Culinary tour of Hong Kong
During our first visit to Hong Kong in 1995 we visited a Sai Kung restaurant known for having excellent dim sum and I remember us being the only foreigners in the entire restaurant. I also remember Sai Kung as being a sleepy hamlet comprising a waterfront promenade of multiple seafood restaurants brimming with live fish tanks, which overlooked a bay crammed with sampan boats, a traditional Chinese fishing vessel.
Sai Kung today is far more cosmopolitan and serves as a bedroom community for a large expatriate population. It still has the seafood restaurants filled with live fish tanks, but the sampan boats have been replaced with hundreds of luxury yachts. During a six month teaching assignment in Hong Kong in 2019, we had many opportunities to dine on the Sai Kung waterfront, this time surrounded by plenty of foreigners!
Dining in Hong Kong is a treat that everyone should have the opportunity to experience and options range from low-key street food to more refined traditional and international establishments. One can eat very well on any budget and virtually any type of cuisine.
While in Hong Kong in 2019, we were based in Clear Water Bay, which is adjacent to Sai Kung and within the New Territories. There we had many options for rustic, waterfront dining. One of our favorites was in the village of Po Toi O, just outside the entry gates to the Clearwater Bay Country Club. The Fat Kee Seafood restaurant is a casual, alfresco spot overlooking Clear Water Bay and offers some of the best fried squid we had in Hong Kong, as well as a turmeric chicken that was absolutely mouth-watering.
A specialty of many traditional restaurants in Hong Kong is roasted or barbequed meat dishes, in particular, roast duck and pork. It is not uncommon for a waiter to present the whole roast duck and prepare it table side (as shown above). The slices of roast duck meat are spooned into a small pancake (like a tiny flour tortilla) with duck sauce and spring onions. This is by far my favorite Chinese dish.
If your time in Hong Kong is limited, then finding a dining venue with a view of the skyline would be advisable. The Tsim Sha Tsui district is well known for shopping and nightlife and sits on the southern fringe of Kowloon, with fantastic views of Victoria Harbor and the skyline of Hong Kong Island. One of our favorite dining experiences was at Hutong, which is located in the One Peking Road Shopping Mall and specializes in Northern Chinese cuisine.
The Hong Kong dining experience is not complete without trying dumplings, particularly Chinese soup dumplings (Xiao Long Bao). Din Tai Fung is probably the most renowned for dumplings in Hong Kong, with four branches in the territory, but also international locations throughout Asia, the United Kingdom and the west coast of the USA. I tried my first ‘drunken chicken’ at Din Tai Fung, which is a Shanghai recipe in which the chicken is steeped in rice wine.
If you are visiting Hong Kong in March, the annual Taste Hong Kong event is a means of sampling the interesting menu items of some of the best restaurants in Hong Kong. The open-air venue is located at the Central Harbourfront with a view of Victoria Harbour and a backdrop of the skyscrapers of Central Hong Kong. The event comprises four days of eating, drinking and entertainment that is a microcosm of the Hong Kong gastronomy scene.
This short blog post only captures a small sample of the great variety of cuisines that are found in Hong Kong. Endless dining experiences, at all price points, makes for a great gourmet getaway! For more on my Hong Kong dining experiences visit my Instagram or search for #dareidinehere and to preview the trending restaurant scene in Hong Kong visit Foodie Hong Kong.
Note: I am not being compensated by my mention of any business in this post. I am simply grateful former subscriber of Foodie Hong Kong and a happy customer of the dining establishments mentioned.