Ah, Hong Kong is a vibrant city where culinary wonders abound everywhere. As a devoted traveler, one of the best ways to honestly share a culture is through its food. So, join me as we venture on a delicious journey through the bustling lanes of Hong Kong, studying 20 famous words that are a testament to the city’s rich culinary gift.
1. Sweet and Sour Pork: A Global Sensation
Let’s start with a classic that needs no introduction – Sweet and Sour Pork. This iconic dish, with its succulent pork bathed in a tangy orange sauce, has captured the hearts of locals and found its way onto Chinese takeout menus worldwide. I even have a go at recreating it at home with a handy recipe I found.
2. Wontons: Crossed Hands of Flavor
Wontons, or “chāo shǒu,” are a culinary marvel Hong Kong has perfected. Whether served in a clear soup or deep-fried, the thin-skinned, rich meat filling of Sichuan-style wontons is a delight. I’m particularly intrigued by the Hong Kong twist, featuring salted fish instead of peppers – a unique flavor combination worth trying.
3. Roast Goose: A Cantonese Delicacy
A journey through Hong Kong’s culinary landscape is complete with indulging in Roast Goose, a specialty of Cantonese cuisine. I’ve heard tales of Yung Kee’s legendary roast goose and Yue Kee’s decades-long reputation. This savory experience promises to be a highlight of my culinary adventure.
4. Wind Sand Chicken: A Guangdong Marvel
Originating from Guangdong, Wind Sand Chicken is a dish that has captured the hearts of Hong Kong locals. The crispy exterior, coupled with the tender meat inside, infused with the aroma of garlic, is a true testament to the creativity in Chinese culinary arts.
5. Shrimp and Chicken Balls: Fit for Royalty
Dragon and phoenix come together as Shrimp and Chicken Balls, a dish with regal connotations associated with Chinese royalty. As I savor each crispy and tender bite, I can’t help but appreciate the cultural significance woven into this delightful creation.
6. Phoenix Talons (Chickens’ Feet): A Collagen Boost
Despite the initial hesitation, Phoenix Talons, also known as Chicken Feet, are a surprising delicacy. Softened through frying and steaming, these collagen-rich treats are flavorful and boast potential skin and bone benefits – a tip I might take to heart.
7. Steamed Shrimp Dumplings (Har Gow): Dim Sum Perfection
A trip to Hong Kong would only be complete with indulging in the dim sum delight of Har Gow. With translucent wrappers encasing juicy shrimp and a touch of pork, this dish is a testament to the intricate artistry of Hong Kong’s culinary scene.
8. Fish Balls: A Hong Kong Snacking Tradition
Fish Balls, a quintessential Hong Kong snack, come in two varieties – fried and uncooked. I am curious about the daily average consumption of 55 metric tons, exploring the streets for the best street vendor offering this classic treat.
9. Hong Kong-Style Milk Tea: A Cultural Symbol
As I take a break from the savory journey, I delve into the world of Hong Kong-Style Milk Tea. The blend of Ceylon black tea, evaporated milk, and sugar – a valid symbol of Hong Kong culture – awaits my exploration at the historic Dai Pai Dong, Lan Fong Yuen.
10. Pineapple Bread: A Sweet Surprise
Though lacking in actual pineapple, Pineapple Bread captures the essence of Hong Kong’s sweet treats. A crispy surface and soft bread beneath are perfect for my afternoon tea escapades.
11. Egg Tarts: A Portuguese Legacy
Introduced by Portuguese colonizers, Egg Tarts have flourished in Hong Kong since the 1940s. I can’t wait to try the popular Taichang Bakery’s version, known for winning hearts with its sweetened egg filling.
12. Beef Brisket Noodles: A Hong Kong Classic
A bowl of Beef Brisket Noodles, or ngau lam mein, is a must-try. Kau Kee, the most famous spot for this dish, beckons with promises of braised beef brisket served atop flavorful wheat noodles.
13. Snake Soup: Medicinal Delight
Intrigued by the reputed medicinal benefits, I set out to try Snake Soup. Assured that it tastes more like chicken and mushroom soup, I make my way to She Wong Lam, known as the ‘Snake King Lam,’ for an authentic experience.
14. Clay Pot Rice: A Traditional Delight
Clay Pot Rice, a traditional Cantonese dish, promises a symphony of flavors with smoky steamed rice, carved pork, smoked sausage, and a special sauce. I make a mental note to savor this dish at a local spot.
15. Hong-Kong-Style Custard: A Sweet Symphony
Steamed Milk Pudding, known as Hong-Kong-Style Custard, is a dessert enjoyed across generations. The smooth texture and various toppings make it a favorite at Yee Shun Milk Company – a classic dessert destination.
16. Steamed Rice Rolls: Dim Sum Elegance
Steamed Rice Rolls, or Cheong fun, showcase the elegance of dim sum. I plan to visit Tim Ho Wan, a Michelin restaurant, to experience the delicate balance of rice sheets filled with beef, shrimp, or char siu.
17. Fake Shark Fin Soup: A Sustainable Twist
With sustainability in mind, I explore Fake Shark Fin Soup, a modern take on a classic. Substituting shark fin with vermicelli, this dish at Lvzaiji Restaurant promises a flavorful journey accompanied by various seasonings.
18. Rickshaw Noodles: A Nostalgic Delight
Rickshaw Noodles, a fast-food sensation since the 1960s, evoke nostalgia. Despite the change in selling venues, this Hong Kong favorite’s flavors and variety of ingredients remain timeless.
19. Eggplant with Minced Pork: Sichuan Flavors in Hong Kong
While Eggplant with Minced Pork is a Sichuan dish, its popularity in Hong Kong restaurants is undeniable. The aromatic blend of ingredients, cooked in a clay pot, brings out the rich flavors of minced pork.
20. Sago Mix: A Refreshing Dessert
As my culinary journey concludes, I treat myself to Sago Mix – a traditional Hong Kong dessert featuring tapioca-like sago and seasonal fruits. Xuliushan, a sweet shop with over 40 years of history, is the perfect place to savor this sweet-and-sour delight.
A Culinary Melting Pot: Beyond the 20 Delights
Beyond these 20 iconic dishes, Hong Kong’s culinary scene is a melting pot of diverse influences. Whether enjoying a traditional breakfast of congee and cha kwai or indulging in dim sum with a cup of Hong Kong-style milk tea, every culinary encounter unveils a new layer of this city’s rich tapestry.
As a traveler, I appreciate the opportunity to explore Hong Kong’s authentic cuisines influenced by