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Hong Kong foods we can't live without II

by fangrace

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When you have affordable China tours in Hong Kong, the following should not be missed to taste.

13. Cantonese preserved sausage

Some Chinese sausages can be heavy on the salt and spices, but Cantonese laap cheung is a perfectly well-proportioned mix of slightly-sweet pork fat and meat. Rose water and rice wine gives it a pungent edge and soy sauce serves as a salty counterpart to the sweetness. Cook it with rice, vegetables, eggs or just about anything.

Freshly-dried lap cheung are available in the winter at Wo Hing Preserved Meat, 368 Queens Road Central, Sheung Wan, tel +852 2546 8958. Frozen-foods specialist DCH (various locations) carries tasty Canadian lap cheung all year round. Or just drop into any of the stores that have sausages on display on Sheung Wan's 'dried seafood street.'

14. Trendy hot pot

Hot pot is truly a social event for people in Hong Kong, especially for families looking for an excuse to get together on a chilly winter's night. And as a true testament to the innovation and picky palates of Hong Kongers, there's no shortage of new things to try. Megan's Kitchen is one of the latest trend-setting hot pot restaurants famous for their rainbow meatballs in different flavours and colors, where the surprise is inside, like Kinder eggs. Our favorite is Megan's pork balls with a mango centre. Soup base is another divisive issue at the dinner table: from a simple vegetable base to congee and soymilk base to Megan's tom yum koong “cappuccino” soup base. Hot pot is very popular across China but the most authetic can be eat in Chongqing which is the starting city of Yangtze River cruises .

15. Beef brisket

The brisket is a much maligned part of the cow in Western cooking, but you'll find huge chunks of it being slowly stewed in giant pots of sauce in noodle shop windows all over Hong Kong until they're tender and soaked with juicy goodness. Few of these places however, can live up to the reputation of Kau Kee, which sells its signature beef brisket cooked in either a clear broth or curry broth served with noodles. Or try On Lee in Shau Kei Wan on your day off -- the good stuff typically sells out by late afternoon.

16. Egg tart

Like many classic Hong Kong dishes, the origins of the egg tart are a bit murky, but it seems likely that they are yet another example of British tea time snacks -- custard tarts, in this case -- that were adapted to local Chinese tastes. Since they became popular in the 1940s, two varieties of egg tarts have emerged: one with a flaky puff pasty shell and another with a sweet shortbread crust. Both are filled with a rich custard that is much eggier and less creamy than English custard tarts or Portuguese pastéis de nata.

17. Yung Kee's roast goose

Yung Kee has been around since the 1940s when it was a mere food stall near the ferry pier and has since grown to be the authority on Hong Kong roast goose. Today, nine out of 10 people will recommend friends visiting Hong Kong to have a meal at Yung Kee for their 'siu ngoh.' The restaurant will even specially pack their goose as carry-on luggage for departing travelers. It isn't the cheapest by a long way and some may say that the most authentic roast duck is still to be found deep in the New Territories, but its an institution not to be missed. If you're so inclined, try the equally famous thousand-year egg with ginger, which is so reputable, other restaurants buy from Yung Kee to serve to their own customers.

18. Thai food in Kowloon City

Kowloon City was once home to no man's land Kowloon Walled City but these days it is better known as a food mecca. Some of the best food for China best tours in Hong Kong is found here, particularly Thai food. A small Thai community makes up Kowloon City's 'Little Thailand,' a proliferation of Thai restaurants, supermarkets and hole-in-the-wall noodle and satay joints. A lot of the Thai food you find in Hong Kong is overpriced and friendly to expat-palates -- go for the real thing in Kowloon City.

19. Roast pigeon

Pigeons are usually dismissed as rats with wings, but believe us, rats don't taste this good. Cantonese-style pigeon is typically braised in soy sauce, rice wine and star anise before being roasted to crispy perfection. It's an earthy, deeply satisfying dish -- the Hong Kong answer to Peking duck.

20. Snake soup

Snake soup is said to cure any number of ailments. Forget about that. The real reason to indulge in this Cantonese delicacy is because it's the perfect dish for cool weather. There's something about the brothy mix of snake meat, mushrooms, ginger and pork that does an even better job of warming you up than chicken noodle soup. The soup is usually served with fried bits of dough, slivers of kaffir lime leaf and chrysanthemum petals for aroma. And yes, snake really does taste like chicken.

21. Lotus seed paste

Here's a lesson in making a silk purse out of a sow's ear: Take some dried lotus seeds -- those hard, pale, dime-sized bullets of little flavor -- soak, stew, grind to a paste, pass through cheesecloth, add sugar. Then comes the tricky stage. Dry-cook the sweetened paste in a huge wok, teasing out the nutty, caramelly flavors without burning it. When done right, the fruit of the exhausting labor is rich, velvety lotus seed paste that can be stuffed in fluffy white buns. We love the paste stuffed in Lin Heung's buns with a nub of salty egg yolk.

22. Typhoon-shelter crab

Hong Kong's typhoon shelters used to harbor a community of 'boat people' who made their homes on sampans. Out of the community rose a distinct culinary culture that centered on freshly caught seafood served with plenty of spices and 'wok hei' -- good wok-wielding skills. Little remains of Hong Kong's boat people today but their excellent food culture is ever popular, in particular, the spicy crabs served at Under the Bridge heaped with fried garlic and chilli peppers.

23. Egg noodles

A quality egg noodle depends on its egg flavor and al dente texture. Egg noodles don't get much better than at Ho To Tai Noodle Shop, which has been in business for over six decades. Our favorite is the shrimp roe-covered noodles served with a bowl of fish soup. Salty shrimp roe is generously sprinkled all over strips of noodles that have just the right amount of elasticity and egginess. Ho To Tai's wontons are also reputable and made to the size of a dollar-coin, as is the tradition.

24. Milk tea

It's colonialism in a cup. You could argue that afternoon tea is the single most pervasive legacy of British rule, enjoyed as it is by Hong Kongers from all walks of life, and milk tea is the most potent symbol of English traditions fused with Chinese sensibilities. Top-notch milk tea is made with a special blend of black Ceylon tea that is strained through silk stockings and mixed with evaporated milk. A good cup is bitter, full-bodied and velvety smooth. Milk tea is very specific in China so that you should try to drink it during your China travel.

25. Cha siu baau

Barbecued pork stuffed into a bun deserves its very own shout-out here. Because, when we break open a soft white steamed bun and see the glistening mauve filling of diced cha siu with extra barbecue sauce spilling out and sniff the heady perfume of wine, soy, and hints of caramel, we're moved. North Garden calls theirs 'cha siu mantou,' giving the traditional bun a northern Chinese twist.

If you join popular China travel package, you can ask your tour guide to take you to taste these snacks.

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