This is my last post on Hong Kong food...till I visit the place again the next round :P So, are you ready? :)
You can find a lot of good street food on Temple Street. Forget about the shopping, it's no different from Petaling Street, just bigger and er..trashier.
There are also quite a few makeshift stalls offering fortune telling - just like what you see in the Hong Kong dramas. I actually found some parts of the area rather unsavoury - with some stalls openly hawking pornographic materials and others selling scary and sinister looking trinkets, carvings etc.
That aside, you can get some delicious meals here at Temple Street at fairly cheap prices.
Cab drivers are a rich source of street information, if you haven't realise that by now. Whenever we hop into a cab in Hong Kong, we always ask the cabbie what's good to eat in the vicinity around our hotel.
When we were staying in Silka Seaview Hotel, our cab driver told us about the famous claypot rice on Temple Street.
True enough, just smack behind our hotel are two of the most famous, old time claypot rice shops around. It is impossible to miss them, unless you walk around blindfolded :P
Hing Kee Claypot Rice is reputedly the oldest and most famous claypot "restaurant" (more like a shop that spills onto the entire road!) on Temple Street. It is so popular that it has two other branches right around two different corners of Temple Street.
The sight of the sea of people waiting for tables and those happily tucking into steaming hot claypots is quite something.
|These claypots are flying out from the kitchen to the tables|
|There's gonna be some mean washing up here|
|You don't need a world class kitchen to have world class speed |
and efficiency. Just stand and watch these guys work - amazing!
The other claypot "competitor" is Four Seasons - just as popular, althought i think they only have one outlet. We chose to eat here instead of Hing Kee simply because I wanted to eat indoors instead of on the roadside.
The queue was just as long. Hubby was right at the end of the line, we actually waited for one whole hour. Are we crazy? Come on, we're on holiday :) It helped that the weather was cool (tail end of winter), makes the waiting much more bearable. Besides, I got to chat with the lady in front of me, who explained much of the menu to me, so I knew exactly what to order.
So was it worth the wait?
We ordered two types - a three combination wax meat pot, and below - chinese sausages with chicken pot. Looks wise, there's really nothing to shout about, until you tuck in. The waxed meat was superbly fragrant and delicious. There is no fancy sauces or dressing - just a simple mixture of light and dark soy sauce with sesame oil and pork lard - no oyster sauce like our Malaysian version. You drizzle this onto the hot fluffy rice and dig in.
This was good too - my son enjoyed the tender and well marinated chicken meat and rice. Hubby and I devoured all the wax meat.
There were also quite a few seafood restaurants, teeming with locals and tourists.
If you like Hong Kong dramas, 8tv is currently screening a contemporary HK series (about a team of lawyers helping the down and out) which features a lot of scenes around a noodle shop like this photo above. We are so tickled by the fact that we could identify with a lot of the scenes haha.
Coloquically described as cart noodles, it was popularised during the 1950s with street vendors selling noodles with different add-ons on small mobile carts.
On one of the nights shortly after our dinner, hubby and I were ambling around the few streets surrounding our hotel and saw this long queue outside a cart noodle shop. Since we've already had dinner, we decided to drop by again the next night. This time we purposely came about 20min earlier, and there was already a queue!
The shop itself is cramped, messy and grimy - just like how shops with good food should be :P Seating is only one row parelel to the cooking area and preparation counter, and a tiny cramped section at the back. No more than ten tables of 20 people, max. This is one of those places where the cooks are slow, expressionless, and the "manager" turns away customers after all the tables are occupied. "Sorry, no more tables, come again tomorrow", we heard her say.
The menu was very extensive, but we had no idea what to order. Honestly I felt so handicapped because we couldn't read the menu in Chinese, so we had to ask the ladies at the next table to read out some of the items to us (can't be asking her to read the entire menu, although i was really tempted).
Because I already knew that cart noodles mean choosing your preferred type of noodles and broth (either beef broth or curry) and then choose whatever toppings you want, I asked the lady to read out just the different toppings. There must be like 20 different types, ranging from all sorts of seafood and meatballs, vegetables, pig skin, intestines, offal, different varieties of mushrooms, wontons, etc etc. Wish i could order all of them!
In the end, we settled for something simple - some fish balls and meatballs and the original wanton noodles with beef and radish soup.
Pretty good I must say, but i knew (sadly) that if we knew how to order the right combination and other side dishes, it would have been so much better. Sigh....the disadvantages of being a "banana"!
|An extremely spicy salted mustard (choy pou) to add to the noodles|
Eat with some red vinegar - very interesting and appetizing.
No visit to Hong Kong is complete without having some of their famous street skewer food.
This stall in Mongkok - I think it is called "Sisters" or something, is extremely popular. There are like two long queues everyday at the stall, from the time they open till closing.
I tried some of their popular items - like the ever popular curry fishballs and these beef tripe...
...and grilled octopus and sausages. They were alright....not sure what's the fuss was all about. Hubby yucked-yucked at them :P
Breakfast is a sacred time in Hong Kong. There are plenty of mom-and-pop eateries that are packed with locals enjoying their breakfast set - typically comprised of a cup of ultra smooth and thick milk tea (very similar to our teh tarik, without the tarik), a plate of either sausage with egg and bun or a ham-and-egg sandwich, and a steaming hot bowl of beef slices with maggi noodles - yes, maggi noodles!
This was our favourite breakfast spot when we were staying in Mongkok.
They also served some of the best egg tarts and po-lo-pau.
Make sure you drop by those family run bakery with rows and rows of freshly baked pastries.
If you haven't noticed by now, this post has an upside down story line. I started with dinner - claypot rice and cart noodles, then to snacks of street food, moving back up to breakfast, and now we're finishing with desert!
My favourite place for desert is none other than Hui Lau Shan. I asked one of our cab drives the meaning of the name. He said it's the name of the founder who originated from a poor suburb in Hong Kong. When it became very popular, he sold it to a conglomerate and now it's a massive chain all over Hong Kong.
There's even one in One Utama, but I found the selection there much less variety, the servings are smaller, and prices comparatively more expensive than those in Hong Kong. Boooooo...
We always order these few items:
|From top clockwise - kwai ling kou with honey, double boiled papaya with snow fungus, |
steamed milk custard with hasma
|red bean soup with gingko|
|Black sesame paste|
|Mango puree with mango cubes and aloe vera jelly|
Well, that just about round up most of the yummylicious food we have had in Hong Kong. I hope you have enjoyed reading them. If you've missed the earlier posts, here they are:
The Best Place to Shop for Kitchenware
Lunch at Super Star Seafood Restaurant
Top 10 "Must-Eat" in Hong Kong Part 2
Top 10 "Must-Eat" in Hong Kong Part 1
Keep an eye out for my next post - I will be writing about our lightning trip to Macao - more great food and tips on how to see Macau in 5 hours, amazing race style!