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Posto Pubblico restaurant in Elgin Street, Soho / Picture: Stephen Scourfield

MORE HONG KONG: Stephen Scourfield's guide to shopping in the Pearl of the Orient

In Cantonese, "Hong Kong" means "fragrant harbour". In modern vernacular it means "great shopping and dining". And both in preparation for, and recuperating from, mauling the malls, visitors need fuel.

My goodness, the food in Hong Kong . . .

Hong Kong reputedly has the most restaurants per capita in the world (no, I haven't counted them all).

Its dim sum restaurants are, equally, reputed to be the best in the world, and dining dim sum is a real Hong Kong experience.

Dim sum, of course, is Chinese food in bite-sized portions, traditionally served in steamer baskets or on small plates and usually known in Cantonese as going to "drink tea", as tea is usually served with it.

The dishes are steamed, baked, grilled and fried, sliced, diced and stuffed.

Pork, shrimp, seafood and fish are key ingredients, but there are many bean curd and vegetarian dishes. (One word of warning - when ordering the "fish of the day" ask the price as it can be expensive.)

And save a tiny spot for desserts - particularly if there are flower petals set in jelly. Trust me.

Here's just a tiny serving . . .

MICHELIN ON A BUDGET

Tim Ho Wan, the Dim-Sum Specialists is reckoned to be the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world. Let me start by telling you the address - Shop 8, Taui Yuen Mansion Phase 2, 2-20 Kwong Wa Street, Mong Kok.

Let me now tell you that all the signs outside are in Chinese, and you could easily walk past the place, except for the telltale queue on most days.

It's handy to go with a Chinese-speaking guide, of course (as I did with Sidney Luk), but the folk are friendly and surely used to bunglers.

The waiter, unprompted, brings a simple slip of an English menu bearing the slogan: "Make it ourselves. Do it at once. Open 8am to 10pm."

Among the dishes in the steamed section, pork dumplings with shrimp $HK23 ($2.85), steamed bean curd-skin roll filled with meat and vegetables ($HK15). Steamed egg cake or steamed spinach dumpling (both $HK14).

In the deep-fried section, fried noodles with chicken and soy ($HK16). Various mixes of steamed rice from $HK10. Steamed rice with beef and pan-fried egg is $HK18.

A safe bet are steamed dumpling in teochew (chiu chow) style ($HK10), or steamed pork dumpling with shrimp (siew mai) ($HK18).

But let me take you down to the desserts, and an absolute treat which the manager brings out as a parting gift - "tonic medlar and petal". (presumably $HK10 if he doesn't like you.) Flower petals set in gel. Light, aromatic, beautiful.

THE HIGH LIFE

Still on the subject of Michelin stars, but rather higher up (literally) is the restaurant Nanhai No. 1 on the 30th floor of the iSquare building, off Nathan Road in the Tsim Sha Tsui area of Kowloon.

It has two Michelin stars and overlooks Victoria Harbour (except that the broad, tall extension to the Peninsula Hong Kong hotel has its back to us, so it's rather like sitting behind a tall person in the cinema).

Nanhai No. 1 is named for a treasure ship famous in the Song Dynasty 800 years ago which sank in the South China Sea.

The menu is themed by the regions the ship passed through. Easiest might be a set menu of eight dishes for about HK$480 per person. (We chose fewer individual dishes, but the bill ended up around this.)

It will usually include a prawn dish, soup, perhaps lotus seeds and mushrooms, crab, fish and perhaps a bean curd concoction.

And those who dine at night are treated to the Symphony of Lights - a laser show from the tops of the buildings opposite, on Hong Kong Island, which starts at 8pm.

Beef brisket noodles at Kau Kee Noodle, Central Hong Kong / Picture: Stephen Scourfield

NOODLE CANOODLES

Kau Kee Restaurant in Gough Street, in the Central district, has been serving noodles for nearly a century.

People just share tables - you dine with others, bent over their noodles. (The technique is to drink a little of the liquid using the spoon, plump up a load of noodles with your chopsticks, and then bite into them. Be warned, there is a good deal of slurping and white shirts are not recommended for novices.)

Kau Kee is famous for its beef brisket noodles - in fact, it only serves beef brisket in clear soup and curry beef brisket.

The menu is in Chinese but if you smile and raise a finger for each diner, you will probably get the standard beef noodle dish.

They also serve a "hot milkshake", which actually tastes like strong tea with Carnation milk. Kau Kee's notable regulars include the chief executive of Hong Kong, Donald Tsang.

SOHO SERVINGS

Posto Pubblico is a good Italian restaurant in Soho on Hong Kong Island with excellent Caesar salad ($HK80), spaghetti dishes ($HK140), oregano and ricotta ravioli ($HK180), chicken parmigiano ($HK220) and grass-fed tenderloin ($HK380).

But in truth, stroll up Elgin Street, Soho, and you are unlikely to go terribly wrong for dinner. Just head here, wander round, enjoy the atmosphere and pick your spot.

Ride up the hill on the Central to Mid-Levels Travelator - at 880m, the world's longest covered escalator. Saunter back down through the bar area of Lan Kwai Fong, particularly Wyndham Street.

REMOTE SURPRISE

Lantau Island is the classic day out for Hong Kongers (as they call themselves).

In fact, Jakub Lewandowski, assistant public relations manager at The Mira Hong Kong hotel in Kowloon, tells me he goes most weekends.

It's 25 minutes on the MRT railway and he likes the long beach there. The main attractions, apart from Jakub's beach, are the huge Tian Tan Buddha statue, the Ngong Ping cable to the statue and Ngong Ping village itself.

Buses run on the island and on the south coast there's a little fishing village called Tai O. And there, at a stilted cafe over the water called Solo, I enjoy the best cup of coffee I have in Hong Kong, with a light cheesecake.

BEST BUFFET

I can't finish this tiny dip into Hong Kong dining without mentioning The Mira Hong Kong hotel - and particularly its breakfast buffet. Freshly cooked, from wheat or chocolate croissants to beautiful salmon baguettes, to a wide range of hot dishes. All super food. Brilliant. The buffet isn't just for guests - it is so good that it's built a big reputation with locals.

Hainanese chicken rice, herb butter on crispy tofu, a Wagyu burger, fresh sashimi or just a signature sandwich. The lunch buffet is $HK248 for adults, $HK148 for children - the tea buffet is $HK208 and $HK128.

The hotel is the epitome of beautiful modern design and is the place to be seen. Yamm is just one of the six restaurants at The Mira Hong Kong. themirahotel.com.

Its dim sum restaurants are, equally, reputed to be the best in the world.

Stephen Scourfield was a guest of Hong Kong Tourism Board and Flight Centre.