I spent three amazing months in Hong Kong, hiking the island, getting lost on the metro, bargaining my way through markets, but what has stuck with me the most is the different foods I tried. After losing 20 pounds in Taiwan because I wasn't a fan of the food and I couldn't find many pescatarian options, I expected my time in Hong Kong to be about the same. Nope! I think I may have gained 20 pounds instead. But it was all definitely worth it!
Here are some must-eat foods while in Hong Kong:
- Dim Sum: Well this is a no-brainer! Dim sum can be ordered steamed, baked and fried. My favorite is steamed! Also known as dumplings, the classics are filled with pork, shrimp and egg. I personally love the shrimp, veggies and egg dumplings. Never spear the dumplings with chopsticks in order to pick them up. You're supposed to poke a little hole on the side, pick up the dumpling with your chopsticks, slurp the juice out, then eat the dumpling.
- Egg Tarts: It's basically a yellow custard inside of a crumby, buttery crust—it's delicious! You can find them at most old-school bakeries and they're best warm!
- Fishballs: These are typical Hong Kong snacks as well as street food and they're basically fried fish meat served with sweet or spicy sauces. Fun fact: The daily average consumption of fish balls in Hong Kong is 3.7 million.
- Fried Milk: For this dish, milk or some form of milk, is turned into a custard with flour, cornstarch and eggs. Sometimes the custard is breaded and fried, resulting in a crispy snack with a mousse-like center.
- Milk Tea: Milk tea is usually served as an afternoon tea and consists of black tea on the bottom, evaporated milk and sugar on top.
- Pineapple Bread: Don't let the name fool you. The bun looks like a pineapple, but there isn't an ounce of pineapple actually in the bun. Pineapple bread is made up of eggs, sugar, flour and lard.
- Egg Pudding: This steamed egg with milk dessert is very popular in Hong Kong and is so delicious! There's not much to the dessert other than eggs, milk, sugar and water, but boy is it smooth and tasty.
- Congee: Also known as rice porridge, congee has been around for thousands of years and is made by boiling rice in water. It is usually cooked with meat or fish and garnished with condiments. It is traditionally eaten during breakfast. Milder versions are often consumed when sick.
- Egg Waffles: These fluffy, golden cakes have now made their way to the Western world. Some vendors opt for a no-nonsense, classic egg waffle while others serve it as a dessert with ice cream and chocolate drizzle (along with a number of other sweet combos).
- Lotus Seed Buns: This sweet bun is made by soaking, stewing and grinding lotus seeds into a paste and adding sugar. The sweetened paste is then dry-cooked in a wok and stuffed in fluffy buns.
- Taiyaki: This fun treat is originally from Japan but is very popular in Hong Kong. It's the same concept as ice cream in a waffle cone except this is in a fish-shaped pancake cone. The pastry is called Taiyaki because it resembles Tai— the Japanese red sea bream fish. Be sure to have a good grip on it because it's a lot flimsier than a cone you're used to.
- Durian: It's sold in all the outdoor fruit markets and smells terrible! This spiky fruit from southeast Asia has been said to smell like garbage and has been compared to sulfur or rotten eggs. It's even banned on trains in Singapore! A recent study found Durian's smell is caused by odor-pumping genes that attract primates to eat the fruits and spread the seeds. Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia call it "The King of Fruits" for its size, strong smell and scary appearance. You can eat the fruit on its own, put it in a pancake and even use it as flavoring for chips ice cream and chocolate.
Follow Latifah Al-Hazzá @tifahhhh