5 Michelin starred meals in Hong Kong for under $15

Looking for delicious, high-quality cuisine without the price tag? Try these Michelin rated restaurants in Hong Kong

In a city where luxury shopping malls, Rolls Royces, and 5-star hotels abound, it might not be immediately obvious that Hong Kong is one of the best foodie destinations to visit on a budget. Some of Hong Kong's tastiest food is found in places you wouldn't think to look: in tucked-away side streets, hidden corners of mega malls, and nestled inside bustling train stations. You can easily eat on the cheap in Hong Kong, and without sacrificing taste or even prestige. Among the long list of Hong Kong's Michelin-recognized restaurants, there is an incredible variety, including everything from street stalls with standing-only tables to family-owned duck and noodle houses.

These are the 5 best Michelin-starred and the 5 best Bib Gourmand (Michelin kudos for "exceptional food at moderate prices") restaurants that you can try in Hong Kong for under $15 if you're on a budget, or just saving up for one of the city's notoriously expensive cocktails.

Michelin 1-star Restaurants

Tim Ho Wan

Podium Level 1 (IFC Mall), Shop 12A. $5 USD for 3 pork buns.

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Tim Ho Wan is one of the most well-known, and budget-friendly, 1-star restaurants in the world. hough several locations are serving Tim Ho Wan's infamous dim sum throughout the city and in the greater Pacific region (and as of 2017, an Atlantic-side location in New York City), the one to try is located on the bottom level of the IFC Mall in Wan Chai. Upon arriving at Hong Kong Station via the airport express, your first great meal is just a few escalator rides away. There is always a crowd, but you can fill out your order on paper menus while you wait, and once you do sit, a remarkably efficient kitchen staff guarantees a meal in minutes. But you should use that waiting time to decide on your final order; once you sit you won't get much attention. Pork buns—sweet pineapple rolls filled with barbecued shredded pork and baked to chewy perfection—are an absolute must (you might want to go with 2 orders), and also good are shrimp shumai, lotus leaf sticky rice, taro cakes, and braised chicken feet in abalone sauce.

Trick of the trade: order food to go and skip the wait. You can eat your buns in one of IFC's courtyards or on the way back to the airport. I guarantee you'll stop here more than once!

Kam's Roast Goose

226 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai. Roast goose starts at $13 USD.

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The Kam family name is known throughout Hong Kong for their unrivaled Cantonese cuisine. The Kams have several acclaimed restaurants under their belt, and Michelin-starred Kam's Roast Goose, run by a third-generation member of the Kam clan, is no exception. There will inevitably be a line outside the 30-seat establishment, but once you make it from the back of the queue to the rows of succulent roast birds suspended behind the restaurant's front windows, you'll know that the wait was well worth it. The roast goose with plum sauce really is the show stopper here: it's everything you want in a roast duck, with a sticky-sweet glaze and the ideal balance of fat-to-crispy skin for a melt-in-your-mouth treat. Adventurous eaters, consider trying the gooseneck and head, or even the goose blood pudding served with chives. For a non-poultry dish, the roast suckling pig is the closest meat has ever come to tasting like candy.

Ho Hung Kee Congee and Noodle

Shop 1204-05, Level 12, Hysan Pl., 500 Hennessy Rd., Causeway Bay. $10 USD for a large bowl of noodles with two toppings.

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Ho Hung Kee has been around since the 1940s, though since then the dining room has changed locations and undergone renovations. Likewise, in the past few years the menu has increased in price and expanded upon the traditional fare, but it's still the classic dishes—like noodle soup in sweet, onion broth served with thin, springy egg noodles and plump shrimp wontons (or preserved egg, sliced beef, and other add-ons)—that make this a spot worth visiting, again and again. The congee, a traditional rice porridge served with meat and fresh chives, is some of the best in the city. There is congee with liver and intestines or, if you prefer (like I do) congee with pork meatballs, both meats served in a warm base of rice overcooked to creamy goodness that is not unlike eating a homemade bowl of savory rice pudding. The beauty of congee is that it's comfort food for any time of day. Feel try to have some at breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner.

