Food & Drinks in Hong Kong

The cuisine in Hong Kong is predominantly Chinese, however as it was formerly a British colony, it does have some European influences. In addition, the influx of migrants from other countries into Hong Kong as it is a major financial centre ensures that there is an unlimited variety of foods. It is no wonder that Hong Kong is known as a Gourmet Paradise around the world!

In Hong Kong, people eat five times a day. While that may be alarming to some, this is why serving sizes (including restaurant serving sizes) are small. Main courses are eaten with rice and noodles, while snacks and desserts are also featured. These meal times are breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea (at 3 pm), dinner, and siu yeh which is a late night meal or snack that is eaten after 10 pm.

The type of Chinese cuisine in Hong Kong is Cantonese or Guangzhou style. Well loved foods from Cantonese cuisine include poached chicken, herbal tea, dim sum, wife cake, roast duck, dai pai dong. However, due to western influences, there are also “fusions” style foods (known as Hong Kong-style Western) such as egg tarts and Milk Tea. In addition, as many people fled from mainland China especially during revolutions, many Chinese ethnic groups have influenced Hong Kong cuisine such as the Teochew and Hakka people.

As many Hong Kong residents are Buddhist, this means that Buddhist cuisine features in this territory. However, non-Buddhists also enjoy this vegetarian-style of food which features mushroom, tofu, and wheat gluten. It is also famous for its fake meat which looks and tastes similar to real meat.

During the winter time, hot pots (also known as steamboat or “da bin lou”) is very popular. This is where people boil their own ingredients in a pot which is filled with soup or just hot water. Ingredients people may cook include tofu, beef balls, fish balls, lettuce, prawns, chicken, and pork. This is considered a group activity and is also a form of entertainment. It is usually accompanied by soda or beer.

Other Asian communities have a presence in Hong Kong. These include the Japanese where sushi and teppanyaki is popular, as well as South Asian foods like curry as there are many Pakistani and Northern Indians living in Hong Kong. However, as a major centre, many western cuisines are available such as French and Italian. In addition, global fast food outlets such as McDonald's are available here.

In terms of drinks, non-alcoholic beverages are usually served. Typical of Chinese cuisine, many drink Chinese tea with their meal. Popular teas include bolay and chrysanthemum teas. However, there are also Hong Kong-style non-alcoholic beverages that are served at all kinds of restaurants, especially at “cha chaan teng” which is a tea bar. This includes red bean ice, milk tea, soy milk, and sugar cane juice. Syrups and rock sugar are used as a sweetener. Western influences have also played a part in Hong Kong, with Horlicks, Ovaltine, coffee, and milkshakes popular in this nation.

Other than this, Hong Kong residents are also made about truffles, oysters, and wine. There are “Oyster and Wine” bars especially in Tsim Sha Tsui and Happy Valley. Truffles took off in 2005 when a group of Hong Kong citizens paid HK$863,000 for a White Alba truffle weighing 1.2 kg. Later, a 1.51 kilogram White Alba truffle was sold for $1.25 million in 2006 to a property tycoon. The current record price for a white truffle was set in 2007 by Stanley Ho, who paid US$330,000 for a 1.5 kilogram truffle. As a result, truffle auctions now take place in nearby Macau.