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10 Best Hong Kong Breakfasts: It's the Best Meal of the Day



To say that Hong Kong is keen on eating would be the understatement of the millennium. So where does breakfast fit in? Traditionally, and from a Chinese point of view, it's not so much a time to ingest large amounts of food as an opportunity to meet friends and associates, chat and swap a few tidbits of information, browse the newspapers (whether dead-tree or LCD) and take stock generally, with a dim sum restaurant like Luk Yu being an ideal spot.

For anyone with a bit more of an appetite, somewhere like Cafe Too is irresistible. It's not so much the vast array that's laid out on the buffet with more than a little artistry, as the chefs at work frying, boiling, chopping and generally cooking up a storm just feet away from the dining tables that make this such an exciting place to break fast. Note that all the main hotels in Hong Kong run a pretty sensational breakfast buffet.

Alternatively, it's fun to duck into somewhere like Classified, where the other customers will mainly be in suits if it's a weekday; and while it bills itself as a cheese room, there's plenty of items like home-made muesli and scrambled eggs on sourdough toast: plus a Bloody Mary if the occasion warrants.

 

 


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10
Central
Wagyu
Photo courtesy of Wagyu


There are some people for whom the words "thick and juicy eight ounce sirloin with two eggs (any style), home fried potatoes, herb fried tomatoes and toast" won't set their taste buds tingling. But for everyone else, Wagyu is breakfast heaven. There are some unusual items here too – like the breakfast pizza which incorporates sausage and bacon, and the Vegemite pizza, an Australian savory concoction that's something of an acquired taste. While the restaurant is pretty much in the heart of Central, it's got a pleasantly casual air. Service is efficient and the decor is relaxing. Nearest MTR: Central.

Recommended for Breakfast because: Top ingredients and stellar service make this an essential breakfast destination.

Ed's expert tip: Vegetarians should not shy away – there's fresh fruit and bakery items too.

Read more about Wagyu →


9
Tsim Sha Tsui
Delaney's
Photo courtesy of Delaney's


Ireland's colonized the world with its pubs, serving up good cheer as well as good food and drink. Delaney's has been going in Hong Kong for the best part of two decades (there is another branch in Pok Fu Lam) and its popularity is as much down to its breakfasts – plates brimming with eggs, bacon and all the good things in life – as its rip-roaring evening singalongs. Another reason for the success of Delaney's is the staff: matey, sympathetic, efficient and good humored, in fact, little short of perfect. The coffee here is excellent as well.

Recommended for Breakfast because: There's a nice sense of space at Delaney's, coupled with its streetside ambiance.

Ed's expert tip: The "snug" – a separate partitioned table – makes for a more private dining experience.

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Don't be confused by the fact that celebrity chef Gray Kunz's name is attached to this upper crust hangout that morphs from breakfast room to lunch spot to smart dinner venue to late night drinkery as the day wares on. Don't come here expecting a vast menu: it's stripped down to bare essentials, though, for example, the cereal is made up of ten different grains and garnished with stewed raspberries, while is Greek yogurt is diced with almond slivers, honey and dried apricots. So, this is a classy joint, with neat views of the harbor if you get in quick enough.

Recommended for Breakfast because: This is – almost – breakfast as a mini work of art.

Ed's expert tip: The white egg omelet is simply delicious.

Read more about Cafe Gray Bar →


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The Flying Pan
Photo courtesy of The Flying Pan


Eggs Benedict, Eggs Florentine, Eggs Maharajah, Eggs Oscar, Eggs Norwegian, Eggs Nantucket ... you get the idea. Just about every breakfast combo is up for grabs here, in significant portions in relaxing surrounds. They serve alcohol, there's a kids' menu, they roll out special stuff at teatime – basically, whatever the time of day, and pretty much whatever you feel like eating, they've got it covered. There's a second branch in Wan Chai, which is practically a carbon copy. The clientele is largely expat, often trying to recover from a fairly large celebration the previous night. All in all, this is a very cheery and hearty eatery.

Recommended for Breakfast because: One-of-a-kind Flying Pan is the ultimate breakfast cafe with a very cosmopolitan take on food.

Ed's expert tip: Whatever the time, you're never too late (or early) for breakfast here. In other words, it's open 24/7.

Read more about The Flying Pan →


Passion by Gerard Dubois
Photo courtesy of Passion by Gerard Dubois


If you like all things bread, you'll fall passionately in love with Monsieur Dubois' products. If you're not so keen, try walking in here first thing in the morning and then letting your nostrils do the talking. There is an absolutely fabulous range here – artisan breads, croissants, pastries, you name it, it's baked fresh here, using specially imported flour from France. In fact, the ambiance is a major part of the attraction, as it could so easily be a cafe in La Belle France. There's plenty of coffee, hot chocolate and fresh juices to wash things down with too.