Lei Garden

233 Electric Rd., North Point. Under $15 USD for most double-boiled tonic soups.

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With two Michelin-starred locations in Hong Kong alone (one on Hong Kong Island and one in Macau), Lei Garden offers traditional Cantonese fare, like roasted baby duck and deep-fried lotus root, alongside an extensive menu of truly unique seafood specialties. The North Point location is the one to try if you're in Hong Kong, which overlooks a pleasant courtyard and serves up to 200 people in a contemporary but frenetic dining room. Lei Garden is one of the more expensive of Hong Kong's 1-star Michelins, so it's worth noting what you should definitely order to get the most bang for your buck. If you can reserve a table (or happen to drop by at at a rare time when you can talk to the maître d'), you should advance order one of their famous double-boiled tonic soups. I'd recommend trying the American sea whelk soup with yam rhizome and wolfberries (don't ask, just order!), which is unlike any soup I've had. The chilled mango with grapefruit and dumplings filled with sesame make for unusually delicious desserts.

Yat Lok

34-38 Stanley Street, Central. $15 USD for roast goose drumstick over rice or noodles and broth.

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With cramped and shared tables, Yat Lok is not the restaurant to go to for a romantic or rambling dinner, but luckily, you'll want to wolf down the house roast goose in about a quarter of the time it takes you to finally get a table. (A feature on an episode of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations has secured this modest, family-owned restaurant both fame and a long line in perpetuity.) The restaurant is known for their roast goose, which is only a close second to Kam's but still rich and tender and served with a lovely vinegary-sweet family-recipe plum sauce. The menu is only in Cantonese so know what you'd like to order ahead of time.

Michelin Bib Gourmand Restaurants

Tasty Congee: The best wonton noodles in Hong Kong. Full stop. Order the noodle soup with wontons or topped with house braised brisket. Located at IFC mall and conveniently, the airport.

Joyful Dessert House: One of the most treasured sweet shops among many in Mongkok. The mango Napoleon is light and airy, the perfect end to a night of pork buns or roast goose.

Tsim Chi Kee: One of the dozens of acclaimed noodle shops on Wellington Street in Central, the homemade fish balls distinguish this shop from the crowd. Go during off hours.

Eng Kee Noodles: A trusted stop for Cantonese soup noodles near the Mid-levels. Go for the marinated and braised brisket and the deep-fried wontons.

Mak Man Kee: A 40-year-old Cantonese noodle shop down a meandering side street in Jordan, the wonton soup with duck-egg noodles and pork knuckles in red taro curd are entirely original.

Din Tai Fung: Try the Xiao Long Bao (Shanghainese steamed soup buns bursting with a rich broth of chicken, pork, and cured ham) at either the Tsim Sha Tsui or Causeway Bay locations.

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Everyone has heard of the murder-hotel where dark shadows creep at the edge of your vision, or the abandoned house where the furniture moves each time you leave the room.

But sometimes the places set up to capture the fun and fright of the Halloween season for paying customers can be far more horrifying than any ghost stories. These "fake" haunted houses will leave you genuinely haunted.



Pennhurst Haunted Asylum

So spoooky!

Thomas James Caldwell

Pennhurst Asylum was in operation from 1908-1987 in the small town of Spring City, Pennsylvania. While we don't have all the records of the residents' experiences there, it doesn't take much imagination to realize that this building was home to true horrors. In many ways, 1908 wasn't that long ago, but in terms of mental health treatment—especially in small-town Pennsylvania—it was absolutely the dark ages. This was the time of lobotomies, straight jackets, and shock therapy. Whatever the jump scares and fake blood contribute to the fear you will feel walking through Pennhurst Asylum's aging, echoing halls, they can't come close to the deep, sinking feeling caused by the deep history of torment that has left its imprint on the very fabric of the place. Four spooky skulls out of five.

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Haunted Trap House

Like this, but less 90s

In Centreville, Maryand, in the year 1989, a group of visionaries were struck by a bolt of inspiration. What if—instead of zombies and werewolves and demons, and all the stuff out of children's nightmares—what if they filled their haunted house with the real-world nightmares that were actually infesting their city, killing their residents, and generally afflicting every corner of the entire nation. Thus, the Haunted Crack House was born. Since renamed the Haunted Trap House, it's ostensibly an educational experience on the dangers of drug use, it features simulations of overdoses, arrests, and shootings, as well as actual former convicts who are paid to draw on their real experiences to make your visit as terrifying as possible. This kind of fetishizing of human misery to capitalize on the Halloween season is as despicable as it is spooky. Four-and-a-half skulls out of five.

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McKamey Manor

He technically consented to this

A $20,000 reward? A 40-page waiver? These figures have garnered a lot of attention in recent headlines. Supposedly this is the "scariest" haunted house experience in the country. Who could resist the temptation of that once-in-a-lifetime experience, combined with the chance to win a big cash prize? Unfortunately, that is exactly what Russ McKay wants. There's a reason he's put so much work into the legal side of his operation. Rather than gassing up neutered chainsaws and chasing you around in a hockey mask, McKay has opted for producing actual, real, straight-up torture. You may not find the decorations and costumes that scary, but you will absolutely fear for your life when you consent to be water-boarded with fake blood. For being operated by a man who is clearly an unhinged psychopath, McKamey Manor ties the Haunted Traphouse, with four-and-a-half spooky skulls.

