Foodie Travel Hong Kong Travel Tips

How to Do Hong Kong on a Budget – Cheap Food

How to do Hong Kong on a budget eat

If you are on a backpacker budget, Hong Kong can be a little off-putting due to its reputation as an expensive city. But, as I discovered, you can visit Hong Kong on a tight budget, and you can actually do a lot for a little. I thought I would put together some tips which helped me not to blow my budget, and allowed me to have a great time, without spending a fortune.

Last week was all about Hong Kong’s budget accommodation. This week, I’m talking about the very important topic of food; how to eat in Hong Kong without blowing your budget. Next week, I’ll share my favourite things to do in Hong Kong for free.

Cheap Eats in Hong Kong on a Backpacker Budget

For a food fanatic like me, eating is a pretty big part of travelling. So when we decided to go to Hong Kong, I was worried that its reputation for being an expensive city paired with my little budget would mean I wouldn’t be able to afford to eat anything, and that wouldn’t be much fun at all! Luckily, there were cheap food options on offer, and I was able to enjoy some delicious food.

Unfortunately, I was sick while we were in Hong Kong, so I missed out on trying a lot of great street food and hawker stalls. We mostly ate in places that were convenient, so this post reflects that. I long to go back to Hong Kong to do its food justice, but for now, this post is based on my experience of eating in Hong Kong while on a budget.

For breakfast in Hong Kong, and everywhere else, my first priority is always coffee. We spotted a McDonalds next to our hotel and so I was planning to I head straight there in the morning to get my caffeine fix along with some sort of muffin.

In an unexpected stroke of luck, we ended up getting a room that had a fridge in it. This was so great, and gave us so many more options for buying cheap food.

READ MORE: How to get a Chinese tourist visa in Hong Kong

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There was a supermarket across the road from us, called Marketplace, in iSquare just off Nathan Road. We went there to stock up on water, snacks, and breakfast items. We bought juice, yoghurt and pastries, as well as a box of instant coffee sachets. This saved us a lot of money, and it was really relaxing to be able to have breakfast in the room when we woke up.

We also got crackers and Laughing Cow cheese. We were able to bring these out with us to snack on during the day. The supermarket also sold some sandwiches, fruit and pizza breads which would be an inexpensive way of eating lunch.

For dinner, we found a few cheap places. There was Pasianos, a popular pizza chain. For $55 ($7.50 AU) you get a giant, delicious slice of pizza and a drink. I didn’t get any photos unfortunately, so you can check the out the above link.

paisano's pizza hong kong budget food

Pizza that won’t blow a backpacker budget

One day we grabbed a McDonalds for lunch, as they do a deal for $21 ($2.85 AU) not bad! The Mc Cafes also do some really nice looking sandwiches like crayfish for reasonable prices.

hong kong on a budget food cheap

Muffin and coffee macaroon from Mc Cafe

Subway do a deal for $25 ($3.40 AU) for a 6 inch and a drink. It’s a handy way to fill up when you’re out on the move.

The night markets have lots of cheap, authentic food, and there are tiny little restaurants scattered around selling bowls of noodles for a few dollars. Unfortunately, as I was sick during our time in Hong Kong, I missed out on trying the best Hong Kong food, as I felt queasy and was drawn to more plain food.

hong kong japanese food backpacker budget thetraveloguer

Watami Japanese restaurant, Hong Kong on a budget

The best meal we had was in a Japanese restaurant called Watami, opposite the iSquare. It wasn’t the cheapest option, but on our first night in Hong Kong, it was the cheapest out of the restaurants we checked out. We got pork rice with egg yolk $53 ($7.25 AU) and a pork noodle soup for $48 ($6.50 AU)

Japanese food in hong kong budget food thetraveloguer

Hong Kong on a budget – food Pork rice with egg yolk at Watami

 

japanese food hong kong budget food

Pork noodle soup from Watami – Hong Kong on a budget

Hong Kong is also home to the world’s cheapest Michelin starred restaurant, a dim sum place. I was incredibly excited about going to Tim ho Wan, as the food sounded so good, and I found it funny that in searching for budget food, a Michelin star place was up there with the cheapest of them.

How to do Hong Kong on a budget food thetraveloguer

Unfortunately, we never made it there. On our last night, we headed that way, in the rain, but we walked for so long, soaking wet, only to find ourselves on the edge of what looked like a motorway, which, according to Google Maps, was only halfway there. We knew we would have a long wait once we finally got there so we gave up. So if you are visiting Hong Kong, make a visit to Tim ho Wan a priority!

Here are the addresses:

Tim Ho Wan – Mong Kok  Flat 8, Ground Floor, Phase 2, Tsui Yuen Mansion, 2-20 Kwong Wa Street, Kowloon +852 2332 2896

Tim Ho Wan – Sham Shui Po  +852 9-11 Fuk Wing Street, Sham Shui Po

Hong Kong on a budget

Tips for Eating Cheap!

