Follow the Hong Kong Foodie Blog to keep in touch with Hong Kong's food, festivals, events and latest happenings. Hong Kong Foodie's mission is to lead hungry souls from around the world to wander off the beaten path to taste & experience Hong Kong's culinary culture.
There is no sport more colorful, more exciting, more laden with culture and tradition than dragon boat racing. Imagine thumping drums, deafening chants, and billowing flags – these all accompany this adrenaline-packed sport at every race.
Contrary to popular belief, dragon boat races aren’t only held on Tuen Ng Festival. The racing season in Hong Kong actually lasts from early April to late November, until the weather gets a little too cold for an entire day out in open water. Don’t assume that teams get to rest over the chillier months. The city’s dragon boaters take advantage of the winter months to gain the upper hand over their competitors. There’s no other way to win than continue training in 12°C weather amidst bone-chilling winds while rivals sleep away under their down comforters.
There are two main types of races in Hong Kong: public races and fishermen races. Public races include the famous Stanley International Dragon Boat Championships held every Tuen Ng Festival, and the Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races in mid-June. These races are open to the public. Anyone could form a team and sign up.
On the other hand, fishermen races, also known as private boat races, are by invitation only. These events were originally held amongst fishermen clans, and exclusive to family and friends of fishermen. Today, these teams are still led by fisherfolk, but are more open to having the public join their teams.
Ask any dragon boater and they will tell you that fishermen races are way more exciting compared to public races, despite being lesser-known. These races resemble boat parties more than anything else. Along the shores of Po Toi Island or Aberdeen or Cheung Chau, fleets of fishing boats hold teams and their families. Everyone is invited, from toddlers to grandparents to pregnant ladies. Teams go through endless crates of beer and feast on nibbles cooked on the boat by the ladies of the clans. Dishing out curry fish balls, Thai squid salad and grass jelly, these ladies only hope that their athletes will be energized and prepared to win every race.
Right before a race, athletes clamber down the side of their fishing boat onto their dragon boat. Unlike carbon fiber boats used in public races, these dragon boats are all tailor-made, wooden beauties. Want a smoother glide? Your boat can be made narrower. Prefer plunging paddles deeper into the water? Your boat will be equipped with lower sides. It is not uncommon for a team to spend over a hundred thousand Hong Kong dollars on a dragon boat.
Superstition once dictated that women were forbidden to touch dragon boats, let alone compete in them. Times have since changed. Women’s and mixed races are now almost as common as men’s races. Another interesting superstition is that one must not touch the dragon’s head of a competitor’s boat, lest it bring bad luck to both teams.
Dragon boat racing is an incredibly demanding sport itself. Learn about paddling in SCMP’s illustrated article, or read about the sport’s history in our piece about the Tuen Ng Festival. Be sure to check out the Stanley International Dragon Boat Championships on 7th July 2019 and the Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races from 14-16 June 2019!
If you’re planning a trip to Hong Kong, don’t miss out on these Hong Kong travel tips! As Hong Kong locals, we’ve put together all the secrets and hacks we know, so that you can get around the city just like the locals do.
1. Get an Octopus card
The Octopus card will get you far in Hong Kong. The equivalent of London’s Oyster card or Tokyo’s Pasmo or Suica card, the Octopus card can be used to pay for the MTR (Hong Kong’s extremely clean and efficient subway), buses and minibuses, ferries, and even supermarkets and restaurants. MTR fares paid with the Octopus card are slightly cheaper than single-ride ticket prices, and you also get to look like a local tapping your card nonchalantly at the gates.
To get yourself a card, visit the customer service center at any MTR station (you can access these centers without entering the paid area) and ask for a Sold Tourist Octopus card or an On-Loan Octopus card. Besides MTR customer service centers, you can also get one at the MTR Ticket and Octopus Selling Machine at the airport. Check out this page for more places to get your Octopus from.
The Sold Tourist Octopus card costs HK$39 and doesn’t come with any stored value, so you will have to top it up. It does come with a special illustrated design though, and makes for a cute souvenir.
The On-Loan Octopus card doesn’t come with the special design, but is a relatively better deal. Hand over a HK$50 refundable deposit and you can have the card and a convenience limit of up to HK$50. Here’s a little hack–you can pay with your card until you’re HK$50 under the value you stored into your card, and take the card with you as a souvenir! You can also simply get your remaining value and the HK$50 deposit back at any MTR customer service center.
You can top up your Octopus card at supermarkets, convenience stores, or any MTR station at either the customer service center or automated add-value machines. Each Octopus card can hold up to HK$1000.
2. Take the Airport Express
If you’re looking for the fastest way to reach the city, the Airport Express is your best bet. Board the Express at the airport and you could be in Central in just 24 minutes. It departs every 10 minutes from 05:54 to 23:28 and around every 12 minutes from 23:28 to 00:48. The Express even offers free WiFi on board!
Staying somewhere other than Hong Kong Island? The Airport Express also stops at Tsing Yi Station, Kowloon Station and AsiaWorld-Expo Station. There are also free shuttle buses that take you from Hong Kong or Kowloon Stations to most major hotels and transport interchanges.
Updating fares of the Airport Express can be found here. Paying with your Octopus card will be cheaper, but pre-booking your tickets on KLOOK will give you the best deal, check out their deals on their website or app!
3. Check in for your flight and drop off your bags early
Have an early hotel check out and a late flight? Don’t want to haul your baggage around while you explore the city for the rest of the day? Check in for your flight and drop off your bags early at the In-Town Check-In counters at Kowloon Station and Hong Kong Station, so you won’t have to drag your bags to the airport yourself!
Simply check in and collect your boarding pass at the counters between 90 minutes and one full day before your scheduled flight departure time. Be sure to contact your airline to check whether the service is currently available! Click here for more details.
4. Take public buses from the airport
Save even more money by taking public buses from the airport! Most bus rides to the city cost at most HK$50, and the majority hover around HK$20-30. The catch is that bus rides take much longer compared to the Airport Express, but a slow and calming bus ride is always a great way to see the city and its people, especially if you sit on the upper deck.
