Monday, January 30, 2017

Discovering : Eating in Hong Kong

I have said in my previous entry of Hong Kong that I may not return there too soon, but when my close Instagrammer friends invited me to come along, I found it hard to refuse this trip. What I have done differently this round was to pass on the generic tourist attractions and opted more for tummy filling visits (although I am contradicting myself here since a number of the places I visited for food are tourist traps). Here are some quick survival guides to eating in Hong Kong.

Street Foods in Mong Kok

If you happen to find yourself on the streets of Mong Kok, chances are you might stumble across stalls with iconic Hong Kong street foods. Curry fish balls (咖哩魚蛋), pork intestines (炸大腸) and the infamous smelly tofu (臭豆腐) are rustic favorites and perfect take-away bites, usually in polystyrene bowls with bamboo sticks (well, to poke the food).

Bro Tips : Other classic street foods include braised beef offals (牛雜), siew mai (燒賣, usually more doughy than the ones you find in dimsum restaurants) and egg waffles (雞蛋仔). Notable stalls include Gaai Gei Siu Sik (佳記小食) - at Sai Yeung Choi Street South.

咖哩魚蛋, Curry Fish Balls
Pork intestines (炸大腸) and Smelly tofu (臭豆腐)
Char Chan Teng (茶餐廳)

Char Chan Teng literally means Tea Restaurant, or cafes if you prefer to call it that. A typical Hong Kong char chan teng would usually serve a western influenced array of dishes such as toasts and sandwiches, instant noodles added with chicken wings or ham and the classic milk tea and yin yeung (mixture of coffee and tea). You would likely find Bolo Bao (Pineapple Bun) and egg tarts in most of them as well.

Notable Char Chan Tengs I've visited this round - Shun Hing (順興茶餐廳) at Tai Hang, Kam Wah (金華冰廳) at Prince Edward and Lan Fong Yuen (蘭芳園) at Central. I personally prefer the Bolo Bao in Shun Hing, fluffy inside and its crusty layer is made to perfection.

From top left going clockwise - Scrambled Eggs Char Siew Rice (滑蛋叉烧饭) , Cart Noodles (車仔面), or instant noodle with assorted toppings such as curry fish ball, squid and chicken wings, Bolo Bao with Butter and Scrambled Eggs (滑蛋菠萝油), Milk Tea (奶茶), another variation of the Cart Noodle and Pork Chop rice.
Shun Hing Char Chan Teng, 順興茶餐廳
Hot Pot

Hot pots are no strangers to places like Hong Kong that can be a tad chilly during the early of the year. Hot pots are indulgent, self cooked dishes, perfect to have with family and friends. One particular (and peculiar) hot pot I have tried (aside from the usual sze chuan styled ones) is the Durian Hot Pot at Fisher and Farmer, Tsim Sha Tsui. This hot pot consists of chicken and durian to give the broth a creamy and the distinctive durian fragrance (or stench to most of the other non-Asians and some Asians).

Durian Hot Pot
Roast Goose (燒鵝)

Another iconic Hong Kong dish would be their Roast Goose. Kam's Kitchen at Tin Hau would be a choice if you opt for an air conditioned restaurant and still want to savor the roast goose. Enjoy the crispy, golden roast skin and the succulent goose as it is. Pair it with roast pork and that is lunch for me (or/and dinner).

Roast Goose, Kam's Kitchen
Dim Sum

Your trip to Hong Kong would somewhat incomplete without having dim sum. Whether it is a high end 3 Michellin Stars restaurant or a classic tea house concept, dim sum are generally eaten to your heart's content. For the authentic experience of a dim sum tea house, you can visit Lin Heung located at Central. The authenticity is not limited to its array of dim sum, but also the infamous 'hospitality' of Hong Kong dining places. Do not be taken aback if you felt that the waiters are being abrasive to you, they are designed to manage customers that way. Bro tip? Be as loud/defensive as they are as manners are partially out the window here. Are you also expecting that the waiter comes and wait your table? Na-ah, YOU will go get your lazy bums to the dim sum cart and get what you want. For that matter, you are going against other hungry patrons as well, it is an all out war zone in Lin Heung. After all is said and done, and I quote the old chap sharing the table with us (well, I was eavesdropping and sharing tables are common in Hong Kong) - "We are just here for the experience". I could not agree more.

Classic dimsums - Char Siew Bao, Ma Lai Ko, Chee Cheung Fun.
Lin Heung (蓮香樓)
For a non authentic dim sum (or perhaps some dimsums to post up on Instagram), you may try this Dim Sum Icon (点心代表) located in Tsim Sha Tsui. Featured around Shin Chan, a Japanese anime, you may find these photogenic dim sums (albeit not tasting like the best dim sum in the world for sure).

Dim Sum Icon
There you have it. Basic survival guide on what to eat in Hong Kong. I will be covering some dessert and cafes next (in case your rebel side tells you to not eat local when you are in Hong Kong).

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