This post finally brings my Hong Kong series to a close! Here’s a mishmash of all my other favourite food things I ate and came across while on holiday.

My first night in Hong Kong and M and S took me to a Sichuan barbecue place near their flat. It was a great start to the trip with our ordering a huge spread of lots of barbecued goodies – most topped with lots of chilli powder and a few grilled with garlic butter and cheese.

The Spread

The egg tarts (dan tat) at Tai Cheong Bakery in Central are famous and rightly so. I loved the shortcrust pastry and rich, eggy filling.

A Tai Cheong Egg Tart

Not something I tried but look! Fresh straw mushrooms! I’d only ever seen them canned.

Fresh Straw Mushrooms

One day, we lunched at Hay Hay Kitchen in Wan Chai, one of M’s favourite places for Cantonese roast meats. We had some incredibly soft and crisp skinned roast suckling pig, …

Suckling Pig

… impossibly delicious char siu, …

Char Siu

… and finally, a lean yet tender siu yoke (roast pork) with excellent crackling. Reviews do seem to indicate that Hay Hay Kitchen can be a bit inconsistent but luckily for us, it was all good that day.

Siu Yoke

Again, not something I ate but I saw this ad for a banana ice cream that had a jelly skin that you could peel!

Banana Ice Cream

This was seen at the flower market in Mongkok – a Ferrero Rocher bouquet. I wouldn’t mind receiving one of these.

Ferrero Rocher Bouquet!

One lazy night, we headed to the closeby shopping mall, Elements at Kowloon, and queued at Dondonya for a table at this Japanese restaurant. My tonkatsu set dinner really hit the spot that night – how can I say no to a crispy pork cutlet?

Tonkatsu Set Dinner

Westfield, I’m looking at you. You need restaurants like this.

Finally, this was at a dessert shop in Tin Hau called Auntie Sweet, recommended to me by a former colleague.

Ah Wong Mango Iced Rice Ball

My Ah Wong Mango Iced Rice Ball was a bowlful of mango puree, chunks of mango, chunks of nata de coco and these sticky rice dumplings filled with mango, all topped with pomelo bits. It was mango madness.

Mango Filled Dumplings

Seriously though, why didn’t I go to Hong Kong before this?! What a fabulous city for eating and I can’t recommend it more. All of my Hong Kong photos (that’s the rest of the food and all the other things I saw) can be found in this Flickr photoset.

When considering the Shanghainese soup dumplings – xiao long bao – inevitably, the name Din Tai Fung comes up. There are branches of this Taiwanese-based restaurant all over the world but somehow I’d still not managed to visit even though I could have in the past few years. We stopped in to the branch in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay for a late lunch one day for me to have this rectified. Again, coming outside the regular mealtimes paid off and there were no queues. From their long menu, we only ordered a small selection of their most famous dishes.

Their pork xiao long bao must be one of their most popular items and an order of six came flying to our table shortly after we ordered. Instructions were provided at the table if you’re not sure how to tackle one – be careful not to burn yourself on the soup inside! That sweet, meaty broth didn’t leak from any of the beautifully pleated, thin-skinned pork dumplings and they were a pleasure to eat with a dab of ginger and vinegar. I’ve not had xiao long bao in London that came anywhere near these.

Pork Xiao Long Bao

The green vegetable and pork dumplings were good but next time (whenever that will be), I’ll just OD on the xiao long bao.

Green Vegetable and Pork Dumplings

Dan dan la mian was a tidy little bowl of hand pulled noodles in a gently spiced sesame and peanut sauce. They were delicious and nutty. I believe this kind of dan dan mian is Taiwanese in style; the original Sichuan version is different – porkier and much spicier. I do enjoy both versions though.

Dan Dan La Mian

Their fried pork chop went well with the noodles. This thin chop had been marinated in a give spice mixture and fried to tenderness. It was excellent. (I’ve tried making it in the past.)

Fried Pork Chop

The price for our meal was very reasonable and if I had had more time in Hong Kong, I would have loved to go back to have more dumplings. On our way out, we stood and watched the chefs make red bean dumplings. Terribly fiddly things and I’m glad they were making them and not I!

