserts topped with taro balls and peanuts.
Cheng Banzhang Taiwan Delicacy, Flat 02, 1/F, Elite Industrial Centre, 883 Cheung Sha Wan Road, Lai Chi Kok, Hong Kong, +852 2576 1199
The opening of D2 Place Two brought a host of new restaurants to the neighbourhood last year, including not one but three new Japanese restaurants to the building. There’s a teppanyaki grill and a Japanese curry shop, but for a little bit of everything you’ll want to head to Majimeya. Fashioned after an izakaya, Majimeya’s menu ranges from donburi bowls to yakitori, udon, sushi, salads and bento boxes. It’s an easy option to grab a quick dinner before catching a flick at the cinema upstairs, with friendly service and affordable prices to boot. A selection of sake and highballs go exceptionally well with the snack platters of fried fish tempura, crispy soft shell crab and chicken wing skewers.
Majimeya, Shop 109, 1/F, D2 Place Two, 15 Cheung Shun Street, Lai Chi Kok, Hong Kong, +852 2687 3330
Lai Chi Kok may seem like an unlikely place to find good Mexican food, but Picoso’s street-style tacos and burritos stand up to the best of those found on Hong Kong Island. A tiny shack nestled in the Elite Industrial Centre, Picoso is worth seeking out (or simply ordering delivery from) for its nifty soft tacos stuffed to the brim with crispy fried fish, al pastor pork and tender flank steak. The big burrito is a good choice for hefty appetites, loaded with all the fixings, while sizzling fajitas come on a hot iron skillet with the same soft flour tortillas for DIY wrapping.
Picoso, Room 101, 1/F, Elite Industrial Centre, 883 Cheung Sha Wan Road, Lai Chi Kok, Hong Kong, +852 2743 8004
Pici’s sunshine-yellow ravioli and toothsome tagliolini have lured hordes of carb lovers to its pasta bars around town; in just two short years, the restaurant has grown rapidly from one to four outlets across Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. Pirata Group’s choice of Lai Chi Kok as its next pasta-slinging destination is proof of the area’s blossoming dining scene, as Pici joins other chains that have set up shop in LCK including The Salted Pig, Itacho Sushi and Holly Brown. Come here to scratch your pasta itch, and don’t miss out on the tempting cold cuts platter and homemade meatballs to prime the palate.
Pici, Shop G03, G/F, D2 Place Two, 15 Cheung Shun Street, Lai Chi Kok, Hong Kong
Kwan Kee Bamboo Noodles
This Michelin darling is one of the last vestiges you’ll find in Hong Kong of the time-honoured tradition of bamboo pole noodle-making. The laborious, time-intensive process isn’t just for nostalgia’s sake — the hours-long process churns out strands that are fantastically bouncy and toothsome, fantastic tossed with salty dried shrimp roe and oyster sauce, or dunked into wonton noodle soup. Watch the kitchen at work through the glass wall, then sit down for a cheap-as-chips feast of classic street-side noodles.
Kwan Kee Bamboo Noodles, 1 Wing Lung Street, Cheung Sha Wan, Hong Kong, +852 3484 9126
Contrary to what a number of establishments in Central might want you to believe, you don’t have to succumb to a tedious 10-course tasting menu for a taste of refined French fare. With à la carte and 3-course set menu options, G. Cuisine makes it easy to satisfy cravings for foie gras, steak and butter-drenched pastas — all offered at reasonable price points that won’t have you blowing your savings account. The restaurant interiors are somewhat dated, with heavy-curtained partitions and stiff chairs pulled up under starched white tablecloths, but the food speaks of a competent kitchen — come here for the slow-braised duck leg, linguini with black truffle, and chargrilled sirloin steak under a deluge of green pepper gravy.
G Cuisine, Room 5, 4/F, Elite Industrial Centre, 883 Cheung Sha Wan Road, Lai Chi Kok, Hong Kong, +852 3590 2168
This perpetually crowded Japanese restaurant in Lai Chi Kok is packed to the rafters most nights. From the same group behind Rustico and Greater China Club, the bustling, izakaya-style joint excels in yakitori, tempura, sushi/sashimi, sukiyaki and more. The convivial atmosphere and myriad offerings on the menu mean it’s best to go with a large group to sample the whole spectrum of offerings, from jet-fresh platters of seasonal sashimi and hand rolls to Japanese-style hotpot and one of the best sukiyaki bowls in town. The robatayaki items are particularly noteworthy, with sticks of kagoshima pork belly, red king crab legs, grilled ox tongue and seasonal vegetables kissed by the flame and served simply with salt and a sprinkling of shichimi pepper to lift the flavours.
Umai, Shop 2, G/F, D2 Place One, 9 Cheung Yee Street, Lai Chi Kok, Hong Kong, +852 2743 8011