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12 Must-try traditional Hong Kong foods while visiting Hong Kong

Hong kong foods shot

During my recent trip to Hong Kong, my family and I indulged in various unique and famous Hong Kong foods throughout our week-long stay. We dined with my siblings, who are locals, while simultaneously exploring various places throughout our trip. 

I want to share a list of foods we tried in this article. Some eateries and Hong Kong food in the list are not typically highlighted by tour companies but represent the typical food common among Hong Kongers.

The Hong Kong Hong Kong foods we had, and eateries visited are the most authentic and representative of the daily food choices of any local, as this is what is recommended by my whole family in Hong Kong. By sharing this list, we hope to provide insight into the typical dining experiences of the locals, as opposed to the common selection by the typical tour company.

You will expect to find familiar food items such as wonton noodles. However, there are also lesser-known dishes worth trying, like 芝麻卷 or black sesame roll, which may not be on your radar unless you’re a local.

Let’s dive into the list of special foods in Hong Kong that we have prepared for you without further ado.

1. Wonton Noodles 云吞面

Upon our arrival, we visited the Ho Hung Kee Congee & Noodle outlet at Hong Kong International Airport. Despite being a regular item available in many other countries, we did not want to miss it as it is one of the best places to savor authentic Hong Kong wonton noodles. Ho Hung Kee Congee & Noodle is a Michelin Star restaurant. It has held one Michelin star since 2012, aside from 2014. We had previously visited this outlet and had high expectations.

Ho Hung Kee Congee & Noodle, hong kong foods

Our experience was worth it – the egg noodles were exceptional, with a distinct springiness and flavor that distinguished them from other Asian countries. The soup base, prepared with bone flounders, was the signature flavor that made it even more special.

wonton noodles, hong kong foods

Note: Here is my wonton recipe if you want to try my recipe. I used to operate restaurants before becoming a full-time recipe creator. I will include additional recipes wherever they are relevant throughout the remainder of this article.

2. Boat congee (Ting Zai Zhou/艇仔粥)

Numerous dining establishments throughout Kuala Lumpur serve Hong Kong-style noodles, yet none offer the distinctive boat congee I am familiar with. Since it is hard to find Cantonese cuisine in Malaysia, it is an absolute must-try when visiting Hong Kong.

Boat congee (Ting Zai Zhou/艇仔粥), hong kong foods

Ting Zai Zhou is a popular dish in Lychee Bay, Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China, and is widely popular in Hong Kong. It was first made by fishermen who used to cook and sell it on small wooden boats in the Canton province. The name “Ting Zai Zhou” translates to “boat congee” in English, as it is associated with these small boats.

The main ingredients of boat congee include fish meat, lean meat, deep-fried pigskin, peanuts, and green onions. Other optional ingredients like fish maw, seaweed, beef, and squid can also be added. The dish is well-known for its silky smooth texture. In the past, the traditional way of enjoying boat congee was on the boat. However, this practice has become less common due to environmental constraints and changes. Nowadays, you can order this food item in most restaurants and eateries.

We had congee for breakfast at Hop Lee Congee Shop 合利粥品店 in Aberdeen, a specialty shop selling mainly congee and other related items for breakfast.

Hop Lee Congee Shop 合利粥品店, Address: 21號 Tung Sing Rd, Aberdeen, Hong Kong

3. Zhaliang (炸两)

We also ordered Zhalinag while having the boat congee. Zhaliang (炸两) is a popular street food in Hong Kong. To make this dish, a crispy youtiao (fried dough stick/ 油条/油炸鬼) is wrapped in a thin layer of rice noodle rolls (cheong fun/ 肠粉) and then fried or steamed until crispy. The name “zhaliang” translates to “fried two” in Cantonese, as it is made with these two main ingredients.

Zhaliang (炸两), Hong Kong foods

It is only available at specific Hong Kong-style Cha Chaan Tengs 茶餐厅 in Kuala Lumpur. We don’t want to miss it, and it’s one of the first two items we order, along with the boat noodles. It is served with soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame paste, and sesame seeds.

Hop Lee Congee Shop 合利粥品店 Address: 21號 Tung Sing Rd, Aberdeen, Hong Kong

4. Pineapple bun 菠萝包

The pineapple bun is a popular pastry believed to have originated here. Despite its name, it does not contain any actual pineapple inside. Instead, it is a sweet bun covered with a crumbly crust that tastes like butter cookies. The crust is usually decorated with crisscrossed lines before baking, giving it the appearance of a pineapple, hence the name. 

Pineapple bun 菠萝包,, hong kong food

This pastry has been a part of the local culture for a long time, and if you’re visiting Hong Kong, a taste of this famous treat is a must.

Tai Hing restaurant

Tai Hing 太兴 Shop G41, G/F, Domain, Yau Tong

5. Chinese Egg Tart (蛋挞)

If you are a fan of Cantonese dim sum, then you must be familiar with Hong Kong egg tarts. The traditional tart pastry is made using Chinese puff pastry 中式酥皮, which has a texture quite distinct from the Western puff pastry. It is flaky and slightly floury. We enjoyed a late breakfast at Tai Hing restaurant and tried their authentic pineapple buns, egg tarts, and Hong Kong milk tea.

Chinese Egg Tart (蛋挞), hong kong foods

Tai Hing 太兴 Shop G41, G/F, Domain, Yau Tong

6. Hong Kong-style milk tea 丝袜奶茶

Our Hong Kong breakfast food trip could not be complete without a cup of traditional Hong Kong milk tea. While some cafes in Kuala Lumpur may serve it, nothing compares to having it at the place where it originated. 

Hong Kong-style milk tea 丝袜奶茶

Hong Kong milk tea is a popular beverage in Hong Kong, made from a blend of black teas, including Ceylon tea and sometimes pu’er tea, along with evaporated milk and condensed milk. The recipe involves a unique tea-making technique that is an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Hong Kong.

