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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It's no secret that the restaurant scene in New York City is one of the most impressive in the world.

Whatever you could want to eat, you can find it in New York—meaning that even if you have a slightly restrictive diet, like veganism, there's plenty of options for you. Local fast-casual chains like By Chloe and Superiority Burger are making New York one of the most vegan-friendly cities in the world, but the deliciousness doesn't stop there.


Between Manhattan and Brooklyn, there's been a boom of vegan restaurants that'll satisfy any craving. Here are just a few of our favorites.

Blossom(Upper West Side + Greenwich Village)

vegan restaurant

With two locations serving both Uptown and Downtown, Blossom is a go-to for local and tourist vegans alike. They offer an elevated dining experience (and a wide-spanning takeout radius) that puts a cruelty-free spin on classic main dishes like chicken piccata, rigatoni, and grilled salmon. Complete your dinner with a fresh, fruity cocktail and tiramisu—but reservations are strongly recommended beforehand.

Jajaja (West Village + Lower East Side)

vegan Jajaja

Jajaja is the ultimate heaven for Mexican food addicts. Get your fix of south of the border staples like burritos, street tacos, and enchiladas that'll make you second guess whether or not it's actually vegan (pro tip: The nacho portion is large enough to be a meal for one person). They also have a small but mighty menu of tequila and mezcal cocktails to kick off a night of LES bar-hopping. It gets crowded here quickly, though, so try to schedule your dinner early.

Urban Vegan Kitchen(West Village)

Urban Vegan Kitchen

We get it—eating vegan can get kind of bland sometimes. But that's not an issue at Urban Vegan Kitchen, the type of restaurant that'll have you wanting to order one of everything on the menu (but we recommend the "chicken" and waffles). Co-owned by the founder of Blossom, they boast a menu that's just as edgy and exciting as their decor. Their space is large too, making it a crowd-pleasing option for a slightly larger group.

Champs Diner (Williamsburg)

Champs Diner vegan

Located near the border of hip neighborhoods Williamsburg and Bushwick, Champs is a favorite of many young Brooklynites. Their menu is full of vegan alternatives to classic diner fare like breakfast plates, cheeseburgers, and even milkshakes that taste mysteriously like the real deal, while the decor puts a quintessential Brooklyn edge on '50s digs. Who said going plant-based had to be healthy all the time, anyway?

Peacefood (Greenwich Village)

vegan Peacefood

Conveniently located just a stone's throw from Union Square—near both NYU and the New School—Peacefood is a hotspot for college students, but vegans of any age are guaranteed to enjoy their menu. They specialize in comfort food items like quiche, chicken parmesan, and chili with corn bread—all plant-based, of course. While their "chicken" tender basket is to die for, make sure to save room for dessert here, too; Peacefood's lengthy pastry menu is a dream come true.

Buddha Bodai (Chinatown)

Buddha Bodai vegan

Dim sum restaurants in Chinatown are a dime a dozen, but Buddha Bodai takes the cake for the best veggie-friendly experience in one of New York's most bustling neighborhoods. Bring your family or friends along with you to enjoy this massive menu of buns and dumplings stuffed with any type of mock meat you could want. This is also a great option for gluten-free vegans, too, as much of their menu accommodates a gluten-free diet.

Greedi Kitchen (Crown Heights)

Greedi Kitchen vegan

Crown Heights might not be the first neighborhood people think of when it comes to dining in Brooklyn, but Greedi Kitchen is making the case for delicious restaurants in the area. Inspired by its founder's many years of travel, Greedi Kitchen combines the comforting flavors of southern soul food with the added pizazz of global influences. Try one of their po'boys or the crab cake sliders. Trust us.

Screamer’s Pizzeria (Greenpoint + Crown Heights)

Screamer's Pizza vegan

We know what you're thinking: Pizza without real cheese? Call us crazy, but Screamer's does vegan pizza to perfection. If you're into classic pies like a simple margherita or pepperoni, or you want to branch out with unexpected topping combinations, Screamer's is delicious enough to impress carnivores, too (pro tip: the Greenpoint location is small and serves most pies by the slice, while the Crown Heights location is larger for sitting down).


Learning a second language is one of the coolest and most rewarding things you can do in your spare time.

However, if hopping on a one-way ticket to your country of choice isn't an option for you, it can be difficult to find an immersive experience to learn, especially past high school or college.

The next best thing is language-learning apps.

We wanted to look at the top two: DuoLingo and Rosetta Stone. Duolingo is the new kid on the block; one of the top downloaded, this free app is a favorite. Then, there's the legacy option: Rosetta Stone. For over 20 years, they've been developing their language-learning software, and their app is the most recent innovation.

They're both great options, but keep reading to figure out which one is the best for you.

Key Similarities

  • Both claim you'll expand your vocabulary
  • Both are available as an app for iOS and Android users
  • Both have a clean user interface with appealing graphics
  • Both have offline capabilities (if you pay)

Key Differences

  • DuoLingo has a popular free version along with its paid version, whereas Rosetta Stone only has a paid version
  • DuoLingo offers 35+ languages, and Rosetta Stone offers 24 languages
  • Rosetta Stone has an advanced TruAccent feature to detect and correct your accent
  • DuoLingo offers a breadth of similar vocab-recognizing features, and Rosetta Stone offers a wider variety of learning methods, like Stories

DuoLingo Overview

DuoLingo's app and its iconic owl have definitely found a place in pop culture. One of the most popular free language-learning apps, it offers 35 different languages, including Klingon, that can be learned through a series of vocabulary-matching games.

DuoLingo offers a free version and a version for $9.99 a month without ads and with offline access.

