Seven smart apps to help you navigate the Hong Kong dining scene
Time Out staff
Lisa Cam and Alice Jenkins help you navigate your trip to Hong Kong with the best food apps in town.
A new age of discovery is upon us; the age of digital tourism. How many of you still buy one of those awkward paper maps to help you get around on a city break? No, come on, you use your phone, right? Using the same philosophy of tech-enabled tourism, we’ve scoured the app stores for the best digital guides to dining in Hong Kong. We’ve found, downloaded and tested a plethora of tip-top apps, which make eating out in the city a breeze. Here’s our pick of food apps you need on your phone to make the most of your next visit. If you’re hungry, get downloading now…
PopUp Table Fans of buffets and restaurants in hotels can drool over this app. It offers daily hotel dining deals with plenty of discounts. There are no coupons, it’s just a way to get hungry eaters into a buffet restaurant and not waste its food at the end of the day. Pros: Sometimes last-minute deals offer up to 80 per cent off the original cost, and there’s even the occasional free offer. Nothing beats free. Cons: We find the initial login and account creation process cumbersome. It basically asks for a huge number of personal details before you get a whiff of any deals. They’ve got to sort this out.
Dishi This app endeavours to allow you to have all the menus from Hong Kong’s restaurants at your fingertips. You can rate dishes and see if your friends on Facebook have recommended anything on these menus too. Pros: This isn’t just a listings resource. The app also allows you to judge whether or not to go to a restaurant by scanning the entire menu. It also makes ordering takeaway a breeze. Cons: The social side of the app only works if you already have friends in Hong Kong, who are using it too.
Foodgulu Eating out should be easy and Foodgulu tries to make it so. This app aims to eliminate queues by synchronising restaurant ticketing systems on your phone or tablet, so you hold your table at the touch of a button. You can also make reservations and order takeaway with this app. Pros: Generally, we love the concept and look of Foodgulu. Cons: The majority of the restaurants don’t offer all the functions, particularly when it comes to the ticketing systems.
Instafood This is Instagram’s foodie little sister. Hongkongers just love taking photos of grub, so Instafood is an essential app. Upload your pics and browse through other people’s dishes, too. Let the world know what, where and when you’re eating and spice up your photos using special ‘skins’. Pros: What’s not to love about food pics? The photo edit function is fun. Cons: Hardly any of the free versions of skins are available and there are a few too many ads for our liking.
Evernote Food This is one for the ultimate foodies out there. In addition to offering a restaurant search engine, this baby also allows you to hunt out recipes and create your own dishes to share with others. And if that wasn’t enough, what makes this app really stand out is the fact that you can use it anywhere in the world, meaning this could be your ultimate dining companion in Abu Dhabi, too. Pros: This app’s slick pics and user-friendly nature are right up our alley. Cons: The only thing that lets the app down is the lack of detailed information about the restaurants.
GPS FoodEasy Offering an offline restaurant search engine, GPS FoodEasy aims to help you find your ideal restaurant wherever you are and whether you’re in range of Wifi or not. Pros: The interface is simple, which allows the user to easily search by category or keyword. Cons: The no frills approach makes this app a little lacklustre. It could do with some pizzazz. And sometimes the keyword search leaves us empty handed. Not what we want on an empty belly.
iPick Share your dining experiences with your friends and family when you use this foodie social networking app. In addition to a smart restaurant search engine and an array of high-quality reviews, there’s also the bonus feature of being able to invite friends to events at your favourite restaurants. Pros: We like the easy-to-use interface. And we love that we can share our food journeys with our friends and family. Cons: There are not enough users to gain critical mass yet. But it’s just a matter of time. All apps except GPS FoodEasy are available for download at iTunes and Google Play. GPS FoodEasy is only available at iTunes.