5. Know where to get free WiFi
Free WiFi is available at most government facilities, including public libraries, parks, beaches, and sports centers. You can also get free WiFi at the airport, some convenience stores, McDonalds restaurants, and all MTR stations near their Free WiFi Hotspots. Some MTR stations also offer free-to-use computers connected to the internet (called “iCentre”s), such as Central, Kowloon Tong and Mong Kok. See this page for more information.
6. Get a prepaid SIM card
Despite easy access to free WiFi, we still wouldn’t recommend relying on it. Getting around Hong Kong will be much easier with mobile data, and to have that we suggest getting a prepaid SIM card. Data cards in Hong Kong are amongst the cheapest in the world, with impressive internet speeds. Get a SIM card at any 7-11 or Circle K (even at the airport!), or from major mobile carriers such as CSL, Three, or China Mobile.
7. Download essential apps
Whenever we’re asked for Hong Kong travel tips, the first thing us foodies would mention is to download OpenRice, Hong Kong’s Yelp for restaurants. Find the best eats wherever you are using the nearby function, and read reviews to see what you must order. Don’t read Chinese? Don’t worry– people leave reviews in both Chinese and English.
Other key apps to download include the MTR Mobile app, which will show you route, duration, and fare information with the Train Trip Planner, tourist information, which exits to take and much more. Also download the Hong Kong Observatory app, as the HKO will provide you with the most accurate and up-do-date weather information based on your location.
8. Take a Foodie Tour with Hong Kong Foodie
OpenRice might help you find the hottest eateries in town, but if you’re looking for old-school Hong Kong classics, or simply want to take a back seat and have your adventures planned for you, you’ll love taking a Foodie Tour with Hong Kong Foodie. Our Foodie Guides will take you to feast at local gems and old mom-and-pop eateries you wouldn’t discover otherwise, while sharing about the neighborhood’s history, architecture, and unique culture. We’d recommend the Central and Sheung Wan Foodie Tour for first timers, and the Sham Shui Po Foodie Tour for those who’d like to see a more working-class side of Hong Kong.
9. Catch lunch deals at high end restaurants
Weekday lunch is cheaper at most restaurants in Hong Kong, from cha chaan tengs to fine-dining establishments. The difference is especially apparent if you visit high end restaurants, where lunch menus can be half the price of dinner. Some of our lunch favorites include 298 Nikuya Room for Japanese yakiniku, The Chairman for upscale Cantonese cuisine, and Michelin-starred Arbor for modern Japanese-inspired French fare.
10. Skip the line to the Peak Tram
It’s undeniable that the Peak Tram is a classic Hong Kong tourist attraction, but you can actually get the same views by taking a bus or a taxi up to the peak and walking down. Skip the 2-hour wait and the HK$84 tram fare by catching bus 15C from Central pier 8, bus 15 from Exchange Square bus terminus, or minibus 1 from the public transport interchange at Hong Kong Station, Exit E.
11. Hike up the peak
Skip transportation all together and get those legs moving! Fit a workout into your trip and hike up Victoria Peak for the best views. Trailheads to the peak are spread out across western and central Hong Kong Island, so you’ll find a route no matter where you are. See this page for more information.
12. Get out of the city
Besides the Victoria Peak hike, Hong Kong has tons of other stunning hikes to offer. Escape the hustle and bustle by checking out our hiking guides here and here.
13. Take the Star Ferry
No article on Hong Kong travel tips is complete without mentioning the Star Ferry. Most articles would tell you that it’s one of the cheapest scenic boat rides in the world, but few let you in on this secret– take the ferry at 8pm from Tsim Sha Tsui to Central for the best view of the Symphony of Lights, instead of going on pricier cruises travel agents might suggest. A ride on the Star Ferry is less than US$0.5!
14. Enjoy Ocean Park for free
If you’re an HKID card holder, you can enter Ocean Park for free on your birthday! Free admission on birthdays is also granted to local senior residents 65 years old or above with an HKID card or the “Senior Citizen Card” issued by Social Welfare Department, and holders of a Registration Card for people with Disabilities.
15. Get a museum pass
Get yourself a museum pass for unlimited admission to permanent and special exhibitions at all museums under the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, including the Hong Kong Museum of History and the Hong Kong Science Museum. Family passes, individual passes and student/senior passes are available. Check the updated cost here. Museum passes are valid for 12 months, and you also get a 10% discount at museum gift shops. You could also simply visit museums on Wednesdays, when many of them offer free admission to everyone.
Keep these Hong Kong travel tips in mind when you visit the city, and you’re bound to have the time of your life!
Today, we celebrate Temple Street Night Foodie Tour’s first birthday! Take advantage of our flash sale! Grab your tickets to the Temple Street Night Foodie Tour now and get 10% discount!
Temple Street Night Market is one of the top Hong Kong tourist attractions. Besides bargaining and shopping at the night market, tasting local food is a must-do! If you prefer to avoid tourist traps, our Temple Street Night Foodie Tour brings you to authentic, local hidden gems to taste the most delicious Hong Kong-styled street food and fresh seafood.
As our first evening tour, Temple Street Night Foodie Tour is especially well loved by business travellers to Hong Kong for meetings and conferences. This evening experience also makes the perfect option for corporate and team building events. If you are organizing a night out for your team, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details!
Due to popular demand, the Temple Street Night Foodie Tour is now available three times a week. Join us on Monday, Thursday and Saturday nights!
Save 10% on Temple Street Night Foodie Tour by using promo code “templestreet”. If you are traveling to Hong Kong soon or you simply run out of date night ideas, treat yourself and your loved ones to this delicious evening adventure with us. Don’t miss this opportunity as the offer only lasts for a week!
Terms & Conditions:
1. This Offer entitles customers to 10% discount on Temple Street Night Foodie Tour held from March 8th to July 27th, 2019 (“Offer”).
2. The Offer is valid from 00:00 HKT on Friday, March 8th, 2019 to 23:59 HKT on Thursday, March 14th, 2019 (“Promotional Period”).