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Donald Vann's House of Horrors

Donald Vann murdered eleven people. Happens to the best of us, but it does present a problem. How do you dispose of all those bodies? Donald's solution was to open a haunted house and put his victims' decaying remains on display as props. Props to him. For eight months he prepared his fetid, malodorous horrors, before debuting on October 1st. Unfortunately, you won't be able to visit his house of horrors, because he has since landed in some legal trouble—board of health, maybe?—but I'm sure for the lucky few who were able to visit during its brief tenure, and witness Vann's "psychotic smirk," I'm sure the nightmares they're left with keep on spooking.

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Every Hell House in America

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Destinations

The 10 Best Ethically-Conscious Zoos Across America

From coast to coast, these zoos are doing their part to help wildlife.

With fall weather making us all eager to spend more time outdoors, it's the perfect time of year to pay a visit to the zoo.

Just about every major city has a zoo where visitors can get up close and personal with wild animals, but of course, not all zoos are created equal. Particularly if you've watched Tiger King, you probably already know that some zoos do much more harm than good.


Thankfully, there are also many zoos who are doing great work in conservation efforts and creating the best environment possible for their animals and the animal lovers who want to visit them. Below, we've rounded up just a few of the most ethical zoos in the United States.

San Diego Zoo

As one of the most popular zoos in the country, the San Diego Zoo specializes in endangered animals and focuses on saving them from extinction. They also partner with other zoos around the world to share their research in rehabilitation and conservation that would be difficult, if not impossible, to conduct in the wild.

Austin Zoo

Located on the outskirts of Austin, Texas, the Austin Zoo started as a goat ranch and has gradually grown into one of the state's most animal-friendly zoos. Now boasting over 300 animals from over 100 species, the Austin Zoo operates with a mission to assist animals in need, taking in exotic animals that need to be rescued or rehomed due to a variety of reasons.

Indianapolis Zoo

With a strong commitment to conservation, the Indianapolis Zoo supports efforts around the world to save endangered animals and their land. They are home to over 1,400 animals in habitats that closely mimic those of the wild and have been adopting more eco-friendly practices in addition to their conservation efforts.

Woodland Park Zoo

Located in Seattle, Washington, the Woodland Park Zoo is one of the country's most ethical zoos. They focus on recreating their animals' natural habitats as closely as possible, and the zoo also has conservationist breeding programs on-site to help grow the populations of endangered species.

St. Louis Zoo

Not only is the St. Louis Zoo free to visit, but it's absolutely massive; here, you'll find 19,000 animals from 600 species over a sprawling 90 acres. According to their website, the zoo has "witnessed dozens of cheetah births, hatched and reared endangered Micronesian kingfishers and returned Puerto Rican crested toad tadpoles to ponds in their native homeland—to name only a few successes." The St. Louis Zoo also has a program called the WildCare Institute, which takes a holistic approach to healing troubled ecosystems.

Bronx Zoo

The Bronx Zoo might not be the first attraction you think of when it comes to New York City's outer boroughs, but it offers a much-needed slice of wildlife in the concrete jungle. This zoo is home to award-winning habitats that span over 265 acres. Outside of the city, the Bronx Zoo employs thousands of conservationists who work to protect endangered exotic animals in the world's most threatened environments.

Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

In addition to impressive worldwide conservation efforts, the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium—located in Omaha, Nebraska—features the world's largest geodesic dome. This dome creates a realistic desert environment that acts as a home to countless animals and plants.

Columbus Zoo

Ohio's Columbus Zoo houses over 7000 animals from over 800 species. They've made great strides in breeding endangered animals, such as the three polar bear cubs who were born at the zoo in 2016. The Columbus Zoo also boasts a massive 100,000-gallon coral reef tank, and some of the country's best primate habitats.

Alaska Zoo

It should come as no surprise that the Alaska Zoo is a fantastic place to see your favorite arctic and subarctic animals. Located in the city of Anchorage, this zoo focuses on arctic creatures you won't find at your zoos in the continental United States. They especially focus on polar bear rescue.

Denver Zoo

Colorodans are known for their love of the great outdoors, and their appreciation for Mother Nature translates into the practices at the Denver Zoo. They were the first zoo in the country to go above and beyond usual conservation efforts by getting rid of traditional enclosures, creating realistic habitats for their 4,000 creatures from over 600 different species.

