I am not particularly adventurous when eating foreign cuisine so the many international flavours of Hong Kong are a safe choice for me. However saying this, I was talked into having a meal at a licensed Dai Pai Dong after a friend explained the strict guidelines that street vendors must now adhere to.
Dai Pai Dong stalls used to be a common sight in Hong Kong but the introduction of stricter food regulations has seen most close down. Apparently food licences are no longer granted so the few stalls that have survived must adhere to health and hygiene guidelines. Good to know if you are contemplating a meal or snack.
Temple Street Night Market offers a great selection of "Dai Pai Dong" style kitchens though some of these would definitely not meet health and hygiene standards in my opinion. Despite this, they get really busy later in the evening when the frantic activity really adds to the atmosphere.
Choosing something to eat can be tricky. English is not really spoken or understood. I allowed my friend to order for me but non Cantonese speaking tourists may have to point to a meal and hope for the best! Most stalls serve only a handful of classic cantonese dishes anyway. Seafood and noodles are popular choices.
Boot Chai Go: a traditional desert made by sticky rice and red bean. Usually put in a ceramic bowl and serve with a wooden stick.
Plain Flour ~ 320 grams
Brown sugar ~ 320 grams
Plain water ~ 3 cups
Red Bean ~ a little
1. Wash red beans
2. Boil red beans until soft
3. Boil brown sugar with water until melted. Put aside and let it cool down.
4. Mix plain flour into cooled cyrup.
5. Boil remaining water, slow add into the cyrup while adding flour.
6. Add red beans.
7. Put everything into a steamer, steam for 20 mins.
8. Get ready to eat!
We passed by this samll little roadside stall while shopping at the Ladies' Market. The name of the stall is "Jia Ji Xiao Shi", and it sells fried octopus, fermented beancurd, yu dan (fishballs), pig's organs e.g. intestine etc. I've tried the fried octupus at this stall during my previous visit, and it was sooo GOOD! This time, I finally tried the fermented beancurd (deep fried). The verdict? It tasted delicious, and my students actually ordered more pieces... The food is cheap, the beancurd is HKD$6 a piece, and the fried octupus HKD$12 for a packet.
Favorite Dish: The fermented beancurd. You must try it!
Yu Dan loosely translated as "fish egg" has got to be my favourite street snack. Made from flour, fish and etc and cooked by boiling it in some sort of gravy, it is chewy and a little spicy. Each stick cost HKD10 and can be found in any street side stalls.
stalls by the road.. stalls in the markets.. try everything.. even if not for the taste.. just for the experience.. you'll live to talk about it.. :)
Favorite Dish: anything that looks different is worth a try.. :) you get everything from all the insides of a pig to snakes and others.. the limit is your imagintion.. oh, and smelly tofu!! if you think durian smells bad, this is a lot worse.. that's one thing that i couldn't bear to eat!
They are dotted everywhere along the streets of Mongkok (that's where my hotel is located), i found them in the streets of causeway bay as well!
i believe many other parts of Kowloon and HK has them.
Favorite Dish: Smelly Toufu (i love this, it simply melts in my mouth)
Cripsy squids (with a dash of salt, it's so tasty)
Curry Fish eggs (yu dan)
We were walking around Central when we saw this restaurant with cages of snakes and other animals outside. It actually serves a variety of snakes and other reptiles and many many more `delicacy`. They even have preserved snakes and rats in jars and bottles. They are actually snake and rat wines.
Favorite Dish: We tried the snake rice and meat. Err.... snake meat isnt that bad actually. Taste like chicken : ) *hope those snakes arent protected species*
These are street vendors at the heart of a market. The place looks a little run down and seats are limited. Thus, this picture shows us(19 people) squeezing at some seats and tables at the back lane. As long as the food is nice, we wouldnt mind the uncomfy situation.
Favorite Dish: We had some lovely noodles fried with beef at this little street vendor. Very very very tasty! and dont miss out on their sweet soup deserts too. you have options of red bean soup, blended black sesame or blended peanut. My favorite is the blended black sesame
It's pretty hard to find 'real' street food anymore. Most are relegated to little stalls or hole-in-the-walls. But they are still good none-the-less, and plus the fact that they are now physically anchored to a permanent location should give you, the tourist, more comfort in knowing that the food _should_ indeed be safe to consume. Note though that I have built up an immunity during childhood, so it is a risk I suppose. But the reward is great.. assuming of course that you like to eat. So many varieties of ingredients cooked in so many ways.. =D~~~
Therefore let this be a gauge of the level of risk tolerance/aversion. Do you dare buy a kabob full of curry fish balls?? ^.^
We came across this stall that sell Chee Cheong Fun (CCF) which is sooo difference from Singapore! It is thin, soft and smooth whereas Singapore's CCF has a thicker, stiffer texture. I was most impressed and ordered one char siao (BBQ pork) CCF but the char siao ruined the taste as it was not very fresh.
About a year after I returned to Singapore, stalls selling HK CCF started sprouting up everywhere - foodcourts, hawker centre, coffee shops...Ah! Now I don't have to travel to HK to taste the same HK CCF again! Talk about cosmopolitan!
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