Take a break from weaving between wide-eyed, photo-hungry crowds at Central Market with some of the venue’s newest openings.
The revitalised Central Market on Queen’s Road Central occupies a huge space; 12,000 square-metres spanning three wide, spacious floors. Naturally, there’s a lot to see and shop for, and after the energy is spent, places to drink and dine at in this Grade 3 historic building. Amongst well-known spots you may already be familiar with (Mammy Pancake gets an upgrade from its usual sidewalk stall into a sleek, architectural booth), there are also tasty new joints located at the Dining Ground (on the ground floor) and Street Food Central (on the second floor) — venues dedicated to food, glorious food.
Here’s where to go when your tummy starts to grumble:
Wako Sake Central
It wouldn’t be like Hong Kong if a new opening didn’t include a destination dedicated to Japanese cuisine. To that, Central Market answers with Wako Sake Central. Split up into two different booths, Wako Sake Central is a multi-concept restaurant which combines a sushi bar, sake tap and izakaya all in one.
At Wako Sake Sushi & Tap, it’s the classic sushi bar set-up with a menu of fresh sashimi, handmade sushi and a luxurious omakase experience. An extensive selection of sake is also served and on display. At the other end, Wako Sake Izakaya, specialising in favoured Japanese hot dishes, including the likes of donburis, udons and yakitori.
Shop Number G10
1966 Baking Alliance
That aromatic waft of a fresh-baked loaf is unmistakable. Irresistible, even. At 1966 Baking Alliance, ideated by Ms. Maria Lee, or “Queen of Cakes”, who became the first local bakery to add Western-style breads and pastries on its menu 55 years ago, the goal is to do just that: reinvigorate the community with these old-timely bakes.
Maria whips up anything with tip-top freshness, including old favourites — the egg tarts, coconut tarts and chicken pies — to new and improved samples: pineapple bun stuffed with egg and spam; rainbow Swiss roll that combines five flavours — lemon, matcha, chocolate strawberry and blueberry — indicated by its colourful stripes; fluffy Roll & Loaf; and the baker’s special ‘M.A.D.’ – Muffin as Doughnuts, except baked not fried for a tasty guilt-free treat.
Shop Number 256B
Singaporean food is an easy love; for larger groups, for families, for an easy lunchtime go-to when time is scarce. Pulau is Central Market’s effort to cover the cuisine with delicious serves of the Lion City staples.
Laksa topped with all sorts of of delicious toppings — stalwart fish cakes and prawns, a whole smoked duck breast or shredded chicken; a hearty white pepper Bak Kut Teh, classic Hainanese chicken rice, and a tasty smattering of easy street-food snacks: smoky chicken skewers, sambal-doused crispy wings and the fried snack that took the city’s breath away a couple years back: salted egg yolk fish skin.
Shop Number G19
Another go-to for homey comforts, LottaJoy touches on traditional Cantonese classics, especially roasted siu mei — double cha siu portions, please! — but also simple classic serves for easy enjoyment: clay-pot casseroles, stir-fries, stews, curries and soupy braises.
Brought on by the idea of the collective dining culture common in Chinese cuisine, the menu here is designed for large groups to share: a piece of sweet and sour pork, a couple of salt and pepper squid slices and a lot of roasted duck slices — all served with a huge bowl of fluffy jasmine rice. What else?
Shop Number G11
With the countless Italian eateries opening its doors all over the city in recent months; the message is clear: we can’t resist a good pasta. Cittá, debuting its first-ever venue at Central Market, carves its niche in homey Genovese cuisine which anchors on fresh produce and grilled meats and seafood.
Led by head chef Cody Kui, who apprenticed in the coastal neighbourhood of Pra, Cittá is a sophisticated destination for casual groups on long afternoons and casual evenings. We won’t be missing any of the homemade pastas; said to be the star of the menu here.
Shop Number G18
On Lee Dai Pai Dong
Tucked away unassumingly in Shau Kei Wan, On Lee Dai Pai Dong is a beloved Hong Kong institution. No-frill comforts that you’ll never tire of. Now, there’s no need to trek far into the outskirts of the island, with the beloved restaurant setting up shop at Central Market.
The dry flat noodles, mixed in with a rich soy sauce, are the venue’s beloved signature and customisable to any of your favourite accoutrements. Some to consider: Fish balls and fish cakes are made fresh daily, or the soft beef brisket is a tasty option, too.
Shop Number 246D
ION Café Bistro
Should you schedule a visit to Central Market at any hour of the day, ION Café Bistro will have something to satisfy. It may be christened as a café bistro, with a scrummy all-day dining menu to match, but ION is one that operates with so much more; as a coffee and cocktail bar, and also as a patisserie stand stocked with Nina Patisserie’s bijou cakes.
From a beautifully brewed cup of coffee that’s customisable down to the type of roasted beans to Western-fusion serves, including an interesting barbecued cod that’s inspired by the classic char siu, it’s a place worth spending some time, sipping and savouring all the way to to the sweet endings.
Shop Number 124 & 125
For those who are keyed in to Hong Kong’s craft beer scene, Mak’s Beer will be a familiar name. Debuting its first brick-and-mortar at Central Market, the Hong Kong-founded brewery is devoted to crafting beer made for locals, by locals.
On tap behind the sleek wooden bar, find classic pale ales, or the brewery’s signature Hong Kong-inspired pints: Lemongrass IPA made with lychee and lemongrass, Sugarcane Juice beer, created in collaboration with Kung Lee Herbal Tea on Hollywood Road and Yim Tim, Mak Beer’s first-ever creation, inspired by the quaint Sai Kung village of the same name.
Shop Number G13
An intimate 15-seater bar, Winelog is the perfect sit-down spot — with a framed floor-to-ceiling view of the venue’s luscious greenery — for a decadent glass of vino. Launched in collaboration between Nina Hospitality and the Hong Kong Wine Judges Association, whose panel of experts also happens to be ones that curate the extensive range of Old World and New World bottles, Winelog is designed for distinguished oenophiles or amateurs yearning for comprehensive lessons in the trained art of wine tasting. It offers tasting flights, custom wine tasting and special-made wine cocktails that the expert sommeliers are able to shake up.
Shop Number G14
Perfume Trees Gin
Hong Kong-based Perfume Trees Gin has always positioned their products in reflection of city’s colourful spirit; when the brand first launched, five distilled botanicals were made in inspiration of the time-honoured heritage of the city.
So when it comes to the brand’s gin bar at Central Market, expect nothing less than on-brand, wet market-inspired tipples, shaken up with witty monikers named after imaginary market stall vendors that could have existed within the age-old market: Greengrocer Lin, stirred in with a healthy blend green juice, cucumber, celery and lime and shiso bitters; and Herbalist Lo, a light, fizzy, CBD-beverage with a trio of white chamomile, elderflower and jasmine tea.
Shop Number G15A
A love letter to the beloved beverage staple in the city, Caring Tea, a grab-and-go beverage stop, continues the time-honoured craft of the silky smooth Hong Kong-style milk tea — the ones that goes beautifully with your scrambled egg sandwiches at local cha chaan teng. Made with a unique tea formula and a traditional brewing method that strays close to the original recipe, the tea here is often praised for the rich, creamy flavour that strikes the perfect balance between tea, milk and sugar. So much so, Caring Tea has just released a one-litre bottle for at-home enjoyment.
The classic ‘stocking’ milk tea is a must-order during these rising temps, but the ones added with extra bits and pieces — black pearls, coffee jelly and red bean — makes for a refreshing cooldown, too.
Shop number 248
Central Market, 93 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong, open daily from 10am to 10pm.