Recommended for Breakfast because: It's pretty much summed up in the name – passion. Far too many Hong Kong bakeries are bland – but not G. Dubois!

Ed's expert tip: Ask about the specialty breads, which cater to all tastes.

Read more about Passion by Gerard Dubois →


The Verandah
Photo courtesy of The Verandah


The Peninsula, aka The Pen, is the oldest hotel in Hong Kong. There may be newer, bigger, more spiffy hotels in the city, but this is the most venerable, and The Verandah is one of its principal restaurants and quite the most gracious place to take breakfast in Hong Kong. The buffet is like one vast path to temptation – fresh fruit and bakery items, yogurt and cereal, delicacies of all sorts – while the kitchen will cook anything that takes your fancy, from kedgeree to waffles. The staff are a delight, past masters at looking after their guests and getting their day off to a grand start.

Recommended for Breakfast because: There's nowhere quite like The Peninsula Hotel, and The Verandah is one of its prime restaurants.

Ed's expert tip: You'll enjoy your breakfast more if you are smartly dressed, like all the other diners.

Read more about The Verandah →


Classified Cheese Room
Photo courtesy of Classified


Classified – part of a chain that has rapidly spread across the city – is a Hong Kong success story. Founded by three friends who had studied abroad and reckoned that their native HK needed a slightly more sophisticated yet casual sort of eatery, Classified's a winner. The menu is wide-ranging and fun, the clientele pretty much the same, and both are matched by the decor. On weekdays, nobody lingers for very long, but on Saturday and Sunday this is where the neighborhood comes to chill, fill and say hi to friends and family members. Classified, if it's not too simplistic to say so, is pure class.

Recommended for Breakfast because: It's fair to say that Classified serves world-class breakfasts in a world-class city.

Ed's expert tip: Grab a table outside if the weather allows.

Read more about Classified Cheese Room →


3
Central
cafe TOO
Photo courtesy of Island Shangri-La


Hotel buffets have gotten a bad reputation over the years, one that is largely deserved. At the Island Shangri-La, Cafe TOO is an exception, however. Skilled chefs at seven cooking stations prepare food to order so things don't linger too long under the heat lamps, and the variety truly is amazing. This was one of the first hotels in Hong Kong to adopt the open kitchen principle, and it's something that just about everybody loves. Pace yourself – there's a lot to eat but it's all top quality. As well as the aromas wafting from the cooking stations, the cafe is flooded with light making this a very happy place to eat.

Recommended for Breakfast because: Excellent value – you could fill up here and barely need to eat for the rest of the day.

Ed's expert tip: Pick a window table away from the cooking stations for a calmer meal.

Read more about cafe TOO →


Mandarin Grill
Photo courtesy of Mandarin Oriental


A perennial winner on Hong Kong's dining scene, the Mandarin Grill exudes sophisticated ambiance, with decor by designer Sir Terence Conran. At breakfast, expect a certain elegance along with instant acknowledgement of what you like to eat first thing in the morning. Congee? Waffles? Bacon, egg and black pudding? Certainly, sir. Certainly, madam. And moments later, whatever you've ordered appears, done to perfection. It's not cheap, but there again, neither is a Rolls-Royce. Discreet people-watching is one of the fringe benefits of breakfast here. And assuming you've had enough of your iPhone or similar device, there's a comprehensive selection of newspapers and the like.

Recommended for Breakfast because: Prime food in a prime location – few Hong Kong breakfasts cut a smarter dash.

Ed's expert tip: This is a formal dining room – tee-shirts and thongs are not going to cut it.

Read more about Mandarin Grill →


Luk Yu Teahouse
Photo courtesy of Hong Kong Tourism Board


Luk Yu has the distinction of being Hong Kong's oldest still-operating tea house. It opened back in 1933, and not much about the place has changed since. The setting is still charming, with ceiling fans, wooden booths, marble tabletops, wood paneling and stained-glass windows. During the day it's packed with regulars who swear by the dim sum; in the evening there's a truly vast dinner menu. Service is notoriously indifferent (some might even say a bit rude), but this is a place you come to for an old-school local ambiance. While it's by no means off the beaten track, Luk Yu remains utterly authentic.

Recommended for Breakfast because: There is no more traditional breakfast spot in the whole of Hong Kong.

Ed's expert tip: Luk Yu's dim sum menu rotates weekly. Make sure to order the pig liver siu mai and steamed chicken buns if they are available.

Read more about Luk Yu Teahouse →


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