If you didn’t know it already; Hong Kong is the home of street food. For generations, selling ready-to-eat snacks straight to the street has been the way of life in this corner of the world. From egg tarts to fish balls and everything in between, you could spend a month or more dining out on something new and unusual every single day.
If you’re in Hong Kong for a few days, you probably want to know what’s hot and what’s not – and what to avoid entirely – when you rock up for some grub at a hawker’s stall. Here, we’ll run through some of the city’s most famous concoctions that you simply have to try. Some sound delicious, others are more unusual – but we think you might just be impressed by what you find.
Curry Fish Balls
Arguably Hong Kong’s most popular street food staple, you’re bound to see curry fish balls for sale right across the city. With their name literally translating as ‘fish eggs’, they’re made mostly from shredded or ground fish, combined with salt and mixed. They’re then boiled in a spicy curry sauce. You’ll find that every single stall makes their own sauce from scratch to give their product a distinctive flavour. So if you try them and you like them, its more than worth sampling a few different vendors’ efforts.
You’ll find more stalls selling these than you can count at Graham Street market. In the Central district, the renowned quality of its fare makes it popular with both locals and Hongkongers from all walks of life.
This traditional dim sum dish is popular both at the table and on the street. Served on a stick, it’s a great option if you’re on the move, and there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to love them. A pork or fish filling is wrapped in a thin and soft yellow pastry to form a ball. These are then cooked by steaming, and are ready to serve. Remember to ask for some dipping sauces; soy sauce and curry sauces are common, but some vendors will have their own exciting concoctions for you to try.
These might sound like the stuff of nightmares for some, but they really are one of Hong Kong’s most popular street foods, and locals simply love them. Individual tentacles are chopped apart and cooked in boiling water, before being oven-roasted or deep fried. They’ll be served up to you on a stick, most likely alongside a range of condiments for you to sample. If you’re feeling brave enough to give them a go, they are a common feature at many of Hong Kong’s night markets.
These are best found in the city’s Temple Street Night Market, in the Jordan and Yau Ma Tei areas. It’s one of the biggest, busiest and best in the whole of the city.
These sweet treats are Hong Kong’s guilty pleasure. A hangover from the city’s colonial past, they are a local take on the British custard tart. A street food staple and undeniably delicious, they consist of a golden, crispy pastry case inside which sits a runny mixture made up of butter, eggs, milk, sugar and a hint of vanilla. You’ll see plenty of supermarket imitations, but don’t fall for it. The only way to truly enjoy this delicacy is hot, fresh and from the street.
The Lee Keung Kee shop, on King’s Road in North Point, has mastered sweet treats like these to perfection. It’s a little out of the way, but well worth the tram ride.
This unappealingly-named dish is another local favourite. As you might imagine, it has a rather strong and distinct odour, but don’t let that put you off. This speciality is made by soaking tofu in a brine of milk, vegetables or meat variations for at least a few hours, but potentially for weeks and months, and this is where it gets that smell. The tofu is then deep fried, leaving a hard and crispy exterior and a sweet, creamy centre – and it’s usually served with a selection of spicy sauces. If you can hold your nose for just a moment, you should genuinely enjoy this quirky little snack.
Organs in a Pot
Yes, it’s exactly what it looks like. Credit to them, Hongkongers are not ones to let things go to waste, and so they make use of all the parts of the animal. When you opt for organs in a pot, you’ll be receiving a mixture of offal, entrails, innards and organs – delightfully mixed with peppers, radish and plenty of sweet or salty sauce. It certainly doesn’t look the part, but if you have the guts to try it, you might just be pleasantly surprised. Quality and flavour varies from stall to stall, but many who’ve tried it report that it’s actually rather nice. There’s got to be a reason so many locals like it, after all.
The only way to really get a taste for Hong Kong’s weird and wonderful street food is to try it for yourself. Begin your culinary adventures with flights to Hong Kong from Manchester Airport.
Fly direct from Manchester to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific