We know most people like to live by the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of the time you enjoy your uber healthy snack packs – an apple, trail mix or carrots – but the other 20 percent of the time you allow yourself delicious “cheat meals” and dirty delights of all description.
With these scrumptiously cheap suggestions, however, be warned that you may be inspired to follow a reversed 20/80 rule. Sorry in advance, but we’re not counting calories here. Only our heavy pockets full of saved coins. Muhahaha!
Cheong Fun Wang
If you find yourself walking along Wan Chai Road anytime soon, be sure to make your way to Cheong Fun Wang on Heard Street, which is easily identifiable just past the red barricades. Despite there being various options for under HKD25, we recommend one memorable dish: ask for the steamed rice paper rolls, for only HKD10.
These long slippery savouries are cut into bite-sized chunks and slathered in a sweet peanut sesame sauce with the option of added spice. The gooey rice noodles are your answer to a traditional dim sum fix with the convenience and price of street food. Steam, roll, eat, repeat.
177-179 Heard Street, Wan Chai, (Located under Pao Woo Mansion)
Dumplings DTC Tea & Coffee
A friendly welcome from the DTC dumplings stand caught our attention, and the unique fried dumpling combinations kept it. It’s no wonder why, when the menu is dominated by two ingredients that make every single dish better. Did someone say bacon? We think we heard truffle too!
While these options are always available on the menu, be sure to check out the specials as well. All dumplings are made fresh to order, with five pieces coming in at just HKD22-30. If you happen to be taking a break from bacon (why?… we don’t want to know), don’t worry. The spicy vermicelli soup is also worth a sniff.
G/F. No. 27A Swatow Street, Wan Chai, (+852) 3689-2569.
Kau Kee Restaurant
This one is a bit more expensive than a walk-up street vendor, but comparably just as quick. Kau Kee is incredibly efficient and offers truly great bang for the buck. Not to mention, it’s considered to be one of the best beef brisket restaurants in all of Hong Kong.
No matter what liquid base you choose (Chinese spiced broth or curry soup), the soft slurp-worthy noodles are quintessential Hong Kong comfort food at its best. The brisket is simply divine: perfectly tender, slow-cooked, melt in the mouth. For the health-aware, there’s also not too much fat. Your wallet and stomach will thank you for a hearty meal at less than HKD50.
G/F, 21 Gough Street, Central, Mon-Sat 12:30pm – 10:30pm, (+852) 2850-5967
Not a Burger
This brand new unpretentious Korean fusion stand is exactly what Hong Kong’s cheapskate foodies have been missing. It’s a healthy alternative to a traditional burger, or as they say, “Not a Burger is not just a burger”. They’re right, it’s absolutely not a burger. It really is so much more.
Rice has replaced the bun and kimchi bulgogi, spicy pork and chicken ribs are some of the pattie alternatives to try. Each “burger” is served quickly and will be savored, but don’t expect to be able to eat it with your hands. After all, it’s definitely not a burger. It is, however, a well spent HKD20-35.
Shop 8A, G/F, 8-12 Morrison Street, Sheung Wan, Mon-Sun: 11am – 9pm.
At Hana-Musubi, you’ll be spoiled by inexpensive options of various Japanese dishes. From soups and rice balls to sashimi and mains, this speedy shop is a perfect place to gorge yourself for next to nothing.
We tried, and loved, the Wasabi Octopus and Salmon Rice Ball. The flakey seaweed with the filling rice, the chewy seafood and the light pink salmon complement each other excellently. If you also make Hana-Musubi your new favorite, make sure you get their stamp card promotion. Perhaps one HKD14-16 rice ball a day keeps the doctor away… but seriously, eat an apple every now and again too.
Shop 46, 1/F, Admiralty Centre, 18 Harcourt Road (and many other locations), Mon-Fri 7:30am – 9pm.
When we first stumbled across Taiwanese steamed bun restaurant Baowow, the low prices caught our eyes a bit, but the wafting smells of asian-fusion goodness caught our watering mouths entirely. Inside is a very cute and trendy seating arrangement; conveniently you can recharge your phone with the supplied chargers as you regenerate your body with food fuel.
Depending on your appetite, treat yourself to a classic: the original Gua Bao (steamed bun pocket with pork belly). One Gua Bao is only HKD32, while two cost HKD60. That’s a HKD4 saving, people. Someone just put the Baowow in baochickawowow!
28 Tai Wong Street East, Wan Chai, Daily 12pm – 9pm, (+852) 2528-9505.
Photos: Jessica Steinberg/Coconuts Media