Stay

7 Products to Make Your Home Feel Like a Vacation

Sometimes the best place to get away from it all is the place where you're most at home.

With the days getting shorter and the weather getting colder, it's hard not to miss the freedom to hop on a plane and fly off to some exotic destination.

But with most of the world shut off to American tourism, and social distancing still being a major concern, there has never been a better time to bring that sense of freedom and fun into your own home. Even if you don't have the option to travel like you used to, these products offer some affordable escape from the comfort of your home.

Wall Decals

Wall decals

Amazon

Sometimes all you really need to get out of your rut is a change of scenery. Redecorating a room where you spend a lot of your time can make it feel like you're somewhere brand new. And wall decals are among the quickest and cheapest ways to achieve that effect.

Turn your favorite room into a floral scene, a desert landscape, or something more whimsical in a matter of minutes. Coming in various sizes to provide either small touches of color, or wall-size tableaus, it's a simple peel-and-stick process to turn a familiar space into something. These tropical hibiscus decals from RoomMates bring the island vacation you've been craving into your living room for under $15.

PrettyLitter

PrettyLitter

We often overlook the sense of smell as a factor in setting the atmosphere of a space, but you have probably noticed that most homes have a distinctive smell, and that most likely includes your home too. And if you find a way to change that distinct smell, suddenly you're somewhere entirely new.

Of course there are any number of candles, sprays, or essential oil diffusers that can lend your home a temporary transformation into a pine forest or a French bakery, and they can make for nice change of pace. But if you own a cat and want to fundamentally transform and improve the background smell of your home, there is no better way than ditching old-fashioned clay cat litter for something that actually works.

There are some different options on the market, but PrettyLitter not only traps odors–it changes color to help you monitor your cat's health, and is delivered to your door on a monthly basis—so you can skip the litter errand and focus on enjoying your at-home vacation for just $22 a month.

Exotic Edible Plant Kit

passion fruit

If you're willing to put in a little more effort than just sticking some decals on your walls, it's possible to really bring some exotic life to your home in the form of a plant kit. These kits make it (relatively) easy to grow and tend to plants from around the world.

They can add some vibrant color and lively scent to your home, and edible plants—from hot peppers to this passion fruit plant—have the added bonus of delivering flavors from far away, so even food you grow in your own home can take your taste buds on vacation. All for around $25 with shipping.

Cocktail Machine

If you're the type of traveler who prefers to splurge on an all-inclusive resort with an open bar, then you might want to take some of the money you saved by staying at home and buy yourself a robotic bartender. That's essentially what you get with the Bartesian Premium Cocktail and Margarita Machine.

Rather than buying a bunch of ingredients and equipment for mixing your own drinks, you just have to stock up on some cocktail pods and fill up the machine's four glass bottles with your favorite liquors. Suddenly you have a fully stocked and staffed bar available whenever you're ready for a refill. At around $350, and around $2.50 per cocktail pod, the Bartesian isn't cheap, but with the money you're saving on airfare, you can afford to keep your all-inclusive staycation buzz going.

Night-Light Projector

Another great way to transform your space is with some interesting lighting. There are a number of amazing and surprisingly affordable projectors that can make a dark room feel like an entirely different planet, but this ocean wave projector from GoerTek, with a variety of color settings, has the added feature of soothing nature sounds to help you relax. It's also under $30.

Spa Set

spa set

As long as you're giving yourself a chance to relax, why not take that to the next level with some truly pampered luxury? No garment on earth is quite as comfortable as soothing as a bath robe, yet most of us only wear one when we're at a hotel or a spa.

It's time to bring that comfort home, and while you're at it, why not take a soothing, French rose bath with a bath bomb, body wash, lotion, and an exfoliating scrub brush. The full spa set from Ellen Tracy is available for just $40.

Solar Therapy Lamp

therapy lamp

One of the best reasons to travel during the winter is to go somewhere where it doesn't feel like winter! The short days and long nights of winter months cause many people to experience seasonal symptoms of depression. Travelling somewhere with more sunlight can be a great option for escaping those winter blues, but if you're stuck at home you can still get the light you need.

Solar therapy lamps mimic the color and brightness of actual sunlight, and can be used in dark winter mornings to reset your circadian rhythm and make you feel like your soaking up some rays on the beach. This therapy lamp from Miroco is available for under $40.

So the next time you're feeling stir-crazy and want an escape from the familiar, consider bringing your vacation home with one of these products.