Anthony Bourdain said many wonderful things about the places he visited, but Hong Kong holds a special place in his heart, if his quotes about visiting and the themes he explored during those trips are any indication. From almost the first scene of his first episode there, Tony was equally transfixed and bewildered by the seemingly inevitable path of progress to rewrite what he discovered to be some of the best parts of Hong Kong’s culinary heritage.
To feel sentimental about the past is unusual for Hong Kong. Hong Kong has always been about changing. It’s always embraced change.Anthony Bourdain, Parts Unknown
As part of documenting this change, Anthony Bourdain visited Hong Kong three times: to film season 3 (episode 12) of No Reservations, to film season 1 (episode 5) of The Layover, and to film season 11 (5) of Parts Unknown. These are his only three on-screen visits to the “Fragrant Harbour,” though I wouldn’t be surprised to learn he visited again on his own – certainly Hong Kong was one of the cities that Tony most enjoyed visiting and eating in.
In this post, you’ll find a complete list of all the places that Anthony Bourdain ate in Hong Kong, including those that are no longer open today. If you want to follow in the footsteps of Anthony Bourdain in Hong Kong, you can use this list and the accompanying map to plan out your meals – don’t be surprised if you can’t tackle them all in a short trip!
Want to watch the episodes when Anthony Bourdain visits Hong Kong?
The No Reservations episode is available on Amazon, Hulu, and Apple TV.
The Layover episode is available on Amazon and Apple TV.
The Parts Unknown episode is available on Amazon and Apple TV.
This post was originally published in January 2023, and was updated in June 2023.
Where Anthony Bourdain Ate in Hong Kong
Before jumping into the list with lots of details, I thought it might help to give you a map of all the places Tony Bourdain ate in Hong Kong – both now closed and still open. Below, you’ll find them organized by show. As you can see, he primarily visited and ate on Hong Kong Island and in the Kowloon District.
Okay, now let’s dive into the list for each show, so you can also know what Anthony Bourdain ate in Hong Kong, and plan your own meals.
No Reservations (2007)
During his first on-screen trip, Anthony Bourdain does his best to sample all the flavors and experiences that Hong Kong has to offer. Perhaps uncertain what his TV career would hold or how long the good times would last, he packs a lot of restaurants and culture into his visit.
Temple Street Market
Tony’s first trip to Hong Kong kicks off with some comfort food at Temple Street Market, one of the popular spots for food and shopping. He sits down to enjoy a seasonal dish – “clay pot rice,” which is rice cooked in a clay pot with sausage or salt fish and chicken and is only available in the autumn – and then visits another street food vendor to try one of Bourdain’s go-tos: street meats, including pork intestine and chicken kidney – “entrails on a stick,” as Tony puts it.
Long Kee Muscleman Noodle (CLOSED?)
As part of his visit to the Temple Street Market area, Bourdain pops into one named restaurant; unfortunately, it seems this restaurant has closed in the 15 years since he visited. Called Long Kee Muscleman Noodle, this noodle shop is run by three bodybuilder brothers. While there, Tony enjoys a bowl of beef brisket and noodles.
While you can’t enjoy this dish at Long Kee Muscleman, you can find it at other Hong Kong restaurants if you want to try it.
Yat Lok Restaurant (CLOSED)
Next up on the list of places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Hong Kong, Tony discovers a dish that grows to change his tune about the hierarchy of incredible meats in the world. At Yak Lok Restaurant, known for its incredible barbecue, he thinks the roast suckling pig on rice will be king – but it’s the roast goose with prune sauce that he truly loves. (And returns to eat in future trips!)
Ping Kee Noodles
Continuing the parade of incredible foods across the screen, Bourdain next heads to Ping Kee Noodles at Tai Po Cooked Food Centre. Here, he tries a food that’s increasingly tough to find made properly: bamboo noodles. (In Tony’s case, his are topped with what I think he calls shrimp eggs (roe), sauce, and broth.)
After enjoying this incredible dish, Bourdain and his guide head into the home of a traditional bamboo noodle maker. Tony learns about the craft of making these noodles by hand with a giant bamboo stalk, and laments that this craft may be lost forever within a few years.
