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Varieties of Chinese (esp. Cantonese) cooking in Hong Kong

g
goldilocks76 Jan 19, 2013 05:27 AM

In a previous thread, a poster mentioned that there are many different varieties of Chinese, including varieties of Cantonese, cooking in Hong Kong. I was wondering what chowhounds think the key varieties are and where is the best place to sample each of them?

  1. PeterL Jan 19, 2013 02:24 PM

    Guangzhou, Chaozhou (or Chiuchow), and Dongjiang (or Hakka).

    1. K K Jan 19, 2013 03:56 PM

      The problem with a lot of these places is that you need to gather a party, particularly with folks who can read Chinese and understand the menu and the kitchen's strengths to sample as many of a restaurant's signature dishes as possible.

      With that said you can find some real classical old style Cantonese (during dinner) where these places execute really well: Luk Yu Tea House in Central (particularly almond pork lung soup, glutinous rice stuffed crispy skin chicken, a dish that contains Chinese ham and squab, and some sort of dish that contains Dace fish done in a roll but is deep fried in what I believe is lard...not for the faint of heart but is absolutely delectable. Luk Yu also makes one of the most classical sweet & sour pork dishes in town. There's also a steamed bun that contains lard inside (as well as a version with sesame paste). I was by myself during a recent trip and was tempted to just dine in and eat S&S pork!

      At nicer restaurants like The Chairman (also in Central), the style of Cantonese is somewhat classical in form but is more modern with slight hints of fusion, in the sense that they may use a Japanese ingredient in the cooking, but the balance overall is still Cantonese. Huao Tiao (chinese liquor) sauce egg white chicken lard steamed local "flower" crab is an absolute must order there, and the dish comes with a side of a rice of flat rice noodle for the customer to soak up the sauce to eat like pasta. There are many other signature dishes as well, but the crab is an absolute must.

      Ser Wong Fun (Central) and Ser Wong Yee (Causeway Bay) specialize in snake dishes, as well as Chinese preserved sausage dishes. I don't think they have menus in English, but are all wonderful.

      Fung Shing restaurant chain (one in Causeway Bay, North Point, and a few other locations) does some pretty solid old style Shunde / Shun Tak style Cantonese, although in a more mainstream fashion suited for HK. They also do dim sum and some old style items too, but the highlights are in dinner. Shrimp toast (where the shrimp minus head, with tail, is pressed on a piece of small toast and deep fried) is a very typical banquet dish. Stuffed Dace fish is another, stuffed lotus root (deep fried) with grounded shrimp paste is another. There are a few other specific seafood restaurants around HK that specialize in Shunde Cantonese, where they import fresh water river fish from Guangdong province / Shunde region (the fish are alive and kept in the tanks until a customer places an order), as well as water buffalo milk to make dishes.

      Chiu Chow / Teochew Cantonese is one of the most enjoyable regional Cantonese styles out there, and is a must eat in Hong Kong. There are tons of places for this, ranging from affordable to very expensive (nicer upscale digs), although depending on what you want to order. Anything involving the use of dried conch in superior broth, to large cold "flower" crabs, would require you shelling out big bucks to enjoy, although you can still enjoy the more grounded stuff like soy sauce marinated goose (if you are very adventurous, try various parts of the marinated goose, from head to tongue to feet to wing). Pickled veg pepper pork stomach soup is another signature item (very spicy but heart warming in cold weather), pan fried oyster pancake, Chiu Chow style congee, Jinchiew sauce chicken, are all very typical enjoyable dishes. During my recent trip to HK I ate at Chan Kan Kee which comes highly recommended by many. The main shop is in Sheung Wan, a bit far of a walk from MTR, but the one in Wanchai (new branch) is brighter and easier to find since it's very close to those typhoon shelter crab restaurants on Jaffe Road. The Wanchai branch menu is also in English (not sure about Sheung Wan).

      Hakka Cantonese exists in Hong Kong, though which restaurants to get the good stuff. For Poon Choy, the best places to go would be all the way in Yuen Long, but not as tourist friendly, but I'm sure you can find modified fusion and upscale versions of this.

      Other than that, very easy to find Sichuan, Shanghainese, Beijing, maybe NorthEastern in Hong Kong.

      Going back to HK Cantonese, I would categorize some eateries based on the types of food and specialty shops/restaurants:

      Dai pai dong - lots around Central, each with a specialty. This can range from stir fry, to beef tripe, to simple fare you can find at HK cafes/cha chaan tengs, to snack food (e.g pork chop instant noodles), to rice plates. There are two dai pai dongs in Tai Hang area, one specializes in scrambled egg shrimp or bbq pork rice plate, and the other serves locals in the neighborhood...nothing fancy, but it's more of the street ambiance.

      Noodles/rice plates/congee shops - Mak An Kee, Mak's, Jim Chai Kee, Chee Kee, all specialize in won ton noodles, but some might serve other types of food. Sister Wah and Kau Kee specialize in clear broth beef brisket noodles and have a very loyal following (in some cases more fierce than most ramen shops except Butao Ramen).

      roasties/delis/bbq - These smaller shops focus on bbq pork, roast duck, roast goose (not all shops have it), and also do rice plates and noodles. Joy Hing in Wanchai is pretty famous and still retains its neighborhood flavor. You can find places like Yat Lok in Central that do something similar, that is catching up to Yung Kee in price for say, roast goose noodles. The sad part is that even fast food chains owned by big corporations, like Cafe De Coral, is also trying to steal market share by offering roasties/bbq in their set menus.

