Man Wah at the Mandarin Oriental, 5 Connaught Rd., Central, Hong Kong (tel. 852-25220111); Din Tai Fung, G/F, 68 Yee Woo St., Causeway Bay (tel. 852-31608998); Dim Dim Sum Dimsum Specialty Store, 21-23 Man Ying St., Jordan (tel. 852-27717766), open daily, 10:30 a.m.-1 a.m.
Nothing will beat Din Tai Fung’s xiao long bao. Every rave about this place has been well-earned. But if you don’t want to line up for three hours just for a seat for cheap eats on a Sunday, or if you are looking for chow after a night out at Lan Kwai Fong, take the tram to Dim Dim Sum Dimsum (yes, that’s correct!) for very fresh steamed dumplings of various kinds. Skip the noodles, it’s not their strength. But don’t miss out on the unique Wasabi Deep-fried Dumpling and the Steamed Rice Roll with Beef. And before you go, grab a Pineapple Bun or Polo Bao. Yum!
If you can splurge yet again, one of the best dim sum places is Mandarin Oriental’s Man Wah. It offers a foie gras, prawn and seaweed roll—yes, all in one bite. Or, try its version of Shanghainese soup dumpling (xiao long bao) or the pork siu mai with truffle. All these while you appreciate the beautiful art carvings on the wall. While dim sum is a specialty, this is a fine-dining restaurant in an opulent, beautiful and elegant setting with a beautiful view as well of Victoria Harbor that makes you feel like Chinese royalty.
1/F, The L Place, 139 Queen’s Rd., Central, Hong Kong; tel. 852-28571333
A great non-Chinese concept is Linguini Fini: a reasonably priced, chic joint that distinguishes itself with its organic Italian meals. Promoting the farm-to-fork philosophy, it serves sustainable seafood and all-natural meats and pasta. Chef Vinny Lauria also cures his own meats and sausages; if you are lucky, you will see these hanging right by the long counter when you enter. Try the homemade duck sausage rigatoni, or the Stracetti Di Manzo. Then, hang out at the bar by the restaurant, or on the ground floor and get loopy in style before heading off to bar-hop at Lan Kwai Fong.
32 Wellington St., Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong; tel. 852-25221624
This place is your classic Chinese restaurant with round tables and Lazy Susans, waitresses in black skirts and stockings, and red everywhere. But instead of Peking duck, it is known for goose. Make sure to make a reservation, or it may be an hour’s wait, and try to come early (around 5:30 or 6 p.m.) for the better batch of geese (if you come late, the skin may be soggy instead of crisp). The frogs legs are also good. And don’t miss out on the century egg—for me, one of those delicacies that taste like feet, but gourmets love it! (Tip: for dessert, walk to the egg tart stand around the corner.)