Cover Discover our top picks of the best dai pai dongs in Hong Kong (Photo: @ardisblossom/Instagram)

Offering Cantonese stir-fries, fresh seafood and classic pot dishes in vibrant settings, these are the best dai pai dongs in Hong Kong that you absolutely have to try

The sights and sounds of local dishes being cooked on giant roaring woks at dai pai dongs are synonymous with Hong Kong. Just like enjoying breakfasts and brunches at a cha chaan teng or dim sum teahouses, dining in a dai pai dong is a quintessential Hong Kong experience, which rooted in delicious, very reasonably priced Cantonese fare packed with a dose of “wok hei”—a smokey flavour that can be only achieved by cooking fresh ingredients over extreme heat.

For those unacquainted with this iconic local culinary tradition, dai pai dong literally means “restaurant with a big license plate”—the city's last remaining open-air street food vendors that were once ubiquitous in the early 20th century. Due to growing hygiene concerns, the government had begun to restrict the licensing of dai pai dongs, where only around 20 establishments are left today.

If you want to get an authentic taste of Hong Kong and show your support to local businesses, a number of these alfresco eateries are still up and running to offer top-notch Cantonese cuisine—if you know where to look. From nostalgic neighbourhood joints to trendy spots featuring modern interiors, we've rounded up the best dai pai dongs to visit in Hong Kong. 

See also: The Best Cantonese Desserts To Try In Hong Kong

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Oi Man Sang (愛文生)

A dai pai dong that lives up to its name by delivering stellar Cantonese food, Oi Man Seng offers a menu that’s so extensive and tempting it will take quite a while to finalise your order. Featuring everything from seasonal seafood to meat dishes and sizzling pots with fresh vegetables, there’s never a dull moment at this nostalgic spot. But whatever you fancy, be sure to try the stir-fried beef fillet with potatoes and black pepper; baked prawns with salted egg yolk; as well as deep-fried squid seasoned with salt and pepper—their signature creations will never let you down.

Oi Man Sang, Shop B-C, G/F, 1 Shek Kip Mei Street, Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong, +852 2393 9315 

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Bing Kee Cha Dong (炳記茶檔)

This open-air food stall in Tai Hang might be small, but the chefs here are big on serving some of the best local eats across the city. Food lovers come far and wide for the famed deep-fried pork chop noodles, but you shouldn’t miss out on their condensed milk toasts and sandwiches that come packed with generous fillings of scrambled eggs and grilled pork chop. While you’re there, don’t forget to order a cup of silky smooth milk tea to complement your meal.

Bing Kee Cha Dong, 5 Shepherd Street, Tai Hang, Hong Kong, +852 2577 3117;

See also: Where To Find The Best French Toast In Hong Kong

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Ball Kee (波記)

Ball Kee, one of the oldest and most renowned dai pai dongs in Hong Kong, is a must-visit spot if you’re after Cantonese comfort food steaming in a rich aroma of wok hei. It offers an extensive range of fried rice and noodles with different topping combos to suit your discerning palates, with stir-fried beef hor fun and Singaporean fried rice noodles being the star attractions. 

Still feeling peckish? Order their deep-fried pork seasoned with salt and pepper on rice. The juicy, tender meat paired with fried rice will have you ahh-ing over how tasty the dish is.

Ball Kee, Staveley Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2544 5923 

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Sing Kee (盛記)

Featuring typical dai pai dong aesthetics—think colourful plastic chairs, umbrella-topped tables and a cooking station with large woks—Sing Kee offers a nostalgic setting for guests to enjoy an authentic Hong Kong dining experience. Always bustling, this place draws eager crowds at all times of the day, but don’t let the lines deter you, as your patience will pay off when you feast on their signature stir-fried clams in chili bean sauce, steamed scallops with garlic, as well as deep-fried squid with salt and pepper.

Their seafood offerings are solid, and if you’re looking for some flavoursome meaty dishes to go with an ice-cold beer, the sizzling chicken pot and sweet and sour pork are must-tries.

Sing Kee, G/F, 82 Stanley Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2541 5678

See also: Where To Find The Best Cart Noodles In Hong Kong

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So Kee Cha Dong (蘇記茶檔)

This rustic eatery is a favourite among the foodie crowd for good reason. So Kee Cha Dong has been serving up classic cha chaan teng fare for the past 42 years, where guests can expect nothing but dishes prepared with meticulous attention to detail and the best possible ingredients.

Come for a fragrant bowl of instant noodles with pork chop and a sunny side up, and order a cup of hot milk tea to wash it all down. If you’re still craving more, there also some excellent Hong Kong-style sandwiches and toasts on offer. Its close proximity to the MTR station is a plus, as well as its nostalgic vibes and amicable service.

