When it comes to food from all around the world, only Tokyo can compete with Hong Kong from it’s uncountable Michelin Restaurants to it’s stunning arrays of street food delicacy. Let me rephrase this, Hong Kong is literarily food paradise for foodies or anyone that basically likes to eat. With one restaurant for every 600 people, Hong Kong is surely one of the highest per-capita concentration restaurants and cafés in the whole world. I was anxious to get overwhelmed by the endless options before a friend of mine, and amazing food blogger Alexis (http://alexischeong.com) told me about open rice a great application that helped me find my way in this food paradise.
Be warned , if you are on a diet, or trying to loose weight don’t go to Hong Kong! You will either break your diet or live your whole life with the big frustration of not succumbing to the temptation of all the goodness that was calling for you. It is for sure a life time experience that I was very lucky enough to have, and I wanted to share it with you.
But before jumping right into all the goodness you have to taste in Hong Kong , there are some things you should know.
- Download the application “Open Rice” http://www.openrice.com . It is a food and restaurant guide that will become your bible guiding you through the unique food tasting experience in Hong Kong . It will help you find the best restaurant in your area ranking them by votes of the application users. Since other comparators we are used to ( such as Tripadvisor or Yelp ) are not very commonly used in South East Asia, Open Rice will help you find the very best option that suits your taste, your pocket and your location. It currently operates in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Japan, Macao, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand. It is a life saver when it comes to answer the question of what and where to eat.
- The service standards are way different than ours. In Hong Kong, people consider service being good if its quick and efficient. Don’t take it personally if the waiter looks annoyed if you take a long time deciding what to eat . Western standards would consider some actions as “rude”, but they are not. People are simply doing the tasks they are asked for: be efficient and quick. Get over this, don’t pay too much attention to it and you will enjoy Hong Kong to the fullest.
- Don’t get angry if the waiter ignores you when you call them. Just be patient and make sure you raise your hand up enough so that they can see you. Don’t be discouraged, especially if you are in a very crowded restaurant or café. Just wait for a little while and they will definitely end up attending you.
- There is a minimum spending per head policy in some places. Most of the time, there will tell you before sitting you or letting you order. This is to prevent people using tables and not ordering food. The amount is usually reasonable and fits to what you would have been paying anyway.
- Sharing table in Hong Kong is almost norm . It is expected in most local dining. It is surely less common in restaurants. For some of us, the idea might seem strange, but it is actually a nice experience sharing your space with some one you don’t know. Most of the time, a simple eye contact or a shy smile leads to a nice conversation. Embrace the culture, do what locals do and you will simply fall in love with Hong Kong.
Enough talk about cultural differences, let’s dive right into the real deal : THE FOOD
I have listed for you some of the iconic must try foods in Hong Kong. Some of them are street food, other are fine dishes in Michelin restaurants, fitting all tastes and budgets.
1.Curry Fish Balls from street strolls
Your travel to Hong Kong would surely not be complete if you don’t try one of the most iconic street food of Hong Kong,the curry fish balls. They are very easy to find, pretty much in every corner around the peninsula. This snack is very cheap and super tasty. A really convenient food on the go for low budget travelers or anyone that is seeking to get an authentic experience of street food in Hong Kong. The best Curry Fish Balls I personnally ate were in a little stall in Mong Kong, but all the ones I had during my stay were tasty and definitely worth the try.
2.Dim Sum in a One Star Michelin Restaurant
With as many as more than 200 options to choose from, you will surely find one dumpling that will blow your mind. Dim sum means ‘touch your heart’ in cantonese and it certainly did touch mine. In early times, they were eaten as a snack going along with a tea degustation to enhance the taste of it.
Today, people eat them as real meals, breakfast, snack or even brunch. I personally love Dim Sum and found that Tim Ho Wan (famous 1 Michelin Star restaurant) is the best option in Hong Kong that perfectly allies great taste, good quality and low price in. The lines are extremely long though and it sometimes takes up to 2 hours before getting a table.
I would personally advice on going outside of the rush hours ( lunch / dinner / weekend ).I went in an rainy Wednesday afternoon (around 3:30pm) and I did not have to make any line. The good news is that Tim Ho Wan has 6 locations around Hong Kong so you can choose the most convenient one for you.