      HK cafes/cha chaan teng - like a Denny's jack of all trades cafe. Some even offer roasties/bbq, HK style western, Cantonese rice/noodle dishes as well as congee....generalizing in a lot but specializing in few (with some exceptions). Tsui Wah is very tourist friendly since their menus are also in English, but unfortunately the better HK cafes are all in alleyways or slightly harder to navigate parts. Lan Fong Yuen is heavily visited by Mainlanders from China (in Central), and Sing Heung Yuen is an absolute must try....LFY and SHY are more dai pai dong in nature....SHY does macaroni (or instant noodle) tomato beef in tomato broth very well, along with breakfast foods like toast, and the HK milk tea and coffees are great.

      HK style western - not to be confused with cha chaan teng restaurants. Boston restaurant in Wanchai comes to mind, Tai Ping Koon (Central, Causeway Bay, Kowloon side), and GoldFinch (Causeway Bay), although TPK is probably the safer bet (Swiss/sweet soy sauce chicken wings, beef chow fun stir fried with the sweet soy sauce, baked souffle, roast squab, amongst others).

      seafood - fresh seafood, either live from the tanks, or you buy from fishermen off the boats (or at a market) and take it to a restaurant or cooked food center, and enjoy it various ways (deep fried, pan fried, stir fried, or good ol' plain steamed for original flavor). Some locals like to flock to out of the way places like Lau Fau Shan (requiring a bus or taxi ride from Yuen Long), although a local I spoke with thinks Lei Yu Moon is better....and Sai Kung isn't a bad choice either for visitors wanting to eat some good fresh seafood. Certain areas in HK are closer to fishing ports or source of the seafood, and specific sealife are only available from those regions, like a particular type of shrimp/prawn prevalent in Lau Fau Shan area, but rarely seen in southern HK island area.

      There's really a whole lot more, but it would take a book to write.

      37 Replies
      1. re: K K
        l
        Lau Jan 21, 2013 12:51 PM

        K K - gave a great overview

        i recently reviewed Ser Wong Fun:
        https://www.lauhound.com/2013/01/ser-wong-fun-chinese-sausagesand-snake-soup-in-central/

        Chiu Chow: definitely one of my favorite types of chinese food. They are known for their use of fresh seafood and their cooking style is generally very light (lots of steaming etc) as it's supposed to rely more on the natural freshness of the ingredient. They aren't actually Cantonese either and have a completely different dialect although they live in the eastern part of Guangdong; alot of them fled to hong kong during the communist revolution and world war 2 so there is a strong influence in hong kong. And as K K said there are a variety of chiu chow places ranging from more upscale expensive seafood like Shung Hing down to the more neighborhood places selling braised meats, cold fish etc. I recently ate at two places that are worth checking out
        - Tak Kee: this a little out of the way although not too far out of the way and I'd definitely recommend checking it out, i thought the food was very good. I'm not sure they speak english well and the menu they gave me was all in chinese, however another guy on chowhound who went said they waiter spoke some english and gave him an english menu, so you should be ok although definitely read my post and maybe print out the pics or something just in case
        https://www.lauhound.com/2012/09/tak-kee-chiu-chou-restaurant-excellent-chiu-chow-food-in-western-district-hong-kong-2/
        - Hung's Delicacies: this place is very famous and it is quite good and definitely ok for english
        https://www.lauhound.com/2012/08/hungs-delicacies-one-michelin-starred-chiu-chow-braised-meat-specialist-in-north-point-hong-kong/

        Cantonese BBQ: one of of my all time favorite foods. K K mentioned Joy Hing which is quite famous (was even on Anthony Bourdain), but for cha siu (the red roast BBQ pork) you must go to Fu Sing, which is a somewhat upscale restaurant. Their cha siu is mind blowing.
        https://www.lauhound.com/2010/10/fu-sing-shark-fin-restaurant-%E5%AF%8C%E8%81%B2%E9%AD%9A%E7%BF%85%E6%B5%B7%E9%AE%AE%E9%85%92%E5%AE%B6-one-of-my-favorite-restaurants-in-hk/

        A couple other things I'd mention:
        - clay pot rice: i have a slight obsession with clay pot rice and you must try this Kwan Kee, not only is the clay pot rice amazing, but the other food is really good too and it will give you a really local feel. Although i will say you probably should bring someone who can speak chinese as it's pretty local
        https://www.lauhound.com/2012/09/kwan-kee-claypot-rice-one-claypot-rice-to-rule-them-allone-of-the-best-meals-ive-had-in-a-long-time/

        - chili crab: this is not the same chili crab as in singapore, its much different. it's become very popular and on lockhart road in causeway bay there are a bunch of these places all located very close to each other. I'd go to this one as I think its the best one and they are english friendly. I also generally think most of the food at this place is very good.
        https://www.lauhound.com/2010/10/qiao-tei-%E6%A9%8B%E5%BA%95%E8%BE%A3%E8%9F%B9-under-the-bridge-chili-crab-amazing-chili-crab-in-hong-kong/
        https://www.lauhound.com/2012/09/kwan...