3. Tickets to participating Foodie Tours must be purchased on www.hongkongfoodietours.com using promo code “templestreet”. Tickets purchased from other online sites or offline travel agents are not eligible for this Offer.
4. The Offer cannot be used in conjunction with other promotions or discounts and is not applicable to prior purchase.
5. The Offer is not transferable, cannot be sold and has no cash value. It is not valid with any other promotions, vouchers or gift cards.
6. Tickets are subject to availability.
7. Foodie Tour tickets booked are non-refundable, non-exchangeable and non-replaceable.
8. Hong Kong Food Tours Limited reserves the right to amend or supplement these Terms and Conditions at any time without any prior notice. In the event of dispute regarding these Terms and Conditions, the decision of Hong Kong Food Tours Limited shall be final.
Imagine plates teeming with food and completely covering the dining table, small children running around the tiny, cramped apartment, adults huddled around the television, trying to block out the piercing voices of their sugar-high children– these are the essentials that make up a Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner. Also known as Tuen Neen Fan (團年飯) or reunion dinner, this feast is eaten the night before the first day of the Chinese New Year, and is when the entire family gathers to conclude the year together before a new beginning. The Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner plays a significant role in Chinese culture, and is one of the traditional events Chinese communities worldwide look forward to most.
Besides chicken, fish, andtongyuen (glutinous rice dumplings), which are also eaten at Chinese Winter Solstice Dinners, here are a few of the most widely-eaten dishes at Chinese New Year’s Eve dinners.
Braised mushrooms, dried scallops with black moss and lettuce.
Chinese families love having prawns at their Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner because prawns symbolize laughter and happiness (the Chinese word for prawns (蝦) is pronounced ha in Cantonese). For festivities, the bigger the prawns, the better. Think tiger prawns stir-fried in soy sauce and chopped spring onions, or even tossed in rich, buttery salted egg-yolk.
2. Pig’s trotters
Serving pig’s trotters are believed to bring wealth to families as the Chinese term for pig’s trotters represents a lucky saying (橫財就手) that wishes people good fortune. Whole pig’s trotters are cut into smaller chunks and stewed in savory sauces, often with mushrooms or lotus root. The chunks are absolutely delicious when done well, sticky and gelatinous and tender– the perfect accompaniment to a warm bowl of rice.
3. Black moss
If you ever attend a Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner, it’s highly likely that you will be served a brown-hued stew of funny-looking ingredients, including one that looks like a mass of thin, black hair. This ingredient is actually black moss, which is found in the Gobi desert and often mistaken as a form of seaweed. Named fat choi (髮菜) in Chinese, its name is homophonic with the phrase fat choi (發財), which means making a fortune.
4. Dried oysters
Dried oysters are named ho see in Chinese (蠔豉), which sounds very similar to the phrase for good business (好事). These little morsels are small but pack a punch. Usually thrown into stews with black moss, they add a lot of umami and a delicious brininess to any dish.
Lettuce is often tucked under the black moss and dried oyster stew, soaking up all the yummy goodness and adding texture to the dish. The Chinese name for lettuce is sang choi (生菜), which sounds like the phrase for making money (生財), and is therefore served at Chinese New Year dinner for good fortune in the new year ahead.
Celebrate the coming Year of the Pig by making your own Black moss and dried oyster stew! Have a big feast at your Chinese New Year dinner! Here’s to a great Chinese New Year ahead!
Kick your new year off the right way with new things to do in Hong Kong! Whether you’re new to the city, planning a trip here or a long-time Hong Konger just looking for something fresh to do, we have it listed here. Check out our list of up-and-coming exhibitions, activities and cultural spots for 2019.
1. Hong Kong Pulse Light Festival
If you’re looking for Instagram spots in Hong Kong, then you will not be disappointed with the Hong Kong Pulse Light Festival, a spectacle of neon lights, glowing sculptures, and interactive installations. Set against the iconic Victoria Harbor skyline, these light-art pieces look all the more amazing among brilliantly lit skyscrapers. As Hong Kong’s largest open-air light festival, it features over 15 pieces from both local and international artists, and is bound to impress even the most jaded city dweller. Come with your camera (or smartphone!), and snap a few photos of yourself to up your Instagram game.
When: 5 – 11pm, 29 November 2018 to 24 February 2019 (Seven new exhibits will be on display from 18 January 2019).
Dragon Ball fans will definitely not want to miss this interactive digital exhibition showcasing the anime’s classical scenes with projection mapping and motion-sensitive technology! Have the best fun taking selfies with 1:1 scale statues of your favorite characters, immerse yourself in dazzling light shows, and diving into the Dragon Balls Pool– a ball pit filled with orange balls, perfect for Instagram shots! This exhibition is also great for children as it has a parent-child zone filled with kid-friendly activities.
When: 20 December 2018 to 31 January 2019
Where: The Arcade, 100 Cyberport Road, Hong Kong
Admission: $190 for adults (aged 13 or above), $95 for children (aged 12 or below)
If you’re in the Sheung Wan area and looking for things to do in Hong Kong, check out one of Hong Kong’s newest museums– the Hong Kong News-Expo. Housed inside the former Bridges Street Market, the News-Expo showcases the history and development of Hong Kong’s media industry and has over 1000 artifacts and documents on display. The best thing about the museum is that it still retains bits of the former market, including the main staircase and a hopscotch from the market’s playground.
When: 10am – 7pm, Closed on Mondays
Where: 2 Bridges Street, Central, Hong Kong
Admission: Free (additional charges for some facilities and services)
Feeling peckish after learning about Hong Kong’s media industry? Our Central & Sheung Wan Foodie Tour will ease your cravings with classic Hong Kong food and drinks.
4. The Mills
The Mills is Nan Fung Group’s newest arts and culture hub set inside Nan Fung Textile’s former cotton mills in Tsuen Wan. This revitalization project brings together Hong Kong’s industrial past and innovative future, harking back to Nan Fung Textile’s dominance in Hong Kong’s 1950s manufacturing boom while bringing in modern art pieces and tons of creative stores and restaurants. Industrial-chic architecture and vintage details makes The Mills the perfect place for a photoshoot, while the lush rooftop garden allows visitors to kick back and relax after a day of exploring the area.
