As the industry awaits the announcement of the 2022 Michelin Guide to Hong Kong and Macau on 19 January, the tyre company released its Bib Gourmand selections a week earlier—a smaller list of “high-quality food at budget-friendly prices”, for which the criteria remains the same. According to Michelin, Bib Gourmand eateries must offer “a high-quality three-course meal” (though how that extends to the street snack stands on the list we’re unsure) excluding drinks, for a maximum of HK$400 which, as any discerning food lover should know, is a cakewalk in Hong Kong. It’s a city built on good value, even as rents rise and the cost of an average tasting menu at a starred restaurant now loops around the region of HK$2,000-plus a head, even at lunch.
In 2021, the Bib listed 63 eateries in Hong Kong including new-to-the-list additions such as Samsen Sheung Wan, Good Hope Noodle and Hao Tang Hao Mian. This year, the figure stands at 64 with seven new additions including Taiwanese street snack purveyor Both Street, roast meats specialist Tin Hung, and Chan Kan Kee Chiu Chow—though the original in Sheung Wan has closed, and we’re unsure if the guide actually means Chan Kan Kee Chiu Chow 1948, which opened in Tseung Kwan O’s Lohas development over a year ago. Kung Wo Beancurd Factory, long a favourite for a quick bite and best known for their silky tofu fa and pan-fried stuffed tofu, also received a Bib.
Some have fallen off the list, too, including Ciak, a restaurant where it would be pretty difficult to stay under the HK$400 budget for three courses; Ramen Jo, Sheung Hei Claypot Rice, Yau Yuen Siu Tsui, Chuen Cheung Kui and foodie favourite Hop Sze (an error, perhaps, as it still appears on the Michelin website).
A guide to Hong Kong’s best value eats should inspire hunger, but we’re left wanting by conspicuous absences of favourites such as Sun Kwai Heung—by their definition, a plateful of Hong Kong’s best char siu with a (free) bowl of daily soup completely falls within the price point. And if roast meats are your game, Ren Ren Heping in North Point is a regular spot for those who love goose and other homestyle dishes—their steamed pork patty with salted egg is a winner—served without pretension. Kamcentre Roast Goose, inside the South China Athletic Association, seems another strange omission—though with competitor Yat Lok receiving one Michelin star year after year, perhaps it's a sign that similar roast meats specialists may have a chance at a star come 19 January? [Update: Nope.]
Shugetsu in Central and Quarry Bay still get the nod, though we’re always curious as to why Zagin Soba—one of the most consistent ramen joints in the city—never gets a look in. And while we’re on the topic of noodles, we would have loved to see a lot more local bowls added to the list year after year: places like Fu Kee in Wan Chai, with their ultra tender beef brisket and springy tripe; Yuen Long’s famed Wing Shun Food Shop for their thick satay beef noodles; or newcomer Tsui Yuen wonton noodles in North Point, who are also loved for their proper dace fish balls and braised pig's trotters.