a food guide to Hong Kong: 5 local foods to try + where to get your hands on them

A few visits to Hong Kong, and I finally feel like I have some kind of handle on the food scene here. On my most recent trip, I did my research and reached out to some online friends. With a few recommendations from Nam of Laugh Travel Eat {who I cannot wait to meet on our upcoming press trip!} and lots of TimeOut articles, I went to work eating my way through Hong Kong.

There are heaps of food finds in Hong Kong. This list could have been seemingly endless. I’ve put together a list of 5 foods every first-time visitor to Hong Kong should try. I have also listed the exact establishments where I tried each of these, so that you can either find somewhere better or give it a go in the same place I did. Full disclosure, I have never been a huge fan of Chinese food. However, I gave a few fun foods a try in Hong Kong and I think you should too, no matter your food preferences.


READ ON FOR A FUN FOOD GUIDE TO HONG KONG


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EGGETTES/EGG WAFFLES/ BUBBLE WAFFLES

Let’s kick this post off with my favourite of the “local” dishes I tried in Hong Kong. I’ve seen these called multiple things in various countries. In Hong Kong, I saw eggettes used most often, but I’m no expert! Whatever the correct nomenclature for the dessert, these little babies are so good and, despite their tricky name, do not taste egg-y at all {total win for those of us who don’t enjoy egg}. Eggettes are waffles with bubbles instead of squares, served in paper wrappers. Each bubble is filled depending on what you order. I tried the chocolate brownie eggette at Oddies and the chocolate chip eggette at Mammy. Both were yum, but I messed up not getting ice cream with either. Learn from my mistakes, kids. Get the damn ice cream on the side.

TRY IT AT: Mammy Pancakes {locally famous chain, very cheap} or Oddies {affordable, Instagram-famous}

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CART NOODLES

Like dim sum where you select what you would like from an à la carte menu and it’s then served to your table, cart noodles make ordering easier for us English speakers. Cart noodles first came into popularity in the 1950s in low-income ares of Hong Kong. Street vendors sold noodles from carts at housing estates and added toppings of the customer’s choosing. While cart noodles in their original form no longer exist, there are many restaurants around Hong Kong that offer this same style of “make your own noodle bowl.”

At Hee Kei Cart Noodles near Temple Street Night Market, your table has a number and each diner is given a sheet of paper and pens. You only need to select your type of noodles and toppings, hand it to the waitress, and wait for your order to arrive.

TRY IT AT: Hee Kei Cart Noodles {in Jordan}

SWISS WINGS

Swiss wings originated in Hong Kong, making their name a bit perplexing. The story goes that a Western visitor to Hong Kong asked the chef what the delicious chicken dish was called and the chef replied, “Sweet wings.” According to the local legend, the foreigner misheard the local cook and thought they were “Swiss wings.” The name stuck ever since. Essentially, they are chicken wings dipped in sweet soy sauce.

My travel companion said the Swiss chicken wings he had were sweet and flavourful. He had them with his cart noodles, so this could technically be paired with the above dish, but Swiss wings are often a menu item on their own. Apparently, the meat “fell right off the bone”.

TRY IT AT: Hee Kei Cart Noodles is where my travel bud’s were served, but if you’re looking for chicken wings in general check out TimeOut Hong Kong’s roundup article here.

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DIM SUM

Dim Sum literally means “snack”, though separately the words means “small” {dim} “heart” {sum}. You could almost say it’s the Chinese equivalent of tapas, but I think that might be going a stretch too far. Basically, customers order lots of different dishes, all small in portion, and get to try a bevy of steam buns, filled dumplings, and other Chinese snacks.

I had tried dim sum previously in Hong Kong and then again on this return visit. I am of the unpopular opinion that the famous meal is highly overrated. I know, I know. I can hear the gasps from this side of my laptop screen. Perhaps it’s because I’m a vegetarian and both places I tried dim sum had a limited number of veggie options. Perhaps it’s because I feel like dim sum all tastes the same. I’m not sure. Regardless of whether it’s my diet or my preference in cuisine, dim sum is a must-try for those visiting Hong Kong. If I haven’t tried it in the right spot, let me know in the comments below. I’d love to know where to get dim sum worthy of the hype that surrounds it.

TRY IT AT: Steam {in SoHo} or Dim Dim Sum {multiple locations, but I ate in Wan Chai} or try it at one of these locations picked out by Conde Nast.

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5 local foods to try in hong kong

AUSTRALIA DAIRY CO.’s “SETS”

This is kind of a cheat because it’s not a food, but rather a set meal. Australia Dairy Co. got it’s name from the founder’s time spent working on dairy farms in, you guessed it, Australia. ADC is a fantastic place to eat if you’re looking to inject some history and culture into your Hong Kong dining experiences, as it is one of the oldest restaurants in Hong Kong. In truth, it’s kind of a “must-do”, but not because the staff is polite {they aren’t} or the food is great {it’s average at best}. The affordability of the meal sets at Australia Dairy Co. paired with it’s wild, chaotic, and blissfully manic atmosphere makes it a truly authentic place to eat. According to Wikipedia, the average customer visit time is 10-minutes, but since they seat people with absolute strangers at tiny tables to conserve space and guarantee a quick order-eat-pay completion it’s a wonder it isn’t actually even faster than that.

A lunch set comes with macaroni noodles and your choice of meat, eggs {scrambled or fried} with your choice of meat, thick buttered toast, and your choice of coffee or bubble tea all for HKD $48 {roughly USD $6.11 at time of publishing}. There weren’t many real veggie options here, which I’ve found is typical of Chinese food. I had peanut butter on toast for about USD $2, which was filling but absolutely nothing to write home about. At the end of the day, it was the atmosphere that made ADC worth visiting and the meal sets that are what everyone comes here to experience.

For more about Australia Dairy Company, read this article by Hungry Geek here.


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5 local foods to try in Hong Kong
5 local foods to try in Hong Kong