        1. re: Lau
          K K Jan 21, 2013 01:44 PM

          Spicy crab, typhoon shelter crab, "under bridge spicy crab" type restaurants along Wanchai, a boat or two on Causeway Bay, could theoretically be categorized as a style or category of HK seafood.

          I would elaborate the seafood categories as follows

          1) affordable seafood market fresh live seafood + the simplest fishermen style preps, e.g. saltwater steamed cheap fish (or fish that is seasoned first in salt then saltwater steamed), or pan fried fish with pickled vegetables. These types of seafood preps you would have to really go out of your way to know how to eat them and find places that do.

          2) spicy crab seafood places. Typhoon shelter crab started off as a luxury in the 1950s/1960s to entertain the rich who saw eating spicy crab on boats at the Causeway Bay typhoon shelter as way to spend the evening. Elaborate setups went from one boat offering live entertainment, to one boat doing only spicy crab, and one boat doing only roast duck ho fun noodle soup. The more famous duck noodle boat eventually went on shore indoors in Tsim Sa Tsui to be Hing Kee in Tsim Tsa Tsui on Nathan Road. It's the only restaurant that does the traditional style typhoon shelter crab that's chili oil crushed garlic and fermented black bean sauce (the key ingredient). The version that's more well known that has a gazillion fried garlic/garlic chips eventually morphed to become the norm, and that was when the HK government banned boats operating restaurants on board (with the exception of Jumbo). Either way this is an entire seafood category/style in itself.

          3) Fusion.... Cheese baked lobster is an example. While one can get this anywhere these days, from Chuen Kee in Sai Kung to Rainbow on Lamma Island, some locals prefer places like Chuk Yuen (Happy Valley) where they are known for that, and you can either ask for it with e-fu noodles, or HK style baguette to soak it up like fondue. Not really my thing.

          4) Upscale seafood restaurants

          5) Affordable local seafood restaurants

          1. re: K K
            l
            Lau Jan 21, 2013 02:04 PM

            ohhh i like cheese baked lobster, been a long time since ive had a good one...need to put that back on the list next time im in HK

            1. re: K K
              Charles Yu Jan 21, 2013 02:26 PM

              Real dining on large Sampans moored in Causeway Bay's typhoon shelters are the 'in-thing' now. One can get not only the famous crab but all types of seafood ( crustaceans, bi-valves...etc ) and the famous roasted duck on ho-fun noodles as well!
              no signboard seafood (無招牌海鮮)
              and 信記避風塘艇仔海鮮.are a few of the current popular ones!

              1. re: Charles Yu
                K K Jan 21, 2013 07:57 PM

                Never heard of no signboard, but my understanding with 信記 is that one needs to make a reservation, and they seem to only offer set menus, which means you will need at least 3 to 4 people to partake, and are looking at several mid to high hundred dollars per person, where the set meals include most of what you mentioned (inclusive of the cold appetizers including innards, chives, spicy crab and/or bivalves, roast duck ho fun soup). I'm also not sure if such places offer menus in English.

                Ah So also "discovered" the idea of these "fun tengs" where you can spend HK$500 to take a sampan from Aberdeen to another sampan to eat roast duck ho fun (and the quality is worse than that of a restaurant), which is a total joke in itself, but she claims it is the idea of it that is worthwhile.

                I think the idea of sampan dining nowadays is basically trying to cash in on the 2007 trend of "collective memories" (or cashing in on the revival), whether they really recreate the flavor of the 1960s is another matter. But at least this style is available for those who never got to experience what it was really like back then.

                1. re: K K
                  l
                  Lau Jan 21, 2013 08:07 PM

                  is no signboard a branch of the singapore chili crab place? In singapore one of the most famous chili crab restaurants is called no signboard, I had heard they were supposed to open other places outside of singapore, but not sure if it happened

                  500 HKD to go eat duck ho fun? haha

                  1. re: Lau
                    k
                    klyeoh Jan 22, 2013 11:35 PM

                    It's not. No Signboard Singapore has a branch at the Venetian Macau, but none in HK that I'd heard of.

                    http://www.nosignboardseafood.com/

                    1. re: klyeoh
                      PhilD Jan 23, 2013 03:35 AM

                      It looks like it is a branch......with another on the way.

                      http://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/20...

                      1. re: PhilD
                        k
                        klyeoh Jan 23, 2013 08:19 AM

                        Ah, so it is. But it won't be Cantonese then.

                        1. re: klyeoh
                          l
                          Lau Jan 23, 2013 08:47 AM

                          yah very singaporean although definitely tasty and worth trying

            2. re: Lau
              j
              jasongg06 Jan 24, 2013 01:49 PM

              wow k k & lau, very informative reading. As a person of teochew and cantonese heritage, i feel a bit ashamed I don't know nearly as much as you guys, even though I have been to asia/hong kong quite often and make food a significan focus when I go. I blame myself and my lack of interest in anything asian until college.

