There is a traditional Chinese phrase that means in English ‘the neighbour’s food smells good’. Like a lot of Chinese phrases, it seems to be a rather odd thing to say, but is somewhat meaningful. In this case, the phrase suggests that because we get used to our own family’s cooking, we often enjoy the cooking of others in comparison. After coming to Scotland, I see that this phrase holds merit. I am definitely a fan of fish and chips, though my personal favourite would have to be tablet.
Yet, it is not seldom that I find myself missing the food I can find only back at home in Hong Kong. If I had to pick only one aspect of my home town to share with the world, it would most definitely be the food. So, whether you want to know a little more about Chinese food, or are planning on visiting Hong Kong in the near future, here are a few things I highly recommend you try.
Thanks to globalisation, the concept of Dim Sum is no longer foreign to those living outside Asia. I will never cease to be amazed by the sheer variety of food offered at Dim Sum restaurants, nor will I ever say that am an expert at ordering the best of dishes. Famous for the presence of ladies wheeling carts of food from table to table, the mere meal turns into an experience. If you have not already, do not miss out on trying Siu Mai, a small dumpling consisting of pork, mushrooms and shrimp. It also goes well with a dish of shrimp bonnets called Har Gow. As most dishes come with only four of each dumpling, you are free to try as many different combinations of dumplings, sticky rices and congees as you like.
Stepping onto the busier streets of Hong Kong, you may be lucky enough to see stalls selling a variety of red sausages, smelly tofu and other mysterious, brightly coloured foods. These stalls, known locally as Dai Pai Dongs, are a common stop for people wanting a quick snack during lunch hour. If you find yourself shying away from the meats section, you can find solace in the waffle section. My favourite Dai Pai Dong snack is the ‘Egg Waffle’, essentially a pancake cooked in such way that it looks like little connected pancake-balls. Sweet to the taste buds, crunchy on the outside, but soft on the inside, this waffle delight is less than £1 and the perfect midday snack.
More often than not, you will also find a bubble tea stall near a Dai Pai Dong. Now in my opinion, you have never tried real bubble tea until you have had it made the way they do in the tiny stalls they have in Hong Kong. Costing only HK$15 (around £1.15) a cup, bubble tea is not just a drink, but also a snack if you are feeling a little peckish. Companies selling bubble tea have also recently decided to expand their drinks list, so if tapioca pearls put you off, there is now the option to try green tea Yakult or peach jasmine tea.
With such an array of delicious foods available, if good food is up your alley, Hong Kong is a place definitely worth a visit.