Besides booking hotel, buying entrance tickets, paying transportation and going shopping, another thing that needs to spend lots of money during your trip is on food and drinks.
In Hong Kong, you can find almost everywhere convenient stores, mainly 7-11 and Circle K, where you can buy the daily-needed stuffs, such as water, instant noodles, bread, cigarettes and so on. Also you will find sun lotion and bandages here. If you need stamps to send out some postcards, just go to the counter to ask the staff (usually the stamps are put behind the counter). Generally speaking, the prices of these daily-needed items in the convenient stores are relatively higher (around 10-40%) than the normal market prices. Especially the beverages are much more expensive. However, the advantage of the convenient stores is that you can easily find one close to you and they usually open till late at night (after midnight) while most of other shops close at 9 or 10pm. It’s not a bad choice when you need some groceries, snacks, food or beer late at night or on your way of sightseeing trip. Instant food is another convenience of these stores. You are able to heat it up with the microwave in the store and consume immediately. In the bigger size stores, they will sometimes provide customers some sauces (soya sauce, ketchup or chili) and tables.
When you walk on the street and see the logo like “Park n Shop”, “Wellcome”, “city’super” or “Taste”, you can consider having a look. These are big supermarkets, like “Wal-Mart” or “Carrefour”. You can find almost all that you need for daily life here and the price is fair. Usually “Park n Shop” and “Wellcome” are selling products made in Asia area while imported items are the mainly goods in “city’super” and “Taste. Especially for city’super, most of their products are coming from Japan. It is maybe interesting for you to go in and take a look.
Besides preparing food yourself, you also can choose to eat outside. If you are traveling on a tight budget and have to consider prices it might be worthwhile to consider those fast food chain restaurants, such as McDonald, Maxim, Fairwood, Café de Coral, Yoshinoya and etc.. In these chain restaurants, you need to order yourself from the counter and pay before consuming food. Then you need to either stand in line to pick up your food or wait until they call the number on your receipt. Since they usually call the numbers in Cantonese and the restaurants can be very noisy, if you cannot or have difficulty to understand, just pay attention to the big screens on the wall, which will show the number when your food is ready to pick up. These restaurants are also popular for the local Hong Kong people due to their fair price and ok quality food. You can expect to pay HK$20-50 each person in these restaurants.
Eating at the Food Courts in large shopping malls is another option for you. Normally the large shopping malls will arrange a place for the customers dining and resting. For example the 3rd floor of YATA (Sha Tin), the 7th floor of the Festival Walk (Kowloon Tong), the 4th floor of Langham Plaza (Mongkok), as well as the 3rd floor of the Harbour City (Tsim Sha Tsui). This is basically the collection of small chain restaurants and you need to buy food from the counters yourself and wait in-line. Instead of setting up their own tables and seats, these restaurants share the tables and seats provided by the shopping malls in public area. Thus, the price of food is relatively low it is usually very crowded during peak time. So we suggest you to look for a seat before ordering food.
Unless it is obviously stated, normally all the Hong Kong restaurants (dinning in) will charge you 10% service charge. Most Chinese restaurants will charge HK$3-15 per person for tea or water. There are also some restaurants that force customers to consume snacks such as peanuts or appetizers of average price HK$10-30 per table. Dining in restaurants is paid afterwards and they usually accept both cash and credit card. Most of the restaurants will place their menu in front of the door, listing the price of their food. Btw, in Hong Kong, the bowl of rice is not for free like in Mainland China and generally a small bowl of rice costs HK$6-10.
Besides all the choices above, there are also many small restaurants on the street. But please keep in mind that prices here will not essentially be much lower. Sometimes it might happen that you end up paying even higher prices than in the chain restaurants and worse quality of food. The big advantage is that you may have some different choices and normally these small restaurants are free of the above-mentioned 10% service charge. However pay attention that there are cases that some stores will cheat the tourists. When they find out that you are not a local citizen but tourist, the menu they provide to you will look similar with others but with higher prices inside. So be aware of these tricks and double-check the prices before you order.
4 spicy dumplings，price: HK$38
2 pan-fried dumplings and 2 small pork buns, price: HK$28
A small bowl of minced-pork rice with a mini Haagen-Dazs icecream cup, price: HK$82
If you want to visit theme parks such as the Ocean Park or the Disneyland, keep in mind that these two theme parks usually don’t allow you to bring your own food and beverage into their parks. Due to their park policies there is a chance that you will be required to open your bags for checking at the entrance. Be prepared that the price of food inside the parks is much higher than the average market price outside. For example, a normal BBQ pork rice which costs around HK$20 in Maxim is charged HK$98 in Panda Café of the Ocean Park. Of course, you can find some inexpensive fast food chain stores like McDonald inside the parks. But it will always be very crowded and in peak seasons they even run out of their food stocks.
The Bottomline: If you don’t know where and how to get food with your comfortable expense, we recommend you to take a look our article : Follow the Michelin Guide, Try the Best Food of Hong Kong. We provide you a list of 2011 Hong Kong Michelin restaurants and hotels with detailed address and average spending. We hope that we could help you to make the right decision easier.