So Kee Cha Dong, 15-16 Yiu Tong Street, Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong, +852 2779 1882 

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Sing Heung Yuen

This popular dai pai dong in Central needs no further introduction. Frequented by the hood’s office crowd and food enthusiasts with a penchant for local eats, Sing Heung Yuen has a reputation for dishing up delectable, home-style Hong Kong dishes in an atmospheric setting since opening in 1959. 

While the tomato soup noodles with beef and egg is the specialty here, one should not overlook the crispy buns topped with lemon jam and honey. Always served piping hot and fresh, these buns can also be enjoyed with butter and condensed milk, which guarantees decadent flavours you won’t soon forget.

Sing Heung Yuen, G/F, 2 Mei Lun Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2544 8368

See also: Hong Kong-Style Breakfast: Where To Find The Best Instant Noodles In Hong Kong

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Mui Kee Cookfood Stall

Okay, so technically Mui Kee isn’t a food stall operating on the roadside, but it still deserves a special mention for its modern approach to classic dai pai dong menus. The restaurant takes pride in its consistently well-made, authentic Cantonese fare with twists on traditional recipes—whether you go for crowd-pleasers including crispy roasted pork knuckles, salt and pepper tofu and spicy eggplants with minced pork in clay pot; or other main dishes such as beef satay with broccoli and fried oyster omelette, quality is guaranteed here. While you’re there, be sure to order some cold beers and enjoy them with a Chinese porcelain bowl!

Mui Kee Cookfood Stall, Room B, 2/F, Witty Commerical Building,1A-1J Tung Choi Street, Mong Kok, Hong Kong, +852 2833 6228 

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Shun Hing Cha Dong (順興茶檔)

A true hidden gem of Tai Hang’s dining scene, Shun Hing Cha Dong offers simple yet satisfying local eats to delight your taste buds. The small restaurant’s unpretentious interiors hint that the focus is on the food quality, with the kitchen using age-old techniques and fresh ingredients to create classic Cantonese dishes such as scrambled eggs and prawns rice, instant noodles, as well as baked goods including pineapple buns and toasts. Just like other traditional dai pai dongs, this place with limited communal seating has no air conditioning, but that’s all part of the charm.

Shun Hing Cha Dong, 24 Ormsby Street, Tai Hang, Hong Kong, +852 2576 6577 (closes every Monday) 

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Tai Yuen Dai Pai Dong (泰源大排檔)

Despite being located in Fo Tan far away from the city centre, Tai Yuen still crowned as one of Hong Kong’s most talked-about dai pai dongs, with locals continually flocking to indulge in their excellent Cantonese dishes. The restaurant is most famous for its roasted pigeon and salt and pepper tofu, but they don’t skimp on seafood offerings, too. Save room for the steamed scallops with garlic and vermicelli, and black bean chilli clams—you won’t regret ordering these. Bonus: the place is air-conditioned and completes with a semi-outdoor dining area that guarantees a comfortable dining experience, without sacrificing the nostalgic vibes.

Tai Yuen Dai Pai Dong, Fo Tan Cooked Food Market (East), Shan Mei Street, Fo Tan, Hong Kong, +852 2697 3656

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ChorLand Cookfood Stall

ChorLand Cookfood Stall has quickly become a beloved modern dai pai dong spot among locals since its launch a few years ago, thanks to its energetic ambience and stellar Cantonese dishes executed with respect to traditional recipes. Boasting a team of highly skilled and passionate chefs, you’re likely not to be disappointed with whatever you order, but if you’re a traditionalist, you can’t go wrong with their signature dishes including typhoon shelter squids, sweet and sour pork, and stir-fried clams in black bean sauce.

If you’re feeling adventurous, get the house specials, such as minced pork patties with lotus root and truffle, and oat-crusted deep-fried shrimp balls with egg yolk. Complimentary sweet potato and ginger soups will be also served to round off your meal—seriously, what’s not to love?

ChorLand Cookfood Stall, Shop 2&4, G/F, 187 Ma Tau Wai Road, To Kwa Wan, Hong Kong, +852 2515 1500

ChorLand Cookfood Stall, G/F-1/F, Optimall, 118 Chuen Lung Street, Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong, +852 3997 3661

ChorLand Cookfood Stall, Shop 1, G/F, Pak Hoo Mansion, Yat Fu Lane, 554-560 Queen's Road West, Shek Tong Tsui, Western District, Hong Kong, +852 2878 1118 

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Hong Kee Restaurant

Kowloon Bay may not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking about the most exciting dining districts in town, but there’s a selection of surprisingly good restaurants out here to impress food lovers, and among them, Hong Kee Restaurant is definitely one to put on your radar. The seafood dishes at Hong Kee are all worth digging into such as garlic steamed prawns and deep-fried Bombay duck with pepper and salt, but you should also save room for their meaty stir-fries and pot dishes, which are all equally impressive. Oh, and did we mention that the restaurant is also a favourite amongst locals looking for a high-quality lamb hot pot meal in winter? 

Hong Kee Restaurant, Food Market, No. 8 Kai Yip Street, Kai Yip Estate, Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2799 3428