Home to Temple Street Night Market, Yau Ma Tei is a vibrant district in Kowloon, Hong Kong, that has some incredible restaurants, cafes and dai pai dongs to sample great food at
In a recent survey, the Temple Street Night Market trounced Disneyland, Ocean Park and the Peak to become the top tourist attraction in the city. While the move left the local tourism board scratching their institutional heads, it’s a deserved distinction, as the dynamic street market and the district of Yau Ma Tei that surrounds it is full of colour, Chinese culture and, of course, great food. The dining options in the area are just as diverse as the heterogeneous offerings available from the market. From bustling outdoor dai pai dong restaurants to 60 year-old historic diners and hipster cafés, Yau Ma Tei has it all.
Hing Kee Claypot Rice Restaurant
Leave the frills at the door – this is not a fine dining experience. The menu is simple and the décor even more so, but the dishes Hing Kee serves are full of flavour, and this is why there are cues of patrons outside the restaurant every evening. It specialises in warming ‘bo jai faan’ claypot rice which is mainly a winter dish, but is available here all year round. Don’t miss the fried oyster omelette or the chicken and preserved Chinese sausage claypot rice.
Hing Kee Claypot Rice Restaurant, G/F, 15-19 Temple Street, Yau Ma Tei, Hong Kong, p. 2384 3647, 油麻地廟街14, 19, 21號及鴉打街48號
Kubrick is one of those places that Hong Kong needs more of. While you might have heard some dismiss the 852 as a cultural desert, places like Kubrick send home such accusations, as the café oozes creativity and refinement. In fact, it was even patronised by one of the highest-grossing directors in history, Christopher Nolan, when he visited Hong Kong in July (he’s a fan of Stanley Kubrick). Part bookstore, part art gallery and part café with potted flowers thrown into the mix, this is a lovely spot to find a bit of inspiration. It also serves up some awesome pastas and homemade cakes to inspire your taste buds as well.
Kubrick even made it to our Guide to the best coffee in Hong Kong.
Kubrick, 3 Public Square Street, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon, Hong Kong, p. 2384 8929 , 油麻地眾坊3號駿發花園H2地舖
As far as sexagenarians go, Mido Café is about as eye-catching as they come. Positioned in a stand-alone building, the iconic cafe features highly instagrammable 1950s-style decor, which consists of gorgeous tiling and great views over the Temple Street Market night through the old-school window frames from the second floor. The fittings and the food have stood the test of time, with a distinct East-meets-West mix of flavours on the menu. Highlights include the milk tea, the epic French Toast, and garoupa with macaroni. Let’s just hope they can endure the ugly hand of gentrification forevermore.
Mido Cafe, 63 Temple Street Street, Yau Ma Tei Public Square, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon, Hong Kong, p. 2384 6402, 油麻地廟街63號地下
Yau Ma Tei is the last place anyone would expect to find an authentic Japanese ramen eatery, but this place does it with flair – and the queues outside are testament to this. The ramen is definitely worth the 30-minute wait though, with the cramped seating inside reminiscent of Tokyo and Osaka diners. The scrumptious soft-boiled eggs are perfectly liquescent and firm at the same time.
Yokozuna, Yun Kai Building, 466-472 Nathan Road, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon, Hong Kong, p. 2783 0784, 油麻地彌敦道466-472號恩佳大廈地下
Situated two minutes from Yau Ma Tei, this eatery is on a colourful street frequented by sexworkers and businessmen. The focus here is on fresh ingredients, meaning the dishes are extra delectable. Although there is only space for around 10 diners, the restaurant personalises the dining experience, taking time to prepare the food with care. The authentic Vietnamese honey chicken wings are not to be missed!
Pho Viet, G/F, 390 Portland Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong, p. 6884 8898, 旺角砵蘭街99號地舖
Tong Tai Restaurant
Although technically in Jordan, a list of restaurants around Yau Ma Tei would not be complete without a reference to at least one of the popular outdoor dai pai dong restaurants which sit in between the two districts. These bustling restaurants are a popular tourist jaunt and hark back to the origins of the area, serving up seafood dishes in frill-less surroundings, when the area was a typhoon shelter before the surrounding land was reclaimed.
Tong Tai Restaurant is one of the more popular ones, with seats that overflow from the restaurants onto the surrounding pavements. Expect a fun, loud and sloppy, finger-licking affair, with dishes like clams and crabs, which are all the perfect accompaniment to some refreshing chilled carbonated bottled beer.
Tong Tai Restaurant, G/F, 184A Temple Street, Jordan, Kowloon, Hong Kong, p. 2384 5269, 佐敦廟街184A號地下