Where: 45 Pak Tin Par Street, Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s long-awaited Chinese opera theatre, the West Kowloon Xiqu Centre, was opened on 20 January with a star-studded performance of The Reincarnation of Red Plum, under the direction of renowned Chinese opera veteran Pak Suet-sin. The theatre itself is an interesting addition to the architecture of West Kowloon; its exterior designed to look like a pair of parting curtains. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a classic Chinese opera performance this year– opening season tickets are now for sale here.
When: Opening on 20 January, 2019.
Where: 88 Austin Road West, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong
One of Hong Kong’s most famous tourist attractions and the city’s answer to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Avenue of Stars is expected to reopen in early 2019 after being closed for repairs and improvement works since October 2015. The renewed Avenue of Stars will feature brand new sculptures and elements of sustainable development, including handrails made of rice husk, salt and mineral oil instead of timber.
When: Expected to reopen in early 2019.
Where: Avenue of Stars, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Soon to be Hong Kong’s swankiest new addition to the city’s harborfront, Victoria Dockside is a US$2.6 billion, three million square foot art and design district in Tsim Sha Tsui. Conceptualized by acclaimed architectural firm Kohn Pederson Fox (KPF), who were behind the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Roppongi Hills in Tokyo, the district will offer lifestyle-focused office buildings and lots of green space for the city’s residents and tourists to take a breath of fresh air. Parts of the development have already been opened, including the luxury hotel Rosewood and the office building K11 Atelier, while the rest will open in phases over 2019.
When: Set to fully open in the third quarter of 2019.
Where: Tsim Sha Tsui harborfront, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Since its closure for renovation and expansion in 2015, the Hong Kong Museum of Art has been given a makeover and now features a new transparent glass facade, allowing visitors to explore art while enjoying the view of the Victoria Harbor. The refurbished museum will be equipped with much higher ceilings that will allow for larger art pieces, which was previously impossible with ceilings only 3.5m high. There will also be nine art galleries in the museum, with one just for pieces by Hong Kong artists– two more galleries than the museum had previously.
When: Reopening in November 2019.
Where: Hong Kong Museum of Art, 10 Salisbury Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong
9. Ant-Man and The Wasp: Nano Battle! at Hong Kong Disneyland
Marvel super fans rejoice! Soon you’ll get to jump into the action yourself at Hong Kong Disneyland’s new superhero ride, set to open on 31 March. The world’s first attraction featuring Ant-Man and The Wasp, this high-energy interactive ride will send guests on a mission to support Ant-Man and The Wasp in defending Hong Kong against Hydra’s attack. Experience classic Disney storytelling enhanced by cutting-edge scenic illusion technology and a state-of-the-art gaming system this year with a trip to Disneyland.
When: Opening on 31 March, 2019.
Where: Hong Kong Disneyland, Lantau Island, Hong Kong
Admission: $619 for adults (ages 12-64), $458 for children (ages 3-11), $100 for seniors (ages 65 or above)
10. Ocean Park Tai Shue Wan Water World (set to open in late 2019)
Visiting Ocean Park has always been one of the top ten things to do in Hong Kong, and it might just become one of the top five with its up-and-coming Water World! Named the tai Shue Wan Water World, this $2.9 billion state-of-the-art, all-weather waterpark will feature indoor and outdoor slides, wave pools, and restaurants and shops. As the park is built on hilly terrain, it will be set on terraced platforms looking out onto the South China Sea, offering stunning sea views.
When: Set to open in late 2019.
Where: Ocean Park Hong Kong, Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong
One of the best cities in Asia for foodies, Hong Kong offers a crazy 15,000 restaurants and has the highest density of restaurants in the world. The city’s cuisine is mostly Cantonese-based, but offers glimpses of its colonial past with its East-meets-West offerings. Check out our list of the 19 must-eat foods in Hong Kong.
Sham Shui Po Foodie Tour — Pineapple Bun
Kicking off this list, we have the quintessential Hong Kong classic. Mostly served in bakeries and cha chaan tengs, the pineapple bun is a soft, fluffy roll blanketed in a crumbly, sweet craquelin-esque top. Sink your teeth into one and you will be greeted with a glorious medley of textures– think crunchy bursts of lightly caramelized sugar crust between bites of warm, comforting bread. Mind you, there’s no pineapple in the bun– its name stems from its topping’s resemblance to the fruit. If you’re not counting calories, you must try the buttered pineapple bun, which is stuffed with a generous slice of ¼-inch thick butter, cold from the fridge for the most amazing hot-and-cold sensation.
Zhu Cheung Fun (Rice Rolls)
Sham Shui Po Foodie Tour — rice rolls
Zhu cheung fun (also known as cheung fun) are steamed rice rolls you can often find as street snacks or at dim sum parlors. When made well, these rolls are silky smooth, not at all gummy, and have a wonderful aroma of freshly steamed rice. We love them doused liberally with lashings of seasoned soy sauce, sweet sauce, sesame sauce, and a dollop of chilli sauce on the side for a spicy kick. Always ask for extra sesame seeds on top, or opt for ones dotted with dried shrimps and spring onions for more flavor!
Milk Tea / Yin Yang
Hong Kong-style milk tea is completely different from other Asian milk teas– and dare we say its on a league of its own. An earthy blend of black tea and evaporated milk, some even strained through silk stockings for the silkiest mouthfeel, Hong Kong-style milk tea is the epitome of the city’s East-meets-West culture. Also try yin yang– milk tea with coffee added in for that extra kick of caffeine to begin your morning.
Sham Shui Po Foodie Tour — Tofu dessert
Hong Kong might not have the best reputation for being vegan-friendly, but the tofu dessert is perfectly suitable for both vegans and vegetarians. Also known as tofu fa or tofu pudding, this dessert is smooth like the best panna cotta and slides onto your tongue effortlessly. Tasting only of soybeans, the pudding is the perfect vessel for the light syrup and crunchy red sugar crystals often offered by tofu dessert vendors. Have the dessert served warm in the frosty winter air, or enjoy it cold when it’s blazing hot in summer.
