hankering for the flavours of hong kong
Hong Kong is where western and oriental worlds collide. You can see this exciting fusion in everyday lifestyles, in local transport and especially in its cuisine. Intrepid’s Frank Lee is based in Beijing, but he always jumps at the chance to visit Hong Kong for a foodie fix…
“Just like so many Intrepid travellers, I love visiting Hong Kong because the food is so fantastic. The selection of local delicacies is overwhelming and best of all, the street food is really tasty, fresh, affordable and easy to find. Here are some of my favourite eating experiences that reflect the unique culture and flavours of Hong Kong…
Shrimp wanton with noodle soup – costs around HK$20 (US$2.50):
This is a very tasty mixture of minced shrimp, pork or beef wantons, egg
noodles and chicken stock. They are simply put together, but the
flavour is much more than simple and the secret is in the stock.
Hong Kong coffee-tea with milk and ice cubes – costs around HK$10 (US$1.25):
I don’t really know how to translate the name of this drink, but it’s a great symbol for Hong Kong because the coffee represents the western world, while tea has its oriental origins. When you put them together with milk, all the parties can communicate in a harmonious environment. When the ice cubes join in, the world is cooling down, the flavours linger and you can taste the individual flavours one after another. Yes, this is Hong Kong. It’s full of energy and tastes. It’s busy but peaceful.
Seafood and night market:
Hong Kong people love making the most of their evenings and enjoying the nightlife (as they were all crazy busy at work during the day). They will feed themselves with plates of fresh seafood (most were just caught in the afternoon and transfered to the restaurant around 6pm) and cold beers. The best place to have these food is in the outdoor night market while you enjoy the mild breeze and the view of the city’s neon lights. Moreover, the night market is also a good place to discover some cheap items, though the quality is definitely not guaranteed! It’s really fun and bargaining is great practise if you want to communicate with locals.
Hong Kong clay hotpot restaurant:
This is a Hong Kong-style Cantonese hotpot. It’s not spicy, but it has lots of Chinese herbal ingredients in the soup, making the dish not only tasty, but also good for your health. Most of the time, in Hong Kong this sort of hotpot is served in a clay pot (rather than a brass pot as you would find in mainland China). The ingredients are likely to be very fresh sliced beef, lamb, seafood, green leafy vegetables, mushrooms and different meat balls (including lobster, prawn, oyster balls etc.). And of course it’s usually accompanied by a cold beer.
Hong Kong morning tea:
In most local residential areas, senior people, or those who are not tied to an office job, are inclined to enjoy their morning sun in a tea restaurant. While reading their horse racing guides and listening to their birds, they will order a free refill of wuloon tea (red tea) and some servings of steamed dim sum, chicken feet, ox stomach, yum cha, etc. This is really living in luxury, Hong Kong style, as not many people have the time to simply relax in a tea house.
Hong Kong’s outer islands:
If you get the chance to go to one of Hong Kong’s outlying islands, you will find the most finger-licking-good honeyed chicken wings cooking on a public barbecues. You can sit on the beach, enjoy the peaceful sea breeze and see Hong Kong city in the distance.
Lantau Island is where you’ll find the biggest brass Buddha in the world! But don’t visit without trying the vegetarian food on the island. It’s really refreshing, not only because you get to dine surrounded by the island’s greenery and fresh air, but also the local Buddhist cuisine is oil and salt free!”
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* photo by Vivien Leung – Intrepid Photography Competition