Taste Testing 5 Michelin Recommended Snack Shops in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a food mecca and there is no shortage of options, running the gamut from hole-in-the-walls to Michelin 3-star restaurants. Want to try Michelin-rated food without the hefty price tag? Then how about trying Michelin recommended snack shops?
In addition to Michelin 1 star, 2 star and 3 star places, Michelin also has a Bib Gourmand Restaurant category, a category highlighting restaurants that serve high-quality food at a reasonable price, and a recommended Snack Food category, which started in the 8th edition of the Michelin Guide Hong Kong Macau in 2016.
I thought it would be really cool to go try out 5 of those Michelin recommended snack foods in Hong Kong! A majority of you are probably guilty of just staying on the Hong Kong Island side, so I decided to go over to the dark side, covering the Jordan and Tsim Sha Tsui area for this… Let’s begin.
Block 18 Doggie’s Noodles十八座狗仔粉 (No English name visible on storefront)
What to Order:
They are famous for their doggie noodles. While there are several other branches of this store, the location at Jordan is the Michelin recommended location. Doggie noodles are made from rice flour and originated around the 50’s & 60’s in Hong Kong. It was a very common snack food sold around the public housing estates and is very nostalgic for the Hong Kong locals.
Wonder why they’re called doggie noodles? It’s because they were previously handmade and when you roll the small pieces of dough with your palms, the two ends would end up being pointy, like a dog’s tail. The soup base is made with mushrooms, dried shrimp and fatty pork pieces which have been cooked to crisps called 豬油渣.
The doggie noodles comes in two sizes, the small ($22 HKD) and the large ($29 HKD). Please note that if you order it as takeaway, only the large size is available as the small size is only for dine-in. Once you get your doggie noodles, don’t forget to add in the菜脯, salted radish, which can be found by the counter.
7/10. The noodles were a bit doughy for me but it was quite tasty, especially with the spicy salted radish. I can see this being a hearty comfort food that would make a nice snack during the wintertime, but I was sweating buckets eating this on a hot summer day.
Address: G/F, 27A Ning Po Street, Jordan (Other locations available).
Hours: 12:30pm to 3am daily
Kai Kai Desserts佳佳甜品 ( No English name visible on storefront)
What to Order:
They’ve been around since the 70’s and specialize in traditional Hong Kong desserts. After their first Michelin nod in 2015, their rent increased by 120% ($220,000 HKD per month) and they had to relocate to their current location. Their desserts are super great value for money, with the most expensive dessert being only $30 HKD! The owner was quoted saying that they only raise the prices by $1 HKD every year to make it affordable for everybody to have their desserts.
Most of their desserts are hot, with just three cold desserts on their menu. Traditional Hong Kong desserts are mostly soup-like and will have a nutritional/beneficial element. Their two most beloved desserts are the black sesame paste and glutinous rice dumplings in ginger soup. Black sesame supposedly makes your hair blacker and shinier, whilst the ginger will take out the extra “wind” from your body and make you warmer, especially in the winter.
My personal favourite is the glutinous rice dumplings in ginger soup. For only $19 HKD, you will get 8 glutinous rice dumplings filled with black sesame and their ginger soup is amazing. Be warned though. The ginger soup is very spicy and very ginger-y (think like a cold-pressed ginger based juice), and it’s not very sweet, but it’s exactly how the locals love it.
If you’re not ready for the hot desserts or the very traditional Hong Kong desserts, a good introductory cold dessert to try is the mango and pomelo sago ($30 HKD).
10/10. It’s my favourite place for the glutinous rice dumplings in ginger soup, not to mention it’s insanely affordable. In fact, this is one of my top dessert places in Hong Kong. Do keep in mind you won’t be able to find any ice plates, parfaits, coconut noodles, or fruit pancakes here as this is not a modern Hong Kong dessert house.
Address: G/F, 29 Ning Po St, Jordan (Only one location).
Hours: 12pm to 3:30am daily
Mammy Pancake媽咪雞蛋仔 (No English name visible)
What to Order:
There are numerous flavours of the egg waffles (also known as egglets), but I personally like the original flavor ($19 HKD) the best. What’s an egg waffle? Urban legend has it that the local vendors did not know what to do with their broken eggs so they decided to use the broken eggs to make a batter and ta-dah, the conception of egg waffles!
My personal definition of a good egg waffle is that it’s got to be crunchy on the outside and warm and fluffy on the inside. The flavor has to be not too sweet, but fragrant with a hint of egg, similar to what a waffle or crepe batter would be but yummier (methinks!).
Mammy Pancake delivers just that. Please note that there are numerous other locations; however, the location in Tsim Sha Tsui has been bestowed with the Michelin recommendation so it’s very busy. I usually frequent the one at Mong Kok and it’s just as good. For this particular visit, I got the egg waffle with chocolate chip ($25 HKD), but if you’re adventurous, give the limited edition flavours a try. Make sure to consume your egg waffles within 30 minutes of receiving it, as the humidity in Hong Kong will make it soggy.