Try the pineapple bun, zhu cheung fun, milk tea and tofu dessert at our Sham Shui Po Foodie Tour, at which we’ll ensure you end up at the best tried-and-tasted spots in the city!
Ask anyone what Chinese food is to them and we guarantee 9 out of 10 people will say dim sum. Literally meaning “touch the heart”, these little morsels originated in Guangdong as delicious accompaniments to tea at tea houses. Must-trys include har gow– steamed dumplings of firm, fat shrimps enveloped in a translucent, chewy rice wrapper; siu mai– open-faced pork and shrimp dumplings wrapped with a thin yellow sheet; cha siu bao– fluffy white steamed buns stuffed with sweet and savory chunks of barbecued pork; and spring rolls– a variety of meat and vegetables rolled within a thin, crunchy pastry, served with Worcestershire sauce. Be adventurous and try everything on the dim sum menu, and allow your heart to caressed by a bit of Hong Kong, one bite at a time.
Hong Kong-style Egg Tarts
There are two distinct varieties of egg tarts: the shortcrust egg tart, and the puff pastry egg tart. Both are equally as good, but we think the classic will always be the shortcrust pastry egg tart. Hong Kong’s (much better) solution to British custard tarts, shortcrust egg tarts consist of a velvety, eggy custard that’s lighter than its British counterpart, encased in buttery pastry. Best served piping hot and with milk tea on the side! Hint: Remember not to get them mixed up with the Portuguese egg tarts! They’re not the same!
Top-notch wonton noodles consist of thin, springy egg noodles cooked al dente, perched atop shrimp and pork dumplings and lifted by a spoon to keep them from turning soggy, swimming in an umami-packed broth and topped with yellow chives. Some spots boast of their shrimp-only dumplings, but purists will claim that only wontons that contain pork are the real deal. Eat the noodles first (with a bit of soup and chives in every bite) so they don’t go soft!
Siu Mei (roasted meats)
Siu mei refers to a range of Cantonese roasted meats, usually served over rice with vegetables for a quick lunch. Local favorites include BBQ pork (cha siu)– juicy cuts of pork slathered in a gravy of spices, wine, maltose and soy sauce, roasted in a cylindrical oven until the maltose caramelizes; roast pork (siu yuk)– an entire hog roasted on spits over an open fire, with a puffy crackling so crunchy you can hear its crunch with every bite; suckling pig (yu zhu)– the most tender meat topped with a paper-thin, unbelievably crisp crackling that shatters like glass; and roast goose (siu ngo)– roasted until the skin is bronzed and crisp, seasoned with an aromatic mix of five spice powder and wine, and served with a sweet, tangy plum sauce that cuts through the richness.
Not sure where the locals flock to for dim sum, egg tarts, wonton noodles, and BBQ pork? Let us take you to our favorite joints on our Central & Sheung Wan Foodie Tour!
Temple Street Night Foodie Tour — Egg Puffs
Also known as egg waffles or gai daan jai, egg puffs are one of our favorite street snacks. Crisp on one side and soft on the other, held together by a golden lattice of batter, egg puffs great for sharing as the each “bubble” is made to be torn from the waffle. Some stores get a little creative and serve egg puffs in different varieties– flavored with matcha, filled with chocolate chips, or even topped with scoops of ice cream. We definitely recommend trying the original first though, as the subtle eggy flavor is what makes the egg puff such a classic, nostalgic treat.
Curry Fish Balls
Golden, deep fried spheres of fish paste, bathed in a spicy curry broth and served on skewers– this classic street snack has been around for decades and is here to stay. Each store claims to have their own secret blend of curry spices, so definitely try as many as you can until you find your favorite.
Beef brisket noodles consists of tender chunks of braised brisket and springy egg noodles (or our personal favorite– chewy, spongy e-fu noodles), served in a flavorful beef bone broth and topped with a handful of spring onions. Some spots also serve a curried variety of the soup for those who prefer more intense flavors.
Hong Kong’s proximity to the sea makes seafood an essential part of the city’s cuisine. For Hong Kongers, freshness is first priority when it comes to seafood, so rest assured that your meal will be as fresh as you can get. Must-trys include steamed grouper with springy, tender flesh, topped with a mountain of spring onions and doused with seasoned soy sauce, and stir-fried mud crabs with ginger and spring onion, piping hot and bursting with the complex, smoky aroma of wok hei.
In the mood to explore the less touristy areas of Hong Kong? Venture into the New Territories and feast on beef brisket noodles and fresh seafood on our Tai Po Market Foodie Tour!
Hong Kong-style french toast is the devil on a plate. Peanut butter sandwiched between two slices of bread, dunked in egg and deep fried, this snack is an addictive, carby square of evil goodness. If that’s not good (or bad?) enough for you, it’s usually served with butter and drenched in golden syrup. We call the french toast the edible equivalent of an abusive boyfriend– obviously terrible for you but keeps you craving for more at the same time.
A winter favorite, claypot rice (bo zai fan) consists of a variety of fresh and cured meats cooked over rice inside a claypot, over a gas or charcoal stove. As it cooks, savory juices from the meats coat each individual grain of rice, turning the humble ingredients into pot of gold. We’ll let you in on a little secret– the best bit is the crunchy, charred layer of rice stuck to the sides of the pot. Just loosen it with your spoon mix bits of it into your rice for the most glorious medley of textures.
Hot pot dinners are as social as meals can get. Another winter favorite, Hong Kongers love gathering their friends and family around a boiling vat of seasoned broth, then dipping thin slices of raw meat, fish, or vegetables into the broth until they’re cooked, with a lot of chatting in between. Condiments are also an important part of hot pot– perfect your magical dipping concoction by choosing between a huge range of sauces and aromatics from plain old soy sauce to sesame paste or deep fried garlic. Think hot pot is only for winter? True Hong Kongers are die-hard devotees of hot pot even in the summer, when the city continues its winter communal-dining ritual by blasting the air conditioning.
