Temple Street is Hong Kong at its most exhilarating. Neon signs, honking cars, crowded streets and the smell of cooked food wafting through the air, all fighting for your attention. People always seem to come up with “best of” lists, but here at HK Cheapo we know you’re only likely to scratch the surface this famous Jordan district market. So, we humbly provide you with a mixed list of dishes, cuisines and a few restaurants suggestions that you’ll want to try in this electric, shape-shifting part of town.

Pro tip: Most of the places you should visit are likely on either side of Temple Street or Nanking Street, but don’t let that stop you from exploring all the nooks and crannies of the area. With ground-level space at a premium, it’s also worth looking up and seeing what there might be on the floors above.

Chilli crab

temple street crabs
Photo by Emily Dickson

There are a number of solid choices on Nanking Street, but we know that Temple Street Spicy Crabs that occupies the intersection of Temple Street and Nanking Street is a tried and true favourite. You can certainly get fancier (and some would argue better) chilli crab in the city, but this is a solid choice. Crabs are always market price, so make sure you know how much they are before you order.

temple street food guide
Crabs table | Photo by Christy Choi

Other orders from the menu:

  • fried spicy tofu
  • stir-fried morning glory (tong choi)
  • fried clams with black bean and chilli
  • fried spicy fresh cuttlefish
  • sweet and sour pork
  • stir-fried hor fun noodles with beef (gan chao au hor – 干炒牛河)

Indian/Nepalese

While the city’s population is mostly ethnically Chinese, quite a few of its minority residents live in Kowloon, and the Temple Street area has its share of Indian and Nepalese specialty stores and hole-in-the wall restaurants. It’s great for vegetarians who often have a hard time finding restaurants in the city (boy does this place love its seafood and pork).

Our suggestions:

Manakamana Nepali Restaurant

Dishes to try:

  • sweet and hearty aloo dum (potato curry)
  • samosa chaat (crumbled samosas mixed with spices and garnished with coriander leaves and sev—crunchy chickpea noodle pieces made popular with snackers across the Indian subcontinent)
  • fried veggie momos (dumplings)

Pinoy (Filipino)

This is not for the vegetarians—or anyone worried about how much oil is being used in their food. But if you’re on an Anthony Bourdain–inspired eat-all-the-parts-unknown mission and looking to fill your belly with deep-fried deliciousness and spice—and to wash all that down with a cool beer—our next suggestion is your spot:

Foodtrip Bedana’s Filipino Restaurant

Dishes to try:

  • crispy pata (deep fried pork knuckle)
  • lechon kawali (deep fried pork belly)
  • kare kare (oxtail in thick peanut sauce)
  • lumpiang shanghai (minced pork spring roll)
  • dinuguan (pork cooked in pig’s blood)
  • laeng (taro stalks and leaves cooked in coconut milk)
  • garlic rice

Cha chaan teng

A cha chaan teng, or Hong Kong–style café, is basically the local equivalent of the greasy-spoon diner. Cheap, cheerful and quick (and often open 24/7), they aim to appeal to as many people as possible, and the menus are often long and varied. Our suggestions is one the of city’s most popular and prolific cha chaan tengs, Tsui Wah, which has branches all across Hong Kong from the most blue collar neighbourhoods to the most well-heeled central business districts.

Tsui Wah

tsui wah cha chaan teng
Photo by iStock.com/winhorse

Dishes to try:

  • shredded pork and mushroom with crispy egg noodles
  • Malaysian beef brisket curry with rice
  • fish balls and fish cakes with flat rice noodles in fish soup
  • Hainan chicken rice (tender chicken served with oily rice flavoured with chicken stock, basil and lemongrass)
  • Pineapple bun with butter (ironically, there’s no pineapple in this bun—the soft bread has a crunchy, sugary top which kind of looks like it has the texture of a pineapple)

Bubble tea

bubble tea temple street
Photo by Christy Choi

Feeling like something sweet? We like this relative new kid on the bubble tea block, Tiger Sugar. Sweet, but not too cloying, as it’s sweetened with black sugar and less-sugary cream. It’s a good pick-me-up if you’re not too hungry, but need a little something after (or while) exploring the markets. The boba are the large bubbles, and the pearls smaller. Takeaway only.

Asian desserts

Find the places with the long lines outside and you’re set with these dessert shops that boast everything from durian (that stinkiest of fruits) pancakes to sweet green bean soup to mango sago and coconut soup.

Street eats

temple street food guide
Photo by Christy Choi

What would a Temple Street food guide be without a mention of the area’s quick grab-and-go fare? Nanking Street is where you want to head if you’re feeling just a little peckish. See our guide to street food and dim sum for the basics.

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