Cover Janice Leung Hayes outside Chai Wan's Sun Kwai Heung—which didn't make it into the Bib Gourmand list in 2022 (Photo: Amanda Kho/Tatler Hong Kong)

Our city is full of great value eats, so why does the list only feature 64 places?

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.

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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.

For Janice Leung Hayes, Borgo C in Sai Wan Ho is another huge omission; the food writer has been a regular for over a decade, and points out how they’ve consistently nailed their Cantonese dishes as well as offering some fun experimental cooking. For Taiwanese cooking in Western District, she recommends Southern Taiwan Comfort on Hau Wo Street in Kennedy Town over the Bib Gourmand recommended Yuan Is Here.

The list is small, and it’s a reminder that we could all be doing a lot more to highlight the smaller businesses working hard under the radar in Hong Kong—with the current dine-in bans and social distancing restrictions adding even more pressure on the industry, it’s a time to cast a wider net when it comes to spotlighting the city’s food heroes. Have a favourite spot you want us to know more about? Let us know by email or DM.

 

The Michelin Hong Kong Bib Gourmand list 2022

  1. Ah Chun Shandong Dumpling
  2. Ancient Moon
  3. Ba Yi
  4. Brass Spoon (Wan Chai)
  5. Both Street *
  6. Café Hunan (Western District)
  7. Chan Kan Kee Chiu Chow *
  8. Chiuchow Delicacies (North Point)
  9. Congee and Noodle Shop
  10. Cornerstone
  11. Din Tai Fung (Causeway Bay)
  12. Din Tai Fung (Silvercord)
  13. Ding Ba *
  14. Dragon Inn
  15. Eight Treasures
  16. Eng Kee Noodle Shop
  17. Eton
  18. Fung Shing (North Point)
  19. Glorious Cuisine
  20. Good Hope Noodle
  21. Hao Tang Hao Mian
  22. Ho To Tai (Yuen Long)
  23. Ju Xing Home
  24. Kai Kai
  25. Kau Kee
  26. Kwan Kee Bamboo Noodles
  27. Kwan Kee Clay Pot Rice (Queen's Road West)
  28. Kung Wo Beancurd Factory *
  29. Lau Sum Kee (Fuk Wing Street)
  30. Lin Heung Kui
  31. Lucky Indonesia
  32. Mak Man Kee
  33. Megan's Kitchen
  34. Moon Tong Lok *
  35. Nishiki
  36. Po Kee
  37. Putien (Causeway Bay)
  38. Samsen (Sheung Wan)
  39. Samsen (Wan Chai)
  40. Sang Kee
  41. She Wong Leung
  42. Shek Kee Kitchen
  43. Shugetsu Ramen (Central)
  44. Shugetsu Ramen (Quarry Bay)
  45. Sing Kee (Central)
  46. Sister Wah
  47. Sun Yuen Hing Kee
  48. Tai Wai Dining Room *
  49. Tai Wing Wah
  50. Tai Woo
  51. Tak Kee
  52. Takeya
  53. Tasty (Central)
  54. Tim Ho Wan (North Point)
  55. Tim Ho Wan (Sham Shui Po)
  56. Tin Hung *
  57. Trusty Congee King (Wan Chai)
  58. Tsim Chai Kee (Wellington Street)
  59. Wang Fu (Central)
  60. What To Eat
  61. Wing Lai Yuen
  62. Yixin
  63. Yuan is Here (Western District)
  64. Yue Kee 
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