              I will brush up on this and make sure to expand my list beyond local hk and tomato macaroni soups (my previous thread heh)

              1. re: jasongg06
                l
                Lau Jan 24, 2013 05:30 PM

                haha...yah you should def check out what HK has to offer, i think alot of people don't realize / take advantage of the true local food scene in HK (although you clearly need to be able to speak and probably read some amt of chinese) b/c it's really good. Def check out the teochew food, its quite good there; i'm like a kid in a candy store in HK

                1. re: Lau
                  k
                  klyeoh Jan 24, 2013 05:55 PM

                  Cross over to Shenzhen, Dongguan and Guangzhou on the other side of the border, Lau - it's only a short hop away and the Cantonese and Teochew food there are simply amazing - enormous variety and some incredible tastes.

                  1. re: klyeoh
                    l
                    Lau Jan 24, 2013 06:19 PM

                    yah i go to shenzhen sometimes although its been a while

                    my friend has been telling me dongguan, he flies there for work alot....i heard the food is awesome

                    i need to go to swatow one day and xiamen too...go to the source for teochew and hokkien food since i like them so much

                    1. re: Lau
                      t
                      towkay Nov 3, 2013 01:05 PM

                      Did you ever get to go to Xiamen?
                      Wonder whether there is cuisine Hokkien dishes available there?
                      Is the " oh chien omelette" a cuisine Hokkien dish or hawker food?

                      1. re: towkay
                        l
                        Lau Nov 3, 2013 01:14 PM

                        no ive never been, but ive read blog posts on xiamen, the dishes you see are hokkien dishes but obviously some have been adapted to local taste so i dont think they are exactly how u might get them in xiamen (klyeoh might know better than i)

                        o ah jian is a hokkien dish (and teochew as well), you find it anywhere you find hokkien people, so singapore, malaysia, taiwan. Taiwan is like 85% hokkien, so actually most of their food is hokkien in origin

                        1. re: Lau
                          t
                          towkay Nov 3, 2013 03:17 PM

                          Thanks Lau,
                          I am planning a trip to Xiamen early 2014, and will post my dining experience after.
                          Although I have not made the visit to Xiamen, I know what I like in a good o ah jian, whether in Singapore or Penang!
                          If that goes well, perhaps Swatow( for teowchew) and Hainan island ( is there such a dish as Hainanese chicken rice?) next.

                          1. re: towkay
                            l
                            Lau Nov 3, 2013 03:32 PM

                            hainan chicken rice is a singapore / malaysia invention, real "hainan chicken" is actually called wenchang chicken which is the area in hainan where its from. I've never had it but my understanding is that its pretty lightly flavored compared to the singapore / malaysian version.

                            btw i assume you've been to china before, but try to do as much research as possible. Food can be amazing (like seriously amazing), but I think you need to do your research before as you can end up in tourist traps or crappy places if u don't watch out. It's the best if you have locals to help you, but if you don't just try to do any research you can although it can be problematic bc if you can't read chinese really well its hard to do research if its not like shanghai / beijing kinda thing

                            1. re: towkay
                              p
                              penang_rojak Nov 3, 2013 07:56 PM

                              The last time I visited Xiamen, I stayed at the Millennium Habourview Hotel which has a good Chinese restaurant called Loong Yuen. It's very near to Zhongshan Lu, the main shopping area.
                              http://www.millenniumhotels.com.cn/en...

                              I tried the oyster omelette in Xiamen, but I find it drier than the ones in Taiwan, Singapore or Penang. Maybe it's the place we ate at, but their version tasted like the Chiuchow oyster omelette from HK's Pak Loh restaurant.

                              1. re: penang_rojak
                                t
                                towkay Nov 4, 2013 05:58 AM

                                Thanks Rojak. I love Penang Rojak!
                                Apparently Loong Yuen is a Cantonese restaurant, and I will be in Hokkien country , and thus try to get into Hokkien food, breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack.
                                And if possible, seek out Hakka food, if available.

                    2. re: Lau
                      blimpbinge Jan 24, 2013 07:27 PM

                      hey it's jason, changed accounts. i heard swatow has pretty great food. I may do an extended south china trip. I speak canto, and understand teochew.. but cannot read menu's for crap. Will def need to do more research before I go.

                      1. re: blimpbinge
                        l
                        Lau Jan 24, 2013 07:38 PM

                        yah i would like to live in Asia again at some point to visit places like that...its usually tough when im there bc im usually only there for 1-2 weeks, once maybe twice a year so im always trying to see people and get in the best cities when im there

                        1. re: blimpbinge
                          Charles Yu Jan 24, 2013 07:38 PM

                          Problem is, nowadays, even in fine dining establishments, they are unknowingly using 're-cycled Sewer oil', up north! Eat at your own risk!!

                          1. re: Charles Yu
                            l
                            Lau Jan 24, 2013 07:42 PM

                            haha yah i heard about that

                            1. re: Lau
                              K K Jan 24, 2013 09:16 PM

                              Searching for chiu chow cuisine on openrice HK yields 498 search results. Of the great ones:

                              Hung's Delicacies (as covered by Lau already, including Tak Kee)

                              曾記粿品 at 1 Queen's Road Food Market upstairs in Sheung Wan (very very famous for their pan fried Chiu Chow style pastries

                              陵發潮州白粥 in Prince Edward

                              香港潮州商會會員俱樂部 in Sheung Wan....this is unfortunately a members only club, but if you know someone there who can take you, I hear it's absolutely stellar.

