A Real Good Burger at Honbo
“A Real Good Burger” is the slogan behind Hong Kong-born burger joint, Honbo. For the Cantonese-speakers, the name may sound familiar—that’s because Honbo is short for “hon bao bao” when translated (meaning burgers). Burgers are essentially comfort food for some, yet when it’s cooked right, provides so much more: an authentic taste, juicy bites and indulgent devouring. We visited the well-loved burger hub for a cheat meal of tasty indulgence.
Honbo opened its first location on the buzzing Star Street in 2017, and its second store at The Mills, a quintessential arts destination. We’ve visited both and can recommend each depending on the vibe you’re going for. For this review, we will focus on the flagship branch, an American diner-style hub that fits right in the neighbourhood of boutiques and art stores alike. Star Street is an up-and-coming spot for artists, creatives, and entrepreneurs of all sorts, featuring an assortment of exciting businesses including zero-waste stores, bars, restaurants, and art workshops.
Generally, we don’t like using the term “insta-worthy”, so let’s go for picturesque, here. Honbo is very much that when you peer closely in its aesthetics—which boasts a Santorini vibe—particularly in its cobalt blue-meets-white theme and neon light feature. The menu here is simple, accentuating the restaurant’s quality-over-quantity concept and specialising in what it does best–burgers.
Everything at Honbo is made in-house—the patty, the bun, the sauce, a refreshing (and fresh, literally) approach to burgers, which are typically, negatively associated with fast food and unhealthy artificial substances. Honbo also sources its vegetables from a local farm in Yuen Long, and its buns from a nearby bakery. The menu is, of course, burger-based (with meat flown in from Wisconsin), but offers alternatives for vegetarians including the iconic Impossible burger. Each burger dish can be topped up with additional toppings like cheese and caramelised onions. Sides include the generous cheesy fries or the crowd favourite, sweet potato fries. There are no milkshakes here (read the menu) but there’s craft beer and soft drinks to go well with your meal.
I’m not a vegetarian, but I do appreciate a delicious veggie meal when it’s done right (and do try to cut meat consumption where possible). The Impossible burger is a new kid on the block, seemingly embedded in most diner and burger menus around the globe, particularly in the big cities including New York, London, and now Hong Kong. I’ve tried a few around Hong Kong now and must say that I’ve never been disappointed, so having one at Honbo was a delightful treat and went well with the cheese fries (not so vegan). The Tsuen Wan (The Mills) branch also serves mozzarella sticks.
I’ve also tried the signature Honbo, which comes with homemade dressing, two juicy beef patties, and melted cheese—pretty much everything you need for a #RealGoodBurger. It didn’t feel too heavy nor too light—the kind of feeling I get from Asian food which never makes me feel overwhelmingly full, but more a satisfying finish.
We’ve been fans of Honbo for while now, the premier independent burger joint founded by Michael Chan, a Hong Konger raised in Montreal. There’s an authentic and distinct taste to the food here, giving a sense of homey-ness with its cosy indoor space and freshly-harvested ingredients in the meals. Honbo celebrates local culture and communities by supporting the countryside farms and serving locally-brewed craft beers, as well as collaborations with artists. Staff are super friendly and everyone feels welcome at Honbo. Only thing we advise is to get there early during peak hours—there’s always a queue at this popular restaurant.
Honbo Star Street Location: 6/7 Sun Street, G/F Shop B, Wan Chai, Hong Kong | Phone: +852 2567 8970
Honbo The Mills Location: 303, The Mills, 45 Pak Tin Par Street, Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong | Phone: +852 2567 8616