Hong Kong food tours
I'm stopping in HK for 3 days on my way to Sydney, I'm a recent graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York, and to my shame, know very little about Chinese/HK food because I spent the last 12 years living in London (where we're not known for great Chinese food).
There are loads of great posts on restaurants to try but I would love to learn more about ingredients and local specialities from someone local. Does anyone know of any good, credible market tours or gastro-tourist type tours? The last time anyone asked was a year ago and nobody seemed to know of anything definite. I'd really appreciate any advice you can give me. Thanks
there are many types of chinese food which are good in hk and it's hard to give recommendations without narrowing down to what you like:
noodle soups - wonton noodles, fish ball noodles, etc
street food - spicy fish balls, cheung fun, 'egg balls' (don't know what it's called in eng)
seafood - regular seafood restaurants and bay fong tong type seafood restaurant (more flavored, used to be had for a midnight meal)
dim sum - old style or current hk style
cantonese - referring to dinner, some of the more expensive items including abalone, shark fin soup, fish maw, sea cucumber, etc. separate meal hot pot.
shanghaiese - shark fin soup again, xiao lung bao, hairy crabs (oct-nov), and other dishes
sichuan - spicy dishes or hot pot (usually better across the border in china)
chiuchow - cold crab, goosemeat, sugar and vinegar noodles. some other cold dishes
chinese fast food - fried noodles, etc
chinese fusion - molecular gastronomy type which is surprisingly good
there are of course many more but the above are just what comes to mind as delicious imo. as your time is very limited, you have to pick what you can fit in your stomach and budget. (most people say hk doesn't have any good south east asian restaurant and i disagree. there are a few good very good thai restaurant and acceptable vietnamese restaurant)
of course, quite a few good french, italian, japanese, and korean restaurants too.
A few food tour companies have started up in HK in the last year or so, doing mass-market type pre packaged tasting tours for relative newbies. But if you want something at a higher level, then I'd try http://realtravelhongkong.com...it... a small service run by American travel writer Daisann McLane, and she has two of the top foodies in HK (both chowhounders, I think) working with her.
Of course you can always make a long list of Chowhound faves and explore on your own, but if you have a limited amount of time and/or you want the latest on the ground info about the food scene (which in HK changes lightning fast), then it's worth seeking professional assistance!
Check out this website:
When you get to HK, go to the Tourism Association at the Star Ferry in Tsimshatsui and you'll find many useful information. The staff is extremely helpful. When I was there last December, they were giving out, for free, a wonderful dining guide book with beautiful pictures as well as advise/suggestion written by local chefs.
Also, there is a Chinese Cusine Institute in HK that serves food prepared by their students. Here is their website:
Hope this helps.
that's great, thanks so much for the help. I've been to Vietnam and Singapore and loved the food there so i'm hoping HK will be just as exciting.
If you ever need recommendations for NYC let me know. I'm just finishing a guide to the favorite restaurants of the chefs and faculty at the FCI, so I have about 250 great restaurants, across all cuisines.
i've got about 40 of them left to write about but i'm happy to send you what i've done so far. A friend is supposed to be putting together a website for it hopefully, so i'll send a link for that as well when i'm finished. I'm at firstname.lastname@example.org. drop me a line and i'll send you the pdf over. they're not actually my recommendations (although the ones i have been to i would completely agree with) but were the recommendations of 50 chefs and professional foodies, so I think they should all be pretty sound. it's un-edited so far, so there might be a few mistakes. I'd welcome any feedback though.....
Make sure you go to some of the markets. I go to a few in Kowloon which I think is a far more down to earth locale than Central which is quite westernised.
The street food is great, pippies in XO sauce, spicy deep fried wings, great dumpling soups, I find that if you follow the crowds of locals you cant go wrong, There are also a few "private restaurants " I'm sure some one here will know where.
Of course the most famous Hong Kong foodie place is the Michelin starred Tim Ho Wan @ Shop 8, 2-20 Kwong Wa Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon (00852 2332 2896) It's an amazing bargain but you'd better get in early or be prepared for a three to four hour wait.