                              Chan Kan Kee (Sheung Wan and Wanchai)

                              And last but not least 創發潮州飯店 Chong Fat Chiu Chow Restaurant in Kowloon City, probably one of the most hardcore top places for the classics despite the surroundings and interior, and an excellent place for cold crab (though you're probably looking at over $1000 for a large, but this is a great place to have it).

                              I think just investing a whole week just to pursue this cuisine in Hong Kong is barely enough to understand it and sample a range of dishes, of which the variations between establishments and their specialities, would make restaurant hopping worthwhile should money and time permit.

                              Not sure what Teochew cuisine is like in Guangdong, Shenzhen, or elsewhere for that matter, but there is a style of Teochew cuisine in HK that's unique, which is a hybrid of Teochew and Cantonese (the cooking methods that is) applied to cater to HK tastebuds. Taro duck and glutinous rice steamed crab are some examples of this.

                              1. re: K K
                                l
                                Lau Jan 25, 2013 06:00 AM

                                funny enough a friend of mine from singapore actually thinks the teochew food is better in HK than it is in singapore (teochew food is obviously one of the main foods in singapore along with hokkien and cantonese to a lesser degree) although im probably not the right person to opine on that since i dont live in either place anymore

                                i am quite curious to see how it is in swatow vs HK / Singapore / Malaysia

                                1. re: Lau
                                  blimpbinge Jan 25, 2013 08:28 AM

                                  agree w/ what k k said, teochew food in hk is pretty unique. Also tbh, i think the cantonese+teochew cooking styles that were developed and evolved in hk ended up spreading everywhere, so while it's more difficult to find "pure" teochew food, maybe thats not what we should be looking for.

                                  When I go to singapore and eat teochew food, there are some dishes that I can't seem to find anywhere else. So it could be possible that teochew food there evolved on it's own there (spore+msia) as well. Also I feel that singaporeans n malaysians tend to favor simpler meals in general, as hawker centers are still everywhere and bustling.

                                  Then again i'm talking about the smaller and simpler eats, like noodle dishes, which seem to be similar all over the world where teochew have settled, with varying historical/regional differences.

                                  I suddenly have the urge to figure out the differences in teochew cooking in the largest diasporas. hk, thailand, malaysia, spore, vietnam.. can't afford them all.. wonder how many of those I can fit in within a reasonable budget hmm

                                  1. re: blimpbinge
                                    l
                                    Lau Jan 25, 2013 08:32 AM

                                    klyeoh - thoughts? (he lives in malaysia, is from singapore and has been to swatow and i think is teochew)

                                2. re: K K
                                  l
                                  Lau Jan 25, 2013 06:57 AM

                                  this picture is awesome btw, i love seeing all the chiu chow food stacked up and displayed...always gets me excited
                                  http://www.openrice.com/english/resta...

                                  1. re: K K
                                    l
                                    Lau Jan 25, 2013 07:01 AM

                                    K K - btw do you like the 粿 at 曾記粿品? It's been on my list of places to try for a while and if do which ones do you like best?

                                    1. re: Lau
                                      K K Jan 25, 2013 09:39 AM

                                      In response to the discussion above, it's basically the variance due to immigration and environment. It's also the same reason why food in Fujian, brought over by Fujianese/Hokkienese to Taiwan and SE Asia (Malaysia in particular) tastes so different geographically, even though the roots are the same. It also partly explains why Hakka Cantonese and Hakka Taiwanese are rather different, even though they have the same braised pork belly (kou rou) dish, but the pickled mustard green prep has different taste and texture.

                                      You can definitely find pure Chiu Chow food in Santow and other parts, but it might be way too hardcore for those used to HK style Chiuchow, or Chiu Yue/Chao Yue as it is known in some circles (Yue = Cantonese). It's the same reason why some HK people prefer Sichuan food in HK...you will not find dan dan mian done in the vein of Wing Lai Yuen (for example) in Sichuan restaurants in the USA (where those versions tastes more like Mainland), nobody else outside of HK will spend ages on hand kneading noodle dough, boiling Chinese ham and mature chicken to make a broth with grounded sesame paste, and even added dried shrimplets. You'll be lucky if a chef in some Sichuan restaurant doesn't scoop up sesame paste (or peanut butter) to call it a day.

                                      The only traces of Chiu Chow food in California USA is primarily brought over by Vietnamese Chinese (whose ancestors migrated from Chiu Chow down that way), some changed their last names or had to learn Vietnamese to assimilate, but kept their food culture (more inherent in the noodle bowls, e.g. hu tieu). Thus any marinade eats (lo shui) and even cold seafood appetizers are completely foreign to them. The saddest thing was that I went to a restaurant in San Francisco that claimed to offer "Da Lang" Chiu Chow food, and 95% of the items were stir fried or deep fried, no lo shui marinade...and their jinchiew chicken was actually a black pepper sauce stir fried chicken with celery and bell pepper....false advertising!

                                      曾記粿品 was on my to eat list, but never made it there. I think you just cannot go wrong on ordering anything they offer, including the stir fried version(s). It is interesting that Sheung Wan is a Chiu Chow hotbed, primarily that's where a lot of the immigrants worked (as it was where the ports were for shipping). Kowloon City is the other hotbed (where Chong Fat is). And yes Chong Fat is definitely hardcore in a good way... it is like they are battle ready for you to eat the Da Lang, hence the vulgar display of delicious cold dishes.

