Best Pick

Street food & brunch: best eats in Sai Wan Ho
Date Published : 16 Nov 2017

Growing up in Sai Wan Ho was a different deal. You lived away from the hustle and bustle of Central, but still within the cosmopolitan of The Island. Sai Wan Ho was a threshold, an in-between area for those that were neither fully local nor fully expat. This showed, not just in the literal location of Sai Wan Ho, but in the makeup of the buildings, the slower lifestyles, the multicultural cauldron of people, and of course, in the massive dining culture that spilled across to neighborhooding Tai Koo.  Sai Wan Ho was a melting pot where Hongkongers lived side by side with communities of Korean, Japanese, Southeast Asian and Indian expat families. 

And just like its people, Sai Wan Ho’s dining culture is just that: an eclectic selection of authentic digs. You’d easily find incredibly local street food spot right next to a very authentic Korean family restaurant, right next to an atmospheric Japanese izakaya. To make our adventure a little easier, we categorised the restaurants into two sections: Shau Kei Wan Rd and Soho East. 

The Shau Kei Wan side focuses on mostly Tai On building and their amazing street food & charming local eats. Some of the shops do not have proper English names or even proper names at all--- hey, we tried our best. 

Tai On Building Lam Kee’s
This place has been around for decades. Classic spot for local cart noodles, choose your noodle, choose your toppings and choose your broth. Chicken wings, fish balls, vegetables, wonton dumplings, crab sticks, all types of mystery-meat balls, mushrooms, cocktail sausages, take a pick! G/F, Shop A12, Tai On Building, Sai Wan Ho, Hong Kong.+5ºC hand cake shop
This place is super famous! Some of those looking for the most authentic and delicious of Taiwanese street food come for this. Spanned across three different little carts, this street food joint changes menu according to the season and the time of the day. They specialise in bubble tea and Taiwanese hand cakes. At times, they also sell Taiwanese chicken steak and a variety of sweet treats. Many come to Tai On Building just for this, so don’t miss it! Tai On Building, Sai Wan Ho, Hong Kong.

Hainan Chicken Experts
This place serves up authentic Singaporean Hainan chicken at super affordable prices. It’s no-frills Hainan chicken in all its glory. Their juicy chicken, along with the three-color trinity of Hainan sauces and a side of rice: this is something to take back home. But prepare to wait in line, as there’s always going to be a long line for this one. Tai On Building, Sai Wan Ho, Hong Kong.Cake Boy
Technically this place is a tiny little eatery/cafe with a dessert ‘hole in the wall’ takeaway section. While the savoury dishes here are commonplace, their 'cake boy' dessert, a variant of the Japanese kaitenyaki is unmissable. The original came in simple, fluffy and unfilled morsels. While the bigger kaitenyaki-looking ones come filled with red bean or more interesting flavours such as the sweet syrup with black sesame or whole oreo. We tried the whole oreo and it was full of sweet, sweet, guilt. Tai On Building, Sai Wan Ho, Hong Kong.

“That one takeaway spot”
We have no idea what the name of this shop is, but it’s too great for a lunch spot to skip. Simple Cantonese comfort foods of sweet and sour chicken, garlic vegetables, lemon chicken, choose from a variety over a box of rice and pay less than 40hkd for it all. So homely. Somewhere near the entrance, Tai On Building, Sai Wan Ho, Hong Kong.
“That one place with Lo Lo/Mix Mix bag noodles”
Growing up in this area, I remember picking up a bag of these cold ‘mix mix’ noodles in one particular stand in Tai On Building. These mix-mix noodles allow you to choose from an array of toppings from a fridge and mix them with noodles and a sauce. It was probably every single day where I would mix cold uncooked sausages, corn, and all other possibly very unhygienic but amazingly satisfying toppings to mix with noodles and an addictively sweet-spicy sauce. Many of these mix-mix noodle stands have since disappeared during the last few years, and Sai Wan Ho was no exception, it was nowhere to be found during our last trip! If anyone finds this place again, please do tell us! Tai On Building, Sai Wan Ho, Hong Kong Hindu Curry Restaurant
Across the street from food central Tai On Building and its Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and Korean fare, Hindu Curry Restaurant offers the neighbourhood’s Indian alternative, with an extensive menu offering everything from rice meals, tandoori dishes, curries, vegetarian options, and desserts. Portions are large, with plated viands sufficient for one; of course, they’re best for sharing. Favourites include the chicken tikka makhani, tender and filling butter chicken drenched in creamy makhani sauce, just a tinge sweet with incredible umami. Regular nan makes the best pairing with the flavourful chicken tikka, although the butter and garlic nans make great options, too. Another highlight is the Palak Paneer, the cottage cheese just the right type of chewy, and the spinach sauce so rich it’s almost indulgent – excellent to mop up with a tearing of roti. G/F, 90 Shau Kei Wan Rd, Sai Wan Ho; 2560 1238Thai Hin Cuisine
Thai Hin Cuisine serves Tai On Building residents and foodie passersby their fill of comfort Thai food: red and green curries, pad Thai, Tom Yum Goong soup, Thai basil minced pork with egg and rice, and everything in between, including Thai-style milk tea and desserts such as sticky rice with mango. A favourite is the green curry with chicken – it’s served with your choice of meat – creamy and only mildly spicy, deliciously homey with a bowl of white rice. The red curry, slightly spicier, is equally good. Thai Hin Cuisine, Shop A38, G/F, Tai On Building, 57-87 Shau Kei Wan Rd, Sai Wan Ho; 2886 8029

