Tao Tao Restaurant | The Best + Cheapest Seafood In Sai Kung, Hong Kong

One of the best places I've eaten at in Hong Kong this year has got to be at Tao Tao in Sai Kung at Pak Sha Wan pier. I first went in April earlier this year and then again in October, both times were as good as each other and best of all, on the latest visit I took my parents and my dad gave his stamp of approval.

Being a chef all his life means he is always one tough cookie to please every time we eat out. I take my parents out for meals I've spent ages researching whenever I'm in Hong Kong (my parents now live in Hong Kong permanently after retiring) and I can count on one hand of all the restaurants he's actually praised.

From the outside, Tao Tao looks delightfully local, yet pretty unassuming if you're not specifically looking for it. In cha chaan teng come dai pai dong restaurant style, the bigger tables are made for sharing and is totally acceptable to just spit chewed up bones directly onto the table. Oh and noisy kids and adults are welcomed!

They serve an all day menu from breakfast to lunch, to afternoon tea break to full-on homely dishes for evening meals, as well as seafood banquets. We came here with the full intention of having a seafood meal which wouldn't cost nearly as much as the seafood restaurants right on Sai Kung city centre's main pier. Sai Kung is renowned for delicious seafood but if you pick a restaurant on the main strip known as 'seafood street', be ready to part with a wad of cash. A seafood banquet can easily cost £300-£500 for 6 people.

My friend who recently moved to Hong Kong and is a Sai Kung local, learnt that you could buy seafood fresh from the wet market, take it to (most) of the restaurants in Sai Kung and asked for it to be cooked in whatever style you like. The restaurant will add a charge for cleaning/gutting/cooking the seafood and that's the only cost you'll face. So we did exactly that!

Our bill for 5 adults and 3 little kiddos cost £60 and the seafood was £40 from the wet market. Yep, you better believe it.

Sweet and sour spare ribs Hong Kong style are a must order every time we come to a Chinese restaurant, the rib is a classic Hong Kong choice which isn't readily available in UK. So good.

Next up is ketchup prawns. A delicious sticky coating of ketchup married with soya sauce and a touch of vinegar on super fresh bouncy prawns is just so addictive. My dad said the chef knows his stuff using vinegar to balance out the sweetness from the ketchup - I love deciphering how a dish is cooked with my dad! 

Razor clams are the juiciest and plumpest type of clams around and there is no greater Chinese style seafood dish than clams with black bean sauce. This was so well cooked at Tao Tao that I could have cried. Salty umami from the black beans and garlic with a touch of sugar and fresh chilli to bring all the flavours together. Black bean style also goes well with eel, mussels and clams of any sort.

The steamed fish was super fresh and just cooked. We went for the classic style - steaming it plain, then pouring hot oil and soya sauce over the fish, spring onion, ginger and coriander.

Assorted preserved meats claypot rice drenched in sweet soya sauce was as fantastic as expected. There's lap cheung pork sausages (red), yuoon cheung liver sausages (black) and lap yuke preserved pork belly. The fragrant oils from the meat has seeped into the rice during cooking, so every mouthful is full of yum. 

We also got a plate of Hong Kong style ketchup/tomato bolognese style spaghetti for the kids which the adults also gleefully tucked into, and a plate of fresh stir fried veggies came right after I took this pic.

How's this meal for HK$1000 (£100)?

Bloody good I say.

The restaurant is right by the pier and makes for a nice stroll after dinner.

Sai Kung is local to my parents and Tao Tao is so worth visiting, but it can feel a little harder to reach this part of the New Territories if you're staying in Kowloon or Hong Kong Island. A combination of the easiest and cheapest way to get here is to get to Choi Hung MTR then get a taxi ride to Pak Sha Wan pier. There's also a mini bus in Dundas Street in Mong Kok which heads straight for Sai Kung, just make sure you get off at Pak Sha Wan, about 10-15 mins away from the main Sai Kung centre.

For parents, do note that they have highchairs for feeding babies but no changing facilities and you'll need to walk down the stairs to get to the restaurant. 

Tao Tao Restaurant
No 141, Ground Floor
Pak Sha Wan Street
Sai Kung
Hong Kong

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