9/10. Sometimes the queue and wait may be long, but that’s also because it’s freshly made to order, so it’s definitely worth those extra minutes! This is a snack that’s even loved by those picky eaters apprehensive about trying new foods. This is a definite crowd pleaser.
Address: G/F, Carnarvon Mansion, 8-12 Carnarvon Road, Tsim Sha Tsui (Other locations available).
Hours: 11am-11pm Sunday-Wednesday; 11am-11:30pm Thursday-Saturday.
Fat Boy Shop 第三代肥仔小食店
What to order:
This store is renowned for their marinated skewers. There is a very limited menu and most come for their trio sets. There’s a King set for $26 HKD consisting of one skewer each of cuttlefish, small intestines, and turkey kidney. The Super King set is 5 dollars more at $31 HKD and it’s one skewer each of cuttlefish, big intestines, and turkey kidney. Say yes to the mustard, and they’ll put a thin strip of hoisin sauce and mustard on each of your skewers.
There is no sitting area here, but if you eat it on the spot, they’ll give you a stainless steel bowl as well. This store is called Fat Boy, but their claim to fame is actually from his mom’s store called Fat Sister in Mong Kok. In 2007, for Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservation series, Mr. Bourdain visited the Fat Sister shop and almost got kicked out of the line for filming and you could hear distinctly the shop staff saying he will hate the skewers and only locals will like it.
Frankly speaking, the skewers don’t have much taste, but it’s got the best al dente texture. I don’t personally like marinated intestines because when done poorly, the intestines can be very gamey and chewy. The intestines here were executed quite well, more crisp than chewy with only a slight gamey aftertaste though honestly, intestines are just not my cup of tea. I personally love the marinated cuttlefish and turkey kidney skewers and always make a detour to the Fat Sister store when I’m around Mong Kok.
8/10. It’s a great snack if you’re just a little peckish; however, they’re not known for great service… Given the fact they almost kicked Anthony Bourdain out of the line, you probably figured that much out right? Here’s also another caveat – these marinated skewers do seem to be more of a local delight, so just be prepared you may not like them as much as I do. Locals love them for their al dente texture, but they’re not too flavourful and have a very subtle taste to them.
Address: Shop G1, G/F, Workingport Commercial Building, 3 Hau Fook Street, Tsim Sha Tsui (Their other location is in Mong Kok).
Hours: 1pm to 12am daily.
Owl’s Choux & Gelato
What to order:
They’re known for their Signature Choux Cream and their Gelato Choux. Choux, pronounced like shoe, is a light pastry dough commonly used to make cream puffs, elcairs, and profiteroles. Choux uses raising steam during baking to create a hollow centre which cream is then piped into and Owl’s makes the choux pastry fresh in the store! Their service was amazing when I visited and while they had 4 classic gelato choux pairings ($58 HKD), you were able to mix and match at no extra cost either.
It’s called Owl’s and there are tons of owls around the shop because the owner visited Taiwan prior to opening the store and learned that owls were very auspicious animals in Taiwan meaning fortune, good luck and all things positive. Opened only about 1.5 years ago, this little store is only a skip and a hop away from the mall K11, so it’s a great place for meeting up with your friends or resting your feet after a shopping spree. Michelin titles can be a curse (huge rent increases witnessed by Kai Kai Desserts) or a blessing, which was the case for Owl’s. It is hearsay that this little store was about to close when just in the nick of time, they secured a Michelin recommendation, and just like that, the rest is history!
After much deliberation, I went with the Red Velvet choux with their coffee and espresso gelato. The red velvet choux is actually just their original flavour but with the red colouring. The pastry was very light and complimented the gelato well. For those looking for a more fruity flavour, you can’t go wrong with the Mango Tango Gelato Choux.
If there are more of you to share, make sure to try the Signature Choux Cream as well because it smelled absolutely amazing when someone in the shop bought it. And why not also get their sweet potato latte while you’re at it to wash everything down?
7.5/10. I personally don’t have a huge sweet tooth and I’m also not a huge pastry fan but I can see that a lot of people would love this store, as evidenced by their Michelin recommendation. The food and decor are very Instagrammable too. The gelato choux was definitely big enough to share with a friend and the service was absolutely impeccable!
Address: G/F, 32 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui (Only one location).
Hours: 12pm-11pm daily.
So, which ones have you tried and which one are you interested in trying?
If you’re interested in checking out all the local delights but with the comforts of an English speaking guide, then come join Virginia’s Off the Eaten Path Food Tour that leads you through Whampoa devouring all her favourite local eats, all whilst learning about the local restaurants, their stories and the neighbourhood. The food tour will eat as a progressive meal and will take you through the 5 flavours of Cantonese cuisine – sweet, sour, bitter, spicy, and spicy. Don’t worry, it starts with bitter, but ends with sweet.
Virginia is a tour guide by day at Humid with a Chance of Fishballs Tours, creative blogger by night at The Smoo Diaries and avid traveller by weekend. Virginia is a proud Vancouverite now in Hong Kong exploring all corners of Asia. She’s currently discovering her Asian roots – one flight, one noodle and one Canto slang at a time. *slurp*