Friday, July 19, 2024

4 Restaurant Food Chains Expats Wish Existed in Hong Kong

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As of September 2017, there are 14,626 restaurants in Hong Kong. That’s according to the number of licenses handed out by the government based on stats by the Hong Kong government. One can imagine that these food shops range from sidewalk stalls to high-end fine dining restaurants.

But not surprisingly, foreign expats might be disappointed to realize that their favorite pit stops back home are not available in Hong Kong. While Hong Kong offers a variety of dishes that newcomers need to try, who can blame expats for sticking with that familiar taste?

So let’s get that list of restaurants both expats and locals who have tried them abroad would like to have presence in Hong Kong.

1. Hardee’s
It’s been more than ten years since Hardee’s served its last meal in Hong Kong. Oh boy, that moment when people flocked to take a glimpse of the last menu handed out on that chilly December night in Central. What customers would probably miss is its curly fries and fried chicken which will probably give Jollibee a run for its money as the best in town.

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Do we want Hardee’s return in Hong Kong? Surely we do, but maybe only when someone or something puts an end to crazy rise in shop rental rates — the main reason why Hardee’s has left Hong Kong.

2. Nando’s
Expats who crave for chicken cooked in another way might have Nando’s on top of the list. To those familiar with this Portuguese can easily marvel the right mix of sauce and spices, timing of marination and perfect amount of charring, hitting the right buttons and produce an exquisite taste of how chicken must be cooked: juicy and tender.


With a variety of Peri-Peri sauces to choose from — mild to extra hot — you’ll be given the option based on tolerance to spicy food. The closest we can get are bottles Nando’s Peri-Peri sauce available at Park N Shop.

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We can’t find anything close to Nando’s chicken so we are pretty sure there are legions of followers in Hong Kong hoping and praying Nando’s will finally establish in the city.

3. In-N-Out
Although there are a few pop-up events that featured In-N-Out burgers in Hong Kong in recent memory (2012 in The Glasshouse restaurant and 2015 in Barg), plans of setting up In-N-Out branch in the city is not imminent.

Its burgers might take longer to cook, plus the extra crowded premises make the mere ordering process a time-consuming exercise, but the wait is all worth it. The burger can be described as a classier, better-quality version of Big Mac with its appealing distinct taste without the outlandish decorations to attract the uninformed customers.

However, chances of having In-N-Out burger branching out in Hong Kong is pretty nil; the family-owned chain is not yet open to franchises. Heck, many cities in the US clamor for their expansion. But as hopeful as we are, the original California drive-thru hamburger stand coming to Hong Kong is not impossible.

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4. Chipotle
Hong Kong’s passion for healthy eating has never been so the adopted theme of “focus on quick, fresh, and hip” food should bode well to local eating population. As it focuses on freshness, Chipotle likes to describe itself as serving “food with integrity.”

It serves four major component items of burritos, bowls, tacos, and salads that are comparably better than many other local establishments attempting to emulate that authentic Mexican taste.

One of our favorites is Chips and Guacamole filled with fresh-fried chips that are crisp and tasty. But the serving of guacamole turned out to be a lush treat whose delicate avocado flavor blended well with taste of onion and cilantro.

We bet Chipotle Mexican Grill would be a good addition to Hong Kong’s rotisserie of fine food options.


It’s not a wonder that expats and locals who have tasted menus not found in Hong Kong to have their preferred type of dish. This is not just to remind them back home or a recent trip overseas but also to tell the others: you don’t know what you’re missing.

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