6 Underrated Places to Visit in Hong Kong If You Want to Feel Like a Local
Hong Kong has long been a hub for gastronomy in this corner of the world, but the pandemic and global lockdowns have severely limited the access of Filipino food lovers to Hong Kong’s F&B scene. As travel restrictions ease and the world returns to normal, HK is also reopening the doors to its thriving food industry, starting with an online month-long event called Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival 2021, a showroom championing the new culinary perspectives of the HK dining scene.
Aside from a number of masterclasses that spotlight brilliant minds from Hong Kong’s F&B scene, the event is also promoting a number of new hotspots in the city. Here are all the underrated establishments you need to visit on your next Hong Kong trip.
In the heart of Sai Ying Pun is Ping Pong 129, undoubtedly one of the trendiest and most stylish hidden spots in the city. If you’re looking for a bar that encompasses the gritty yet sophisticated vibe of the Hong Kong bar scene, then Pin Pin 129 is the place to be. Aside from its cosmopolitan choices, the bar’s urban chic interior also contributes to its unfailingly cool vibe. If you’re ever in Sai Ying Pun, just look for a shining red door.
For the ultimate, refined dining experience, look no further than JW Marriott’s Man Ho Chinese Restaurant, a one-star Michelin restaurant that promises an elevated culinary journey in Cantonese dishes. This year, the restaurant is participating in the “Chinese Omakase by Masterchefs” movement, in which a meal’s direction is left entirely up to the chef’s creative freedom. Eighteen master chefs in Hong Kong are participating in the program, and Marriott is a great place to start as executive Chinese chef Jayson Tang explores traditional Chinese wisdom in a menu that harmonizes the five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water.
This crowd favorite is no longer just known as one of the coolest bars in Asia. Penicillin recently received the Industry Icon Award in Asia’s 50 Best Sustainable Bar Award for 2021. The local establishment is a masterclass in sustainability, and it’s sharing its best practices in an online class for Wine & Dine Festival 2021. As a sustainable bar, Penicillin aims to create a “closed-loop” system of production, which requires things such as recycling, upscaling ingredients, minimizing waste, reducing the bar’s carbon footprint, and sourcing all produce locally and seasonally.
4| Room 309
Room 309 is just one of the many popular restaurants and establishments under Tastings Group, which operates a number of award-winning food spots in the metro. However, for us at Esquire, Room 309 is definitely a standout. The cozy speakeasy is a great place to unwind and its menu is unparalleled in this corner of the world. Tastings Group’s beverage choices are helmed by Alexander Ko, who will be hosting the “East Meets West” online masterclass at this year’s Wine & Dine Festival where he will present “Old Town,” which blends the English No. 8 London Dry Gin with Xian Heng Huadiao 10 years.
Bars and restaurants are not the only underrated areas of Hong Kong. The city recently opened and renovated Central Market, a historic building that now houses bustling F&B establishments, a large green open space, and plenty of community spaces for cultural events. This local hub is a great place to find delicious street food right on Street Food Central on the second floor, as well as a number of diverse meal options at the Dining Ground on the ground floor.
Sustainability is a growing lifestyle, but we all know how hard it can be to access sustainable products. Thankfully, a new store in Hong Kong is championing the sustainable lifestyle with an entire grocery store dedicated to bulk shopping. Customers can reduce waste right at the source—at the grocery store. Tourists and residents alike just need to bring their old bags to minimize wasteful packaging so you can do your part for the environment.