Being born in Toronto, and raised in Hong Kong has exposed me through a myriad of experiences. I grew up eating international cuisines from Thai, Japanese, Indian, Malaysian to English, Irish and American fare. My dad always told me, you need to try everything at least once before you can form an opinion of whether you like it or not. That is how my love affair for eating began.
There are certain things I need to indulge in when I return to my second home. Mom and my late Ahboo (grandma in Shanghainese) always knows to keep Yakult in the fridge. It is this yogurt like bacterial drink that is good for you. I always like to inhale the whole pack of 5 in one sitting.
Another one of my favourite places in Hong Kong is called Hui Lau Shan. I adore their mango slushies, because it comes with fresh mango and aloe. It is so deliciously divine, I go there 3x in one trip (sometimes more). There are other fruity selections in this place, I just get so obsessed with one, it’s hard for me to deviate.
Another one of my quirky obsessions is the apple pie in McDonald’s. I know…. Weird!! But it is because it’s deep fried. When you take a bite into it, it has that crunchy crispy thin pie crust, and the apple gooey stuff oozing out. It makes me giddy inside.
Tea time is something I often do when I go back to HK. I love going to a “cha chan teng” (tea shop) and ordering the milk tea with a “lai yau do see” (condensed milk toast). You see, what HK is known for is the way they make the tea. It is put in something similar to nylons and it steeps in steaming hot water to give it a really strong taste. The toast is very thick, slathered in butter and drizzled in condensed milk.
A slam dunk favourite of mine is the mantis shrimp. In Chinese we call it “lai liu ha” aka the Peeing Shrimp. Who knows why it is named that.. but it has lots of succulent meat in the middle, and if you are skilled, you can peel off the shell in one go (like a bandaid). Except the ridges can make it quite difficult. Most Hong Kong restaurant will cook it with red pepper, lots of garlic, ginger, black pepper, red chili powder, spring onion = heaven in your mouth.
Another must HAVE is a comfort food of mine. Assorted congee in the random tiny hole in walls in Mong Kok. Or anywhere that comes highly recommended. I love this because the chef will put the raw meats / seafood / condiments on the bottom of the bowl, and slosh in the extremely HOT congee so it cooks it. This is home, and there is sometimes only one home when it comes to cheap and delicious eats.
This is the food that rocks my world. The best way to find these restaurants are by talking to people. A lot of the time, I wander into a random place and that is how a hidden gem is found. A lot of these mom and pop shops won’t have a website. Enjoy the wonderful streets of Hong Kong, and eat your way through it. I know you could never starve there.