                                      1. re: K K
                                        blimpbinge Jan 25, 2013 10:22 AM

                                        wow I typed this long post and it got wiped out when I pressed reply, will try to rewrite:

                                        Yea I think I am very accustomed to the hk style of chiuchow food. I'd like to see what teochew food is like in swatow, but my limited teochew will be a huge barrier. Wonder if learning the dishes in mandarin or cantonese will help (Don't know much about swatow other than my ancestry being from there).

                                        I think I will follow your post, and other posts in this thread for my next hk list. My recent list was generic because I wanted to eat common food, so I have mostly been eating "local" hk food like dai pai dongs, cha chan tengs, tim bun pou (dessert shops), juk/fun/mien, seafood, and more mainstream food. For the next trip, I'd like to try to sample cuisine that is less mainstream, places like wing lai yeun that can only exist in hk or is a hk specialty, maybe also dishes like yu tou bou, poon choi, etc.

                                        Because of the lack of local knowledge and the ability to read chinese (and some of the menu items are renamed to be ridiculously elaborate or having little to nothing to do with the actual dishes), I end up browsing openrice for hours hoping that the most commonly brought up items are the ones that the shops are known for.

                                        Btw, is there anywhere I can read about Chinese-To-HK immmigration patterns in English? I'd like to learn more about the demographic distribution of Chinese in HK. There are tons of Chinese websites, but google translate can only get me so far. I can ask my relatives, but because even though some of them crossed through hk, they ended up being part of a different immigration pattern, so their knowledge will be a bit murky.

                                        The thing about the teochew-vietnamese is that they fled during wartime. So while they kept some of their food culture, it wasn't a priority until they could find their footing in the states. Most of them started in chinatown, and ended up either relocating or opening branches in 626. Some of the teochew noodle places have closed or are of lower quality since the main chef or owner is retired and the next generation is unwilling to learn and take over. Examples of this are kim fung, rainbow noodle (roots from kim fung), mein nghia, lee kam kee. So the teochew places in LA, who by international standards, are just average, will eventually go away due to changes in immigration trends. I will definitely try teochew specialty foods like the ones u mentioned. Also hoping to try "real" teochew food in swatow soon (maybe this year?)

                                        1. re: blimpbinge
                                          l
                                          Lau Jan 26, 2013 09:40 AM

                                          blimpbinge - can you speak mandarin? basically everyone in china can speak mandarin although they will probably have a chiu chow accent; also alot of chiu chow people can speak cantonese (i mean clearly not all, but i believe a decent amt can either speak or have some understanding of it). learning mandarin is extremely useful

                                          also, i highly recommend studying chinese food characters to be able to read them. my chinese is not great and i can probably only read chinese at some like 1st or 2nd grade level, but i can read food chinese pretty well b/c i've sort of been teaching myself it over time, it makes your life way way easier when you're eating at local spots even the places in HK where mandarin is not spoken or spoken with some crazy heavy accent i can't understand i've been able to get by b/c i can read alot of it

                                          re: immigration patterns, i actually saw some TV show on it once a long time, but I can't remember where i saw it, it was probably when i was in asia, there is a tiny bit about it in this wiki article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaozhou

                                          btw i found these old semi cool videos (albeit poor quality) on this really old lo sui goose restaurant, i cant really understand cantonese though would be curious as to what he's saying, but he does talk about chiu chow people in HK
                                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZnoPcS5-4w
                                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLJpd...

                                          and man all this lo sui talk is making me hungry, i think i'm going to go get some today haha...there is one place in chinatown in NY that makes a really tasty lo sui although it's not authentic b/c they're from vietnam, but its really tasty

                                          1. re: Lau
                                            blimpbinge Jan 26, 2013 12:09 PM

                                            I tried to translate the video, it’s mostly accurate, but because I am not a “true” native speaker, there will undoubtedly be errors (sorry in advance lol)

                                            since the women is at the shop, i’ll call her the host, and the guy is announcer

                                            the host says he likes old favorites (or old standing shop name), talking about "lo shui ngo". nicknamed "king of lo shui ngo", opened for 50 something years, 60yr old chef chan bok leung, worked at a teochew shop since he was in his teens, has been doing this for 40 something years, he said in the past, the whole street was food, but only they had teochew food so in the past business was great. used to be located in “teochew alley” they had to move due to.. either renovation or something? (my cantonese limitation..). with his experience being passed down to his kids helping him, this would be 3rd gen (dai sam doi)

                                            lo shui ngo is their signature dish. because this is an old teochew favorite, there are many teochew people frequenting this shop. there are many celebrities that also visit, like li ka shing (richest guy in hk) and 廖烈文 both teochew people, having to do with finance/investing/etc. now they ask people to come by, like servants. not only famous people, but people come from afar, say they want the taste back, some for 30+ years already.

