If you haven't eaten at a Tsui Wah, you've missed one of Hong Kong's most iconic dining experiences. Not that this local chain, established in 1967, is anything fancy. Indeed, it's the local equivalent of a diner (called a cha chaan teng, literally a tea food hall), where the menu is likely to be attached to the table under plastic sheeting and you'll probably share a table with strangers during peak times. The dishes are pure Hong Kong comfort food, an eclectic and inexpensive assortment of Cantonese, Asian, and Western fare prepared for the Chinese palate. Start your meal with a local favorite—milk tea—followed, perhaps, by a jumbo hot dog, sizzling king prawns with XO sauce and noodles, Malaysian beef curry, or chicken wings. There are branches virtually everywhere, some open 24 hours and each with its own atmosphere. Needless to say, these are cash-only establishments. Among the most convenient are those at 2 Carnarvon Road, Tsim Sha Tsui (852/2366-8250; MTR: Tsim Sha Tsui); 17-19 Pak Hoi St., Yau Ma Tei (852/2780-8328; MTR: Jordan); 77-81 Parkes St., Yau Ma Tei (852/2384-8388; MTR: Jordan); 244 Portland St., Mong Kok (852/2392-3889; MTR: Mong Kok); 15-19 Wellington St., Central (852/2525-6338; MTR: Central); 84-86 Des Voeux Road, Central (852/2815-3000; MTR: Central); 20-22 Cannon St., Causeway Bay (852/2573-4338); 483-499 Jaffe Road, Causeway Bay (852/2892-2633; MTR: Causeway Bay); and in the Peak Galleria on Victoria Peak (852/2849-2345; Peak Tram).
- Beth Reiber