There are literally thousands of food outlets across Hong Kong, serving up everything from noodle soup, chicken feet and 1,000 year old eggs! Don’t panic though as there are also an abundance of sushi, steak and western eateries for those who prefer their dining experiences more mainstream. These are my five must-eats in Hong Kong – be brave!
Sampling the huge variety of dim sum dishes on offer in Hong Kong is an experience in itself! There are actually around 2,000 known dishes although commonly just twenty or so will make up most menus. Mostly eaten as a light breakfast, you’ll find most dim sum dishes are steamed rather than fried. Opt for a restaurant or eatery that serves the light bites on traditional trolleys and watch out for the real old school favourites such as chicken’s feet – where you literally have to suck the juices from the feet! My favourite Cantonese dim sum, which incidentally means ‘touch your heart’ are shrimp shao mai, cha siu bao and pork cheong fan. If in doubt, just point and don’t forget to share. My top three Dim Sum eateries in Hong Kong are City Hall Maxim's Palace in central (dishes are on a cart), Yung Kee in central and at the resplendent Western Market in Sheung Wan. This delicious food culture is an absolute must!
Hong Kong serves up seafood the way it should be; fresh and cooked to your liking. Pick from baked, sautéed, steamed, fried, grilled, poached… you get the idea! Many restaurants keep their seafood in an on-site aquarium allowing you to choose the exact critter to consume. Be aware that prices go by weight - just in case your eyes are bigger than your belly! I recommend you opt for steamed fish to really let the natural flavours come through. Fish is served this way across Hong Kong topped with ginger, shallots and sometimes mushrooms. Try the Red Spotted Grouper at Aberdeen’s Jumbo Kingdom (don’t let the über touristy over-the-top boat put you off) or try the sampan-style deep fried crab and chilli instead.
Hong Kong’s cuisine is as diverse as its history and this is amply represented in the fusion food which can be found across both the island and Kowloon. On the crossroads of culture, a few local chefs began adding soy sauce to traditional western foods and bingo, fusion was born! Top chefs have since flocked to Hong Kong to set up specialist restaurants and many Michelin starred eateries can be found across the city. Try concoctions such as spaghetti with barbecued pork, Sichuan chicken sushi burrito and Chinese salty fish with mashed potato. And if Michelin-priced cuisine isn’t within budget, many of the street market stalls and backstreet cafes serve up similar fayre. Again, when language is a barrier, point at another diner’s dish (politely) to order. One internationally known fusion chef includes Ching He Huang who is passionate about creating delicious, flavoursome, yet healthy Chinese cuisine;
Wherever you go across Hong Kong, you’ll spot traditional restaurants with ubiquitous barbeque ducks hanging in the windows, often alongside chickens and geese. Siu Mei is a whole world away from the charred sausages of backyard BBQ – think highly seasoned meats which are cooked on a rotisserie or on an open grill. The most popular must-eats in Hong Kong are undoubtedly the barbequed port, roast pork and barbecued goose. Pair with some fresh noodles or rice and you’ve got a fest on your hands.
Late Night Eats
– Hong Kong is undoubtedly a 24 hour city, with something available to eat around the clock. Dive into the backstreets and discover the hubbub around the street stalls, aka dai pai dong. Duck into an authentic shophouse and sample steaming hot congee (rice porridge), noodles and hotpot. Tuck into an all-you-can-eat buffet which are available at many of the hotels. Or simply enjoy the friendly atmosphere whilst chowing down on a fresh crepe, tofu ice cream or sweet bean cake – my favourite hangout is around the ice cream stalls of Causeway Bay. And if you’re an early bird, all the little bakeries and old-school shophouses serve up buns and dim sum for an early fast-food fix.