Making Dumplings

Din Tai Fung
G/F, 68 Yee Woo Street
Causeway Bay
Hong Kong

They have branches all over the world but sadly not here – do go and support Mr Noodles’ campaign to bring Din Tai Fung to London! Please, Din Tai Fung, we need you in Europe!

The next on the must-eat list for Hong Kong was dim sum, of course! My first dim sum lunch was at City Hall Maxim’s Palace and it started with a queue; about an hour after first getting a number, we finally got a table. It’s certainly a big and fancy place and, surprisingly to me, tea was served in the British style – silver service! And trolleys! I miss trolley dim sum and to have it for the first time in years was great fun. I loved how each trolley had signs that said what each contained.


We had quite the spread and highlights included that bottom dish of steamed beef with black pepper and orange peel, …

…these fried squid tentacles, …

Fried Tentacles

…and excellent siu mai.

Siu Mai

It was all very good, traditional dim sum but I believe that, in London, the dim sum at Pearl Liang or Princess Gardens matches it.

City Hall Maxim’s Palace
3/F, City Hall
5-7 Edinburgh Place
Hong Kong

It was this next place, though, that spoiled me. Tim Ho Wan is most famous for being a budget, hole-in-the-wall dim sum restaurant with a Michelin star in Mongkok. They’re also famous for the crazy crowds that queue for hours to get a table. It’s certainly doing well as it’s now a group (chain?) of three restaurants and it was to the newest branch at Hong Kong station (under the IFC) that we went to have breakfast. At 9-10am on a weekday, it was possible to get a table without having to queue.

Steamed eggplant with soy sauce was delicious and not something I’ve seen at other dim sum lunches.

Steamed Eggplant with Soy Sauce

Pan fried turnip cake was a very good version with lots of thickly shredded daikon radish.

Pan Fried Turnip Cake

The steamed beef balls with bean curd skin were fantastic – these beef balls were meltingly tender and had a great flavour.

Steamed Beef Balls with Bean Curd Skin

While we were deciding what to order, the man next to us leaned over and insisted we had to order his favourite, the malai goh, a steamed egg cake (the name translates to Malay cake though…is it from Malaysia?). I’m not normally a big fan of this cake and the version we had at City Hall Maxim’s Palace was just ok. This one, however, … you can’t see it here but it was amazingly soft and wobbled gently as the steamer was placed on our table. And yes, it was delicious.

Steamed Egg Cake

These char siu baked buns are a must order. They’re just about the best pineapple buns I’ve had – the bread was soft, the crust was intensely buttery and crumbly and the char siu filling was generous and wonderfully saucy. Such tasty tasty goodness.

Baked Buns with BBQ Pork

How much for this gorgeous dim sum? Every dish was only about 12-20 HKD, depending on size; it was a bargain.

I’d originally hoped to visit three dim sum places but after my first visit here, that third place got scratched off the list to make way for another visit to Tim Ho Wan to sample more from their menu.

Of course, we had to have the baked char siu buns again. Here’s the shot of their insides.

Inside the Baked Char Siu Bun

The prawn and chive cheung fun was good but nothing special compared to other dim sum restaurants.

Prawn and Chive Cheung Fun

I wanted to try their “glue dumpling”, an amusing translation for what actually is a large glutinous rice dumpling.

"Glue Dumpling"

This was amazing with its myriad fillings – dried mushrooms, salted egg yolk, slices of meat. Yes, full on slices of meat. I was sad that we just couldn’t finish it – it was very big.

Mmm...Glutinous Rice

We also had to order their har gau (prawn dumplings) after seeing a group of men painstakingly pleating the little things in the kitchen on our last visit. And yes, they were excellent but again, ones of similar quality can be found elsewhere.

Har Gau

I love Tim Ho Wan. This branch at the IFC is great – it’s in no way fancy with its wipe down tables and chairs but the food! It has an open kitchen and it’s possible to see the chefs all at work, making the dim sum that will feed all those in the queue. Did I mention it’s also cheap? Yes, it’s a total bargain for the quality – I now understand its popularity.

