I’ve visited Hong Kong almost yearly for the last 30 years and while I’m excited to say that there’s still a lot for me to discover, I have to admit that visiting Hong Kong has become more about eating than it has about sightseeing.
Up until just a few years ago, I wasn’t able to travel around with an iPhone with access to data. Fortunately, these days, many hotels offer free mobile wifi hotspots during your stay. Though there has been plenty of jokes and criticism about how people now need an app to find a place to eat, let’s face it, there’s a reason why apps like Yelp! exist and are successful. For the most part, they help you not waste time and money at places that honestly might not deserve your hard earned cash. Sometimes, a great meal is one of the most memorable parts of a vacation.
As one will soon discover, Yelp! is not really an option for Hong Kong or probably most destinations outside of the USA. TripAdvisor is not too helpful because it’s generally limited to reviews of foreign travelers who obviously don’t have a local perspective on restaurants. Foursquare takes a bigger leap than the aforementioned options, but it became obvious during my first go with the app in Hong Kong that the user base is still fairly limited. Fortunately, on my last trip, I believe I found the app with the largest community of food reviews for Hong Kong, OpenRice.
OpenRice claims to be the “most popular dining guide in Hong Kong.” As one should expect, most reviews are written in Chinese characters, but fortunately if you select English as your language, then you can easily navigate through the app. For example, you can search in english “Sichuan” or “Chiu Chow” and choose the District in Hong Kong you’re interested in and the results will display a fairly and comprehensive list with easy to understand user ratings. In the results listing page, user ratings are simply displayed by the number of happy or sad faces. On the restaurant information page, OpenRice breaks down user ratings into three categories with the addition of an “OK” rating.
Just with most apps, you can filter down your results to find the restaurant that fits your situation, see user photos, see the location on a map, make reservation, and more.