Hong Kong is a city that different cultures have shaped over the centuries, and its Cuisine reflects this diversity. Many people are surprised to learn that there are more than 30 distinct regional cuisines in Hong Kong. The best way to experience all these local flavors is to dine at restaurants serving traditional dishes from each region. You will notice that many of the most popular words can be found on every menu, but you’ll also find some specialties unique to certain areas. Here’s our guide to the best local food in Hong Kong:
1. Cantonese Cuisine
This Cuisine will make you feel like you’re back home! This type of cooking originated in China, brought to Hong Kong by Chinese immigrants during the 19th century. Light sauces, garlic, ginger, and fresh ingredients characterize it. One of the most famous dishes is dim sum, which means “to touch the heart”. Dim sum is usually served for breakfast or lunch and consists of small bites such as steamed buns with pork floss, siu mai (pork dumplings), baked custard tarts, and fried rice rolls. Some other common items include char kway teow (fried noodles) and roast goose.
2. Pineapple Buns
These sweet buns are made with a sticky dough filled with pineapple jam. They are often eaten for breakfast but can also be enjoyed as dessert. Pineapple buns are sold at street stalls throughout the day, so if you want to try them, look out for the vendors selling them. The origin of pineapple buns is unclear. However, one theory suggests that the pineapple bun was invented in the late 1800s when pineapple jam was introduced in Hong Kong. This would explain why pineapple buns are now considered a classic Hong Kong dish.
3. Soya Sauce Chicken
Soya sauce chicken is a simple dish of stir-fried pieces marinated in dark soy sauce. It is often served with vegetables and rice. The word is similar to Hunanese-style chicken, except it uses less oil and no chili peppers. The history behind this dish is unknown. However, it may have come from southern China, where soy sauce is used extensively in cooking. It is said that the first recipe for this dish was written down in the 11th century.
4. Fish Ball Soup
Fish Ball soup is a clear broth made from fish balls, which are meatballs made from groundfish. These balls are then simmered in a stock containing dried shrimps, scallops, cuttlefish, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and lotus roots. The soup is traditionally eaten in winter and is believed to help cure colds and flu. The soup is available everywhere in Hong Kong and is usually cheaper during the week.
5. Egg Tarts
Egg tarts were created in Guangdong province in southern China. There are two main types of egg tart – red bean paste and green tea pastes. Both contain eggs, flour, sugar, salt, and various spices. Traditionally, the pies are cooked inside a crust from glutinous rice flour mixed with water. Today, egg tarts are usually baked instead of steamed.
6. Roast Goose
Roast goose is a traditional holiday meal in Hong Kong. During the Christmas season, families prepare roast goose together. The whole bird is stuffed with various herbs and spices and roasted over a charcoal fire until golden brown. Boiled potatoes, carrots, turnips, and cabbage generally accompany roast goose. You can also find roast goose on menus all year round because it’s not only a special occasion dish.
7. Char Kway Teow
Char kway teow is another popular dish found across Asia. It is a thin noodle dish containing prawns, cockles, beansprouts, shredded vegetables, and tofu slices. The word comes in wide varieties depending on the region or country it originated from. For example, Hong Kong char kway teow has noodles made from wheat flour, while Singaporean char kway teow uses rice flour. You can find char kway teow dishes at hawker centers and wet markets around Hong Kong.
8. Dim Sum
Dim sum is a type of Chinese Cuisine comprising small portions of savory foods like dumplings, spring rolls, fried rice, and other snacks. Most dim sum restaurants offer lunchtime and dinner fuzzy sum sets, although some specialize in either group. Dim sum is typically eaten as a light snack between meals, and most people order a few dim sum as their main course. Dim sum is usually served with tea, but some restaurants serve it as a full appetizer before they start eating their main course.
9. Chow Mein
Chow mein is one of the most common and well-known Chinese street foods. It is a bowl of noodles topped with pork, beef, shrimp, or vegetables. The dish is usually sold by vendors who travel through town selling chow mein. Vendors use large woks for cooking noodles and adding toppings such as onions, garlic, and black pepper to taste. If you want to try this delicious dish, you nyou must make it correctly. Chow mein is typically made using wheat gluten (a protein extracted from wheat) rather than rice flour. If you want to make your version of chow mein, check out our recipe guide here!
10. Hainanese Chicken Rice
Hainanese chicken rice is a famous dish in Hong Kong. This aromatic rice dish is prepared with chicken, preserved radish, salted duck eggs, and scallions. The word is traditionally served during winter, which coincides with the cold weather. Hainanese Chicken Rice was first introduced to Hong Kong when the British colonized the territory. You will never go wrong ordering this tasty dish if you visit a restaurant specializing in Hainanese food. You don’t have to worry about finding this dish anywhere in Hong Kong. It’s available at any Chinese restaurant throughout the city.
The best local food in Hong Kong is very diverse. There are so many types of cuisines and ingredients that you can choose from. All you have to do is decide on a local market or restaurant to get started. If you want to visit Hong Kong, you will surely enjoy the variety of local food.