“I promise, if you are still hungry after this, you can ask my boss for a refund” says Jacky. Together with 8 other food enthusiasts, I decided to join a Hong Kong food tour with Eating Adventures.
I could do with some insight to be honest, so far I haven’t dared to venture further than wonton noodles and dumplings and, as tasty as they might be, I am looking forward to having a local show me around the vast array of food to try in Hong Kong. So off I go on what looks like a very promising food tour!
What to eat in Hong Kong
1. Hong Kong food guide: snacks
To wet our appetite, we start off with a few popular afternoon snacks. First up is “Gai Daan Jai”or “egg waffle”. Judging by the queue at this hole in the wall-place, Jacky picked out one of the best places to try this popular Hong Kong snack. The egg waffle is a delicate mixture of egg, flour and sugar, cooked between two round griddles, giving it its characteristic egg yolk shape. Not bad, but the sugar addict in me prefers our second stop.
One of the most popular pastries in Hong Kong is called “nuomici“, a glutinous rice dumpling with a filling of mango and red bean paste, often dusted with dried coconut on the outside. Very sweet and very tasty!
2. Hong Kong food guide: local produce
After these filling snacks, we let our stomach rest for a while, while Jacky takes us around one of Hong Kong’s wet markets, one of the more traditional things to do in Hong Kong . Eating Adventures doesn’t only let you taste the local food, they are also keen on showing you the ingredients it’s made with. The wet market sells fresh meat, fish, fruit and vegetables. It’s a pretty bloody affair of pork hooks and cut-off fish heads that are still twitching, but definitely interesting to see where the locals shop! Jacky explains us that supermarkets haven’t taken over Hong Kong yet, local housewives still prefer doing their daily shopping at the market!
There are a lot of wet markets in Hong Kong. While you can easily walk around yourself, it is better to go with a local for your first experience. A few days later I went for a walk around Sham Shui Po, one of the poorer areas of Hong Kong, famous for its markets and street traders and I’m glad I had been with Jacky to a wet market before to identify some of the unknown and sometimes bloody ingredients.
3. Hong Kong food guide: main meal is served
After strolling around Hong Kong’s wet markets for a while, we are ready to do some more tasting and head for a small family restaurant. There’s a whole menu waiting there for us: a tasty bowl of soup as a starter, followed by delicious beef brisket noodles and lo soi goose, a typical Cantonese dish from the Chiu Chow region in China. The goose is braised in a big pot of broth with pepper, star anise, orange peel, cinnamon, ginger, shallots, sugar, soy sauce, and a variety of herbs. It is said that the same broth is used over and over again, for several days or even weeks, to maximize the flavours…
4. Hong Kong food guide: time for yum cha
I have to admit that I’m pretty full already, but way too excited about the next stop: we are going for dim sum at Tim Ho Wan, a dim sum restaurant that has been awarded a Michelin-star! Before we tuck in, Jacky explains us about the tradition of “yum cha”, which literally means “drinking tea”. Nowadays it has become synonym with “going for dim sum and tea”, a popular breakfast and lunch-time activity in Hong Kong and one of the very few Hong Kong traditions still standing! An array of tasty dishes is spread out in front of us: Cha Siu Bao (steamed barbecue-flavoured pork buns) Chiu Chow dumplings and fried stuffed chili with minced fish. If it’s good enough for Michelin, it’s definitely good enough for me!
5. Hong Kong food guide: room for dessert?
By now I have officially decided to skip dinner. But I always keep a small spot for dessert. We head off to a small place that serves “Tang Yuan”: ginger soup with glutinous, chewy rice balls containing black sesame paste. It’s a popular dessert choice in China and is also traditionally eaten during festivals.
I was a bit sceptic upon seeing it, but it is truly one of the best desserts I’ve ever had!
It’s not always easy to venture beyond the “usual suspects” when going abroad, which is why I’m glad I joined Eating Adventures on their tour. The small groups guarantee you a personal treatment and the fact that they work with born and bred locals instead of expats is definitely an advantage! If you are planning on visiting Hong Kong, I’d highly recommend them!
Have you been on a food tour of Hong Kong? Or somewhere else? Where?
Disclosure: Eating Adventures provided me with a complimentary ticket to attend this food tour, as always all opinions are my own!