A visit to Hong Kong isn’t complete without a proper Cantonese meal: From fresh seafood and beef brisket to ever-popular dim sum, the city takes its food seriously. Cantonese cuisine traditionally incorporates lots of soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger and preserved ingredients like dried fish and shrimp. Though it can be loads of fun to experience boisterous dim sum banquet rooms or balance on a stool in a dai pai dong stall, there’s also a growing pack of eateries for those looking to indulge in a more elegant setting. Here are our picks of promising newcomers and stalwart favorites.
Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star restaurant Man Wah opened its doors way back in 1968 inside Five-Star Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, and has been a dim sum darling ever since. The establishment’s majestic interiors — local rosewood, silk screens and ceiling lanterns — make you feel like royalty. Aside from the phenomenal harbor views, Man Wah also serves up classic Cantonese fare from noted chef Man-Sing Lee. His signatures include stir-fried lobster with egg white, caviar and scallop mousse, and an excellent spread of dainty dim sum. Ask about the Chinese tea and wine-pairing menu if you’re after an extra-special experience.
Yan Toh Heen
For world-class Cantonese in a gorgeous harbor-side setting, head to Yan Toh Heen at the Five-Star InterContinental Hong Kong. With its floor-to-ceiling views and residential vibe, this Four-Star restaurant will make you feel at home among the jade motifs and place settings. Chef Lau Yiu Fai helms the kitchen, taking an innovative approach to traditional dishes, such as wok-fried beef shoulder with fig sauce, and braised whole abalone on a crispy taro net. Likewise, the dim sum menu will reassure you that good things do indeed come in small packages.
Lung King Heen
This Five-Star gem is renowned worldwide as a “dine before you die” establishment, and yes, it does live up to its grandiose reputation. With sweeping harbor vistas from the fourth floor of Five-Star Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, Lung King Heen pairs pristine interiors with equally impeccable food from executive chef Chan Yan Tak. The menu features traditional delicacies with an emphasis on seafood — order the signature crispy scallops with fresh pear and Yunnan ham. As for dim sum, you’ll find artfully crafted bijou buns, dumplings and rolls suffused with refined Cantonese flavors, such as an abalone puff with diced chicken and a barbecue pork bun with pine nuts. Lung King Heen’s international renown renders reservations essential, so be sure to book well in advance.
Named after New York City’s first Chinese convenience store, Mott 32 opened in 2014 and quickly became a go-to dining spot for special occasions and power lunches. It all starts with a great first impression: Glide down a dramatic spiral staircase, which opens into an expansive dimly lit dining room. But a posh appearance isn’t all this restaurant has to offer — Mott 32 lives up to its reputation with fantastic Cantonese fare, particularly the Iberico char siu (barbecue pork) and quail egg siu mai (dumplings) with black truffle, as well as a few Beijing and Sichuan favorites. Don’t miss the Peking duck, which you’ll have to pre-order — it’s roasted with applewood chips in a custom-built oven. The cocktails are excellent, too, incorporating local ingredients, like goji berries and lychee, to create a sidecar of Cantonese culture.
Out to celebrate the finer things in life, Duddell’s debuted in 2013 to much fanfare thanks in part to its intriguing three-in-one concept: a restaurant, an art venue and a nightlife space aimed at culture-hungry Centralites. The two-story restaurant has garnered a strong following, with an authentic Cantonese menu from executive chef Siu Hin Chi. The spicy king prawns in sweet chili sauce are especially good, as are the steamed shrimp and bird’s nest dumplings. Take your pick of seating — the elegant banquet-style dining room on the main floor, the more intimate salon or the garden terrace upstairs — and let Duddell’s intuitive staff take it from there.
This article originally appeared online in Forbes Travel Guide blog.