Hong Kong Dishes

  1. Cha Siu

    This is virtually Hong Kong’s national dish. The name literally means “fork roast”. The tender fillets of pork are roasted and glazed in honey and spices, and hung in the windows of specialist roast meat shops. Cha siu is classically served thinly sliced, with steamed rice and strips of vegetables.

    Cha siu
  2. Moon Cake

    Made of moist pastry and various fillings, including lotus, taro, adzuki bean, whole egg yolk and occasionally coconut, the delicacy also has a quirky history: revolutionaries in imperial China used to smuggle messages to each other hidden in a moon cake’s dense filling.

  3. Steamed Whole Fish

    In Hong Kong, fish is almost always dressed very simply, using only peanut oil, soya sauce, coriander and chives. To maximize freshness, restaurants keep live fish in tanks, killing and preparing them to order.

    Steamed whole fish
  4. Hainan Chicken

    Comprising chunks of steamed chicken, served slightly warm or cold, and dipped in an aromatic oil made with spring onions and ginger, this dish has become everyday comfort food. It is traditionally accompanied by a rich chicken broth, a few vegetables and rice steamed in chicken stock for flavour.

  5. Brisket of Beef

    Requiring up to eight hours of slow cooking, preparation of this Hong Kong classic is an art. Households and restaurants guard their individual recipes, but all involve the classic five Chinese spices, rock sugar and tangerine peel. It’s served in an earthenware pot as a main course, or as a topping for rice or noodles. Given its richness, it is particularly enjoyed in winter.

  6. Water Spinach

    The leafy, hollow-stemmed vegetable can be prepared with various seasonings, from the quotidian oyster sauce to garlic and shrimp paste. At its best when stir-fried with potent chillies and semi-fermented tofu.

  7. Wontons

    Done properly, this marvellous prawn and pork ravioli is poached in a stock made from shrimp roe, aniseed and other spices, and served with fresh egg noodles and soup.

    Wonton soup
  8. Fish Balls

    A daily food for many Hong Kongers, either on skewers as snacks or served with noodles in broth to make a meal. Traditional restaurants eschew machine production methods, and still shape these balls of minced fish, white pepper and other spices by hand, before poaching them in seafood or chicken stock.

    Fish drying, Cheung Chau
  9. Salt and Pepper Crusted Squid

    You may have encountered the disastrous and greasy travesty of fried squid served up in Western Chinatowns. Banish that unpleasant memory from your mind, and prepare to discover the gloriously crisp original. Fresh squid is scored, lightly battered and flash fried with lots of salt, white pepper, chilli and garlic. The result is an addictive combination of tangy textures.

  10. Lai Wong Bau

    Chinese bread is shaped into buns, not loaves, and steamed rather than baked – giving it a beautifully soft and fluffy quality (no gritty whole grains here). There are many varieties of sweet bun, but lai wong bau is the reigning favourite, the kind of treat that children will clamour for. These buns are filled with milk, eggs, coconut and sugar. Try them piping hot on a cold winter morning.

Top 10 Dim Sum (Dumplings)

  1. Har Gow

    Prawns wrapped in rice flour casing – like a very plump ravioli.

  2. Siu Mai

    Minced pork and shrimp parcels, topped with a dab of crab roe.

  3. Seen Juk Guen

    Soy pastry, crisp fried with a vegetable filling. A savvy alternative to the common spring roll.

  4. Gai Jaht

    Chicken and ham wrapped in soya bean sheets, served in rich sauce.

  5. Lohr Bahk Goh

    Mashed turnip, pan-fried with chives, dried shrimp and Chinese salami.

  6. Cheung Fun

    Rolls of rice pastry, filled with shrimp, pork or beef, and smothered in sweet soy.

  7. Chiu Chow Fun Gohr

    Soft, pasty-style dumplings filled with chopped nuts, minced pork and pickled vegetables.

  8. Chin Yeung Laht Jiu

    Green pepper stuffed with minced fish and prawns and served in black bean sauce.

  9. Ji Ma Wu

    Decadent, treacle-like dessert made from sugar and mashed sesame. It is served warm from the trolley.

  10. Ma Lai Goh

    Wonderfully light, steamed sponge cake, made with eggs and walnuts.

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