Jowett Yu’s guide to Hong Kong’s most affordable Michelin-Starred restaurants

Hong Kong's Michelin-starred restaurant delights won't break the bank.
Hong Kong's Michelin-starred restaurant delights won't break the bank. Photo: Getty Images

 There's over 60 Michelin-starred restaurants in Hong Kong and you don't have to save up to eat at them. On the contrary, Hong Kong is home to some of the most affordable of all the world's Michelin-starred restaurants.

We asked one of Hong Kong's best-known chefs, Jowett Yu, to provide you with five restaurants you must visit next time you're in Hong Kong. Born in Taiwan and trained in Sydney, Yu has seven years of experience in the Hong Kong food scene, where he combines his signature style of creative Chinese cuisine with techniques learnt at key Australian restaurants.

Yat Lok

Located in Central in the heart of Hong Kong, this One-Michelin-starred family business has been operating for 64 years. Its famous glistening roast goose is marinated with a secret family recipe that has over 20 steps before it's ready to eat (char-grilled and insanely delectable).

"Yat Lok has one of the best roast goose in the city, it's a no-frill fast service type of place, but don't let the appearance deter you from some of the crispiest toasty goose skin in the city," Yu says. "Go early around 11 before the lunch rush, that's also when they come fresh out of the oven."

Yue Kee

Another restaurant with a long family history, Yue Kee is run by a third generation of the same family in the coastal district of Sham Tseng. Goose is its delicacy too, using animals raised on their own farm in mainland China. Yue Kee is the home of roast goose cooked in traditional charcoal ovens. The government hasn't given charcoal licenses since the 1980s, so get in for this rare delicacy.

"This is one of the last places holding a license to use charcoal in their oven," Yu says. "The key feature from the goose at this restaurant is the faint wood smoke flavour and aroma permeating the goose. I think Hong Kong (and the Guangdong region) is probably the best place to eat roast goose in the world."

Hing Kee

If you're a fan of clay pot rice dishes, nowhere does it better in Hong Kong – nay, Asia – than Kowloon's Hing Kee Claypot Rice. Don't let the huge space spanning multiple shopfronts put you off, what it lacks in intimacy, it makes up for in taste, and has done for 30 years.

"Hing Kee specialises in Typhoon shelter crab," Yu says, "This dish originated from a Hong Kong bay where fishermen docked in the harbour and would have make-shift restaurants either on the boat or on the side of the pier cooking crab fried with garlic. Hing Kee serves the classical style which is crab cooked wet-style in fried onion, garlic, and black bean paste." Mind you, it's just as hard to go past a traditional bowl of chicken claypot with slices of Chinese sausages.

Jowett Yu is one of Hong Kong's brightest culinary stars.

Jowett Yu is one of Hong Kong's brightest culinary stars. Photo: Hong Kong Tourism Board

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The Chairman

If you like Cantonese food, then this is the place for you. Consistently listed in the world's top 50 restaurants, you might struggle to find The Chairman as it is located in a non-descript two storey townhouse on the edge of Central. But the food will scream at you on the way in. "In my opinion, The Chairman is truly the greatest Cantonese restaurant in Hong Kong," Yu says. "This is a remarkable restaurant in the way they're creating new classic dishes within the framework of traditional Cantonese flavour. Their dishes are new and exciting but the flavour is familiar at the same time."

Yardbird

Yardbird is about so much more than its food – yet the sheer quality of its menu makes it a regular on world's top 50 restaurant lists. Yardbird has the glamour of New York with the food of Tokyo – not a bad combination, right? Located just out of Central in trendy Sheung Wan, it's a modern Japanese Izakaya specialising in yakitori dishes, especially grilled chicken (or chicken offal).

"Yardbird is an essential restaurant to visit in Hong Kong because it really celebrates Hong Kong products and culture," Yu says. "It's fun and loud with a curated music playlist." Waiters do yoga before shifts and the owners have collaborated with hip street wear brands like Vans. Hipster foodies, this is for you.

Eat, drink, play and discover it all in Hong Kong. This city has so many unique and authentic experiences to offer for your first post-pandemic holiday. To stay inspired, visit Discover Hong Kong.