Mango Pomelo Dessert
Invented in the 1980s by famous restaurant chain Lei Garden, this dessert consists of mango chunks, pomelo segments and pearls of sago swimming in a sweet soup of mango puree, evaporated milk and coconut milk. Always served cold, this childhood favorite is super refreshing and perfect for sweaty summer days.
Fried Beef Noodles
Beef fried noodles
A true test of skill for any Cantonese cook, fried beef noodles (gon chau ngau ho) is an aromatic dish of flat rice noodles tossed with soy sauce, tender slices of beef, crunchy bean sprouts and spring onions over an extremely high heat for that quintessential wok hei. Don’t let your doctor know you’re binging on this dish as it is extremely high in fat and sodium, but if you’re in Hong Kong for the food, we think this dish is worth going on a month-long juice cleanse for.
Once the crisp fall breeze sets in, you’ll start seeing hawkers pushing carts with a massive wok on one side, and a range of roasted goodies on the other. Go for the slow-roasted chestnuts– plump and bursting at the seams, smoky from being tossed in the searing-hot cinders. Healthy and substantial, these chestnuts will keep your hands warm and your bellies full as you make your way through the chilly streets in fall.
Sweet and Sour Pork
If there’s one dish that reminds all Hong Kongers of their childhood, it would be sweet and sour pork. This Cantonese classic can be found in Chinese restaurants across the globe but we are adamant that the best can only be found in Hong Kong. Our hearts start fluttering when we see our first love, impossibly crisp and fresh from the fryer, coated liberally in a sweet and tangy sauce, and plated alongside juicy chunks of pineapple, bell peppers and onions.
Hope you get to try these 19 must-eat foods in Hong Kong in 2019! Happy new year!
2018 has been an exciting and eventful year for us at Hong Kong Foodie. This year, our Hong Kong food tours helped thousands of foodies from around the world create fond memories of Hong Kong’s favorite foods. Through wonderful stories of the neighborhoods and our 30+ eatery partners’ history, participants also got to learn about Hong Kong’s multi-faceted culture. We launched Temple Street Night Foodie Tour, our fourth route featuring Hong Kong street food to seafood. Our Sham Shui Po Foodie Tour celebrated its fifth birthday. Besides doing tours, we also filmed various TV shows, received much press coverage, including being named as one of the world’s best food experiences in 2018, and many more…
Perhaps the most meaningful moment came in October, at the Global Food Tourism Association’s conference in Austin, Texas in the United States., Each year at this conference, several awards are given out to celebrate achievements by various food tour companies. Last year, Hong Kong Foodie won the Quality Award to recognize one of our Foodie Guides, Carrie, for the superb customer experience delivered to our participants. This year, we are thrilled to announce that Hong Kong Foodie won the Brand Champion Award., an award recognizing a food tour operator who goes above and beyond to give back to their local community and delivers one of a kind representation of their brand. Bravo!
As a Hong Kong food tour operator, we cannot be happier to represent Hong Kong and be selected amongst many other global food tour operators from North and South America, Europe, and Asia that were in the running for this award. The Brand Champion Award recognizes the efforts our team has put in three areas: promote Hong Kong’s food and culture through tourism, support small businesses and also develop the next generation of tourism professionals.
Develop Tourism in Neighborhoods with a Community
As an ambassador for Hong Kong’s food and culture, we love encouraging visitors to explore Hong Kong outside of the traditional touristy areas, particularly visiting areas with a strong community spirit for a true Hong Kong experience. As such, we launched our Sham Shui Po Foodie Tour back in 2013. At the time, few tours (perhaps even none of them) take visitors to this working-class neighborhood. For visitors who did venture to Sham Shui Po, the usual destinations included Ap Liu Street or Golden Computer Centre for electronics or computer components. Over the last five years, through this Foodie Tour, many participants have not only savored exceptional local breakfast to lunch fare, they have also enjoyed the stories told of the hard-working and generous people in this neighborhood, oftentimes even meeting them in person. This year, the Hong Kong Tourism Board launched its new campaign to promote local flavors in Sham Shui Po district, highlighting many fascinating options for visitors to explore. If you have not already joined our Sham Shui Po Foodie Tour, you must do so in 2019!
Support Small Businesses
One of Hong Kong Foodie’s missions is to support small, local, family-run businesses that are so dedicated in serving delicious foods to people who love to eat. Since our inception in 2011, we have sadly witnessed a few tasting locations having to shut down or relocate their businesses due to challenging business environments, including rising rental costs. By bringing a small number of visitors on each of our Foodie Tour to these local eateries, we hope to contribute a bit of extra business to them in the long run, hoping to let more people know about them but yet not contributing to over tourism.
Train Young Tourism Professionals
Tourism is a critical pillar of Hong Kong’s industries and it is important to help develop young tourism professionals. We believe in encouraging more students and young people in Hong Kong to be curious and explore more about our hometown, our culture and our food with the goal of improving local tourism in Hong Kong. In 2018, Hong Kong Foodie once again partnered with Hong Kong Polytechnic University’sSchool of Tourism and Hospitality. Graduate-level students worked on a semester-long consulting project with us giving them the opportunity to solve an actual business challenge in this case study. We look forward to more opportunities to help develop young tourism professionals in Hong Kong.
We want to thank everyone, Hong Kong Foodie’s staff, our Foodie Tour participants, our eatery partners, Hong Kong Tourism Board, our agent partners and anyone who is reading this article. Without you, we would not have won the Global Food Tourism Association Brand Champion Award in 2018. We look forward to more exciting moments in 2019. Happy New Year!
On December 22, countless Chinese families will gather for a hearty winter solstice dinner which serves up many delicious dishes, each bearing a different lucky meaning to its name.
The winter solstice is the shortest day, or the longest night of the year. Falling in the 11th month of the lunar calendar, either on December 21, 22 or 23 of the Gregorian calendar depending on the year, this day marks one of the most significant festivals among Chinese communities worldwide.