Happy Valley Racecourse
If you’re looking for another kind of culinary and cultural experience in Hong Kong, you could follow in Tony’s footsteps to visit Happy Valley Racecourse. While there, Bourdain bets on the horse races, enjoys a few beers, and works up an appetite to continue eating elsewhere.
Tung Po Kitchen
With said appetite, Anthony Bourdain next headed to the North Point neighborhood to check out some of the traditional-style dai pai dong street food stalls. In particular, he meets with the chef of Tung Po Kitchen; headlines about this restaurant say that it closed in 2022 but reopened a few months later back in its original location in the Wan Chai Market area.
There, he enjoys some reinventions of Cantonese classics, including mantis prawn, squid balls with noodles and squid ink, pig knuckles, tripe intestines and ham, paired with plenty of beer.
(Tony recommends this restaurant again in The Layover, so it’s a must-visit if you’re following his footsteps in Hong Kong.)
Under Bridge Spicy Crab
While Anthony Bourdain didn’t eat at Under Bridge Spicy Crab, he does enjoy a meal prepared by the chef from this restaurant; instead, he and his dining companion eat on a boat in Victoria Harbor’s Causeway bay “typhoon shelter,” where boats come in during major storms. They enjoy “typhoon shelter” crab with garlic, shallots, chili, and scallions, which is perhaps why they eat on a boat rather than land.
As he usually did during No Reservations episodes, Tony next heads to a more upscale dining experience. In Hong Kong, this means a meal at Bo Innovation in HK’s Central Business District. There, Chef Alvin Wong is doing things at nearly the level of Chef Ferran Adria, whom we know Tony admires from his visits to Barcelona.
While there, Bourdain has a series of dishes of Chinese origin but unique interpretations: clay pot rice deconstructed with preserved meat ice cream and rice crispies, sushi with abalone, sun-dried tomatoes, and dehydrated foie gras, lobster with Sichuan sauce and har gow (shrimp) dumpling, and wagyu beef with shrimp and scallop broth hot pot.
Lin Heung Tea House (CLOSED)
Unfortunately, the final spot that Anthony Bourdain visited in Hong Kong is now closed; Lin Heung Tea House was another traditional type of restaurant known for two things: tea and dim sum.
If you’ve ever had dim sum, you’ll likely recognize some of the dishes Tony has since they are common at many dim sum restaurants around the world. He tries steamed shrimp dumplings (har gow), chicken fee, pork liver dumplings, beef tripe, pork ribs, and many more.
The Layover (2011)
While Tom Vitale’s In the Weeds reveals that The Layover was primarily designed to burn through an agreed-upon number of episodes with the network, I’d argue that the Hong Kong episode is one of the best: it’s clear that Tony is having a great time despite the exhausting premise (and once he gets out of his early-scene funk). As Tony says, “layovers kinda suck. But if you gotta have a layover, do it in Hong Kong.”
Joy Hing Roasted Meat
First stop after touchdown? Joy Hing Roasted Meat, a restaurant much like Yat Lok Restaurant (which may well have closed in the four years between his visits).
In any case, Tony digs into a plate of char siu, Cantonese-style barbecue. He goes for the trifecta: roast pork, roast suckling pig, and – his favorite – roast goose. Paired with a beer, his jet lag starts to subside and his mood starts to lift (making for a much better rest of the episode!).
Sing Heung Yuen Dai Pai Dong
Next, Bourdain heads to another dai pai dong – this one for a dish that seriously underwhelms him but is apparently beloved despite its strangeness.
At Sing Heung Yuen, he tries the restaurant’s famous “tomato noodles.” The dish has elbow macaroni in tomato soup broth with a fried egg and a “mystery meat” that looks a lot like spam. It tastes – Tony says – exactly like you’d expect. He and his dining companions, also enjoy silk stocking tea and toast drizzled with lemon, butter, and honey.
Hui Lau Shan (CLOSED?)
Unlike his first visit during the autumn, Tony’s second trip to Hong Kong happens in the sweltering summer. To seek relief, he visits Hui Lau Shan, a dessert shop known for its mango smoothies and treats.
I can’t tell whether this spot is still open; some articles suggest the final location closed in 2021. If so, this is a bummer – I would have loved to try the mango boba with coconut froth and frozen mango smoothie drink, the latter of which Tony says would be great with a shot or two of rum.