Rosetta Stone Overview

The Rosetta Stone app is a beast. There are 24 different languages to choose from, but more importantly, you get a huge variety of methods for learning. Not only are there simple games, but there are stories where you get to listen, the Seek and Speak feature, where you go on a treasure hunt to photograph images and get the translations, and the TruAccent feature, which will help you refine your accent. Whenever you speak into the app, you'll get a red/yellow/green rating on your pronunciation, so you can fine-tune it to really sound like you have a firm grasp of the language.

Rosetta Stone costs just $5.99 a month for a 24-month subscription, which gives you access to all of their 24 languages!

Final Notes

Overall, these are both excellent apps for increasing your proficiency in a new language! They both feel quite modern and have a fun experience.

When it comes to really committing words to memory and understanding them, Rosetta Stone is king.

DuoLingo definitely will help you learn new words, and the app can be addicting, but users report it as more of a game than a means to an end.

With Rosetta Stone's variety of features, you'll never get bored; there are more passive elements and more active elements to help you activate different parts of your brain, so you're learning in a more dynamic and efficient way.

The folks at Rosetta Stone are extending a special offer to our readers only: Up To 45% Off Rosetta Stone + Unlimited Languages & Free Tutoring Sessions!

Travel

So You Want to Try Workaway

Want to travel cheap, meet locals and kindred spirits, live off the land, and possibly change your life? It might be time to try Workaway.

Sitting in a house on a hill in Tuscany, Italy, watching the sun set and listening to the sound of music coming from the house in which I was staying almost rent-free, I wondered how I had gotten this lucky.

Actually, it was really all thanks to one website—Workaway.info.

Workaway Workaway


Workaway is a site that sets travelers up with hosts, who provide visitors with room and board in exchange for roughly five hours of work each weekday. The arrangement varies from host to host—some offer money, others require it—but typically, the Workaway experience is a rare bird: a largely anti-capitalist exchange.

I did four Workaways the summer I traveled in Europe, and then one at a monastery near my home in New York the summer after. Each experience, though they lasted around two weeks each, was among the most enriching times of my life—and I'd argue I learned almost as much through those experiences as I did in four years of college.

There's something extremely special about the Workaway experience, though it's certainly not for everyone.

Workaway Isn't for Everyone: What to Know Before You Go

I loved all the Workaways I went on, but the best advice I can give to anyone considering going is: Enter with an open mind. If you're someone who doesn't do well with the unexpected, if you're not willing to be flexible, if you're a picky eater or easily freaked out, then it's likely that you won't have a good experience at a Workaway.

There are exceptions to all of this. At the Workaway I stayed at in Italy, one of the travelers was suffering from stomach bloating, and the host helped cure her with a diet of miso. (I'm not saying you should go Workawaying if you're ill—this traveler's mother also came to oversee everything—but still, you never know what you'll find).

Workaway WoIsango.com

You should also probably be willing and able to actually work at your Workaway. These aren't vacations, and some hosts will be stricter and less forgiving than others regarding your work ethic. If you're someone who has no experience with difficult farm work, for example, it might not be a good idea to do a Workaway on a farm.

How to Choose a Host

The Workaway website boasts a truly overwhelming number of hosts. You can narrow your search down by location, but you can also search key terms that can help guide you in the right direction. You might search "music," for example—that's how I found the Italy location. You'll find hosts in busy cities and in the most remote mountains of India; you'll find opportunities to tutor and explore. You'll find shadiness, too, so trust your instincts.

Take time to actually read the host's entire bio before reaching out. Read all the comments, too, and if you're nervous or a first-timer, only reach out to hosts who have exclusively glowing reviews. I had the best experiences with hosts that had left extremely detailed bios—that showed me they were likely going to be dedicated hosts.

I also chose hosts whose bios gave me a good feeling, something like a spark of electricity or recognition. This instinctual method might not work for everyone, but it certainly led me in the right direction in all of my Workaway experiences. My Workaways gave me some of the best memories and deepest relationships of my life, and that was partly thanks to the fact that I chose places that were good fits for me.

For example, I chose to stay alone with a wizened academic in France. Something about his bio and descriptions resonated with me enough to trust him. (I also read some of his many thousand-page-long treatises on peace and compassion and decided that if someone could write this and be a psychopath, this wasn't a world I wanted to live in anyway). It was the right decision—and the two weeks I spent there were some of the most enlightening of my entire life.

When you reach out to a host, particularly if it's someone you really want to stay with, it's a good idea to frame your initial contact email as a cover letter of sorts—make sure you explain who you are and personalize your letter to fit each host.

Ixcanaan A Workaway painting experienceWorkaway


Travel Safely

Especially if you're traveling alone, it's always a good idea to choose a host whose page has tons of good reviews. Aside from that, a quick Google search and a scan of any social media pages related to your potential host can't hurt.

Ultimately, Workawaying requires a certain amount of trust and faith on both the host and the traveler's parts—you're either trusting someone to stay in your home or trusting a stranger to host and feed you.

But that trust, in my experience, also results in rapid and deep connections unlike anything I've experienced in the "real world." When you go and share a home with someone, you're also sharing yourself with them, and in that exchange there are the seeds of a powerful bond.

Participate Fully

Wherever you go, you'll want to open your mind and participate fully. Adjust yourself to your host's lifestyle, not the other way around, and take time to get to know your host and the others around you.

You might find that you become someone you never knew you were. As a lifelong introvert, I somehow managed to develop close relationships with many of the people I was staying with.

This might be because most people who are at Workaways are seeking something for one reason or another. In my experience, you find lots of people who are at junctures in their lives, seeking connection and meaning. With the right Workaway, you might just find it.

Workaway The Broke Backpacker - WorkawayThe Broke Backpacker