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Americans: What do crave when you've been living in Hong Kong for a long time?

  • c

A good buddy of mine has been living in HK for the past several years and is coming to visit me in NYC. I've promised to make him a homemade meal. What are the kinds of American (including South / Central American) meals you crave and have a hard time getting abroad?

Good mac & cheese? Cider glazed pork chops?

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  1. i'd probably ask him .... americans from different areas crave different things....

    for me? Mexican food ... guacamole .... beef hot dogs (BEEF not chicken....)
    brownies .... choc chip cookies ....
    mexican food
    mexican food
    more mexican food.
    potato salad.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Hot Chocolate

      Thanks for the suggestions, Hot Chocolate. I'm thinking of going Mexican (or at least S. American), as well.

      (btw, I can't ask b/c it's supposed to be a surprise!)

    2. italian. really, really good italian. i love hk. go there every year to tune up my taste buds. we're off to rome in a few days. one of our houseguests is a hk denizen. deb and i will be buying produce daily on the campo de' fiori. it's all good.

      3 Replies
      1. re: steve h.

        HK has some of the best Italian restaurants in the world.

        1. re: PeterL

          howdy peterl,
          this is an oft-repeated myth. simply not true.

          1. re: PeterL

            They're not Italian-American, though. There is simply no good Ital-Am food in HK.

            Milk products are not practical to carry, but they're what is hard to get in good quality in HK.

        2. Same here as Hot Chocolate. Whenever I go to the US, it is Mexican, Mexican, Mexican. HK has very good selection of food but Mexican is the most lacking. The other food I miss is Philly cheesesteak but you can only get a good one in Philly.

          1 Reply
          1. re: HKTraveler

            yeah philly cheesesteak. i went to school and philly, and IMHO the best one in the world is jim's on south street. they chop up their beef with onions. and they use provolone cheese instead of cheese whiz. not nearly as sloppy, and better flavor.


          2. Thanks for all the suggestions, so far! Just curious: Where are you from in the US?

            1. I lived in the Philippines for years. One could get decent Japanese, Chinese, and Italian there. Agree--Mexican! Followed by Middle-Eastern, Armenian, Basque, Thai, French...

              Mexican beats any- everything in South America.

              1. My son misses cheese and Mexican food. Also there are no inexpensive Vietnamese restaurants we see here in the US. American style family backyard BBQ is another one.

                1. My wife is from the Philippines, and we've made many trips to Asia over the last two decades. While we haven't visited Japan (so I can't comment on Wagyu or Kobe beef), I have found the quality of beef, and surprisingly, turkey, much lower than in North America.

                  A small roast turkey (I prefer sausage/apple stuffing, but oyster stuffing seems to be uniquely American), some small, high quality steaks, real pan gravy, and - if you have access to them - some good quality tomatoes (which I've never found in HK, Manila, Seoul, etc.), would make a pretty good meal with a simple salad, IMHO.

                  Please note - no green bean casserole! No marshmallow topped sweet potatoes!

                  1. This is very helpful -- thank you all very much! I've decided to go with Mexican.

                    Good guac and ceviche with cumin-dusted tortilla chips for an appetizer

                    The entree's up in the air, still. Suggestions?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: cimui

                      When my sister lived in HK and returned home to the States, it was two things, always: falafels and Mexican. I'd suggest an nice cheesey enchilada disk for an entree. Great, now I'm hungry!

                    2. Maybe it was just a weird period for me, but when I spent several months in Hong Kong and parts of China, I really craved the following when I got back to the U.S.

                      - Chicken Fried Steak
                      - Meatloaf
                      - Coleslaw
                      - New England Clam Chowder
                      - Biscuits and Gravy
                      - Hard shell tacos filled with ground beef made with Hamburger Helper.

                      1. Not Hong Kong, but I have lived for a while elsewhere in Asia.

                        The thing I missed the most was above all else, Mexican food.

                        1. The most consistent thing I hear is: TACO BELL! LOL

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: phan1

                            A nice juicy grilled steak. Good beef is very expensive. Also fresh oysters on the shell. Very easy to get food poisoning from unclean oysters.

                            That's what we eat when we are 'home'. And lots of fruits - strawberries, raspberries and blueberries are expensive.

                          2. As an American living in Asia, I miss Mexican food, Italian food, and pizza. I also miss Taco Bell, which isn't Mexican food, but still...

                            1. Just wanted to thank you all, again, for the great suggestions. I ended up making homemade tortilla chips with guac, hummus and ceviche (not mixed together, of course ;) for pre-dinner noshing, and short ribs braised in ancho / coffee sauce, served with red rice, frijoles negro, and corn tortillas as the main course. Afterwards, we pigged out on Ben & Jerry's. =)

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: cimui

                                that sounds sooooo good. The avocados in Asia are different than N. American Hass avocados. They taste different too, having less of a nutty flavor than the American varieties.

                                Ben & Jerry's hasn't been introduced to Asia yet as far as I know. As far as import ice-cream is concerned, Haagen Daz, Movenpick, Double Happiness, Dreyers, that unpronouncable Russian brand, are all pretty easily found, but no Ben and Jerrys.....

                                1. re: scrapple

                                  Do you mean Торжество ("torzhestvo", means "celebration")? Магнат ("magnat", means "magnate")? Бодрая Корова ("bodraya korova", means "cheerful cow")?

                              2. when I'm in an asian country for a while, first thing I crave is bread (all forms of it, especially bagels, french, and potato breads. can't forget the pita). Then its on to stuff like a real hotdog, BBQ, and pizza. I'd include fried chicken but KFC has done it for me in the past. Only if there were popeyes.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: Soup

                                  Interesting. I thought bread was pretty easily available all over Asia, certainly in areas that have more of a colonial history like HK and Singapore, but also in more home grown forms like Chinese man tou (those steamed white bread buns) and sao bing (those flat, flakey sesame topped breads), Indian naan, paratha, roti, etc...

                                  Of course you're right that there's nothing that can ever substitute for the NY bagel, specifically!

                                  1. re: Soup

                                    Funny you say that you miss bread. When I come back from Hong Kong I soon find myself missing the bakeries on every corner that always have fresh bread.

                                    1. re: Humbucker

                                      I always miss the bakeries in every MTR stop that have red bean buns when I come back... but there's a difference between the soft white bread that's available in those corner bakeries and crusty, sourdough bread.

                                      Sigh... I wish I had a source for US$1 jook around here.

                                    2. re: Soup

                                      There's a Popeye's in the HK airport...

                                      1. re: PorkButt

                                        And directly next to it is a much better Cantonese cafe with very, very good jook, which I always go to rather than Popeye's. :)

                                    3. 1. taco bell
                                      2. whataburger
                                      3. bbq
                                      4. tamales
                                      5. fried okra
                                      6. papaya king hot dogs
                                      7. pastrami
                                      8. chili relleno
                                      9. cornbread

                                      1. Cheese, Mexican food.