Hong Kong’s food culture is brimming with vibrant, authentic flavors that will surely leave you wanting more. In such a big and diversified city, it is difficult to know what to expect and how to fit in, so that is why we have created a list of ways to immerse yourself in the food scene of one of Asia’s most multicultural cities!
The city is famous for its traditional flavors mixed with a contemporary, modern atmosphere makes for an awesome culinary experience, so let’s explore together!
10 Picky much?
Residents of Hong Kong, or for the lack of a better term, Hong Kongers, are quite fussy about their food, believe it or not. Anyone who has been to one of Asia’s culinary capitals will know that there is an endless amount of street-food on offer, however it is only when you are sat in a local teahouse that you will realize how fussy these people actually are. For example, one tourist recounted an instance where a local asked for no sugar because it would have made them gain weight, nor extra ice as there would have been more water than tea. So, short story is, don’t be afraid to be a little fussy in order to get what you really want and pay for!
9 Be prepared for some modified dishes
In Hong Kong, food is divided in to specific categories, which are strictly adhered to. We all know about the tasty Dim Sum…well, if you don’t, it is steamed goodness served to you, usually consisting of pork and shrimp. Anyway, now that your mouth is watering, Hong Kongers take it a step further and modify traditional Asian dishes, such as the Dim Sum to add a few extra ingredients.
If you go far as even naming the wrong dish, you better be ready for a good stare down! Make sure to read up on the various categories of dishes before heading out.
8 East and West. Combined.
Any foodie’s dream is to have a combination of Eastern culinary flare with a dash of the West. There are only so many of these restaurants around the world, and as you can imagine, given Hong Kong’s history, there is no shortage of fusion eateries. This being said, if you are not a fan of traditional Asian dishes, then not to worry, you will be just fine as there are plenty of Western style dishes available too. You may also find that the table you are sitting at for dinner has a drawer. Go ahead and open it and you’ll find chopsticks as well as Western cutlery, so as to avoid any discrepancies.
7 Be Inspired
The culinary scene in Hong Kong is renowned for being creative with its meals and drinks, so make sure you try a combination drink next time you’re in town. Yuan Yang is one common example, and is a concoction of ¾ coffee and ¼ milk tea. Another example is ‘Iced Shaking Milk Tea’, which, in fact, originated from Hong Kong and is very famous throughout the area. These mixology’s will only cost you $0.50 USD so it is absolutely worth it to get those tastebuds working over time, as well as to taste what Hong Kong is all about.
6 No limits
Be prepared to eat anything, literally anything. Hong Kongers do not believe in wasting food, of course, the best quality meat is used, but it is the leftovers, not naming any particular ones, that are also used in everyday cooking.
It is not uncommon to see Noodle soup with beef offal on the menu in most eateries, whether you want to try it out it totally up to you! In saying this, while in Asia, you simply need to broaden your horizons and try-out some local cuisine, even if it isn’t the most appetising in the world!
5 Eat literally whenever
Get ready to eat whenever and wherever. Don’t be surprised if you feel like you’re in the middle of Italy with this one! People in Hong Kong are well-known for being hard workers. That means starting early, working late and in most cases, over time, which is why most eateries in the city have adapted their opening and closing times to suit the majority of workers in the area. Sometimes, they will eat dinner at 10pm, and then again at 1am which Hong Kongers call a late-dinner. Some eateries, mostly Cantonese, open at 5pm and close at 5am, serving breakfast at 2am! If you are the kind of traveler who enjoys feeling like a local, why not try it out, in other words, being nocturnal on holidays, and see how you get on!
4 Expect what you pay for
Being a very densely populated city, and hence quite expensive, Hong Kongers have come to expect value for money with their food. They take great pride in dining out and sharing unforgettable moments with their friends and loved ones. If you order steamed fish, only does the fish have to be tasty, but it is expected to be colorful and vibrant with many seasonings and little side meals.
If you are a buffet kind of person, they are aplenty here in Hong Kong, and once price for all-you-can-eat is very common, as residents enjoy having lots of food to share amongst a group of people, and more often than not, these restaurants are better value for money anyway.
3 Queue up
Because of rising prices, restaurants are lucky to survive more than 3 months in the city. Rent is through the roof (pun not intended), and food prices are constantly rising, presenting a double-whammy for restauranteurs. When out and about in the evening, if you choose not to opt for breakfast at 2am, queuing is part and parcel of determining a good restaurant in Hong Kong. If you see a queue, the restaurant has been around for a while and well-known in the area, so it’s worth waiting in line for a spot.
2 Keeping clean
Maybe this is our Western culture talking, but when you enter a restaurants in Hong Kong, we are usually given a cup of hot tea. Yay! Free tea! Well, in a sense, yes, but as a matter of fact, this hot tea is for cleaning your utensils before eating. No matter if you choose chopsticks or a knife and fork, this ‘free tea’ is actually there to sanitise your eating utensils before hoeing in to a great meal!
1 Eat Roast Goose
Garnished in soy sauce, garlic, honey and spring onion, roast goose is one of the staple dishes of Hong Kong and must be tried whilst here. It can be found in most eateries around town and is definitely worth a shout if you are out and about. Some of you out there may be put off by ethical side of the dish, but it is really a once in a lifetime dish, and no one is forcing you to try it again, so why not take a few deep breaths and simply enjoy!