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Hong Kong and Macau Eats: Foodie Heaven

Besides the parks and sidewalks, the other main reason I loved Hong Kong was the food. It was a food paradise. Beautiful food + new camera = a lot of photos. It was a trip full of new wonderful foods and a major moral dilemma as well. I suggest you eat before you read.

Tim Ho Wan: Dim Sum Restaurant

My friend from Wesleyan who is also on PiA, Sarah, sent me a helpful email about where to eat in Hong Kong. Up first on her list was Tim Ho Wan located at 2-8 Kwong Wah St., Mong Kok. When we arrived at 11 a.m. we were number 14 on the waitlist so we took a stroll through the local market where some very cheerful men making some buns let me take photos (above).

Why the long wait? Well, Tim Ho Wan was awarded a Michelin star a few years back. The move was seen as controversial because when people think Michelin, they tend to think of white linen, beautiful china, and so many forks and spoons that everyone is confused. But Michelin decided that a hole-in-the-wall popular dim sum place was worth the star and after trying the barbecue pork bun, I couldn’t agree more.

While waiting we were handed a menu where we checked off what we wanted. We ordered too much. The owner/supervisor laughed at us, but since our grand total for two people was only $16 it was worth it to try a lot. Victor decided to try beef tongue. I had eaten beef tongue once before in Ukraine, it was cold and in a jelly and I was told much later what it was. I enjoyed this hot version a lot more.

One of my favorite dishes was a cold vermicelli (at least what the menu called vermicelli) noodle filled with beef slices and some greens with a vinegar soy sauce. Delicious. And this was only the beginning of the meal…

Up next was a dish that required the help of the aforementioned owner. It was called beef rice on the menu. The beef looked raw and beneath it was steaming hot rice. The owner took chop sticks and mixed the beef, rice, sauce and egg all together. The color of the meat made me a bit nervous, but I think the heat from the rice cooked it a bit. I didn’t get sick so I bet it’s fine (although the Brits behind us were in awe of this and the beef tongue).

Wonderful fried dim sum filled with meat. They were even good cold the next day and that’s how you know you’ve fried something with Michelin grade skill:

Yung Kee: Cantonese Restaurant

Located in the hip Soho (yes, but here is it South of Hollywood) area at 32-40 Wellington St. in the Central area, Yung Kee was a more upscale Chinese restaurant. As we flipped through the menu, we noticed a lot of delicacies we had heard of but never tried. Case in point: shark fin soup. Over the last few months I’ve read a lot about shark fin soup. The soup is not the best for the environment and a lot of sharks, in Indonesia and elsewhere, are killed to keep this expensive dish on the menu. Some states in the US have laws against it and recently major hotel chain Shangri-La took it off the menu. It was around $30 a bowl when Victor ordered it. I’m glad he decided to try it because I was torn, especially after uploading a photo slideshow of dead and badly threated sharks at work. Traditionally the soup is served at occasions like weddings. It was incredibly thick and glutinous and tasted fishy. To be honest, I don’t really get the hype around this soup.

Up next was cold roast goose. It is a speciality of Yung Kee and I think it was the first time I had tried goose. The meat was dark but paired nicely with the cold citrus dipping sauce that came with it. I would order it again.

And who doesn’t love some spicy shrimp with bell peppers? To be honest, I don’t know enough about the various regions of Chinese cuisine, but this Cantonese dinner was tasty.

Under the Bridge Spicy Crab: Seafood Restaurant

Under the Bridge was a recommendation from a friend of Victor’s brother. Located at 405 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, this place is surrounded by tons of other crab places that will harass you as you walk down the street. Since it’s known for crab, we ordered a medium spicy crab. I had no idea it would be covered in so much dry rub and spices. The crab was tasty, but since it is “market price,” it was expensive.

I enjoyed the hot plate of eggplant with ground pork meat more than the crab. I would love to learn how to cook something like this. It was so fresh, you can taste the vegetables, and the sauce complimented it in a nice way. Maybe Chinese cooking is about the sauces?

And how could Victor come to Asia and not get some fried rice? It had seafood and was tasty:

Street Food

When in Asia, you have to have street food. I didn’t really see any food carts out during the day in Hong Kong (you see tons in Jakarta) but we did see vendors in Macau. We saw a lot of cured meats. We bought some pork and it was a lot like beef jerky. It was a tasty snack if you like meat.

These cookies were also popular. They tasted a lot like Sandies — I felt like I needed a glass of water after.

We wandered around Macau and didn’t really eat any lunch (bad idea) so when we finally sat down it was at a humble noodle restaurant with the Portugese name Estab de Comidas Ngao Kei Ka Lei Chun located at Rua de Cinco de Outubro, Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro. A simple bowl of shrimp dumpling soup will set you back a little less than $2.

Market Scenes

One of my favorite parts of Hong Kong was walking through the street markets. People are bargaining, using old Chinese scales to measure out the cost and inspecting produce. I love the hustle and bustle of markets.

I had to try the pale yellow mango as soon as I saw it. I have not seen this variety in Indonesia. The mango was a bit bitter and I loved the taste. It was unlike any mango I have ever had. If anyone knows the variety name, I’d love to know.

There were many vendors selling dried goods. I don’t know if these are specifically for cooking or for medicinal use. I think this was squid:

Window displays with hanging meat, many still had faces and beaks, were a common sight:

I think America needs to get more tropical flavors when it comes to candy. Who doesn’t love lychee?

And when in Hong Kong, you should go out with a bang. In this case a Flaming Lamborghini, recipe here.

I dream of going back to Hong Kong and eating a few more meals. Bon appétit to all.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Boo to sharkfin soup. Those poor sharks have their fins cut off and they’re thrown right back into the ocean, where they’ll sink and either starve or get eaten by another critter since they can’t swim.

    :(

    February 7, 2012
  2. Lydia #

    I know :( Sadly, the environmental movement hasn’t hit here as much as it has in the States. I walked by a pen of turtles in China Town here in Jakarta and the owner told me they were intended for turtle soup, another delicacy.

    February 8, 2012
  3. Victor #

    If a shark could chop off an appendage of your body equivalent to that of their fins, I am sure it would…

    February 24, 2012

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