9 Places To Eat And Drink Incredibly Well In Hong Kong

You already know all about the Rolex shops, rooftop bars and high-rise hotels. But there is more to Asia's Skyscraper City than meets the Chanel eyewear. From the best dim sum on earth to star-studded international imports, the Chinese city-state is one of the world's most exciting places to eat right now. And it's increasingly easy to eat there, too. National carrier Cathay Pacific continues to unveil new routes from major U.S. airports like Chicago and Newark (beginning March 2014). In June 2014, American Airlines will launch direct service out of Dallas, and Delta will soon take off from Seattle. Book your ticket, and pack an appetite. As part of our sprawling Fantasy Travel Week coverage, here are 9 places to eat and drink incredibly well in Hong Kong.

1. Tim Ho Wan

The world's "cheapest" Michelin-starred restaurant does dim sum right. Affectionately known as Timmy's, this casual spot in the Central district's oddly out-of-the-way IFC Mall is well worth the trek. Join the crowds of local families, hungry travelers and quick-moving staff for mind-blowing Cantonese fare like veggie-stuffed tofu skin, pork meatballs topped with soft-boiled quail egg and arguably the best buns on the planet — filled with cubes of barbecue pork and dusted with a hint of crystallized sugar. Mercy. Shop 12A, Hong Kong Station, IFC Mall, Level 1, +852 2332 3078

2. Yardbird

Been looking for yakitori in all the wrong places? Your search is over. One of the city's hottest tables since its 2011 opening, this Japanese gastropub is helmed by chef Matt Abergel, formerly of Masa in New York. Grab a seat at the bar to sip stellar cocktails like the Shino, a mix of gin, shiso, fresh lemon and black sugar — or a glass of Yardbird's Stumptown-infused house shochu. Order at least two items from Abergel's inventive chicken yakitori menu (pro tip: the eggy meatball is the move) alongside shareable plates like seared yellowtail salad with yuzu kosho and ponzu, and addictive sweet corn tempura. 33-35 Bridges Street, +852 2547 9273, yardbirdrestaurant.com

3. Teakha

Sip milk tea with the pretty people at this teacup-sized café in the Sheung Wan neighborhood's Tai Ping Shan, a hilly street lined with art galleries, independent design shops and one eyesore of a 7-Eleven. Hip locals bypass the Sev and spend warm afternoons at one of Teakha's outdoor tables, which provide an excellent vantage point for people watching. Join them for a house-made pineapple scone or slice of green tea cheesecake, and get ready for a taste of the sweet life. Shop B, 18 Tai Ping Shan Street, +852 2858 9185, teakha.com

4. Sing Kee

This seafood-centric stop is one of Hong Kong's last standing dai pai dongs, the Central district's beloved, rapidly disappearing open-air food stalls. Hundreds of these bustling stations once lined Stanley Street, but governmental ordinances and enthusiasm for glass-walled high-rises have whittled that number down to less than 30. Sing Kee is a longtime favorite for Cantonese classics like wok-seared squid with bitter melon, grouper grilled with baby bok choy, and clams fried with chili peppers and pickled soybean, a dai pai dong signature. 9-10 Stanley Street, +852 2541 5678

5. Chachawan

A buzzy crowd of Sheung Wan hipsters congregate at this newly opened Isaan spot from a protégé of Aussie chef David Thompson, young up-and-comer Adam Cliff. Roll up your plaid shirtsleeves, groove to the A Tribe Called Quest–heavy soundtrack and get ready for sinus-clearing Northern Thai fare like som dtum malakor (papaya salad), garlicky gai yung chicken and pla phao glua — a salt-crusted sea bass served with a fiery green chili sauce. Top it off with a dish of house-made lemongrass ice cream or a bowl of salty-sweet coconut rice dumplings. 206 Hollywood Road, +852 2549 0020

6. Din Tai Fung

This Taiwanese chain has outposts around the world, but Hong Kong residents happily adopt its plump, perfect soup dumplings as their own. The pork and crab are an absolute must-order, but don't miss stellar starters like the spicy, vinaigrette-doused seaweed and tofu salad. There are two Din Tai Fungs in HK, but go to the Kowloon location, which is located on the top floor of the Silvercord shopping center on bustling Canton Road and tends to be slightly less crowded. Shop 130 and Restaurant C, 3/F, 30 Canton Road, +852 2730 6928, dintaifung.com.hk

7. Catalunya

What happens when a group of chefs from elBulli, Can Roca, Mugaritz and Arzak take a field trip to Asia? This swinging Spanish spot, which shares a name with its enormously successful sister restaurant in Singapore. Weave your way through the dark-windowed BMWs parked out front, and get ready to go avant-garde in the 8,000-square-foot, Avroko-designed space. Despite its considerable size, Catalunya has been packed since its spring 2013 debut, so call at least one month in advance to sample dishes like the Spanish tortilla, reimagined here as a potato foam-topped stew and served in a martini glass, and a heavily truffled bikini sandwich. G/F, Guardian House, 32 Oi Kwan Road, +852 2866 7900, catalunya.hk

8. Tack Hsin

Turn up the heat at this Wan Chai hot pot restaurant, part of a friendly, local mini-chain. Tack Hsin keeps things steamy with big bowls of broths, which are served tableside so that young families and Tsing Tao-sipping thirty-somethings can dunk uncooked their pumpkin slices, corn dumplings and cubes of tender lamb or beef at their leisure. Don't skimp when creating your customized dipping sauce from the extensive selection of chilies, cilantro, scallions, chopped peanuts and at least six types of vinegar. Multiple locations

9. Petrus

No Hong Kong restaurant guide would be complete without mention of at least one fancy hotel restaurant overlooking Victoria Harbor. Petrus, an elegant outpost on the 56th floor of Central's posh Island Shangri-La, should be your pick. The restaurant serves flawless, Michelin-starred French fare to navy-suited locals and well-heeled hotel guests. Keep your pinky in the air while swirling your Chablis and spooning up velvety cauliflower velouté, and make sure at least one person at your table orders the suckling pig, which is meltingly tender and carved tableside. Pacific Place, Supreme Court Road, 56th Floor, +852 2820 8590, shangri-la.com

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