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Soho East, much like its name is filled with a plethora of atmospheric restaurants with open outside seating and a front-seat view of the harbour. Great for pet-walking, people-watching, and lazy Sunday brunches. If you’re tired of the same old same old of people-packed rowdy brunch spots (Sai Ying Pun, TST, and Central) and you’re looking for a newer, sunnier and more peaceful place for your weekend morning eats, Soho East is probably your best bet. The Salted Pig
This German restaurant true to its name has pork, pork, and more pork. Take note, their smoky signature pork knuckle (for two) is massive, definitely enough for at least 3-4 people. Their crispy pork belly with apple compote is better for those who prefer less salty roasts. While it is a German nomspot, we actually loved some of the American dishes on their menu including the mac’n’cheese and the apple crumble. This place is a lovely spot for brunch with open-air seating, homely decor and a really extensive brunch menu without all the fuss (no free-flow, no timed brunch, no buffet). For brunch, we really recommend the fried potato and chorizo and their eggs benedict, total indulgence. Shop GB8-10, G/F, Site B, 45 Tai Hong Street, Lei King Wan, Hong Kong; 27079459; Coast
This is one of the few restaurants that have stayed in this area for over a decade. And even now you’ll find it hard to find a table. While it has the same ol’ cha chaan teng menu, Eastern Coast, with its open-air seating and slow vibes, feels more like a beach-side restaurant you visit while on holiday. The menu doesn’t disappoint, get your normal cha chaan teng favourites but if you’re unsure, we really recommend their char siu rice. It’s as simple as it comes. Simple char siu and egg is served over rice and a house-made sweet soy sauce. It’s so simple but strangely addictive. They sell out pretty quickly of this one so go earlier! Shop GA-10A, 55 Tai Hong Street, Site A, Soho East, Lei King Wan, Sai Wan Ho, Hong Kong; 29775422Mint & Basil
Mint & Basil focuses on Vietnamese and Thai cuisine. Enjoy a refreshing Khaow Niav Mamueng dessert (mango sticky rice) as you take in the cool harbour breeze. The prices are on the pricer side, but it’s worth the fresh ingredients and open-air atmosphere. We personally prefer going there for their super affordable semi-lunch buffet that comes with an appetiser buffet, drinks and a choice of one main. Shop GA, 4-7, G/F, 45 Tai Hong Street, Site A, Soho East, Lei King Wan, Sai Wan Ho, Hong Kong, 25633388, East
Another good place for brunch, Bistro East is a French & western-inspired bistro that serve the French bistro classics such as escargot, charcuterie plates and duck confit, it also serves random western dishes such as stuffed potato skins, risottos and chicken wings. They’re a bistro, they can do what they want! But many people come back for the brunch. A simple menu of eggs benedict, English brekky and French crepes (toast too). Shop G/A, 08-09, G/F. 55 Tai Hong Street, Lei King Wan, Sai Wan Ho, Hong Kong; 26999300,

A cute pasta spot that was once here
This was once a cute cafe that had amazing baked pasta for a very low price. People would drop by to sit and people-watch as they enjoyed gigantic glasses of ice lemon tea and the most comforting of Hong Kong-style baked pasta. This place is gone now and replaced with a Starbucks Coffee with all its blatancy. 

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