Eating in Hong Kong

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Steamed fish in soya sauce

This post was a long time coming.  It’s hard to believe that we were in Hong Kong three months ago!  Yes, that means I am very very behind on my posts.  Anyways, now that winter is here, it’s the best time to catch up.  Here is a short recap of our trip:  We found a cheap ticket to Hong Kong and decided last minute that we wanted to spend our anniversary in Asia, so off we went.  We were there for 4 days, but we managed to fit in quite a bit of food, but now that I think of it, that’s the norm when we travel.  This post will be the highlights of all the food we ate while in Hong Kong.

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noodle bar

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breakfast spread

Hotel Breakfast – Let me start by saying that I am not a breakfast person.  However, when I travel I make an exception and make sure I get a full meal in before I start the day. In my experience, Asia tends to have the best hotel breakfast. Aside from the convenience of walking downstairs to eat breakfast in your pajama, the selection is huge and the food actually tastes decent.  Hotels in Asia try to cater to their international guests with the typical egg stations and pastries.  On top of that they also have Asian specialties like noodle bars, dimsum and congee; and of course there is always a wide range of tropical fruit. If you’ve ever eaten breakfast in a hotel in Asia, you’ll know what I am talking about.  It really puts all other breakfasts to shame. Every time we are there, we stuff ourselves so much that we ended up being full until dinner time.  Breakfast is usually included with your hotel stays, but if it’s not, it’s definitely worth the splurge to try out all the food they have to offer.

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Mantis shrimps

Seafood – I love seafood, and Hong Kong is a great place to satisfy that craving.  In Hong Kong there are wonderful, delicious sea creatures like mantis shrimp that are not easily available in North America.  Mantis shrimp are a cross between a big shrimp and a lobster and tastes ohh so good!  There are also many great places to get seafood in Hong Kong depending on what you want and how much you want to pay, and all the seafood is usually fresh and made to order.

The first thing we did when we landed at 9 o’clock at night was head out into the hustle bustle of the city to find ourselves some seafood. One of our favorite places to eat, is a seafood restaurant on Nathan St in Tsim Tsa Tsui.  We don’t know the name and have no idea where it’s located.  We just remembered it as the place with the great mantis shrimp.  So on our second trip to Hong Kong, on our first night there, we wandered the streets in Tsim Tsa Tsui and came upon an intersection that looked vaguely familiar.  Fausto was convinced that this was where the restaurant was located because he remembered the elevator and the store in front.  Considering how big Hong Kong is and how many buildings look similar, I was not convinced.  Nonetheless, we went inside to check it out, and it turned out that Fausto was right – it was the restaurant.

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Spicy chilli crabs

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razor clams in black bean sauce

Aside from stumbling upon our favorite restaurant, we also tried a little bit of everything from snails at a stall in Tsim Tsa Tsui to Under the Bridge chilli crabs in Causeway Bay.  The crab was deep fried and covered in garlic chillies. We had been dying to try this Hong Kong specialty, but after much anticipation, the crab was a big let down.  The meat wasn’t that great and it was stuck to the shell.  Aside from the disappointing crabs, everything else tasted great, especially the juicy razor clams in black bean sauce.

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Fausto grabbing a fish for lunch

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Seafood on Lamma island

On our last day, we ventured out of the city and took the ferry to Lamma island.  Lamma is a smaller fishing village about 20 minutes from Central by ferry.  It’s a good place to get away from the fast-paced city.  For this reason, it’s popular with younger crowds – attracting expats, musicians and artists.  Along the waterfront there are lots of seafood restaurants, each displaying their fresh catch of the day in the tanks at the front.  The prices are prominently displayed for each item and include the cost of preparation.  Most restaurants also have a set menu for various size groups if you don’t feel like making a decision.  We spent a blissful afternoon on the island relaxing with beer and food. The costs are comparable to what you would pay in the city, but the ambiance and the change of scenery make this place a local favorite.

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Cook still slinging noodles at midnight

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Wonton Noodle Soup – A hot bowl of springy noodles topped with a few delectable wontons immersed in a rich broth.  It’s no wonder that wonton noodles are everywhere in Hong Kong.  You can eat it for breakfast or late at night to stave off a hangover.  The bowls are smaller than what you would find in North America, so it can be had as a snack as well.  This quintessential Hong Kong favorite can be found anywhere from a fast food joint, to a small hole in the wall, to expensive restaurants. Everyone you ask will have a different opinion about where to find the perfect bowl of wonton noodle soup.  I’ve tried a few and I don’t think you can really go wrong anywhere.  I am still, however, looking for a great bowl of wonton noodle soup in New York.

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stinky tofu

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street stalls

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Street food – Asia and street food are synonymous and Hong Kong is no exception. Every street that you walk down, you’ll see many different food stalls set up ranging from small ones that sell meat on a stick to a more elaborate set up with tables and chairs.  There are all kinds of food for all tastes.  As you walk down the street, you are drawn to the sizzling noises and the enticing smells wafting from the stalls.  From morning until night you’ll see people selling all kinds of street food, from local delicacies like stinky tofu to the more western-friendly crepes.  Foreigners and locals alike would stop by these stalls and happily go off with their quick snacks. A lot of the food is made in front of you so it should alleviate some health concerns if you’re worried about that kind of stuff.

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fresh fish jumping around

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Food Market –  Food markets in Hong Kong are not your typical sterilized supermarkets that you might be used to, although I am pretty sure they have those as well.  But if you are in the mood for some fresh produce and ingredients, food markets are the place to go.  The markets are usually in a multi-storied building.  The first floor is where you get your fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and seafood.  The second floor is for the dried goods and the third floor is where you can go and grab a quick lunch at a no frills food court.  The first time I’d been to one of these markets, I was staring and gawking at all the different things that I don’t normally see back at home.  The seafood was fresh, so fresh that they were still alive and jumping around.  The butchers off to one side are breaking down the animals and selling it on the spot.  If you don’t feel like eating any of the food mentioned above, you can buy fresh ingredients and make them at home yourself if you live in a long term apartment or stay somewhere with a stove.

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abalone

Obviously this is not all the food that Hong Kong has to offer, it’s just all the stuff we had time to try when we were there for a few days.  Hong Kong is a big place, with many places to eat and each time I am there, I wish I had multiple stomachs so I can fit in more food.  I had a lot of memorable food moments like getting to try abalone for the first time.  I know people come to Hong Kong to shop, but I really go there for the food.

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2 thoughts on “Eating in Hong Kong

  1. Love being able to walk out in the middle of the night and finding people awake and serving nighttime munchables. I also enjoy a good bowl of wonton noodles. So simple, but so comforting. I bet you’d be able to find a good place in Flushing for that.

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