Tim Ho Wan
No trip to Hong Kong would seem complete without at least one meal of dim sum, so next, Bourdain heads to Tim Ho Wan. This restaurant claims the best dim sum in Hong Kong, and today has outposts in other cities around the world including New York City.
In any case, back to Tony; while there he tries very traditional dim sum dishes, including barbeque pork buns, har gow (shrimp) and veggie dumplings, and pork dumplings.
New Discovery Cafe
Like his visit to Happy Valley Racecourse, Tony makes one stop with his dining companion – “China Matt,” a long-time expat in Hong Kong – to work up an appetite before his next meal. The pair head to New Discovery Cafe. Here they have “cheap beer and a million-dollar view” while looking out over some of the Hong Kong skyline.
Fok Loi Kui
After several rounds, the pair seek out dinner at Fok Loi Kui, a restaurant known for its Chiu Chow food. This type of cuisine comes from the Chaoshan region in the eastern Guangdong province of the mainland; China Matt says you can often spot Chiu Chow restaurants based on the display of bright squid in the windows.
Enjoying the variety, they try a baby oyster omelet and glow-in-the-dark squid with pork chitlins and veggies, both of which Tony enjoys.
In a somewhat unusual display of youth and frivolity, Bourdain next heads to Racks City, a late-night hangout with pool tables and plenty to drink. Over games of billiards, darts, and beer pong, Tony has a fair variety of libations: beer, cocktails, and even shots. (Ouch!)
Lancombe Seafood Restaurants
Bourdain’s final stop on his second Hong Kong visit is out on Lamma Island, a ferry-ride from the hustle and bustle of the main part of the city. Here he meets up with friends from drinking at Racks and has a number of dishes to fill up before the flight home: Hong Kong mantis “pissing” shrimp, sea scallops with rice noodles, and razor and spicy bean clams.
Parts Unknown (2018)
Anthony Bourdain’s third and final trip to Hong Kong occurred just before his death; the episode was directed by Asia Argento, which some in Down and Out in Paradise claim was the first step in Tony’s descent toward darkness. (This rings true to me because it’s also the location where beloved cinematographer Zach Zamboni (of Maine origins) was unceremoniously fired).
In any case, the pair are joined by cinematographer Christopher Doyle, known for his movies filmed in Hong Kong. The episode is undoubtedly beautiful – though also particularly foreboding as it was apparently shot under the January 2018 lunar eclipse.
The first stop Tony makes on this trip is Leaf Dessert, a noodle shop where you can find an essential dish in Hong Kong cuisine: (bok) choy noodle soup and beef brisket soup with shrimp wontons. This is what Bourdain tries, naturally, though you can find it at many restaurants across the city (including Mak Un Kee which he recommends during The Layover and which is detailed further at the end of this post).
Keung Kee Dai Pai Dong in Sham Shui Po
Next up, Bourdain heads to another dai pai dong, Keung Kee. Here he learns that the concerns he voiced a decade earlier during his first trip are indeed coming to pass: fewer dai pai dongs are in operation than ever, and the style of dining may eventually dwindle to only a handful or none at all.
Thankfully, Keung Kee is still open today, and you can enjoy the same dishes Tony did: hot pot drunken chicken and clay pot fish tripe in egg custard.
China Cafe (CLOSED)
Unfortunately, the next spot Bourdain visited is not open anymore; China Cafe closed at the end of 2019. Called a “Bing sutt,” China Cafe was another traditional type of restaurant in Hong Kong that is slowly going the way of the dinosaur. Bing sutt restaurants, also called a “cold drinking house,” typically serve (or served) light meals and drinks; common options would be red bean ice (with an ice cone) and French toast with butter and syrup.
China Cafe specifically has a different menu. Here, Tony had fried pork cutlet over rice with tomato sauce and spam, macaroni, and egg soup. You may be able to find some of these dishes on other menus in Hong Kong, though it’s less and less likely the longer you wait to visit.
