Rice – but make it crispy! Here are the best restaurants for claypot rice in Hong Kong, including Hing Kee, Sheung Hei & more…
While undercooked grain will call a chef’s skill – or your rice cooker’s age and quality – into question, there’s something special about bottom-of-the-pan crispy rice. From Persian cuisine’s love affair with saffron-soaked tahdig and its South Asian sibling khurchan (literally “scrapings”), to tangy khao tod and nurungji raked from a dolsot bibimbap, scorched rice reigns supreme in more than one food culture.
Here in Hong Kong, claypot rice or bou zai faan (煲仔飯) – promising a satisfying yield of faan ziu (飯焦) or “rice scorch” – is a beloved winter delicacy. With toppings both less and more traditional, these restaurants around town have perfected the art of burnt bits you want to keep going back for. These are our picks for the top Hong Kong restaurants specialising in claypot rice.
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Hing Kee – Customisable claypot rice
Sprawling across two streets and six branches, Hing Kee first opened its doors in the early 1980s with just five variations of its signature dish: claypot rice. Since then, it’s earned a reputation as one of the most dependable claypot restaurants in the city, and its menu has ballooned to include 60+ toppings. Each dish here is made to order, so choose any one (or more) of their myriad variations based on your palate and preference, and trust the process!
Hing Kee, 15 Temple Street, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2384 3647
Four Seasons Pot Rice – Charcoal-fired claypot rice
Also boasting success through the decades is Four Seasons Pot Rice. Here, the chefs still use traditional grills made of charcoal to fire up each claypot. Since the vessel is porous, the rice takes on a moreish smoky flavour that seduces the tongue, and soothes the soul. The menu keeps to the classics for the most part, with reliable favourites like assorted dried sausage, and chicken and Chinese mushroom, coming out on top. To add another layer of crunch and flavour, complement your claypot with Chiuchow-style deep-fried oyster omelette.
Four Seasons Pot Rice, 46-58 Arthur Street, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 5989 0927
Kwan Kee – Michelin-recommended claypot rice
If the hallmark of a good Cantonese stir-fry is capturing wok hei or “breath of wok”, claypot rice demands mastery of the elusive Maillard reaction, responsible for producing the flavour that is smoke. At Kwan Kee, which is recognised by the Michelin Guide, every claypot is lavished with exquisite attention, and the results are well worth the 30+ minute wait. Aromatic and complex, you can call yourself a claypot connoisseur once you’ve dined here.
Kwan Kee, Shop 1, Wo Yick Mansion, 263 Queen’s Road West, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong, 2803 7209
Chop Chop – A seasonal selection of claypot rice dishes
Siu mei spot Chop Chop is helmed by none other than Chef Dai Lung, the Cantonese master chef portrayed in the movie “God of Cookery”. If you’ve ever munched on the flawless combo of char siu, fried egg and fluffy white rice at your local cha chaan teng, you have him to thank: he is credited with the creation of the deceptively simple dish known as “sorrowful rice”. In addition to roasted meats, Chop Chop offers a seasonal menu of claypot rice dishes. Though there’s typically nothing speedy about this low-and-slow meal, you can save time by ordering ahead through the restaurant’s official website.
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Sheung Hei – Fragrant, lard-enriched claypot rice
Researchers estimate that claypot cooking in China goes back over 20,000 years! Sheung Hei, a Sai Wan institution that has caught the attention of Michelin inspectors, brings alive that storied history with its fragrant, lard-enriched claypot rice dishes. There are more than 30 different types of claypot rice on the menu here, ranging from classics featuring chicken, Chinese sausage, and eel, to rarer versions with dried shrimp sourced from Tai O and preserved fish made using Hong Kong’s own fourfinger threadfin. Setting itself apart, the restaurant places partly ceramic cookware atop lava rock grills for an even crust.
Sheung Hei, 25 North Street, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong, 2819 6190
Siu Wah Kitchen – Unconventional claypot rice flavour combinations
Offering bang for buck and palpable energy, we love Hong Kong’s many hawker centres. At the Aldrich Bay Cooked Food Centre in Shau Kei Wan, Siu Wah Kitchen stands out for its exceptional claypot rice. Inventive flavours are rolled out each year: think lobster and black truffles, scallop and geoduck in black bean sauce, and goose liver with wild mushroom.
Siu Wah Kitchen, Shop CF3, Cooked Food Centre, Aldrich Bay Market, 15 Aldrich Bay Road, Shau Kei Wan, Hong Kong, 8199 8188
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Wing Hop Sing – Famous for hand-minced beef claypot rice with raw egg
What began as a humble bing sutt is now among the most beloved claypot rice haunts in the city. Instead of sticking with the traditional— if tempestuous— charcoal flame or opting for a stovetop, Wing Hop Sing pops every claypot into a large gas oven for a more uniform cook. Arguably the most popular variant here is the claypot laden with hand-minced beef and a luscious raw egg. Do as the regulars do: mix until the rich yolk gilds every grain of rice.
Wing Hop Sing, 360 Des Voeux Road West, Western District, Hong Kong, 2850 5723
Wing Kee – Creative flavours like two-cheese claypot rice and satay beef claypot noodle
Forget what you think you know about claypot rice. At Wing Kee, it’s all about creativity – and yes, it involves cheese! Especially famed for its two-cheese claypot rice, complete with corn, onion, and your choice of chicken, beef, or luncheon meat, this spot offers up the ideal post-hike feast (Temple Hill is nearby). While satay beef noodles may be a dime a dozen when it comes to breakfast sets, Wing Kee serves a spectacular version: in a sizzling claypot for extra umami, swimming with juicy fresh beef.
Wing Kee, Shop A & B, G/F, 12 Yuk Wah Crescent, Tsz Wan Shan, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2328 9232
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