We made a trip to Hong Kong over the new year period; main purpose was for the new year countdown but of course, it was a food pilgrimage as well. It was my first visit to Hong Kong and I felt that there are so much more that Hong Kong could offers but we haven’t gotten the chance or time to explore.
I really like how the streets and buildings at Hong Kong has grown organically to accommodate the growth; narrow streets, massive billboards and small advertisements trying to grab the attention, struggle between the tradition and westernization; Hong Kong is a beautiful place to witness all these. Of course, you can also find the colonial charms of the bygone British empire era; monuments and buildings at the heart of Hong Kong harbor.
Cha Chaan Teng
Hong Kong’s long-established cafes, better known as Cha Chaan Teng, are the best place to have a glance into their way of life and the breakfast culture but not for the faint hearted as you need to order and finish your food as efficiently fast as you can muster; share a small table with other people, all inside a cramp space of the cafe dining area. If you can endure this, you will be rewarded with some of the most awesome food that Hong Kong offers to her visitors.
- Kam Wah Cafe (金華冰廳/金华冰厅): known for their polo buns but they serves the best fresh toast ever. The first bite brings me to the pearly gates, the butter melts and seeps into the bread when I cut open. The crispy edges and the soft bread sings angelic music in my mind; a dip into the sugar syrup makes me floats in the clouds. It was so good that we decided to visit again on the last day.
- Australia Dairy Company(澳洲牛奶公司): best-known for their scramble egg toast, mean service staff and long queue. The whole experience was fast-and-furious; from the queuing, ordering to the eating, the whole place run with great efficiency. The scramble egg toast was marvelous; very nice texture with layers and layers of egg sheets, infused with good old butter.
- Lan Fong Yuen (蘭芳園): known as the inventor of Yuan Yang (a mixture of tea and coffee); it is an iconic cafe in Hong Kong Central famous for their grilled pork chop bun. Honestly, i wasn’t impressed, one passing by old aunty was recommending us to go for a different cafe because the food quality here has dropped. Well, we will never know how it was before.
Visiting Wet Market
It was a random discovery as we walked passed by a wet market on our way for breakfast. I think that wet markets are the best way to see what the locals buy for their groceries and what they eat. Quite sad that in some parts, the culture of going to a wet market is being slowly replaced with supermarkets. I am sure that it could be the same for Hong Kong as well but seeing a lively market was quite a charming surprise.
Poh Lin Monastery and Vegetarian Lunch
We visited Lantau island for the big buddha and Poh Lin monastery. I wasn’t expecting much apart from mentally preparing myself that my lunch will devoid of meat but as it turned out, I really like the visit. It reminded me so much of my childhood visit to Shan state in Myanmar where there is a strong Chinese influence; temples, the simple vegetarian food and the cold weather.
Apart from Cha Chaan Teng, there are many outstanding food places; we tried some but left many unaccomplished.
- Tsim Chai Kee: the best wanton noodle ever; maybe the cold weather helped but seriously, everything about this dish is perfect, from the soup, noodle, shrimp wanton to the meat slices.
- Yak Lok Roast Goose: the roast goose is just fantastic; fatty and juicy but yet, not overwhelming.
- Sun Kee: Carbonara of Hong Kong; instant noodle with grilled pork cheeks cooked in cheese.The surprise find is the squid tentacles in honey; juicy and crunchy. I wouldn’t say it is a life-changer but it is worth giving a go.
- M&C Duck: we heard good review and decided to give it a try since it is conveniently located at Harbourcity shopping mall. They are famous of their roast duck and yes, it was one of the best I have tried.
- Tim Ho Wan: the cheapest 1-Michelin star dim sum restaurant in the world. Since this is my first visit to Hong Kong, so we decided to have it a go and I think the food tastes better than Singapore outlets. Roasted cha siew bun never fail to deliver but the star performer was the steamed pork ribs with black beans.
We went for some of the night markets as well: Temple Night Market and Ladies Night Market. Nothing really much interesting except for T-shirts and souvenirs to bring home but there are quite a lot of nice street snacks.
We had a fantastic time exploring the food scene but sadly, our journey has come to an end before we know it. Many places left unexplored, many food remained untasted; I bet that we will be visiting again.