Hong Kong is famous for its numerous restaurants and its tasty cuisine, but it’s the sheer variety and diversity of food that is often mind-boggling. There’s heaps of great-tasting local food in Hog Kong, as well as dishes that have been taken inspiration from other global dishes, fusion fare, and international meals.
Hong Kong cuisine is mainly influenced by Cantonese food, other Chinese cuisine (especially traditional fare of Hokkien, Teochew, Hakka, Jiangsu and Zhejiang), and favourites from other Asian nations, such as Japan, Korea, and countries around Southeast Asia. You’ll spot influences of British cuisine due to Hong Kong’s past as a British colony, and its long history of being an international city of commerce has added influences from various places all around the globe.
Some must-try dishes in Hong Kong include:
You’ve probably already heard or read about the strong odour of stinky tofu, and, if you haven’t, the name might just give it away! This is perhaps one of the strangest foods to come from this part of the planet. Stinky tofu is a snack that is usually sold at night markets or roadside stands, and it may also be enjoyed as a side dish in lunch bars.
It is made by fermenting soybean curd with other ingredients, such as milk, meat, and fish. Don’t let the smell put you off – it actually tastes a lot better than you would probably expect. The smelly chunks are fried and typically served with a sweet or spicy sauce for dipping.
Pineapple bread is a type of sweet bread that originated in Hong Kong. Originally called Russian bread, you’ll find it in many outlets across Hong Kong, and you may be surprised to find that it doesn’t actually contain any pineapple!
It takes its name from its yellow colour, which is similar to the tones of the sweet tropical fruit. A delightful merging of styles, the top half of the bread is made from cookie-type dough, while the bottom is made from Chinese-style bread dough. Chinese bread has a tendency to be sweeter and softer than breads found in Europe. It is quite common for sellers to put a small knob of cold butter into a warm pineapple bun, allowing the butter to slowly melt and seep into the dough.
Another abundantly available dish around Hong Kong that has Cantonese roots is dim sum. Small dumplings that have been stuffed with a wide variety of fillings, dim sum may be steamed or fried. Whilst you’ll find many types of basic dim sum around Hong Kong, some places really turn food into an art form, shaping the dim sum into small creative visions of loveliness that are sometimes so attractive and cute that you might not want to actually eat them!
The bite-sized goodies are traditionally served in bamboo baskets or on small plates. Filling may include pork, chicken, beef, red bean paste, Chinese sausage, mushroom, vegetables, and prawn.
Roast Goose is a traditional speciailty of Cantonese origin. Widely available around Hong Kong, sink your teeth into a whole goose that has been roasted with tasty seasoning. It then cut into small pieces, retaining the skin and soft bone with the plump and flavourful meat, and served with tangy plum sauce. The dishes popularity is such that it is spread to various places around the globe. Some restaurants may offer duck instead of goose. Whilst still bursting with flavour and giving plenty of succulent taste, it isn’t as rich as the goose.
Hong Kong Cart Noodles
Whilst you’ll find different types of noodles in abundance around Hong Kong, including ramen, glass noodles, rice noodles, and wonton, all cooked in different ways with an assortment of other ingredients, Hong Kong cart noodles is one of the top noodle dishes to try when visiting the islands.
A traditional dish from Hong Kong, it can trace its heritage back to early immigrants who tried to make a living by selling simple food on the streets, from a cart. Toppings vary, including beef sirloin, pork skin, radish, chicken wings, fish balls, meatballs, and a wonderful assortment of vegetables. A basic cart noodle dish with satay or curry soup will certainly be enough to satisfy your hunger and taste buds.