Tim Ho Wan
Shop 12A, Hong Kong Station
(Podium Level 1, IFC Mall)
Hong Kong

By some sheer coincidence, I reckon, two of Hong Kong’s best known wonton noodle shops are located across from each other on Wellington Street in Central. On one side, Mak’s Noodles; on the other, Tsim Chai Kee. It was late breakfast time one weekday, perhaps almost brunch, when we decided to try both of them. I hear both places fill up at lunchtime with all the financial workers in the area so it’s probably best to go either early or late.

We started at Mak’s. Two bowls of wonton noodle soup were ordered (about 25HKD each) – regular egg noodles for me and flat rice noodles for M. Lots has been said already about the size of the portions at Mak’s but even after reading about it all, it was still a bit gobsmacking to have a tiny bowl served to you. You know those Chinese soup bowls that are usually set at each place at a Chinese restaurant? Yeah, that size.

Wonton Mee

Wonton Hor Fun

Four little wontons sat at the bottom of the bowl, under the little pile of noodles. The standard size for a wonton in Hong Kong seems to be of ping pong size but these were significantly smaller. Still, they were tasty with their prawn filling. The noodles were excellent with a great bouncy texture and the soup was very flavourful.

At Mak's Noodle

It was a great bowl but the size of the portion and the price of that portion is a bit hard to stomach. I reckon I could put away at least 3-4 bowls comfortably which definitely doesn’t make this a budget noodle shop. Of course, if this was in London, it would almost be a bargain for the quality evident in the bowl. They’re also famous for their dry noodles topped with shrimp roe but we didn’t have another chance to try those.

Mak’s Noodle
G/F, 77 Wellington Street
Hong Kong

With lots of space still in our tummies, we crossed the road and entered straight into Tsim Chai Kee. The inside was surprisingly modern and all dark wood and a great contrast to the old-fashioned look of Mak’s. The menu is shorter than that of Mak’s with only 3 kinds of toppings available: wontons, sliced beef and fishballs. Prices were lower (about 20HKD for one topping and 23HKD for two toppings) and portions were bigger.

M chose the wonton noodle soup this time and yes, it was a generous portion. Again, excellent noodles but I thought there was more of a lye flavour in the soup which must have leached out from the noodles. Still, I would happily down a whole bowl of these noodles with their ping pong sized wontons.

Wonton Mee

I went for two toppings: wontons and fishballs. The bigger wontons made for a meatier mouthful though in hindsight, I quite like the daintiness of Mak’s wontons. The huge, bouncy, homemade fishballs were excellent – they were made of dace and studded with dried orange peel, not something I’d had in a fishball before. The noodles were just as good as in Mak’s.

Fishballs and Wonton Mee

Oh, I can’t pick a straight out winner. Both were great but for value for your buck (and it’s all about good value here), Tsim Chai Kee is better. When I go back one day, it’ll be all three toppings in a bowl for me (yeah, then I’ll cross the road and have a plateful of dry noodles with shrimp roe)!

Tsim Chai Kee Noodle
Shop B, G/F Jade Centre
98 Wellington Street
Hong Kong

Just realised that almost a month has passed since I was in Hong Kong – it feels like yesterday! Anyway, happy Chinese new year! The year of the dragon started on Monday and sadly, I have had no time to celebrate due to work. I’m sure I’ll do something later.

It was just past Christmas-time when I was in Hong Kong and one of my colleagues who calls Hong Kong home was back visiting friends and family; we arranged to meet up in Mongkok one afternoon. There’s nothing like being shown around by locals and they understood what I meant by wanting to try things that were particularly from Hong Kong. And yes, they too are serious about eating. Mongkok was exactly what I expected of Hong Kong: crowded and brightly lit with signs and with snack stands at every corner!

After walking about the pet market for a bit (and cooing at the cute little puppies), we started with the proper eating with my first egg waffle (also known as an eggette).

Egg Waffle

Oh, how beautiful it was. I loved the contrasts in the waffle – the light and pillowy puffs connected by a thin crisp sheet. The flavour was excellent too and no extra sauce was necessary. It amused me no end to eat them by hand, snapping off pieces as you go.

