Hong Kong is the fourth-most densely populated region on earth with more than 7.4 million people of various nationalities in an area of 1,104 square kilometres (426 square miles). With so many bellies to feed, the choice of places to eat is naturally huge. Because the majority of inhabitants are Chinese (about 92%), most of those places are of Chinese origin as well. But more and more international restaurants and food stalls are opening up, delivering a broader palette of different tastes and experiences. With this post, we’d like to present you the Must Eat in Hong Kong to make your entry into this food culture a little bit easier.
Our Must Eat in Hong Kong selection:
- Dim Sum
- Fish Balls
- Seaweed Cone filled with rice and chicken, spiced with Wasabi
- Skewered Food
- Hong Kong-style French Toast
- Beef Noodles
- Egg Tart
- Tofu Pudding and Tofu prepared in Cantonese style
- Michelin-Guide Burger
- Bubble Tea
- How to best explore the Hong Kong food scene
The bite-sized portions of food called Dim Sum are probably the most famous dishes from Hong Kong. They come on small plates or small steamer baskets. Dim Sum is mainly served for breakfast or brunch and a must eat in Hong Kong. Many Dim Sum places started to serve them in the evening now as well. Most Dim Sum places have dozens of different Dim Sum. It’s not very easy to describe exactly what they are, as you can get Dim Sum in various forms and tastes.
Generally, you can divide Dim Sum into 4 different groups: Dumplings, Rolls, Buns, and Cakes. But then there are also some Dim Sum which don’t belong to any of those categories, like for example Deep Fried Squid or Spare Ribs.
If you want to get a taste of Dim Sum, we recommend trying some Barbecued Pork Buns, Shrimp Dumplings, Rice Noodle Rolls and Spring Rolls. Certainly, these are some of the best things to eat in Hong Kong.
If you’ve been to Hong Kong and didn’t try some Fish Balls, then you haven’t been to Hong Kong. Just kidding, but you can literally find this delicious snack on almost every corner of Hong Kong. Fish Balls are made from cooked fish, which has been physically broken down to a consistency of a paste. Formed to balls, they are then either boiled or deep-fried.
Served on a stick or in a little paper bowl, Fish Balls are one of the most beloved street food snacks of Hong Kong. You can either eat them without any sauce or order them with some delicious curry sauce. For us, they were the best food to eat in Hong Kong.
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If you want to get a taste of Fish Balls, we recommend getting a bowl with half plain ones and half curry sauce ones. They are undoubtfully one of the must try food in Hong Kong.
Seaweed Cone filled with rice and chicken, spiced with Wasabi
In the Kwai Chung Plaza next to the Kwai Fong station, Tom found the probably best food he had in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, he can’t remember exactly what it was called. There is a small stall who sells rice and chicken, spiced with Wasabi and wrapped in seaweed in the shape of a cone. The spiciness was just perfect and the cone was very more-ish. If you find yourself in this shopping mall, you should definitely keep your eyes open for this mouth-watering dish.
The Kwai Chung Plaza is generally one of the best places to eat in Hong Kong. There, you can find a huge choice of different dishes and the place is packed to the rafters with locals, which is always a sign of good food!
During our 9 months travel through Asia, we discovered a universal truth: No matter in which country you are, there is always meat on a stick. This wasn’t any different in Hong Kong. The only difference in Hong Kong was that you got offered a lot more innards on a stick than in any other country we visited before.
If you want a taste of this must eat food in Hong Kong and you feel adventurous, we recommend getting some squid on a stick, some pork small intestines, and pork lung.
Hong Kong-style French Toast
Now let us tell you, if you order some Hong Kong-style French Toast, you should absolutely not be on any diet. This delicious treat is made from white bread which is coated in an egg batter and then fried in a pan with an enormous amount of butter. After the chef fried the bread, he then slaps a big chunk of butter and a topping of your choice on the bread. Toppings like condensed milk, golden syrup, peanut butter or jam are very common choices amongst locals.
Often you find also an alternative form of Hong Kong-style French Toast, where the chef first puts everything together as a sandwich and then coats it in egg batter.
Another dish that is very typical for Hong Kong are the Beef Noodle. Unlike for example in Vietnam, the Beef Noodles in Hong Kong feel a lot thicker, heavier and more filling. As a result, it’s the perfect dish if it’s cooler outside and you fancy some good comfort food. Depending on where you have them, you can choose from different noodles and various cuts of beef. We recommend choosing the egg noodles, as they really suck up the deep flavours of the broth.
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This delicious sweet treat originates from Portuguese custard tart “pastei de nata” and is these days a staple dessert of the Hong Kong food scene. It consists of egg custard which is filled in a pastry crust and then baked in the oven. We became big fans of this delicious dish when we visited Porto some years ago. They are definitely some must buy snacks in Hong Kong. Trying one of those delicious sweets is also a must do in Hong Kong with kids, they are going to love you for that.
Tofu Pudding and Tofu prepared in Cantonese style
While Tofu itself is bland and hasn’t got a lot of taste by itself, it still is very loved in a lot of Asian cuisines. One of the favourite ways to prepare Tofu in Hong Kong is in the Cantonese preparation style. The chef places for this a shrimp or some minced pork or beef on top of a bite-size Tofu block and then fries it until it gets a golden crisp texture on the outside. This then serves as a perfect snack in between the main meals.
Another typical must eat in Hong Kong snack is the Tofu Pudding, which we also enjoyed in the Malaysian town of Ipoh. It’s silken tofu with syrup in a bowl. This dish is often served with toppings like red beans, mango, coconut milk, plain sugar or sweet ginger.
If you fancy rather some western food while being in Hong Kong, we recommend visiting “The Butchers Club” on Hong Kong Island. This great place was in the Michelin-Guide for the last three years. Its menu is limited to burgers, beer, and bourbon. We had there one of the most delicious burgers in Asia! The best part? The burger is served with steak-cut chips cooked in duck fat. This is absolutely one of the best places to eat in Hong Kong if you like good burgers.
The last item on this list is actually not food, but a super delicious drink. This special tea-drink is very beloved in Hong Kong and other parts of Asia. Bubble Tea was originally invented in Taiwan. It is now available in other countries as well. It contains basically three parts: tea of some kind, milk or flavours and often some toppings.
Toppings can be tapioca balls (look like pearls or bubbles), jelly or popping boba. The Bubble Tea doesn’t get its name because of the toppings though. It’s called “Bubble Tea” because of the froth, which is formed when the milk tea mixture is shaken.
How to best explore the Hong Kong food scene
The Hong Kong food scene can be quite overwhelming, especially if you don’t speak the local language. Often you don’t even know what or how to order. We were really glad we found a local guide from Hi, Hi Guide called Heidi. Because of her, we had a glimpse of the real Hong Kong and its delicious food. She showed us where to eat in Hong Kong. If you really want to see and taste what the local people from Hong Kong (and not only the tourists) eat and drink, then the best way to do this is with someone who spent her or his whole life in this busy city.
If you also want to book a local guide for your next Hong Kong trip (or any other city trip), then you can go to www.hihiguide.com and pick a guide you think is suitable for you. We recommend checking out various profiles and seeing which interests these guides share with you. The more interests you share with them, the better the chance to have an amazing personal tour. If you are, for example, interested in exploring what to eat in Hong Kong, then make sure your guide is interested in food and drinks. We really enjoyed being guided by a local and had a great day with Heidi. If you want to know what other than food you can discover in Hongkong, then check out these Hong Kong Travel Tips.
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Disclosure: We were kindly invited to experience the services of the Hi, Hi Guides in exchange for an honest review. All words and opinions are our own.