Travelling around Europe has never made me realize that food is an important part of the travel because in the old continent we give less importance to it. An expection would be Italy as many people come here, besides for visiting old cities and going to the beaches, for our culinary heritage. I am not saying other european countries do not have a food culture but just they give less importance to it and boost other things. For example Stockholm, as well as Berlin, is a great place to visit museums but much less when it comes to food since it is very expensive (less in Berlin, though). On the other hand Asia is totally different, food comes before anything else: when Asians visit a place, it is mandatory for them to taste the local specialties. I realized this after travelling with my boyfriend: while when I travel, I explore around trying to find out historical relics, he hunts down some restaurants to try authentic food of the area. I think Hong Kong is a great place as a starting point for understanding better the importance of the food when travelling since here it plays an important role.
In Hong Kong street food is a cult, they love it to the extent that the lastest protest involved street vendors. Some street vendors in Mongkok were selling illegaly, without the permission from the government, but my boyfriend told me this has always happened and nobody has ever laid a hand on them since they just sell some food and it is already part of the lifestyle there since ages but recently China is tighting its control over Hong Kong so police attacked them and locals counterattacked to defend their food providers. Anyway back to food, while wandering around, you will smell food you have never smelled before and see things that no humans can imagine ahaha
My score 10/10
These were my favourite in Hong Kong, everytime I saw a stand selling yellow things, I approached and bought the Siu Mai <3 First of all I must say that two kinds of Siu Mai exist: one is sold by the street vendors, and one is served in the dim sum restaurant. The differences? The Dim Sum one is bigger and made with pork – sometimes even with mushrooms – and with some little shrimps eggs on top (maybe fake) or inside. On the other hand, the street version is supposed to be made with a paste of fish thus called “fish siu mai” but nowadays they are mainly made with wheat. Both of these kinds are covered with yellow dumpling skin, which is always made by using wheat and both are steamed. When you buy, be sure to add soy sauce because the taste is better but, of course, it is up to you. The soy sauce used for Siu Mai is not the normal one you usually use in the restaurants due to its slightly thicker and sweeter taste.
My score 10/10
Fishballs are normally sold along with Siu Mai, so when you see Siu Mai, be sure you will find fishballs too. They are supposed to be made with fish paste, just like Siu Mai, and they are fried – that is why they have that brownish colour. Even though, as I have said before, nowadays they are made with wheat. There are two kinds of fishballs: one is with curry sauce and one is without. You can even dip them in the soy sauce. The fishballs are served in a skewer, as well as Siu Mai, and before being served, they are usually kept in a boiling broth and fried before they are moved to the streets to be sold.
My score 8/10
Fried dumpling is one of the possible, although not the most typical, street food you can see being sold. Simply put it is just a chinese dumpling (jiaozi) – like the ones you eat at the chinese restaurant – with meat and veggies inside and, of course, as the name already points out, it is fried.
Fake Shark Fin:
Unfortunately I could not taste
It is an imitation of the real and most expensive shark fin soups that you usually do not find from street vendors. The fake one is a thick broth made with slices of chicken, some asian mushroom and vermicelli.
My score 9/10
In Asian countries bread and pastries are not very popular like in Europe but they do have them, although in their style 😉 You find the egg tarts in the traditional Hong Kong bakery shops, which were supposed to sell western pastries and bread but throughout the time developed into this fusion style. They are very similar to the portuguese pastel de nata: they are custard tarts and, of course, made with egg, milk and sugar. They are very cheap and best eaten when they are freshly baked.
My score 5/10
This is the weirdest drink I have ever drunk in my whole life! It is originally from Taiwan so it is not a Hong Kong product but worth mentioning because it is massive popular there. Most of them are made by these chain stores that have the main company in Taiwan so the taste is quite authentic and can be found anywhere. They are basically milk tea – another very popular drink in Hong Kong – in a plastic bottle and they are called Bubble Tea because when you suck it, you can feel big bubbles in your mouth; they are tapioca balls, which is a kind of asian milk shake. It is the weirdest feeling ever ahaha You choose the tea base you want, then add bubble or fruits and you can decide how sweet you want it to be (5 levels to choose from) and if you want ice (again 5 levels).
I did not have the courage to try
I must start with saying that Tofu is not one of my favourite asian food so I already hate it in its original taste ahah Tofu originally only has a very slight tofu taste, which you would even say it is tasteless. In order to make the stinky tofu, you have to ferment the tofu. Every shop has their own recipe so everywhere they are different but the essential feature of this food is that they all make a strong smell…something like when you poo xD They are usually served with a secret sauce of the shop – I would be careful if I was you, I do not trust much this secret sauce 😉
My boyfriend scared me so I did not try
My boyfriend insisted to say that you should not eat ice creams from the carts that go around playing a creepy amusement park music because it makes you get diarrhea. I do not know whether it is true or not but if you are brave enough to try, let me know if you really get this famous diarrhea my boyfriend was talking about ahah
I hate fish…
I hate everything that has something to do with seafood and fish so I would never suggest it to anybody but my boyfriend pointed out it is tasty and it is still a streetfood. It is basically a normal broth with an octopus so nothing special but still very tasty (quote from my boyfriend)
Next time I have to try!
It is a hot thick jelly of black colour full of frangrance of chinese medicines. It is a bit more expensive since it is a kind of chinese medicine and always according to their medical knowledge, this jelly is known for “cooling down” the body and good for health. The jelly itself does not have sugar but you can add it yourself as much as you want. It is traditionally made from the shells of the turtles and for Hong Kongers it is a sort of dessert.
Have you ever tried some of this street food? Did you like? Have you tried more bizzare food? Or you know some more local specialties? Do not hesitate to comment 😉 And also a big thank to my boyfriend to helped me much write thid article, without his knowledge I would not have been able to do it ahah