10 must-try street foods in Hong Kong

This is a guest post by James Smith, an experienced travel journalist and editor, who report trends, experiences, festivals and night-time adventures in cities around Asia and around the world. 

Hong Kong is an important commercial center in Asia. It was a centuries-old British colony, and the People's Republic of China was ceded as a special administrative zone. Most of the colonized inhabitants of the island descend from Guangdong province and the city of Guangzhou, formerly known as Canton. The influence of Guangdong province is more that just in the dialect spoken in Hong Kong, it is also reflected in the culture and cuisine. As a result, most Hong Kong dishes are Cantonese dishes prepared by chefs who are trained or native to Hong Kong Guangdong province. Here are 10 MUST-TRY Street Foods in Hong Kong you should try when you fly into Hong Kong.


Wanton Noodle

This is a popular dish in Hong Kong. This is a light snack or a tea snack. Cantonese dumplings are like Beijing dumplings but in the shape of a little ball. The filling is mixed with freshly minced pork and shrimp mushrooms. You will feel very relaxed in your mouth using the special type of Cantonese "floppy" noodles in the broth. At tea time, a plate of fresh shrimp noodles can cost up to HK $ 10. Don't go to stores that sell for $ 20 or more in Hong Kong, you can always get a good quality noodle dish for about $ 15 Noodle shops are easily found here, especially in commercial areas. These are casual restaurants, and there is generally no service charge. Wonton is rarely served in good restaurants.


Dim Sum

Breakfast or lunch is an important social lifestyle for Hong Kong residents, enjoyed equally by the locals and immigrants. Hong Kong dim sums are usually served only for breakfast or lunch, you won't find them for dinner. Dim sum, being a Cantonese dish served in Hong Kong, is widely available in the city. Do not stick to a hotel restaurant for trying an authentic dim sum; look out for the noisy places on the streets. Hong Kong city has many high-quality Dim Sum restaurants; just call your hotel concierge to find one near you.


Hong Kong Milk Tea

Hong Kong milk tea is a strong tea that is mixed with condensed milk. The tea is then filtered through a sackcloth bag which makes the texture very smooth and silky. You must have at least one cup when you go to Hong Kong. During teatime, a cup of hot milk tea sells for $ 6 at the Marjan Cafe. Now even McDonald's offers local milk tea in addition to traditional American tea.


Curry Fish Balls

Easily available and found practically everywhere in Hong Kong, curry fish balls are also a popular street food because they're easy to eat while just walking around and exploring. They're flavorful though not extremely healthy as they are first deep fried before boiling them in hot curry sauce. Curry fish balls are not expensive, and a skewer of 5-6 balls usually costs around HK$5 – 7.


Freshly-caught Seafood

Seafood in Hong Kong is a typical dinnertime dish, inspired by the Cantonese cuisine. There are good quality seafood restaurants everywhere. Dim Sum restaurants usually serve seafood for dinner. Freshly caught seafood can be expensive, depending on the type and size. Deep-Sea Grouper fish can cost up to few hundred Hong Kong dollars per kilogram. However, this is an experience of a lifetime that is only available in Hong Kong. There is no other place in the world where you can taste such incredible seafood.


Cantonese Food

Authentic Cantonese food, from Guangzhou province, is available at a short drive from Hong Kong to Guangdong province. Among the various Chinese cuisines, Cantonese is the most popular outside of China, probably because it is not as spicy as some of its 'counterparts'. Perhaps the wide variety of ingredients is what makes Cantonese food so unique; comprising of almost all components under the sun, a famous Chinese saying is very accurate (not sure it works well when translated in English though!), "a Canton can eat everything that floats or flies, apart from a boat or plane. Everything works!"


Roasted Pork

Roasted pork is probably one of the most famous Chinese dishes in the world. This dish is served on special occasions such as birthdays, weddings, and other important functions. It is served with rice, which is eaten as a packed lunch every day. Grilled pork can also be found as a filling in many treats and snacks. Many local chefs have learned the art of roasting pork in a delicious sweet and savory manner, almost like a caramel-flavored candy. If you're eating meat in Hong Kong, you will not be served a plate of lean meat; instead, they like to serve large nutritious helpings!


Steamed Rice

Chinese recipes use rice in various forms, it is challenging to find the most nutritious. If possible, choose brown rice or steamed rice over any other. Brown rice contains more than 3.5 grams of dietary fiber, although evaporated rice contains 1 gram. In contrast, an 8-ounce serving of fried rice contains 14 grams of fatty acids! This means you should stop eating fried rice altogether, and choose brown rice instead.