Once sited, the waitress will bring you a tea pot along with chop sticks and green salad leaves with soy sauce. The funny story about my first experience eating Dim Sum in Hong Kong is that I had no clue that the tea was there to actually wash your chop stick and cups rather than to drink. So I served my self a cup and drunk it as I would do in any other Chinese restaurant. Then, I realized I was totally mistaken when I saw a little girl sitting at the table next to me laughing out loud and showing her mom what I was doing. It was just another funny/ embarrassing moment for me diving into cultural differences while dinning in a foreign country.
3.Egg Waffles Hong Kong Style
In Hong Kong waffle has a shape of spheres and is main ingredient is egg. It is often eaten plain or with ice cream in the flavor of your choice. It’s Cantonese name is “Gai Daan Jai” but I must admit that during my whole stay in Hong Kong I never succeeded to remember the pronunciation of it and order it in Cantonese. So I usually just use egg puff or bubble waffle to refer to it and everyone would understand me. I loved this popular street snack and would have one in the afternoon every single day. It is fluffy in the inside and a little crunchy on the outside which combines perfectly well with the creamy aspect of the ice cream. You can find it everywhere in Hong Kong. Try it, you won’t regret it.
4.Hong Kong Style Milk Tea
Hong Kong style milk tea is as you would guess made from black tea and milk. The milk can be evaporated or condensed. Hong Kongers drink it with their lunch. They love it so much that a total of 900 million cups are consumed in Hong Kong every year. You can buy the instant milk tea pretty much every where from restaurants to cafés. You can also get it at any convenient store if you want a to take a little taste of Hong Kong back home with you. And I must admit that even those ones taste good. Give it a try.
5.Australia Diary Company
This would probably not sound very local to you but in fact it is very poplar among Hong Kongese people. I tried for you “The Australia Diary Company”, the locals favorite place for all day Hong Kong style Breakfast. Among all the famous Michelin Restaurants, this cafe made it’s way to be number one in the whole of Hong Kong. So many people told me great things about it. Therefore it was one of the very first places I dined in when I arrived to Hong Kong. I lined for more than 45 minutes on a Sunday morning to get the chance to taste their famous food and I must admit it was really worth it.
There is something very very special about their scrambled eggs. They are incredibly creamy and melt in your mouth leaving you with a taste to die for. It was undoubtably the best scrambled eggs I ate in my entire life. I suggest you to order a Condensed Milk Toast along with your eggs.
But there is a down side to such a fame. You will have to make long lines and will have to eat fast and go. The waiters expect you to leave as soon as your last bite goes down on your throat. It is definitely not a place where you can take time to enjoy your meal and drink a cup of coffee or two. But you forget all these negative sides once you taste the extremely delicious food? I am telling you, it’s addicting and very affordable.
Address : 47 Parkes Street, Jordan, Hong Kong
Opening Hours : Friday to Wed 7.30am – 11.00pm (Closed on Thursday)
How to get There : Jordon MTR – Exit C2 ( Right ). Walk ahead to the junction and then turn right.
6.Teawood Café and Restaurant
Hong Kong is a Melting Pot Hub for all the cultures, cuisines and tastes from all around the world. You can have some of the best culinary experiences choosing pretty much all type of food you wish to taste. During my research for the places where to eat in Mong Kok, I discovered about Teawood café. It was ranked as best South East Asian restaurant for 2016. It serves Taiwanese Food, all types of teas and outrageously delicious and good looking deserts. I had personally never tried Taiwanese food. So I decided to kill two birds with one stone dining at the best South East Asian Restaurant while discovering for the first time Taiwanese food.
How can I even describe the delightful experience I had eating in this place? Everything about the presentation of the food was so perfect. And our meal tasted viciously delicious. From the main courses to the fruit teas, all that went to my month made me dive into a culinary orgasm that awakened all my senses. The best culinary experience I had so far in my entire life was at Teawood Café. Try it, it will blow your mind.
Teawood has several locations in Honk Kong. The one I personally liked the most is on Tsim Sha Tsui.
Adress: 2/F, Carnarvon Plaza, 20 Carnarvon Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Opening Hours : Monday to Sunday 11.30am – 00.00am
These are some iconic foods from Hong Kong. But do not forget to indulge and try all types of gastronomies and foods from all around the world. As I said, Hong Kong is food heaven and you should definitely take advantage of it while being there. Hope this article will help you enjoy better your trip in Hong Kong. As I always say, we travel as well through eating, right?
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