HONG KONG - Because this Asian beauty is one of the world’s great culinary cities, it’s important that visitors sample as many of Hong Kong’s traditional and neighbourhood restaurants as possible.
But where do you start? A good question considering most of Hong Kong’s world-renowned dim sum and wonton noodle houses are hidden in areas of the city where tourists rarely venture.
The answer: Join one of the city’s popular food tours.
There are several to choose from, but the best-organized is run by the Hong Kong Foodie Tour Co., which operates excursions in the Central and Sheung Wan districts, where many of the culinary delights for which this city has become famous originated.
So not only do you get to enjoy wonton soup in a restaurant where the Cantonese comfort food was created, but you also get to explore bustling neighbourhoods hidden deep in the belly of one of the world’s most congested and fast-paced cities. Plus, you get to meander through vibrant markets where everyday life is played out right in front of your eyes.
Each of the tours is led by an informative guide who feeds the foodie followers with lots of facts and details about the restaurants featured on the tour and the dishes they are famous for making.
Our culinary crusade starts with a visit to a wonton noodle shop on Queen’s Road in Central District where the owners have been making the savoury soup since they immigrated to Hong Kong from Guangzhou, the gigantic Cantonese city in nearby southern China.
Next stop is a barbecue restaurant located under the world’s longest escalator (it’s one of Hong Kong’s great tourist landmarks) where pigs roasted a golden brown are carved up into dishes that are some of the most sought-after by locals. According to our guide, BBQ pork is a staple of the Hong Kong diet.
“Hong Kong residents eat BBQ pork at least four times a week,” she informs us.
Another stop on our foodie tour is a stand where sugar cane juice is served. It’s a local sweet treat that dates back to Hong Kong’s earliest days.
Other stops include a tea shop and a famous dim sum restaurant where we enjoy shrimp dumplings (har gao), pork dumplings (siu mai) and deep-fried spring rolls (jaa chun guen).
Above: Dim Sum was introduced in mainland China but it was perfected in Hong Kong.
The last stop is a pastry shop in Sheung Wan where egg tarts known as daan taat disappear as fast as they arrive at our table.
The companies that run the food tours are very protective of the restaurants featured because “we take a lot of time discovering these hidden gems and if we publish their names, copycat companies will just make them a part of their tours,” says the guide.
If you want to sample a taste of real Hong Kong cuisine, get in touch with the Hong Kong Foodie Tour Co., by email at email@example.com or go to their website: www.hongkongfoodietours.com
/ For information on Hong Kong go to its award-winning tourism site at www.discoverhongkong.com/ca