It’s interesting that when talking to people who have been to Hong Kong, they’ve missed out the food that I found much more representative as Hong Kong dishes. Then I realized that the reason of that is because we already get used to our food for daily life that we are no longer surprise by where and what food we have. The Chinese idioms民以食為天 means Food is as important as the empire, indicated how food are crucial in our culture. Influenced by that concept and food are simply everywhere in Hong Kong. Here are some amazing food/dishes that you never notice or don’t make sense that exist in some hidden locations:
1. 西餐廳 Old Steak House
It sound a bit weird that I’m recommending western restaurant, but this is not referring to all western restaurant but the old tradition steak house started in the 80s. Food provided are westernized Hong Kong style. If you are looking for a satisfying and budget meat feast, old steak house is perfect for you! Start with a warm fluffy bread with butter, chose from cream soup or tomato soup, main course as a large portion of different meat with sides of chips or rice or spaghetti, and with a standard drink for around HKD 100? There’s nothing to complain about.
Alternatively, you must try the baked rice! It’s a Hong Kong invented western dish as well. With egg fired rice as the base, topped with meat or fish and choices of sauces and baked with slices of cheese. Taste phenomenal!
2. 燒臘 Hong Kong Style Roasting and Salted Dried meat
燒臘actually means two different way of cooking: roasted and salt dried. Visitors maybe more familiar with the roasted one like Cha Siu (pork roasted in honey sauce), Siu Yuk (pork belly) or roasted duck and chicken. However, I think it’s a shame to miss out the second way of salt dried meat.
臘味Lap Mei is traditional Chinese food, pickled meat like duck or pork with salt and sundried it as a way to preserver meat till winter or festive food for Chinese New Year. My favorite one is Lap Mei is dried pork sausage. We usually steam them on a bed of rice in a clay pot. Eat with sweet soya sauce and those slightly burnt rice at the bottom is the highlight.
3. In any Local Mall
There are many large shopping mall in Hong Kong but I prefer the small and local one, where you can find small independent shops and restaurant with interesting stuff. These mall are usually located a short buildings in some older districts like Mong Kwok or Shum Shui Po where rent are lower. My mom used to work in one of these mall in Tsuen Wan. There are lots of small food stalls or restaurants that food can be surprisingly good since they have time and dedications running a small business. Name any and you can find in just one mall: food cart, Japanese, western café, fresh juice…
4. 糖水店 Sweet Soup Place
There’s places specialized in dessert. Dessert places are where we hang out after a meal instead of bars or pubs. Dessert places in Hong Kong is quiet unique, they offer traditional Chinese sweet soup like sesame porridge, red bean soup; western fusion like sundaes or purple rice cream brulee and our own invention like cotton ice cream or fruit bowl with herb jelly (much more that I can’t explain properly!). But I assure you that will be a great finish touch of a meal and decent place for gossiping!