Hong Kongers have a passion reserved just for Hong Kong food that eclipses their love for politics, shopping, gambling, and even -- gasp -- stocks. This city is home to some of the most food-obsessed people in the world and produces an alarming array of food items ranging from the stubbornly traditional to unself-conscious fusion foods, each more drool-worthy than the next. So you can taste them for your China vacation deals in Hong Kong. Here are a selection of Hong Kong foods that make us rather not live than live without:
1. Hong Kong-style French toast
Unlike its more restrained Sunday brunch counterpart, Hong Kong-style French toast is for when you're stressed out and looking for a warm, deep-fried hug. It's two pieces of toast slathered with peanut butter or kaya jam, soaked in egg batter, fried in butter and served with still more butter and lots of syrup. Too much of this will send you to an early grave, but it's the perfect comfort-food combination of simple flavours and textures: sweet and savoury, soft and crispy.
Try it at Lan Fong Yuen, 6 Gage Street, Central.
2. Scrambled egg sandwich
On paper, an egg sandwich doesn't sound very noteworthy. After all, it's just fried egg in between two pieces of soft white bread. No big deal, right? Ah, but that would ignore the genius of a good Hong Kong line cook, who can somehow turn an egg into a fluffy, finely-layered gem of stomach-warming goodness. A classic egg sandwich should be plump, full of eggy flavour and light, not greasy.
3. Stinky tofu
No doubt you will have heard or read about the stench emanating from one of the strangest foods to come out of this part of the world. But nothing can really prepare you for the stink. Smelly tofu, like durian, is one of Asia's most iconic 'weird foods.' The stench is a result of fermentation of the tofu and it is such an overpowering smell you'll be hard-pressed to shake it off for months to come. But Hong Kongers really love that stink. Well, most Hong Kongers. Sticky tofu is very famous around China and you can taste it in other cities such as Shanghai and Xian (a destination for Silk Road tours). Follow your nose to Delicious Food, shop 10, G/F, 30-32 Nullah Road, Prince Edward
4. Hong Kong style-cheeseburgers
Dirt-cheap, kitschy and consistently delicious, Denmark Cake Shop’s Hong Kong-style cheeseburgers are reminiscent of the good old days pre-McD domination. The rundown eatery’s HK$9 burgers don’t fit the burger archetype, but it’s just as good, if not better: it’s palm-sized, minimalist (ketchup, home-made mayo, half a slice of processed cheese) and is encased in a slightly sweet Hong Kong-style butter roll. The patty is heavily seasoned and moist, attracting lines of schoolchildren since the shop opened in 1972. Denmark Cake Shop, G/F, 106 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay.
5. Sweet tofu soup
Sweet tofu soup is one of those deceptively simple dishes whose potential for satisfaction far outweighs the complexity of its ingredients. One of the best places to try it is Kin Hing, a lean-to stall in the countryside of Lamma Island that is run by an elderly couple who serves nothing but 'dau fu faa'. It's smooth and soft, doused in a lightly sweet syrup and sprinkled with yellow sugar; the sharp sweetness of the sugar complements the musty soya flavour of the tofu.
6. 'Pineapple' bun
The boh loh baau (literally meaning 'pineapple bun') is the holy grail of what may generously be termed the Hong Kong school of baking. It's firm on the outside, soft on the inside and topped by crunchy, sugary pastry. Popular enough to have been exported around the world -- step into a Chinese bakery in Toronto, Taipei or Tianjin and you're likely to find one -- it's ubiquitous in Hong Kong (one city for best tours of China). It's the perfect complement to milk tea, especially if you have it with butter, a variation known as boh loh yaau.
7. Chicken feet
So it looks awful, but once you get over that, what is there not to love about chicken feet? Just like head cheese or coq au vin, Cantonese-style chicken feet is a perfect marriage of thrift and culinary genius. Euphemized as 'phoenix talons' in Chinese, the chicken feet are typically deep fried then stewed in a blackbean sauce. The cartilage softens to a melt-in-the-mouth consistency and great practice is needed to spit out the little bones in that dainty manner perfected by grandmas in dim sum restaurants across town. Lei Garden skips the deep-frying and stews their chicken feet in abalone sauce, resulting in a wholesome, more texturized treat.
8. Miniature wife cakes
As much as we love traditional Chinese pastries, their heavy combination of lard and sweet pastes made from various beans and roots don't exactly make for easy snacking. Luckily, Hang Heung has come up with a solution to that problem: miniature wife cakes. Wife cakes have a flaky skin made from pork lard and a firm, chewy filling made with almond paste and winter melon. The combination of the pastry and mellow winter melon sweetness makes them particularly tasty, while their bite size makes them particularly digestible. You should taste it after your tired China tours in Hong Kong.
Hang Heung, 64 Castle Peak Road, Yuen Long
9. Ginger milk curd
Spicy, creamy, soupy -- this is wintertime dessert at its best (though it's good in the summer too). Made by gently simmering sweetened milk and then mixing it with fresh ginger juice, which causes the milk to curdle, 'geung tsap dun nai' has a soft pudding-like texture not unlike tofu. The local branches of Macau's Yee Shun Milk Company make a mean version of this timeless Cantonese treat.
10. Five-layer roast pork
A great piece of 'siu yuk' should have a top layer of crackling skin, then alternating slivers of fat with moist meat, and a final salty-spiced layer at the bottom. Euphemised as 'five-layer meat,' the morsels are served with sharp yellow mustard to cap off an overwhelming experience of textures and flavors all rendered from a humble slice of pork belly.
11. Indonesian satay
When they're brought to your table on a miniature charcoal grill, the Shatin Inn's fatty, tender satay skewers sizzle in a very satisfying way. But it's the experience of eating them outdoors in a time-warp restaurant that makes them especially worthwhile. The Inn is a roadside restaurant that dates back to the days when going to Shatin meant a big journey over the mountains and out to the country. Though it's now surrounded by roads, it retains a homey, rural atmosphere. The Shatin Inn, 7.5 Miles, Tai Po Road, Tai Wai.
12. Meat mountain
Steamed meat cake -- a mishmash of ground pork, mushrooms, water chestnuts and preserved vegetables, seasoned with simple soy sauce and sesame oil -- is a staple of Cantonese home cooking. At Man Seng, the staple is transformed into something more remarkable: a veritable meat mountain. With feats of culinary magic known only to the cooks (don't bother asking for details -- trade secret), the half-foot-high pile of meat is somehow tender, succulent and evenly cooked.
For more information about Hong Kong snacks, you can contact with China tour operator.
Hong Kong foods we can't live without I