What I miss the most of Hong Kong while studying aboard? Apart from my families and friends I’d say it’s the food. Michelin Guide maybe a standard toward fine dining or cuisine in Paris or NYC, but it can’t beat a food map from the local Hong Kongese. Traditional Hong Kong food is unique, we combined Chinese and western dishes and eventually make them best of both world, for example eliminated the heavy spice in Chinese dishes and improved the cooking method of western dishes. Here are some food/dishes that visitors always missed out because they are never included in a guide book.
*I’ll try my best to translate the place or the dishes in English since words in Cantonese is really difficult and specific to explain.
1. 茶餐廳 Local Tea House
Ok, you may heart of it from the guide book and must be a list of chained Local Tea House. Tea house was and never should be running in chains so I’m not talking about THE tea house but any general one. Tea house was aimed to provide quick and budget meal for working class in the pass, so if you want to try the authentic experience go to the one look pretty dim and not the best cleanness, or simply the one in a public housing estate. Beware that you may have to share a table with strangers!
-蛋治 Scrambled Egg Sandwich
I’m an egg freak. That’s one of my favorite breakfasts in Hong Kong. We never serve cold sandwich. Local tea house makes the best smooth and juicy scrambled egg, usually with slice of ham or our salted beef in between of two sliced of soft bread.
-常餐 Set Meal + Milk Tea/Lemon Tea
Set meal is very popular since you don’t have to decide what to eat among a massive menu of great choices. It’s usually a snacks with noodle as main come along with a drink.
Milk tea and lemon tea in local tea house are a highlight. When I’m in London, I’m pissed off every time I was offered with ‘milk tea’, that’s not even a proper one! Milk tea in Hong Kong are smooth in texture and rich in the taste of tea, both hot and iced worth a try. Iced lemon tea is my favorite.
-碟頭飯 Rice bowl serve in a plate
This is some really local thing. 碟頭飯mean everything sever in a plate for one person. It’s quick and cheap, just 5 minute you can have a full meal served, best for students and working class to get their lunch sorted. There are variety of dishes to chose from, from main course with boiled rice to fried rice or noodle, cook once you order in a massive wok and present piping hot!
2. 西餅店 Hong Kong Bakery
(the words literally mean western cake shop, but I’ve never seen that kind of bread in any western countries tho)
My second favorite breakfast and best snacks for tea time or in between meal. Every times I can’t resist the heavenly smell from the bread, there’s always one around the corner in my high school and the biking wave is at 3pm, the time we are out from class! The more the tradition one, more cheaper and better.
My favorite bread is Pineapple Bun, named after its crispy surface like a pineapple. The advance way of eating it is severing it hot with a thick slice of cold butter, simply speechless! My second pick would be Cocktail bun(ok I don’t understand how come of its name), anyway, it’s a fluffy bun stuffed with sugary shredded coconut.
In local bakery, they make cake as well, that really differ from the western one. We don’t make cake with pie base or chesses something like that but with fresh cream, mosses and fluffy cake base. They are all cut into a mouthful rectangular shape that you can share and try of another taste.
3. 粥店Congee Shop
Congee is a smooth rice porridge and a traditional dish from China good for those who suffer from cold or stomach. Hong Kongese always wanting something so efficient so we invented生滾粥, with a huge pot of plain congee base that prepared in the early morning like 4am, adding the ingredient according to order. Most common ingredient is loin pork with thousand year egg, chicken, Cup Dai (mixture of everything), and my favorite crab congee.
Congee always serve with sides like stir fried noodle or rice noodle in soya sauce, 油器Yau Hei (Deep fried favored flour like Spanish churros) and steam rice cake. It’s a really cheap thing to eat and number or these shop are constantly decreasing since it’s a dish that require dedications and care.