Wander the back streets of Hong Kong with a pair of passionate foodies and discover delicious local food traditions.
The streets of Hong Kong are teeming with food that has fed locals for generations but rarely rates on its vibrant culinary scene. Delicious tastes that hold memories of a grandmother’s love or hundred-year-old traditions, but food that a visitor is unlikely to stumble across by accident.
How do you drill down through the layers of this culinary paradise to discover what the real locals eat? Fascinated by what they see as a disappearing food scene, Hong Kong locals Savannah and Fiona from Hong Kong Foodie Tasting Tours have combed the Sham Shui Po area in search of the food they remember and the older residents still love.
Driven by long working hours and condensed living quarters with tiny kitchens, often occupied by generational families, eating out in Hong Kong is a way of life. Local restaurants often take immense pride in doing simple things exceptionally well – the best rice noodles, the finest roast goose or the most popular moon cake.
Savannah and Fiona’s tour takes you through busy streets to eat at restaurants where everyday foods are prepared according to family traditions. They will have you wandering through wet markets, stopping to purchase walnut cookies and admiring rows of shiny, sharp cleavers.
First stop is a typical breakfast, a pineapple bun and milk tea — bor lo bao and nai cha. A self-confessed pineapple bun lover, Savannah says these are the biggest and best buns she has ever seen. To me the bun is deliciously light and it goes straight to the top of my ‘must try again’ list. The milk tea I’m not so fond of — I can’t quite get my taste buds around the abundant flavor of evaporated milk.
Next I’m slurping up some rice rolls – ju cheun fun. Throw on plenty of hoisin sauce, Savannah advises. Add some sesame seeds and a touch of chilli if you like. It certainly doesn’t look attractive, but the glutinous mess tastes heavenly and also goes on my try again list. It’s the same with the tofu dessert, dau fu fa, that I sample next. The milky curds are flavoured with my choice of ginger syrup – another winner.
As the group wanders along crowded streets, Fiona explains some of the area’s history. Disappearing pawn shops and old and new apartment buildings all meld in with the best place in Hong Kong to buy all your computer and tech hardware. She takes us into the only shop still hand making noodles in the district and shows us where to buy snake soup if we feel like it.
The tour finishes with a two course lunch in two different shops – braised goose and pork knuckle followed by egg noodles with shrimp roe. The tour lasts four hours and costs HK$690. It can be booked online at Hong Kong Foodie Tours.
Disclaimer: Kerry Heaney travelled to Hong Kongwith the support of Cathay Pacific Airways and the Hong Kong Tourism Board.