During one particularly tedious day at work, a message popped up on my phone saying “Hong Kong, this weekend, yes or no?” After glancing at the teetering stack of papers on my desk, my first impulse was to say no. Just then, my office phone rang, and in the process of picking it up, I (accidentally) knocked the entire stack onto the floor. Right then and there, I took that to be a sign from the universe, and messaged back “YES!” So that’s how this spontaneous trip to Hong Kong came to be.
It’s not really in my personality to take spur of the moment trips. During my previous trips, I would always make meticulous plans about what to do. This time, I just went with the flow, and was pleasantly surprised at how most of the trip unfolded. For this trip, I’ll do a quick series of posts on my favorite eats, and some travel tips I’ve picked up along the way, and what to do if you don’t feel like shopping.
I realized that whenever I go to Hong Kong, I tend to eat a lot of the same things, because I love them, and because they don’t taste the same anywhere else. I’ve included my top 4 food items, and number 5 as a bonus tip.
Number 1: Hong Kong Style Milk Tea
In my regular life, I’m strictly a coffee girl. I love my lattes strong, and I don’t add sugar unless I’m have a particularly lousy day. In Hong Kong, I follow up my morning cup of coffee, with their iced milk tea. It doesn’t stand on formality, and it’s usually served in a plastic glass, or a steel tumbler.
I drink it the way the way it’s served, with plenty of sweetened condensed milk, and with ice. (If you’ve ordered a drink in Taiwan, you know that there are endless options and combinations, 80% sugar, 50% sugar, 30% sugar, extra ice, chilled, but no ice, no ice. Don’t try that in Hong Kong). But beware, this iced tea is strong. I ordered one with an early dinner, and I didn’t sleep a wink that night. (Well, more on that in a later post)
Number 2: Pineapple bun with butter.
In order for this combination to make sense, the bun has to be toasty warm, and the slice of butter has to be icy cold. By the way, the pineapple part refers to the texture on top of the bun (which is bumpy, sort of like a pineapple’s exterior) There is no hint of pineapple, whatsoever, in the bread.
The top crust of the bread is crumbly with a soft, sweet crunch, and the inside is fluffy white bread. Tuck in a thick slice of freezing cold butter, and you’ve got a winning combination of hot, cold, sweet and salty. Since the butter slooooowly melts into the bread, you can really savor it.
Number 3: Mango and Pommelo tapioca.
I love the taste and texture of this dessert. I’ve tried to replicate it at home, and it’s impossible, by the way. I never get the combination of sweet and sour right, and I’ve just discovered, you can’t buy mangoes and pommelos at the same time in Taipei. But judging from the shocking yellow color, there must be some artificial color lurking in there. Nevertheless, it’s my favorite dessert, and I try to have it as many times as I can when I’m visiting.
Number 3: Sweet and Sour Pork
This may be a product of my American childhood, but I love, love, love sweet and sour dishes, especially fish or pork. And yes, there absolutely has to be pineapple chunks included. Everyone always rolls their eyes when I order this, but then I have to bat away their chopsticks once it arrives.
Sweet and sour pork in Hong Kong is deep fried, and then coated in a delightfully tangy sauce. It doesn’t usually come with rice, so you’ll have to order it separately. One other observation that I’ve made is that most restaurants in Hong Kong are generous with their rice portions. One bowl is more than enough for two people!
Number 4: Congee with Chinese doughnuts (yo-tiao)
This is a new discovery for me. I eat congee next to never in my everyday life, but this time, I’ll make sure to eat a bowl every time that I’m in Hong Kong.
The congee has been brewed until the rice gives up and succumbs to a creamy consistency. You can choose to have it plain, or there are at least 50 different types of additions and combinations you can choose to be included into the congee. (I chose fresh fish slices). Order a side of Chinese doughnuts to soak into the congree. Heaven.
Number 5: Marks and Spencer’s Food Hall
I always stop inside a Marks and Spencer’s and stock up on my favorites, like their English breakfast tea, and their extra strong breakfast blend. Their packaging has gotten so pretty over the years, so I often bring them back as gifts too.
I’m sure there are many other foods that should be added here~ I will happily be adding to this list after my future trips. Please let me know if you have suggestions too!
Meanwhile, you can read about my favorite Hong Kong breakfast from my previous trip here, or more about my kitchenware shopping adventures here and here. Stay tuned for my following posts about what to do in Hong Kong besides shop, and tips about traveling in Hong Kong.