Since the Han dynasty, winter solstice has been celebrated by the Chinese with a festival named 冬至 (dungzi in Cantonese, dongzhi in Mandarin), which literally translates into “winter’s peak”. Traditionally, the winter solstice festival signified the time when farmers and fishermen had to start preparing for the colder months ahead. The festival also has roots in the Chinese theory of yin and yang, which explore balance and harmony in life. The cold, dark qualities of yin are believed to be at their strongest on the longest night of the year, but once the winter solstice passes, the warmth and light of yang will begin to flourish as daylight hours lengthen once again.
This year’s winter solstice festival will be on December 22. Be prepared for Chinese restaurants across Hong Kong to be fully booked for dinner on the day, as the city celebrates by getting off work early and heading home or to restaurants for lavish feasts.
Five Typical Dishes Eaten at Winter Solstice Dinner
In line with Chinese superstition, most typical dishes eaten at traditional winter solstice dinner symbolize good wishes, either in the pronunciation of its name or in its physical form. Here are five of the most popular foods served at Chinese winter solstice dinner in Hong Kong.
Pun choi (盆菜)
Courtesy of PEmniaCHAN via Wikimedia Commons
A basin packed to the brim with at least eight kinds of delicacies including abalone, oysters, prawns, and shiitake mushrooms, pun choi was originally eaten in the walled villages of the New Territories at celebrations. This culture gradually spread to the rest of Hong Kong, and can now be found at many Chinese restaurants across the city, some even selling the massive dish to-go for families who prefer dining at home. This dish might seem slightly over the top to some, but is highly symbolic to most. As friends and family sit around the table with the basin in the center, everyone works together to peel back the layers of food, representing cooperation within a family to bring good luck and fortune to each other.
Want to explore the New Territories like a local? Our Tai Po Market Foodie Tour will show you the history and culture of the area, while offering plenty of yummy food. One of our tasting locations on the Tai Po Market Foodie Tour sells takeaway pun choi if you want to take one home!
Courtesy of Dennis Wong via Wikimedia Commons
The Chinese saying “It’s not a banquet without chicken” (無雞不成宴) illustrates just how important chickens are at festive meals. This bird is a mainstay not only at winter solstice dinners, but at other celebratory occasions like the Lunar New Year, weddings, and birthdays as well. This is because its name 雞 (gai) sounds similar to the word for good fortune– 吉 (gut), and tradition dictates that such banquets must serve foods bearing lucky meanings. Mostly served salted and steamed, chicken is also served cooked in soy sauce, or tossed in stir-fries.
Courtesy of ariasmelissa via Pixabay
As fish phonetically sounds like “surplus”, serving it at winter solstice dinner is believed to bring good harvests and profits. Fish is usually steamed and served whole, drizzled with soy sauce and topped with spring onions or other aromatics. Some Hong Kongers would go even further and serve carp (鯉魚, pronounced lei yu in Cantonese), as “lei” sounds like the last character in 大吉大利 (dai gut dai lei), another blessing for good fortune.
Known as 打邊爐 (da bin lo) to Hong Kongers, hot pot is not a traditional component of Chinese festivities. Instead, the city’s obsession with this communal dining ritual is what turned it into a contemporary mainstay of winter solstice dinner. As entire families gather around one big pot of steaming broth, chatting merrily and cooking slivers of fresh meat for each other, hot pot becomes the hearth of the modern Hong Kong apartment, warming both the hands and hearts of families amidst the winter chill.
Glutinous rice dumplings (Tongyuen)
After gorging on savory dishes, families end the meal on a sweet note with glutinous rice dumplings (tongyuen in Cantonese, tangyuan in Mandarin), as tongyuen sounds like the Chinese word for “reunion”. Besides its name, tongyuen’s round shape also symbolize unity and togetherness. These chewy spheres of sticky rice dumplings are stuffed with a molten black sesame or peanut filling, and served in a bowl of warm, gingery syrup.
BOCHK Hong Kong New Year Countdown Celebrations 2017 - YouTube
2019’s almost upon us and we are getting excited about the Hong Kong New Year Countdown and fireworks display. To get the best out of this annual event takes a little preparation but we have compiled some useful tips and suggestions to ensure your night is a success. Here is what you need to know about the best places to watch fireworks in Hong Kong this New Year’s Eve.
Get there early – the fun starts before midnight
As always, Victoria Harbour will be the backdrop to Hong Kong’s spectacular display. Details about this and other Hong Kong events can be found on the HK Tourism Board’s website. It has become the custom to feature “Shooting Stars”. Starting at 11 pm, rays of light will illuminate the skies above the harbor every fifteen minutes in a teaser for the main event. Anticipation ramps up and you can be sure that there will be a tangible party atmosphere as the crowd builds and the clock ticks ever closer to the top of the hour. At 11.59 pm, the wait is almost over as the countdown begins. At midnight, a fabulous display of fireworks set to music is sure to delight the waiting crowd.
Best places to watch the pyrotechnics
You have plenty of choice when it comes to seeing the display. Many hotels and restaurants lay on ticketed events to make it a night to remember. Some people prefer to watch from inside Hong Kong’s many skyscrapers but if you are not lucky enough to have a Hong Kong hotel room or an apartment with a harbor view, you could always book a place on a boat cruise. Booked out already or beyond your price range? No matter, there are plenty of locations where you can get a great view of Hong Kong fireworks without forking out at all.
It doesn’t have to cost you a thing
If you’re looking for a spot join in with the Hong Kong New Year Countdown, we have come up with a list of ten best places to watch fireworks for free in Hong Kong.
Free places to watch fireworks on Hong Kong Island:
IFC Mall — the fourth floor roof
The Peak — all along Lugard Road and also Lion’s Pavilion
Central Ferry Pier
Golden Bauhinia Square
Free places to watch fireworks in Kowloon:
Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade — our favorite but make sure you get there early!