  •  If possible, get a fridge. It will save you lots of money.
  • Stock up on some snacks, like museli bars or crackers to carry around with you during the day. This will fight hunger cravings.
  • Supermarkets are your friends!
  • Go to the supermarket late at night and the pastries will be on offer. We got two delicious donuts for the price of one.
  • Coffee addicts, Mc Donalds is the place to be. Think of your coffee as part of a meal, and get your fix along with a muffin in the morning, or with a sandwich for your lunch.
  •  If you manage to eat from supermarkets during the day, you may be able to work your budget around one decent meal at night. For example, our Japanese meal cost about $50 each, but the pastries and yoghurt in the morning, plus crackers and cheese for lunch, meant that our food budget was still really low by dinnertime, so we could afford to spend on a meal.
  • The local markets also have cheap food, but I can’t speak to them as I didn’t experience this during my time in Hong Kong.
  •  Mc Donalds and Subway are not to be ignored. You know the food will taste good, and cheapness is guaranteed. Mc Donalds do a lunchtime deal where you can get a meal for $3 AU! We only discovered this on our last morning, otherwise we would have been tempted every day.
  • Go to the Michelin starred dim sum places. If not for yourselves, do it for me please!!

 *Sorry for the lack of decent photographs, I was sick when we were in Hong Kong so I didn’t think to take enough useful snaps!

 

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11 Comments

  • Reply
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    July 26, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    […] week I’ll talk about how to eat in Hong Kong on a budget, as part of my little ‘How to do Hong Kong on a Budget’ […]

  • Reply
    How to do Hong Kong on a Budget- Sightseeing | The Traveloguer Travel Blog
    August 4, 2014 at 9:36 am

    […] to part three of How to do Hong Kong on a Budget. Last week was all about where to find cheap food in Hong Kong. Part one was about how to sleep in Hong Kong […]

  • Reply
    Escape Hunter
    February 6, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    I think I’d head straight to the hawker centres 🙂
    I’ve been to such places in Singapore. Although they tend to be a bit dirty, if you’re careful, you can get cheap food… and luckily not get sick!

    • Reply
      Christine Maguire
      June 24, 2015 at 4:24 pm

      I normally would do the same, I love street food and market discoveries! I think you’re as likely to get sick from ice or brushing your teeth than eating street food. That’s what I tell myself anyway! 🙂

  • Reply
    Bob
    May 8, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    You put McDonald’s in a cheap eats food blog. That is all.

    • Reply
      Christine Maguire
      May 19, 2015 at 4:13 pm

      Hi Bob,
      This is a travel blog, and this post is about how to do Hong Kong when you have a very small budget, so Mc Donalds is a good option if you don’t have a lot of money.

  • Reply
    Ryan
    June 10, 2015 at 1:15 am

    You realize that nearly every cheap eat you listed kind of defeats the purpose of traveling to said place? There are many authentic local choices in HK that are as cheap or even cheaper than the places you described. There are cooked food centres, hawker markets, etc…

    • Reply
      Christine Maguire
      June 24, 2015 at 4:23 pm

      Hi Ryan, thanks for your comment. I do realise that, but as I didn’t eat at the local markets or food stalls I didn’t include them in this post. I didn’t visit Hong Kong for the food, we went there for a short visa stop before China. Although I am usually really excited to try local food everywhere I go, we went after spending months in Asia, and I was very sick at the time, so we didn’t do much culinary exploring. Our main concern was to eat cheaply and conveniently. Before we decided to go to Hong Kong, I was concerned about going there at all due to the cost of living and our very tight budget. I wrote this post for people who could be in the same situation, trying to figure out the cost of eating in Hong Kong on a budget before they go.

  • Reply
    Jo P
    December 14, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    You eat Mcdonald’s in one of the best food town in the world and wrote about it? That’s really funny. You aren’t doing HK right if you are eating McDonald’s…..

    HK is famous for CHEAP, convenient and delicious food, you don’t need to eat McDonald’s to stay in budget……..all these options you mentioned above does not represent HK nor are they CHEAP either! Your research had failed you. If you didn’t eat any real HK food, don’t even bother writing about it; it is really not helpful to write about generic/ chain store food from the best food town in the world, anyone can find generic/ cheap/ not good food.

    And the fact that you just used HK as a visa is hilarious too, there are so much to do/ see in HK. Any semi-serious self-claimed traveller would not have skipped HK like that. This is an extremely sad post to read, I am so sorry I stumbled upon it.

  • Reply
    Robert
    March 27, 2017 at 6:46 am

    Please check out Switcase! (www.switcase.com)
    We want everyone to discover Hong Kong’s greatest food culture in the easiest way possible.
    Please come visit us and post and recommendation you may have!

  • Reply
    Worth
    June 7, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Worthless

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