Hongkong is a foodies paradise .This small island with a spectacular skyline is a must visit for for the dream park “Disneyland” and exotic fresh and delicious food.Though at times vegetarians may get disappointed in spite of abundance of greens and colorful vegetables in the Hongkong market.The restaurants and street food joints mostly serve meat and seafood dishes.
The cuisine popular here is mainly Cantonese which is mild spicy and emphasizes on fresh flavors .Utmost care is taken such that the fresh delicate flavors do not get over powered by the spices.Sometimes the cooking medium is lard ,pork fat due to which the food tastes rich ,aromatic and unique.Another unique thing which makes them distinct from the Chinese cuisine popular in the other parts of the world is the sweetness.The sweetness of the dish is imparted by addition of vegetables like carrots , pumkins etc which are naturally sweet to taste.The most common meat consumed by the masses are pork,beef and chicken.The chicken and pork roasts seemed to be very popular here as every corner of the street has whole pork roasts on display( not for the faint hearted).
The crowd of Hongkong is cosmopolitan as Hongkong is a business center with inhabitants from different parts of the world apart from the mainland China,so the international and continental cuisines are quite popular here .But though the flavors are slowly getting fused ,some food joints still continue to serve traditional authentic Cantonese cuisine with the use of age old spices and flavors.
Apart from the Cantonese cuisine I found Japanese as well as Taiwanese flavors quite popular here.We did not have the opportunity to try Shashmi which is also quite popular here.
Hotel for stay:
We stayed in the Hotel BP International which is located in the district of Tsim Sha Shui,on the Austin road in Hongkong.I will recommend this Hotel for the stay as the place is well connected to the other parts of Hongkong very well through roads as well as Metro.The nearest metro station is Jordan Street. The road is thronged with all kinds of restaurants serving Chinese as well as South East Asian food.In fact Mc Donalds and KFC is also located nearby.
We had only complimentary breakfast in our hotel as we wanted to explore the local flavors and there are a number of good restaurants on the Austin road itself.Some of the restaurants have their menu written in Chinese ,which is mainly for the local crowd and they offer cheaper food.But if you are not that adventurous then there are restaurants where the menu is written both in English and Chinese. and they may offer a kind of fusion Chinese cuisine a blend of Cantonese and Schezwan cuisine which is more popular throughout the world.The dishes in local restaurants may range from 10$ to 30 $ while in the restaurants with English menu ranges from 40$ to 60$
The BP International Hotel is mainly for International tourists and during the breakfast I did not find much of the authentic food there apart from the Traditional dimsums. The dimsums are dumplings made of a variety of fillings wrapped in flour dough or leaves and then steamed.This allows the food to get cooked retaining 90% of its nutrients and flavors.
The Temple street and the Mongok night market are popular for their street food which were exotic in nature ,They included octopus,squids ,even scorpions and the most popular were the fish balls,tender meaty and little bouncy full of flavor from the soy,oyster sauce and rice vinegar.
10 Recommended Dishes to try
There are a lot of varieties of these .I tried two varieties
Lotus leaf sticky rice dimsum:
These are sticky rice marinated in oyster sauce encasing a filling of meat commonly pork and then wrapped in fresh lotus leaves forming a parcel and then steamed.The flavors are delicate ,aromatic and fresh.You can also get a vegetarian variety of these.
These are a delicacy with a explosion of flavors in small parcels.Minced pork in soy sauce and scallions wrapped in wanton skins and steamed.
These were really awesome and worth trying.Boneless pork pieces lightly coated with starch and deep fried and then simmered in a sweet and sour sauce comprising of soy,vinegar and pieces of pineapple and bell peppers .The sauce is oozing flavors from the pineapple.
Minced meat with Beans:
The meat which you choose can be of your choice .I don’t eat beef so this dish was with minced pork and long fried french beans ,mild spicy with garlic and oyster and soy sauce.Excellent with fried rice.
The boneless pork pieces were cooked in a soy sauce and soy vinegar with sweet pumpkin pieces.There was mild flavor of garlic with no hint of chilies but if we like we can drizzle black pepper and chilly vinegar served on the table.
Spicy Chicken hot pot :-
This is a bowl of deliciousness with all vegetables like zucchini,carrots,mushrooms and chicken cooked in a spicy broth of Chinese 5 spice seasonings consisting of star anise,cloves,cinnamon,sichuan pepper and fennel seeds.The dish is cooked in clay pot imparting an earthy flavor and is served piping hot with fried rice.The dish is very spicy.
You can try the local vegetable or seafood curry which includes a mix of seafood like prawns,octopus and squids cooked in a yellow curry spiced with yellow curry powder(similar to the Thai yellow curry powder) and coconut milk.The vegetarians can try the vegetable curry ,I found it really awesome .You don’t have to be adventurous to try this dish.Its simple ,gorgeous and delicious.
You will miss something if you don’t try these amazing desserts .These are available with a varieties of fillings ranging from chocolate,mango ,coconut enclosed inside a gelly like steamed sweet sticky rice dumpling .
The fish balls represent the street food of Hongkong and you can munch on them in Ocean Park,Disneyland or during your trip to the Hongkong Market.They are very flavorsome .They are bouncy ,crunchy and coated with oyster sauce .Depending on the texture and type of fish they can range from 10$ to 35$.
Taiwanese Chicken Ramen
This dish is quite filling ,noodle soup cooked in chicken broth served with a roasted chick en breast and boiled eggs on top,Mouth watering.The basic ingredients seemed nira (Chinese chives) ,garlic,toukarashi (chilli peppers).Compared to the Cantonese cuisine this seemed quite spicy.
Chinese Tea eggs
This one is not to be missed on the corner of a street,brown eggs with a beautiful marbled texture. It combines hard-boiled eggs with the flavor of anise ,black pepper ,cloves and tinge of soy and tea leaves.