Hong Kong is not only known for being a business powerhouse in Asia but also a great destination for food lovers who are looking for a great smorgasbord of both Eastern and Western cuisines. With its rich and colourful history (being colonised by British and Japanese government during the 19th century), it is not surprising to see that these influences are reflected on their food landscape.In this guide, we will give you a rundown of the best foods to try when in Hong Kong (and yes, it’s more than just noodles):
Dim SumYou can never say you’ve been to Hong Kong if you’ve never eaten dim sum here! Dim sum is practically synonymous to Hong Kong itself. If you are not familiar with dim sum, it refers to an array of bite-sized dishes which arrive in piping hot bamboo steamer baskets or on small plates. There are many types of dim sum which ranges from buns, dumplings, wraps and noodle rolls which are filled with a mixture of fresh seafood, meat and vegetables; to puffs, puddings and tarts. Traditionally, dim sum is eaten over a long brunch and served with tea. But over time, it has evolved into a meal in itself and enjoyed any time of the day.
Pineapple BunBo Lo Bao or pineapple bun is a popular pastry snack in Hong Kong. It has a crunchy and sweet top crust which looks like a pineapple (hence the name). It might be a simple snack to look at but the bo lo bao is now considered an icon of Hong Kong’s cultural heritage. These cute-sized buns are usually a staple for breakfast or afternoon tea, often served with butter and paired with coffee or milk tea. There are a lot of great bakeries serving this wonderful snack but Tai Tung Bakery in Yuen Long is the most popular as they have been making pineapple buns for more than seven decades!
French ToastOkay, Hong Kongers love their carbs and there is no stopping them from eating more of it! Another treat worth trying is Hong Kong-style French Toast. The locals have it for breakfast, late morning snack, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and midnight snack! This quintessential treat is prepared the same way but the various cha chaan teng (classic style Hong Kong cafes) have their own versions and flair. There are cafes that prepare it with custard, peanut butter or kaya jam. But there are also traditional ones that do it the old-fashioned way, that is by soaking two slices of thick bread into an egg batter, frying it into a dollop of butter until golden brown, slapping a cube of (more!) butter and finally drizzling it with sweet condensed milk or sugar cane syrup.
High TeaOne of the practices that the British left for the Hong Kongers is enjoying a wonderful afternoon tea while catching up with a friend you haven’t seen since…erm, last week. In Britain, it used to be a social event fit for royalty but today, high tea can be enjoyed by everybody. There are many hotels, restaurants and cafes that offer ‘high tea sets’ with a wonderful array of tea, breads, sandwiches, pastries, waffles, cheese and meats. While enjoying a classic high tea afternoon might come with a price, having it in Hong Kong is definitely an unforgettable one. Just make sure to come with a few friends to complete the whole experience. Fancy an afternoon tea with a view? We recommend having it at the Lobby Lounge of Inter-Continental Hotel that has a great view of Victoria Harbour.
WontonFor locals, a bowl of wonton noodles is considered as the ultimate comfort food. This well-loved dish may look simple, but the complexity of achieving perfection for its three elements takes keen attention and experience. Rich and savoury broth, fresh and springy noodles and wonton with just the right amount filling of shrimp and pork all mixed together to create an unforgettable eating experience. Ahhh! Just writing about it makes us giddy inside. Some of the best restaurants selling them have been around since the early 40’s, so eating in any of them is an experience in itself. Refer to above’s infographic for the best noodle houses in Hong Kong.
Char Siu and Siu YukIf you are a meat lover, or pork lover in particular, then there’s a good news for you: Hong Kong knows their pork and what to do with it. When visiting, one should always try char siu (pork barbecue) and siu yuk (roast pork). The char siu is a hit for those who like it sweet and smoky, but for those who likes it crispy and savoury, then siu yuk is an obvious choice. Nevertheless, any of these pork dishes is a sure winner to anybody.
Macaroni Soup with hamIf you think Hong Kong is just all about noodles, then think again. It is also known for this unconventional (at least for eastern standards) breakfast meal–a steaming bowl of macaroni soup! Yes, you’ve read that right. Macaroni soup may not be Cantonese by nature but it plays an important part in the locals’ lifestyle and is widely available at any traditional Hong Kong cafés. It is a mix of eggy elbow noodles with salty ham in a light broth, a combination that reminds one of great childhood memories back home. If you don’t consider noodles as your personal choice of comfort food, then a bowl of macaroni soup is your best alternative.
Egg Puffs and Egg TartsHong Kongers love their eggs and everything to do with it! (No pun intended, but you get our point, right?) Egg puffs or eggettes (whichever you want to call it) are pastry treats that are easily found in little bakeshop stalls and cafes around Hong Kong. These are egg-based waffles that are often paired with ice cream and other sweets. On the other hand, egg tarts are baked crusty treats with sweet egg custard in the middle. These two are great snack dessert ideas that will definitely satisfy any sweet tooth’s cravings.
Roast GooseWe won’t end this food guide without recommending this dish, the roast goose, so famous that it is practically found in every street of Hong Kong! A great roast goose is juicy, has a tender meat and crisp skin. It is best served with a dollop of sweet plum sauce paired with steaming white rice, and ahhh perfection! Once you have it, you will never forget its taste and you will definitely come back for more.
Hong Kong is an ultimate foodie destination, so one will never ran out of things to eat here. This means that one should not only come here once, twice or thrice. As we say, Hong Kong is always a good idea.