This is a guest post by James Smith, an experienced travel journalist and editor, who report trends, experiences, festivals and night-time adventures in cities around Asia and around the world.
Hong Kong is an important commercial center in Asia. It was a centuries-old British colony, and the People’s Republic of China was ceded as a special administrative zone. Most of the colonized inhabitants of the island descend from Guangdong province and the city of Guangzhou, formerly known as Canton. The influence of Guangdong province is more that just in the dialect spoken in Hong Kong, it is also reflected in the culture and cuisine. As a result, most Hong Kong dishes are Cantonese dishes prepared by chefs who are trained or native to Hong Kong Guangdong province. Here are 10 MUST-TRY Street Foods in Hong Kong you should try when you fly into Hong Kong.
This is a popular dish in Hong Kong. This is a light snack or a tea snack. Cantonese dumplings are like Beijing dumplings but in the shape of a little ball. The filling is mixed with freshly minced pork and shrimp mushrooms. You will feel very relaxed in your mouth using the special type of Cantonese “floppy” noodles in the broth. At tea time, a plate of fresh shrimp noodles can cost up to HK $ 10. Don’t go to stores that sell for $ 20 or more in Hong Kong, you can always get a good quality noodle dish for about $ 15 Noodle shops are easily found here, especially in commercial areas. These are casual restaurants, and there is generally no service charge. Wonton is rarely served in good restaurants.
Breakfast or lunch is an important social lifestyle for Hong Kong residents, enjoyed equally by the locals and immigrants. Hong Kong dim sums are usually served only for breakfast or lunch, you won’t find them for dinner. Dim sum, being a Cantonese dish served in Hong Kong, is widely available in the city. Do not stick to a hotel restaurant for trying an authentic dim sum; look out for the noisy places on the streets. Hong Kong city has many high-quality Dim Sum restaurants; just call your hotel concierge to find one near you.
Hong Kong Milk Tea
Hong Kong milk tea is a strong tea that is mixed with condensed milk. The tea is then filtered through a sackcloth bag which makes the texture very smooth and silky. You must have at least one cup when you go to Hong Kong. During teatime, a cup of hot milk tea sells for $ 6 at the Marjan Cafe. Now even McDonald’s offers local milk tea in addition to traditional American tea.
Curry Fish Balls
Easily available and found practically everywhere in Hong Kong, curry fish balls are also a popular street food because they’re easy to eat while just walking around and exploring. They’re flavorful though not extremely healthy as they are first deep fried before boiling them in hot curry sauce. Curry fish balls are not expensive, and a skewer of 5-6 balls usually costs around HK$5 – 7.
Seafood in Hong Kong is a typical dinnertime dish, inspired by the Cantonese cuisine. There are good quality seafood restaurants everywhere. Dim Sum restaurants usually serve seafood for dinner. Freshly caught seafood can be expensive, depending on the type and size. Deep-Sea Grouper fish can cost up to few hundred Hong Kong dollars per kilogram. However, this is an experience of a lifetime that is only available in Hong Kong. There is no other place in the world where you can taste such incredible seafood.
Authentic Cantonese food, from Guangzhou province, is available at a short drive from Hong Kong to Guangdong province. Among the various Chinese cuisines, Cantonese is the most popular outside of China, probably because it is not as spicy as some of its ‘counterparts’. Perhaps the wide variety of ingredients is what makes Cantonese food so unique; comprising of almost all components under the sun, a famous Chinese saying is very accurate (not sure it works well when translated in English though!), “a Canton can eat everything that floats or flies, apart from a boat or plane. Everything works!”
Roasted pork is probably one of the most famous Chinese dishes in the world. This dish is served on special occasions such as birthdays, weddings, and other important functions. It is served with rice, which is eaten as a packed lunch every day. Grilled pork can also be found as a filling in many treats and snacks. Many local chefs have learned the art of roasting pork in a delicious sweet and savory manner, almost like a caramel-flavored candy. If you’re eating meat in Hong Kong, you will not be served a plate of lean meat; instead, they like to serve large nutritious helpings!
Chinese recipes use rice in various forms, it is challenging to find the most nutritious. If possible, choose brown rice or steamed rice over any other. Brown rice contains more than 3.5 grams of dietary fiber, although evaporated rice contains 1 gram. In contrast, an 8-ounce serving of fried rice contains 14 grams of fatty acids! This means you should stop eating fried rice altogether, and choose brown rice instead.
Stir-fried Noodles is a healthy Chinese recipe that uses less oil. Noodles mainly contain a large number of processed carbohydrates that you should always be careful of. Stir-fried noodles are basically boiled pasta (as opposed to fried) with lots of veggies, which is usually a better option. If you’re even more health-conscious, try the brown noodles!
This is another excellent type of food that you would want to give a try when you visit Hong Kong. This soup is low in calories and is not over-salted when prepared. Soy sauce is a common ingredient that is commonly used due to it nutritional benefit. Unlike traditional Western soups that are usually loaded with heavy meat and creams, Chinese soups are healthier because they are usually clear and the ingredients are most often light.
Hong Kong cuisine pays special attention to the freshness of the ingredients to maximize the Umami flavor, or the fifth flavor that the Japanese define as sweet and salty. Due to its proximity to the sea and its importance as a commercial port, seafood is also one of the most important components of Hong Kong cuisine. The smooth texture is generally contrasted with the crisp character of the meat/ vegetables to enhance the dining experience.
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