Must-Try Cuisine in Hong Kong
Noodles are another staple of Chinese cuisine and the country adores them
With so many dishes to choose from in Hong Kong restaurants, you could spend 30 minutes or more flummoxed by the vast array of options. With that in mind, we have whittled things down to what we, as local experts, think are the 15 top dishes to sample when dining in Hong Kong.
This meaty broth has long been a staple of Chinese dining. For the Cantonese people, this dish provides them with a blast of warmth and a quick source of energy that they need to start their day. There are many types of congee and many things that are used to supplement it, meaning the dish will vary from place to place, but one thing remains the same – its tastiness!
Noodles are another staple of Chinese cuisine and the country adores them like Europeans do pasta. This foodstuff is also highly symbolic to the Chinese, in that it represents long life, so will always be cooked up at birthdays or festivals or other celebrations. There is a near infinite amount of noodle-based dishes, from broth to vegetables to meat, and you will find them across the whole gastronomic spectrum, from street stands to gourmet restaurants in Hong Kong.
Like noodles, fried rice (‘yang chow’) is a cornerstone of Chinese food. This humble dish is now enjoyed across the globe, and for most East and South East Asians forms an essential ingredient of their day to day diet. Also like noodles, fried rice can be served with pretty much anything, so the possibilities are endless.
This delicious, steaming broth is perfect for a cold winter’s day. It is warmed over fire and comes in a variety of flavours and types. You can have it sweet, sour or spicy, and add all different kinds of ingredients, such as vegetables, chicken, pork, beef or seafood.
Pot Luck Seafood
This slightly dubiously named offering is a delectable example of how local and international cuisine in Hong Kong has fused, creating a dreamily delicious dish. More of a feast, it consists of crab and fish balls, king crab, maw fish and a rare breed of sea snail called abalone. Add to all this an assortment of fresh vegetables from Japan, and you’re left with a plate of food that not only tastes divine, but looks it, too.
These little nuggets of heaven are handcrafted using Vietnamese tiger prawns. They are beloved for being soft, juicy and chewy all at once, and of course for their mouthwatering flavour. We recommend sampling them at Hop Hing Hotpot, a restaurant in the Jordan district which serves up possible the best shrimp balls in Hong Kong.
Xiao Long Bao Dumplings
One of the highlights for any foodie on holiday in Hong Kong, these scrumptious delights are served in bamboo steamers, which carry anything from four to eight dumplings. The dumplings are unique for their thin flour skin, which encases pork or chicken broth, and they are served with shredded ginger and vinegar.
Roasted Suckling Pig
This traditional Chinese dish is all about the crispy, yet succulent, skin roasted to perfection. When bitten, an impeccably tender and juicy meat is revealed in all its glory. Its flavor and fragrance comes from the spices rubbed onto the skin of the pig before roasting, and the whole thing culminates in a refreshing, explosive and ultimately addictive taste. Yum!
BBQ Pork Rice
This has long been a Cantonese favorite, acting as something of a comfort dish for meat-lovers. Also known as ‘Char Siu’, it consists of strips of seasoned, boneless pork, and provides an appetizing combination of sweet and savory. It is typically served with egg and sometimes there are other choices of meat.
This classic Chinese dish can be served in a variety of ways, and all are delicious in their own right. Firstly, the duck can be served shredded, ready to be wrapped in small pancakes with a splash of black bean sauce and a sprinkling of spring onion and cucumber. The second approach is to serve the skin of the duck separately, daubed with a touch of sugar to balance out the strong flavor. And lastly, duck breasts can be cooked whole and served with various condiments, and accompanied with fried rice.
This is one of the most widely known – and loved – desserts in Asia, and has its own deeply-rooted following in Hong Kong. It is an attractive little treat with an outer pastry crust filled with rich custard. This popular snack is served at most dim sum restaurants, but one of the best places to sample it is the famous Hoover Cake Shop, located at 136 Nga Tsin Wai Road, in the heart of Kowloon.
This is a pork or, more vaguely, meat dumpling, which is a regular feature on the menus of most Chinese restaurants and dim sum eateries. It is one of the more common Chinese dumplings, but to sample the best of the best, you’ll have to head to Guangdong Province. Here, you’ll find a version brimming with pork, diced shrimp, black mushroom, spring onions, ginger, rice wine, soy sauce, sesame oil and chicken stock.
Many people not native to China may balk at the thought of even looking at a plate of chicken feet. They might question how something that must have come into contact with so much dirt and rubble from the ground could be eaten. But don’t worry, because this delicacy is deep-fried after it is thoroughly cleansed, and boiled, and what’s more, the chickens used are battery hens, so they don’t even go outside! After the aforementioned treatment, the feet are stewed in a scrumptious black bean sauce. This process allows the cartilage of the chicken feet to soften until the required tenderness. Lastly, with a good deal of concentration, the little bones are spat out in that delicate manner that is said to be made famous by grandma cooks in dim sum restaurants throughout China. Some chefs tend to skip the deep-frying process altogether, in favor of stewing the chicken feet in sweet abalone sauce, which leads to a more wholesome, texturized treat.
Known locally as ‘Siu Yuk’, this lovely dish is comprised of no less than five layers of pork, beginning with a salty, spicy bottom layer, then alternating stratums of succulent pork and fat, and all topped off with some crispy pig skin. An ideal sample should be moist rather than greasy and exude some sweetness and smokiness. This dish is best eaten with sharp yellow mustard to accentuate the existing textures and flavors.
Cha Siu Bau
This is one of the lesser known but equally delectable delicacies of Chinese cuisine. It is basically a pork sandwich. But the pork is barbecued and the outlying bun is soft and fluffy. Also, it is best eaten with a sweet sauce that is poured into the bun that blends flavorably with the sauce that the pork was initially cooked with.