                                            not only does he need to check if there’s sufficient flavor, ingredients must be fresh. host: “how to we know fresh lo shui ngo?” then.. my cantonese hit its limitation sry. to make sure the clients get the most fresh geese, mr chan goes to look at geese everyday at 6am. the video then starts skipping, and resumes at “it’s all depending on him!” then skips again. but says that the flavor is all “lo shui sauce. "

                                            on to ingredients, host: “my chans ingredients are very simple”
                                            fa jiu 花椒 - chinese pepper
                                            batkwok 八角 - anise
                                            yukgwai 肉桂 - chinese cinnamon (cassia)
                                            shageung 沙僵 - sand ginger...? (literal translation)
                                            goleungjow 高兩酒 - ?? type of wine or alcohol
                                            “and most importantly”
                                            daichong 大蔥 - chinese green onion

                                            “put all ingredients into the “lo shui” sauce, and that’s it!”

                                            host doesn’t seem to think that’s all:
                                            host: “is there any special ingredient that you add to make it taste so good?”

                                            mr chan: “we use some fish sauce, it helps with tenderizing (?) the meat to make it more tender, not so hard. so when you eat it, the flavor is better”

                                            host: “so when eating lo shui ngo, which part is the best tasting?"

                                            mr chan: “for me, the lower drumstick, it’s soft and slippery"

                                            host: “so more slippery?”

                                            mr chan: “right the meat there is more “hai”” (sry cantonese limitation)

                                            announcer: “his ingredients may be simple, but they are “sheung deng”(?) once mixed with the sauce, it’s especially tasty!”

                                            announcer: “不外傳” “even tho it is tasty, he does not like to let outsiders know, there’s a story about it”

                                            mr chan: ”we had some employees, worked for awhile then became big chefs”

                                            host: ”oh but you still taught them how to make it right?”

                                            mr chan: “ yes in the past, but we stopped. they just come to work 1 year then leave. once they know they leave”

                                            host:” so now you don’t teach anyone?”

                                            mr chan: “don’t teach don’t teach”

                                            host:”since mr chan does not have assistants or workers to teach, he teaches the techniques to his son, his son does not think that teaching him means it will be tasty, because making “shui ngo” comes from experience”

                                            son: “it’s all dependent on experience”

                                            host: “what to you mean?”

                                            son: “like, is the goose done? you can’t depend on the time (i’m assuming he means you depend on experience instead) it depends on your hand to see if it’s too firm”

                                            announcer: (cantonese limitation..) “mr chan hopes that his kids will continue to carry on and teach the next gen"

                                            mr chan: “i hope the kids stand by this place, because this is our family’s entire business done up til now”

                                            host: “so how much money does he make a day?”

                                            announcer: “lets calculate”
                                            1 ngo $130hkd
                                            goose center fee $15hkd
                                            transportation cost $2.5hkd
                                            total of $150hkd

                                            if he sells for $250hkd each
                                            minus the cost of $150hkd
                                            and he sells 25 of them
                                            “only selling geese, wow, he’ll make $2,500hkd! that’s not bad!”

                                            host: “don’t think it’s easy to make money, you only calculated the geese, you did not calculate the other ingredients or salaries”

                                            announcer: “i also want to have a lo shui ngo shop, but it is not easy, because i don’t have mr chans 2 old buckets of lo shui sauce he’s been using for half a lifetime”

                                            announcer: “FRESH LO SHUI NGO OUT OF THE OVEN LOR!”

                                            host: “mr chans shop is half a lifetime old, it really can be called an old standing shop name”

                                            announcer: “wow really, when I smell those buckets of lo shui sauce.. it’s 50 something years old!” “but hey, the geese are fresh! he chooses them from the goose center”

                                            host: “but now, mr chan’s ultimate wish is for his son to succeed him to he can have less of a burden”

                                            announcer: “i wonder if this is right for him.. (?)”

                                            host: “ehhh tak cheung (announcer), do you have another place?”
                                            ---------------------------

                                            didn't do second video (interesting but it skips a lot), but it was fun trying out my Cantonese... it kinda sucks. I need to study more.

                                            i also found this video:
                                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvJrG1...

                                            man.. i want to go eat it now

                                            1. re: blimpbinge
                                              l
                                              Lau Jan 26, 2013 12:58 PM

                                              wow thanks for the translation; i want to go to that restaurant now....need to find it on openrice

                                              and wow that second video, holy crap that looks good...man i could really use a good chiu chow meal right now, i wonder what restaurant that was

                                              btw you should really go to tak kee (or hung's) both of them have really good lo sui goose (all the food at tak kee is very good, look at my blog post on it). hung's is more famous, but i'd give the slight nod to tak kee, their goose is so good. hung's has a really light and different lo sui though which i loved. if was in HK i'd go eat there right now haha

                                        2. re: K K
                                          l
                                          Lau Jan 26, 2013 09:20 AM

                                          K K - yah it is very interesting how teochew / hokkien and even cantonese have evolved differently in various different countries

                                          "nobody else outside of HK will spend ages on hand kneading noodle dough, boiling Chinese ham and mature chicken to make a broth with grounded sesame paste, and even added dried shrimplets. You'll be lucky if a chef in some Sichuan restaurant doesn't scoop up sesame paste (or peanut butter) to call it a day." --> the reason i love HK cantonese food

                                          there is definitely HK-style sichuan / shanghainese food, but i mean HK does have very real sichuan restaurants. Si jie and yu chuan are very authentic and are better than any sichuan restaurant in NY (and i generally think sichuan food is a strong point of chinese cuisine in NY)

                                          re: chiu chow food in CA - that's not totally true, I'm from newport beach, CA and i eat in little saigon constantly and i've probably eaten at every chiu chow restaurant there. they are mainly either noodle shops or seafood restaurant. you are correct that as far as i know i have not seen any lu shui (lo sui) meats. however, alot of the food is really good if you know where you're going (if you happen to go, let me know and ill direct you where to eat), but it's also true that the true chiu chow style of more steaming etc has been pushed towards fried / stir fried and there is definitely strong cantonese influence and vietnamese influence in their style of cooking. The other thing is that actually several of the restaurants the lingua franca is still chiu chow although in some of them its cantonese (i'm actually amazed by how many languages these waiters can speak, i go to this hu tieu restaurant that is awesome and i heard the same waiter speak mandarin, cantonese, viet, spanish, english and something i had no idea wth it was all in like 20-30 minutes).