Stir-fried Noodles

Stir-fried Noodles is a healthy Chinese recipe that uses less oil. Noodles mainly contain a large number of processed carbohydrates that you should always be careful of. Stir-fried noodles are basically boiled pasta (as opposed to fried) with lots of veggies, which is usually a better option. If you're even more health-conscious, try the brown noodles!


Chinese Soup

This is another excellent type of food that you would want to give a try when you visit Hong Kong. This soup is low in calories and is not over-salted when prepared. Soy sauce is a common ingredient that is commonly used due to it nutritional benefit. Unlike traditional Western soups that are usually loaded with heavy meat and creams, Chinese soups are healthier because they are usually clear and the ingredients are most often light.


Conclusion

Hong Kong cuisine pays special attention to the freshness of the ingredients to maximize the Umami flavor, or the fifth flavor that the Japanese define as sweet and salty. Due to its proximity to the sea and its importance as a commercial port, seafood is also one of the most important components of Hong Kong cuisine. The smooth texture is generally contrasted with the crisp character of the meat/ vegetables to enhance the dining experience.

12 thoughts on “10 must-try street foods in Hong Kong”

  1. These street foods look mouth-watering. The steam fried noodles and milk tea is my favorite. The richness and a real taste of the food you can only explore in hong kong street food.

  2. They definitely have an amazing food collection. I believe any food connoisseur would cherish the experience. Medha what about the vegetarian population? Do we have many food options present in the street food?

  3. This reminds me so much of my time in Hong Kong. It’s easy to go crazy over the food there, as Hong Kong is truly a foodie paradise! I love the dim sum, wonton noodles, and a few other noodle dishes I don’t know the name of. Or what’s in them. Sometimes that’s for the best 😉

  4. I love Hong Kong food and I’d love to be back there right now trying it all again. Dim Sum is my favourite way to eat, it’s such a nice tradition and nowhere can seem to replicate it quite as well. Last time I was in Hong Kong I was still eating meat, so I’m keen to go back and discover new vegetarian-based dishes.

  5. I love Hong Kong! It’s one of my favorite countries in the world because of how diverse it feels there including the amazing cuisine. I love all kinds of Asian food so this article really makes me miss things like milk tea, stir fried noodles, dim sum, fishballs, and so much more. I know I’ll be flying back to Asia as soon as travel permits.

  6. Hong Kong is very memorable for me coz it was the first city I visited during my first international travel. The street foods are fantastic, you won’t be tempted (yet) to dine in restaurants. The whole scene and the mix of street noise and aroma are one of a kind.
    I must visit Hong Kong.

  7. I went to Hong Kong in 2010. It was such an awesome experience. We were at Disneyland. Now, your post has added more flavours to this lovely place. I hope that I get a chance to go and try the soups this time. I remember drinking a lot of jasmine tea.

  8. I used to try all sorts of street-food till a couple of years back until we began to travel with our baby. Now, I’m slowly starting to try out local foods again and I’m hoping to hong-kong in a couple of years and I hope to try all the vegetarian dishes in this list. Dim Sum is definitely on the list. I’ve had one in many places, but to try the authentic one in HK would be the best. Milk Tea sounds so similar to Indian tea.

  9. I visited Hong Kong but only tried the noodles and rice from this list. I am not a great fan of street food as I’m never sure what it is I’m ordering but this list looks delicious. There is nothing quite like authentic Chinese food.

  10. How I miss Hong Kong and the food there. Cant wait for a return. I love the Dim Sum and the meaty Cantonese Food. The milk tea is a British influence (as we had Hong Kong for a long time until 1997) and the milk added with black tea was introduce during that time. Even America copied us many years ago. 😀 However, I dont care, milk or no milk, Chinese Black tea and other teas are awesome and I love checking out the tea rooms in Hong Kong and China. 🙂

  11. I love Hongkong, and its food too! When I was in Hongkong, I think I had tasted all of the street foods mentioned here, except probably the curry fish ball? We have fishball in the Philippines but not curry. I might as well try it then next time I visit Hongkong. All of these street foods are quite similar to the Philippines’ food, particularly the roasted pork and steamed rice. You can find steamed rice in all households in the Philippines. As they’re relatively familiar to my tastebuds, I liked them all! Now, after reading, I think about frying some noodles!

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