We went off wandering down the Ladies’ Market but that egg waffle wasn’t enough to fortify us and we found ourselves flagging by the end of it. We were brought over to China Cafe, a little cha chaan teng, a particularly Hong Kong style of tea cafe, hidden from the street by a food market. Nothing seem to have been touched in the cafe since the 60s and had retained every bit of charm for it. Watch out though if you don’t read Chinese – they don’t seem to have an English menu.

Hot milk tea was very strong and benefited from lots of sugar.

Milk Tea

A couple of pineapple buns (bolo bau) were ordered with thick slices of butter stuffed in the middle. Ah, now I know where I was going wrong with pineapple buns – I always found them quite dull. They’re just plain buns with their only redeeming feature being the sweet cookie crust; despite their name, there’s no actual pineapple in them. Well, it’s much better with butter!

Pineapple Bun with Butter

And another first for me – Hong Kong style French toast. I think they deep fry the entire thing, which is the only way I can think of for the egg to turn such a beautifully even brown. M poured syrup over the entire thing and we all tucked in – yes, I do love this kind of French toast.

French Toast

China Cafe
1077A Canton Road
Mong Kok
Hong Kong

We wandered back past the station to see the lights of Mongkok. The sky may have been dark but down on street level, it could have been confused for day! It was crowded (Mongkok has the highest population density in the world) and bright and fun.

Mongkok at Night

After again walking around for a bit, K and M led us to a street lined with restaurants. K wanted to introduce me to Chiu Chow cuisine. Also known as Teochew cuisine, Chiu Chow cuisine is very popular in Hong Kong and while I recognise many of the dishes on that Wikipedia page due to their popularity in Malaysia too, I had never had a purely Chiu Chow meal nor did I know what was popular in Hong Kong. (Oh, Teochew porridge I do know – I wrote about it a couple of months ago.) I was quite excited to try it with those in the know.

K started us off with a peppery soup of pork intestines and pickled vegetables. While the intestines weren’t for me, I loved the strong flavour of white pepper in the porky broth.

Pork Intestine and Pickled Vegetable Soup

A combination of barbecued sweet sausage and squid appeared on almost every table there. An egg braised in spiced soy too was also ordered. It’s quite plain but in a soothing way.

Barbecued Sausage and Squid

Boiled Egg

A plain grilled fish came out with a variety of sauces – soy, chilli, soy bean. Actually, I started losing track of all the sauce dishes around me. If it’s one thing that struck me about Chiu Chow cuisine, it was the use of so many condiments at the table.

Grilled Fish

The Chiu Chow oyster omelette was totally different to the sticky, starchy Malaysian variety that I knew. This deep fried eggy fritter had oysters scattered throughout and was delicious dipped in chilli sauce.

Oyster Omelette

Some brilliant salt and chilli pork ribs and stir fried pea shoots with garlic rounded up our meal. Oh, and white rice too, gotta have that. We stuffed ourselves well.

Salt and Chilli Pork Ribs

Garlic Fried Pea Shoots

Biu Kee Lok Yeun Chiu Chau Restaurant
G/F 33-37, Fa Yuen Street
Hong Kong

As always, there was still space in our dessert stomachs (though this time, we really were struggling) and K and M took us to Lucky Dessert nearby. We were there early in the night and so the place was half empty but they assured us that it gets much busier later as it’s quite popular with the younger crowd. I do like the fresh and fruity Hong Kong style desserts and the ones served here were quite modern in style.

Mango pancakes were thin crepes filled with cream and slices of fresh mango. This appears to be quite a popular dessert in Hong Kong and I have to admit, I’m still on the fence about this one. I think I prefer my mango without cream.

Mango Pancakes

This was a whole banana and chocolate chips wrapped in filo pastry. Nice but my focus was really on the next dessert…

Banana and Chocolate in Filo Pastry

My favourite was this last one – durian in sticky rice rolls. Thin mochi-like skins were rolled around lots of fresh durian meat. I had no idea durian was so popular in Hong Kong!

Durian in Sticky Rice Rolls

Lucky Dessert
G/F, 25-27 Soy Street
Mong Kok
Hong Kong

As you can imagine, we had to roll ourselves back home that night. Thank you so much for showing us around, K and M!