                                          re: 曾記粿品 and sheung wan - you know you're right, i was walking around there for a while last time before i ate at tak kee and there was a ton of chiu chow places. and yah i really want to try 曾記粿品 b/c i really like chiu chow 粿 particularly the sweet ones, they are totally old people desserts which is right up my alley. i have this thing for old people chinese desserts

                        2. re: K K
                          l
                          Lau Jan 21, 2013 03:40 PM

                          fyi if you go to www.openrice.com/english, you can search for types of chinese food and the searches (if you use the advanced search) you can search for fairly specific types of chinese food on it

                        3. a
                          andrew_eats Jan 20, 2013 02:00 AM

                          Fine dining Cantonese - there are lots to go around, like Lung King Heen, Fook Lam Moon, Summer Palace, etc...

                          Countryside Cantonese - all thoses food stands on the street, its best to search by specialty, egg tarts, won ton noodles... list is huge

                          Shanghai - Ye Shanghai and Crystal Jade are on the finer side, but there are cheaper options too

                          Sichuan - spicy region food, theres a place called Chili Fagara

                          Northern Chinese - like handpulled noodles, i'm sure if you ask around there should be some

                          Modernist Chinese - Bo Innovation

                          Taiwanese
                          Chiu Chow
                          Hakka
                          Beijing royal cuisine

                          Honestly, if you tried to list every cuisine, you might surpass 50 something regions. But I think this small list is a good start.

                          1. vorspeise Jan 21, 2013 06:38 AM

                            I would say you can get some good Shanghainese food in HK too. :)

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: vorspeise
                              Charles Yu Jan 21, 2013 10:19 AM

                              Agree! Except that the 'river shrimps' used might not be as fresh as 'up north'
                              BTW, don't forget 'Chiu Chow'!!

                              1. re: Charles Yu
                                vorspeise Jan 21, 2013 08:26 PM

                                I usually only eat Shanghainese with family, so I actually haven't tried many Shanghainese places in town.. Any places I should try?

                                For family gatherings or special occasions, we tend to go to 上海總會 (Shanghai Fraternity Association) but otherwise we go to 香港老飯店 (HK Old Restaurant) in Fortress Hill. My dad (who was born in Shanghai) used to love the 竹筍醃篤鮮 (tofu-knot bamboo pork broth) at the 上海一品香菜館 that used to be next to Miramar mall on Kimberly Rd in TST...until the old owner passed on, and the sons took over (unsuccessfully), then the place was eventually downsized and sold..

                                I've also tried Loshan Snow Garden in CWB (OK I guess), 上海小南國 in Central (good for business lunch because there's never a large crowd), and the Dining Room in Hysan Place (I like the lighter dishes and brighter/young atmosphere).

                                1. re: vorspeise
                                  Charles Yu Jan 21, 2013 08:37 PM

                                  上海總會 (Shanghai Fraternity Association) and 香港老飯店 (HK Old Restaurant) inside the Miramar Hotel also used to be my family's favourite as well. Especially the former, because relatives are VIPs. However, reduced visits after some chefs of the former had left and food has gone down hill!
                                  Nowadays, favourite is 'Liu Yuan Pavillion' in Wan Chai. Also heard some great thing about 'Hong Kong Cuisine' in Happy Valley!

                            2. Luther Jan 21, 2013 03:07 PM

                              I think the varieties of Cantonese (well described here already), plus true "native HK" food (at all price points and restaurant atmospheres), as well as Shanghainese food are the ones to eat in HK. There's some good options for Sichuan, but there's probably more ramen joints in HK now than there are Northern Chinese places. I might be wrong, but you likely would find NYC a better venue for sampling Northern Chinese food.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Luther
                                vorspeise Jan 21, 2013 08:13 PM

                                I've heard good things about Sijie private kitchen's Sichuan food. Anyone been there?

                                1. re: vorspeise
                                  l
                                  Lau Jan 22, 2013 06:09 AM

                                  sijie is good, when im in HK sometimes i go there with my friend who is originally from chengdu who has a pretty good rapport with the chef since they are both sichuan and speak the same dialect

                                  i like yu chuan alot too although my friend likes sijie better (i think they're both very good)...the spicy pidan are awesome
                                  https://www.lauhound.com/2010/11/yu-c...

                                2. re: Luther
                                  K K Jan 21, 2013 08:19 PM

                                  While there are indeed more ramen shops, the latest in thing about ramen in HK appears to be more dipping noodles, or tsukemen つけ麺 (the most recent addition seems to be a variant out of Hiroshima).

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