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Digest Editor's Picks: Our Favourite Classic Hong Kong Dishes

Editor's Picks: Our Favourite Classic Hong Kong Dishes

variety of chinese dimsum for breakfast, yumcha, dim sum in bamboo steamer, chinese cuisine
Photo: Getty Images
By Pearl Yan
February 28, 2020
Home to world-famous dim sum, egg tart and pineapple bun, Hong Kong never fails to impress with its traditional Cantonese and East-meets-West food offerings. From street food stalls to Michelin-starred restaurants, Hong Kong’s most iconic staple foods can be found at every corner—so where to begin? Luckily, our Hong Kong Tatler editors have eaten their way around the city to hunt down the best restaurants for their favourite local dishes. From mouthwatering honey-glazed char siu to fluffy steamed custard buns, here are the classic Hong Kong dishes we can’t get enough of

Siu mei

"Within the genre of siu mei, or Cantonese-style barbecued meats, it’s a toss up between char siu and roast goose for the win. For the best examples of these classics, head to Chai Wan’s Sun Kwai Heung for a no-frills dining experience and all you need to complete the picture is a bowl of fluffy rice. Here, the chefs have mastered the art: the barbecued pork is glorious with its balance of sticky sweet-and-salty glaze and requisite charred ends, while the roast goose (ask for the leg) comes perfectly lacquered with juicy meat and full-flavoured fat oozing with each bite."—Charmaine Mok, Editorial Director, Dining

Sweet and sour pork

Photo: Wilson Fok/Hong Kong Tatler
Photo: Wilson Fok/Hong Kong Tatler

"Who could say no to a proper sweet and sour pork? Though bastardised by many, the true sample of sweet and sour pork is nothing short of fine ingredients and supreme wok-frying skills. The finest fat-lean ratio in the pork collar butt cut sliced into bite-sized morsels, deep-fried until golden before they are quickly-tossed in the hot wok with a perfect balance of sweetness and tang. Luk Yu Tea House has the magnificent alchemy of vinegar, sugar, and tomato sauce mastered well, dressing the fried pork with that glossy orange-red glaze, is truly a simple pleasure best enjoyed with steamed rice."—Wilson Fok, Dining Editor 

See also: 11 Best High-End Chinese Restaurants In Hong Kong

Cocktail buns

"Cocktail buns have long played an important part in my family's history, as my grandfather used to own a bakery that was one of the first to serve the delicious sweet bun filled with shredded coconut, here in Hong Kong. Though the cocktail bun is not always readily available at most local bakeries, I always beeline for Lim Kee Bing Sutt on Spring Garden Lane in Wanchai when I have a craving (or decide I did something worth rewarding myself for). The place is popular amongst locals and fresh buns are baked multiple times throughout the day. A warm cocktail bun is better than a cold one!"—Natasha Tang, Associate Editor, Dining

See also: Bean-To-Bar: Artisanal Chocolate Handcrafted In Hong Kong

Steamed custard buns

"Custard buns are, without doubt, my favourite sweet dish from Hong Kong. Expect slap-you-in-the-face flavours at Dim Dim Sum which serves (you guessed it!) the best in town. Although there are four branches throughout the city, Mong Kok’s diner is undoubtedly the best, and makes traditional custard buns with a playful twist–they’re pig-shaped! Oink, oink…"—Annie Darling, Editorial Director – Watches & Jewellery

See also: The Best Dim Sum In Hong Kong: 2020 Edition

Vegetarian Chinese dishes

"As a vegetarian, I'll admit I have missed out on a lot of Hong Kong's most iconic dishes. However, thanks to the long Buddhist tradition of mock meats, I have loved trying lots of dishes where the meat is replaced with tofu, gluten or vegetable cleverly prepared to mimic the real thing. Sweet and sour is the epitome of comfort food: try it with wheat gluten at Chi Lin Vegetarian in the beautiful Nan Lian Gardens, or using konjac at the always excellent Pure Veggie House."—Lauren James, Deputy Editor