The tea is brewed using a large tea sock resembling a pantyhose; hence, the alternative is “silk stocking tea” or “pantyhose tea.”

Tai Hing 太兴 Shop G41, G/F, Domain, Yau Tong

7. Black Sesame Roll 芝麻卷

This is an interesting food item. It evokes my deeply concealed memory of something I used to have at the Dim Sum restaurant when I lived in Hong Kong. The appearance becomes familiar as it resembles a roll of film, fondly called 菲林, which means film in Cantonese.

Black Sesame Roll 芝麻卷, Hong Kong foods

It is a great Dim Sum, but unfortunately, fewer and fewer restaurants are making it because of the tedious work. We enjoyed it and reminisced about living together as siblings when we were young.

好記點心小廚, hong kong foods

好記點心小廚 G/F, 154 Aberdeen Main Road, Aberdeen

8. Beef brisket noodles 牛腩面

Hong Kong is famous for its beef noodles, a truly local cuisine. This statement can be easily confirmed by the sheer number of specialty shops offering them.

Beef brisket noodles 牛腩面

During our stay in Hong Kong, we tried two noodle houses, each with slightly different flavors. The first one, 新丰记, is located in Wan Chai, while the second one, 潮苑, is in Aberdeen. Both restaurants served delicious beef noodles, with the beef so tender that it melts in your mouth.

Sun Fung Kee 新丰记鱼蛋牛什粉面餐厅, hong kong food

  • Sun Fung Kee 新丰记鱼蛋牛什粉面餐厅, Address: 149 Johnston Rd, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
  • Chiu Yuen Chiu Chow Noodle (潮苑正宗潮州粉面), Address: Hong Kong, Aberdeen, Wu Pak St, 12號號地下

9. Hong Kong desserts

Hong Kong boasts a rich and diverse dessert culture, featuring many traditional desserts popular with locals and tourists. During our visit to Hong Kong, we went to Ching Ching Desserts and ordered various desserts to share. Two of the most popular traditional Hong Kong desserts we tried were double boil milk and cream of almond soup with egg white.

Hong Kong desserts
​(Clockwise, counting from twelve o’clock position: Plain rice ball with ground peanut topping, double boil milk, cream of almond soup, cream of almond soup with egg white,  cream of black sesame soup with soy pudding, ice milk with mango & grass jelly. The Center is cream of almond soup with soy pudding.)

If you ever get the chance to visit Hong Kong, don’t miss the opportunity to sample the wide variety of desserts available. I highly recommend going to a dessert house with a large group of people so you can try as many types of desserts as possible.

Ching Ching Desserts 晶晶甜品,

Ching Ching Desserts 晶晶甜品, Shop A1, G/F, The Zenith Tower 3, 8 Wan Chai Rd, Wan Chai, Hong Kong 

10. Enjoy the best dim sum in the world

Hong Kong is most renowned for its yum cha (tea-drinking) culture. Although we mentioned some dishes earlier in this article, there are countless types of Dim Sum, and it would be impossible to make a complete list. During our visit, we tasted some common dim sum dishes, such as char siu bao (bbq pork buns), siu mai, chicken feet, shrimp dumplingsglutinous rice in lotus leaf 荷叶饭, and other items not typically served outside Hong Kong. 

Hong Kong dim sum

One such dish that was unique was the beef balls with beancurd skin 山竹牛肉丸, which I was unable to find when I returned to Malaysia. Its distinctive flavor, infused with dried tangerine peel and other ingredients, is something that you shouldn’t miss. You can easily find it in dim sum restaurants in Hong Kong and Southern China.

beef balls with beancurd skin 山竹牛肉丸,

好記點心小廚, G/F, 154 Aberdeen Main Road, Aberdeen

11. Shrimp Toast 虾多士

During our recent dinner at a Fung Shing restaurant, we came across a dish embodying Hong Kong cuisine – shrimp toast. This Cantonese dim sum dish has roots in Hong Kong and is prepared by coating bread with minced shrimp paste, followed by baking or deep frying. This dish stands out among other fusion Hong Kong foods and is a perfect blend of prawn paste, commonly used in Hong Kong’s cuisine, and toast, which originates in the West.

Shrimp Toast 虾多士

Despite its simple appearance, the flavors of shrimp toast are truly delightful. The dish offers a natural sweetness from the shrimp, and the texture is also amazing, with the outside being crunchy while the inside is soft and springy.

Fung Shing Restaurant (Leighton) 鳳城酒家, 30 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay.

12. Roast pork, suckling pig, and roast goose

Roast pork is a common dish in Chinese restaurants worldwide, but roast goose is not as readily available. Hong Kong is known for serving the best roast goose, so it’s worth trying if you’re ever in the area. 

Roast pork, suckling pig, and roast goose,

We ordered roast goose from a restaurant serving Chinese traditional dishes, and it tasted excellent. However, it could have been even better if we had purchased it from a ‘siu mei’ 烧味 specialty shop.

富軒(Wealthy Garden), Shop 11-12, Ground Floor, 28 Siu Sai Wan Rd, Siu Sai Wan, Hong Kong

The Hong Kong foods above are the highlight of our trip. It is not an exhaustive list, as we have no intention of searching for a specific dish. Instead, it represents what the Hong Kong people eat daily, rather than what is specifically designed for a food tour by a tour company.

We also visited many places during our stay in Hong Kong, which will be published on this blog progressively. One place that I would like to highlight is Cape D’Aguilar, which offers a fantastic view of the shore and pounding waves. Once you’re here, it will certainly give you a different perspective of Hong Kong, as there are so many natural wonders waiting for you away from the hustle and bustle of the city.