Ocean Terminal Deck
West Kowloon Waterfront Promenade
The Sky Corridor of West Kowloon Station
The Hung Hom Bypass
Our tips for seeing the display
To ensure you do not miss out, it makes sense to get out on the street early. Photographers wishing to find the perfect spot to set up their tripods will start to stake their claims as early as 3 or 4 in the afternoon. If you wish to have a front row view, you would be wise to follow soon afterwards. Keep abreast of road closures and which MTR exits will be operational. To maintain crowd control and keep everyone safe, some will be shut as early as 8 pm. Check the website of the Transportation Department for further details and keep abreast of any changes in the local press to make sure that the route you are planning to take will be open.
Throughout the evening, the crowd will swell and by 10 pm or so, you will be jostling for a place. Go prepared to wait – take snacks and some refreshing drinks to help you stay hydrated and check out the location of nearby public lavatories to ensure you are not caught short. Charge up the batteries in your camera and cell phone to make sure you capture multiple shots of the brightly coloured pyrotechnics as well as a selfie or two, of course.
We would like to take this opportunity to wish you a happy and prosperous New Year, wherever you choose to spend it.
When it comes to outdoor bars in Hong Kong, you are spoiled for choice. Whether you are searching for a fabulous view or a convenient place to meet friends before dinner, we know just the place. Here are our picks for the nine best outdoor bars in Hong Kong.
1. Wooloomooloo Steakhouse, Wan Chai
Wooloomooloo Wan Chai does steak well, of course, but it does outdoor space even better. This contemporary dining space also features a sleek outdoor terrace and from it, you will find one of the best views in Hong Kong. From your lofty vantage point 31 floors up, you will have a bird’s eye view of Happy Valley racecourse and the city skyscrapers beyond. Popular for after work drinks, it has atmosphere in spades. Watch the sun set with a glass of wine in your hand and stay on for dinner.
The Hennessy, 31/F & Rooftop, 256 Hennessy Rd, Wan Chai
Even more chic than Wooloomooloo, Sevva boasts a vertical garden and a panoramic view to die for. A fixture on the Hong Kong bar scene for a decade, its wraparound terrace showcases the Hong Kong skyline in all its brightly lit glory from the penthouse of the Prince’s Building in Central. Its sophisticated decor is given a much anticipated makeover twice a year, refreshing the venue and ensuring it remains on trend to the delight of its clientele.
Princes Building, 25/F, 10 Chater Rd, Central
Smart and surrounded by steel and glass, the sleek sofas of Armani/Privé tempt all but the most resolute of lounge lizards to emerge into the open air and seek out the breathtaking city skyscraper views. This chilled space offers a haven from the frenetic pace below. Its mixologists skilfully reimagine classic cocktails, switching out the same old same old for fresh and at times unconventional ingredients. Try its signature gingerbread Bellini or perhaps a lychee and coconut martini to capture the essence of indulgence.
8 Connaught Rd Central, Central
4. Cé La Vi
You will need to dress to impress if you wish to experience the Hong Kong branch of this upscale Asian chain. Cé La Vi‘s iconic rooftop location above Lan Kwai Fong affords breathtaking panoramas to savour, some of the best views in Hong Kong, so you’ll need a long drink to match. Sip an exotic and decadent cocktail crammed full of regional Asian ingredients, packing a flavour punch like nowhere else.
25/F California Tower, 30-32 D’Aguilar St, Central
Pull up a chair at trendy Eyebar for some of the best views from Kowloon. From 3pm until late, this is a place to see and be seen. Fight for one of the stools lined up by the glass balcony for the ultimate outdoor bar experience. Watch the nightly city light show, A Symphony of Lights, or sneak a look through the telescope for close up scrutiny. Drag your attention away just long enough to try a signature cocktail such as Grape Expectations. Hang around to have dinner at Nanhai No. 1 just inside the bar. We reckon its modern Chinese cuisine is worth tearing yourself away from the view.
30/F, ISQUARE, 63 Nathan Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui
6. La Rambla by Catalunya
If you are looking for a warm and friendly welcome, then head out to La Rambla by Catalunya. Settle down on the wooden deck, relaxing on designer furniture imported from Barcelona. There is an outdoor bar to enjoy – try the Spanish gin and tonic in this spacious setting. If you decide to eat while you enjoy one of the best views in Hong Kong, there’s a tempting menu of Catalan and Mediterranean dishes from which to choose.
3071-73 Level 3, ifc mall, Central
7. Red Sugar
The Rolling Stones might have sung about Brown Sugar but here in Hong Kong the sugar is most definitely red and it is found at the Kerry Hotel in Hung Hom. Red Sugar‘s serene and relaxing location is the perfect spot for pre-dinner drinks or a nightcap after midnight. You will find an extensive collection of craft beers, a lengthy wine list and oak-barrel aged cocktails. As you would expect from one of Hong Kong’s smartest hotels, there are outstanding views from its outdoor terrace over Victoria Harbour and beyond.
38 Hung Luen Rd, Hung Hom
8. Above at Ovolo Southside
If you find yourself on the south side of the island, then Above at Ovolo Southside is the ideal spot for your sundowner. This edgy rooftop venue is our favourite in this part of Hong Kong. Happy hour stretches to a generous four hours; it is not surprising this venue claims to have the happiest happy hour in Hong Kong. Try its refreshing “Unicorn” cocktail based on peach liqueur and camomile tea as you gaze at the mountains and stunning Repulse Bay from your terrace perch.
64 Wong Chuk Hang Rd, Wong Chuk Hang
9. Shelter Italian Bar & Restaurant
With great views over the shopping district at Causeway Bay, this bar makes the most of its outside space. Contemporary decor with mood lighting to give the place a sophisticated vibe and its convenient location makes its elegant al fresco terrace the perfect choice for after dinner drinks. But there are also hanging pods which make this the ideal space to enjoy a cosy drink with a loved one, making this a good all-rounder when it comes to al fresco bars in Hong Kong.
7/F, Hysan Place, 500 Hennessy Rd, Causeway Bay
What do you look for when you are on the hunt for an al fresco drinks venue? We feel sure that when it comes to outdoor bars in Hong Kong, at least one of these will be exactly what you have been looking for. Cheers and of course, always drink responsibly!