Crossing Boat Restaurant (?) (Tai O)
Next, Tony heads out to the area called Tai O with Doyle and his co-director Jenny Suen for a meal at an unnamed restaurant while they talk about filmmaking in Hong Kong and famous movies. While the restaurant isn’t named on-screen, community member Andreas thinks this is Crossing Boat Restaurant based on their meal (thanks, Andreas!).
The dishes they enjoy sound great: fried corn-and-fish ball soup with dried scallops; dried shrimp and pork, with salt-cured egg yolks over rice; and crispy pork belly with shrimp paste and yu choy.
For a change of pace, Bourdain next heads to the Chungking Mansions, a famous shopping area in Hong Kong. In addition to any wares and fares you might need, this area is also known for its ethnic (non-Chinese) restaurants, many of which are run by immigrants and refugees since the business code is a bit more flexible in a place known for selling knock-off goods.
At Sher-E-Punjab, Tony sits down with two asylum seekers from Iran and Somalia to talk about being refugees in Hong Kong. The dishes they try aren’t mentioned; this is also the famous scene that Argento and Doyle interrupted to re-stage in the middle of the three men conversing. (It made me SO angry to see that!)
Sun Hing Restaurant
Continuing his exploration of Hong Kong past and present, Bourdain next goes for a meal with Janice Lau and Jason Cheung, members of the Hong Kong punk band David Boring. At Sun Hing Restaurant, the three talk about artistic freedom and the ability to survive as an artist over plates of dim sum dishes like egg-custard buns and braised chicken feet.
Happy Paradise (CLOSED)
Tony’s next stop is a newer restaurant called Happy Paradise; here he dines with feng shui master Thierry Chow and chef-founder May Chow. They talk about the reinterpretation of traditional Chinese influence in modern Hong Kong, and what the future holds.
The menu is – as you might expect given the topic of conversation but perhaps in direct contrast to the trendy, bright interior – interesting. Bourdain and his dining companions try a sourdough chicken-fat egg waffle, Taiwanese bottarga, sauteed prawns with pomelo pith, dried shrimp roe, and prawn oil, tea-smoked pigeon with sea salt, Hakka-style chicken with oyster mushroom fried rice and shiitake broth, and pig brain with burnt-pear vinaigrette.
Unfortunately, despite the incredible menu and popularity Tony undoubtedly brought to the place, Happy Paradise is no longer open.
Lau Sum Kee Noodles
Anthony Bourdain’s final on-screen meal in Hong Kong takes place at Lau Sum Kee Noodles, a noodle shop with the Bib Gourmand from the Michelin guide. Here he eats one final bowl of prawn-roe bamboo noodles, much like he had during his first trip, at Ping Kee Noodles. This seems like a good bookend for three trips to a place that Tony clearly loved visiting.
Other Places Tony Recommends in Hong Kong
During The Layover episode, Bourdain made several other suggestions in Hong Kong; I wanted to include them here just in case you need additional options.
- Kin’s Kitchen – Known for “upscale Cantonese” dishes, if you want something less dai pai dong.
- Mido Cafe – This restaurant claims to be a cha chaan teng (Hong Kong diner) and bing sutt, offering Western breakfast options, many deep fried, plus Yuenyeung (coffee mixed with tea).
- Mak Un Kee – As previously mentioned, this is another spot for wonton noodles.
- Aberdeen Fish Market – If you’re looking to stock up on fresh fish and shellfish to cook yourself, this is the spot.
- Tsui Wah – With several locations around Hong Kong, this comfort food dinner offers classic easy dishes like fish balls and cakes, beef satay, and milk tea champagne.
- Ozone Bar – For a nicer spot than New Discovery Cafe, this swanky high-rise bar has Western-style tapas and classy cocktails.
Lastly, Bourdain stayed at the Mandarin Oriental during his Layover visit; it’s right in the Central Business District, but Hong Kong’s transit will easily get you to any other place you want to visit or eat.
Hong Kong Food Tours to Try
As you can tell, there are lots of great places to eat in Hong Kong; one good way to sample the many flavors and styles of cuisine is on a food tour. Here are a few Hong Kong food tours that will give you a guide or ease you into the huge offering the city has.
Have any other questions about the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Hong Kong? Or, are you able to help fill in the gaps with some restaurant names and opening/closing details? Let me know in the comments!