Steamed scallops with vermicelli

"I’m relatively new to Hong Kong and a few months ago my family and I ventured to Lamma Island for a day of fun in the sun. We sat down at Rainbow Seafood Restaurant—the menu was huge and the fish even bigger! All the seafood was deliciously fresh, but the steamed scallop with vermicelli and garlic sauce was definitely the best I’ve ever had - incredibly creamy and packed with flavour. The food coupled with the fact that Mr.Tung Chee Hwa was eating at the restaurant too made it one of my favourite memories in Hong Kong to date!"—Tara Sobti, Society Editor

See also: Island Guide: What To Eat, Drink And Do In Cheung Chau

Char siu

"Nothing says Hong Kong like char siu—Cantonese-style barbecued pork that is slightly charred and caramelised on the outside, and juicy and succulent inside. One of my favourite places to enjoy char siu is Mott 32, where the barbecued pluma Iberico pork is glazed with Yellow Mountain Honey, giving the meat a natural sweetness that complements the smoky aroma. To enjoy char siu the local way, Ma Sa Restaurant in Sheung Wan is a cha chaan teng that serves white rice topped with char siu, not two, but three runny sunny-side up eggs and a generous dash of soy sauce—it’s my ultimate guilty pleasure."—Pearl Yan, Digital Projects Editor

See also: #NoCharSiuNoLife: An Ode To Cantonese Barbecued Pork

Egg tart

"As someone with a sweet tooth, I can never resist a classic Hong Kong egg tart. Although I’ve now been in the city for over three years, the joy of getting a waft of the freshly baked pastries in the morning never gets old. Lord Stow’s famed offering may be no longer available outside of Macau since the closure of The Excelsior in 2019, but there are plenty of other sumptuous options to be had. Favourites of mine can be found at Catherine Bakery in Sheung Wan, at Sai Kung Cafe & Bakery in Sai Kung, and at the classic Tai Cheong Bakery across the city. For a less traditional take on the HK favourite, don’t miss the sourdough egg tart at Wan Chai’s Bakehouse – just hurry, they normally sell out by the afternoon."—Annie Simpson, Digital Content Director

Cheong fun

"One of my favourite classic Hong Kong dishes is cheong fun. Steamed flour rolls is a staple Hong Kong street food, and can be topped with a number of different condiments depending on your preference like soy sauce, chilli sauce, chilli oil, sweet sauce or peanut sauce. It acts as a great quick snack on-the-go, and can be found in almost all street corners in the city. In Mong Kok, there is a small little, run-of-the-mill Chinese street food stall called Tung Tat Food Shop worth trying."—Kristy Or, Associate Editor

Cantonese steamed fish

"For me, Cantonese style steamed fish is the ultimate comfort food: silky white fish cooked with ginger and scallions, then quickly seared with aromatic oil and soy and topped with fresh coriander. It’s sweet, umami and magic when served over a steaming bowl of rice. The steamed fish at Seafood Island in Po Toi O always hits the spot, and the fishing village atmosphere definitely adds to the experience."—Coco Marett, Lifestyle Editor

Hong Kong style waffle

"No Hong Kong experience is complete without sampling some classic street fare. While there are so many incredibly delicious options to choose from, such as curry fishballs, sticky tofu and put chai ko to name a few, Hong Kong-style waffle is my absolute favourite since childhood. This street snack is often made with a heated iron and classic ingredients such as butter, peanut butter, condensed milk and sugar for a crunchy texture with a mix of sweet and savoury flavours. There are very few places in Hong Kong devoted to offer grid cakes that are cooked fresh to order, but luckily, I’ve found Ada Food Stall in Wan Chai, and Hung Kee Top Quality Egg Waffles at Tai On Building in Sai Wan Ho to satisfy my craving."—Helen Yu, Assistant Editor 

See also: #Tatlerapproved: Food Captions And Quotes For Instagram In 2020

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Digest hong kong food local dishes hong kong cantonese cuisine pineapple bun egg tart char siu dining hong kong restaurants

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