hey i'm an exchange student studying at CUHK near Sha Tin for the term. you guys have been incredibly helpful so far in getting me interested in a ton of restaurants in hk from perusing other posts. basically i was kind of hoping for some focused rec.'s for
1) inexpensive food or at least an emphasis on value
2) more easily accessible to sha tin - i.e. tai po is great, kowloon pretty good, causeway bay not so much. it's not that i won't eat in causeway bay plenty, i'm just less likely to hop on the mtr for a meal that far away.
3) food that i can't get that much in ny - cantonese is fine in ny but i want to learn what i'm missing out on, but for instance sichuan seems pretty strong in ny (tell me if i'm wrong), not really interested in western rest. rec's (i've seen the major ones).
thank you guys so much. in return i'm planning on compiling a lot of this and other rec's into a map, hopefully it'll be helpful for others. cheers!
"...cantonese is fine in ny but i want to learn what i'm missing out on..."
The general level of Cantonese food in NYC nowadays is not that great, eclipsed by the SGV/SF and even more by the GTO (greater Toronto) and greater Vancouver areas. You should try Cantonese cuisine in HK at all levels if you can.
Here's one CH thread (there are others) on the topic that you may have missed... http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/854984
If going to Tai Po, Kwun Kee clear broth beef brisket is an absolute must
This CNNgo article covers a few other affordable good east in Tai Po
Chan Hon Kee should also be a good one, particular for the ja leung (carbfest)
And here's blogger ChaXiuBao who wrote about Kwun Kee before all hell broke loose on the blogosphere about the place
re: K K
A few years back, fellow S'pore chowhounder Fourseasons and I had a mini chowmeet in Hong Kong. We first ate at Fung Lam in Tai Wai for lunch and then took the train to Tai Po to try out Kwun Kee. It was good but nothing to shout about. In fact both of us preferred Kau Kee in Gough Street, Central. Better broth! However, one thing did stand out in Kwun Kee's menu!! Amongst the beef offals offered, they served ' Cow's Penis'!!
Unexpectedly, we happened to stumble on a great 'Tofu Fa Dessert' place located just next door to Kwun Kee. HK$5 a bowl and the tofu was softer than silk and so fresh tasting!!! Apparently, what's even more famous was their home-made fermented bean curd! We both bought a jar to take home! Him to S'pore and me to Toronto!!
One very local place in Sha Tin is 盛記麵家
The food is not glamorous by any means but the people who live in that community see it to be a complete treasure. If you are not proficient in reading Chinese and speaking Cantonese you may need to bring someone with you. This noodle restaurant has been around for quite a long time and is family run and owned. Many locals grew up eating their food and those who are grown up bring their kids there to eat as well. The owner/chef was recently featured on several TV programs for giving back to the community, including serving the eldery free dinners. One trademark of the decor is that they made good use of recycled materials, and the place is heavily visited by local primary/secondary schools, to help them understand history, food culture, preservation (and of course recycling).
In addition to noodles, rice plates, beef brisket, wontons etc, many people go there for hot pot.
But I think more people go there for "local flavor local taste", including the atmosphere and feeling which cannot be had anywhere else outside of HK.
If you have ever watched Anthony Bourdain No Reservations Hong Kong, blogger ChaXiuBao (Josh Tse) took Tony to a few places in Taipo, including Yat Lok (for roasties), as well as a food court (where Ping Kee noodles is). While they have probably fallen out of favor from locals, I'm sure they taste way better than what is in NY or CA.
You will never find a clear broth beef brisket specialist shop that only deals in that stuff in USA (and on top of that, does it so well). Apparently Kwun Kee also does ox tongue, stewed/cooked in the same clear broth/juices, that might be worth trying if you are into that. Of course try to get an order of plain "song lam" if you go back again and if they have it (the mystical uber delicious rare cuts of rib side brisket).