Category Archives: Advice

The Ultimate Hong Kong Food Guide VI- Seafood

Part six of my Hong Kong Food Guide Series features a unique category of food that reminds me of home — seafood. Unlike other cuisine which uses strong flavor and spcies for cooking seafood, the type of seafood in southern China makes use of the cooking style- steaming- bringing out the naturally flavored freshness of fish, shrimps, and more.

Seafood need not be expensive either! In Hong Kong, I have discovered hidden restaurants which offer affordable seafood. For this Food Market I am introducing today,  we are looking at USD$20- $30 per person, which is a great deal for fresh, delicious seafood!

Other food guides bring you to Lamma Island, or Sai Kung. Today, I am bringing you to Ap Lei Chau, the second most desnsely populated island in the world. Earlier this month, MTR (metro, underground transit) expands its service to Apleichau.

Take MTR to either South Horizons or Lei Tung. Ap Lei Chau Municipal Building is about 15 minutes walk from either station.  Go upstairs and check in with restaurants to see if they are willing to cook the seafood you will be getting downstairs. I recommend 陳新記, but 珠記 seems to be a decent choice for good seafood.


Then you can go ahead and pick your favorite 🙂


People usually come to get seafood, vegetable, and meat for dinners at home


More seafood laying down in all baskets and plates


Some fish and prawns (Price are in HKD: 1USD to about 8 HKD)


Some fresh abalone. Mom trying to poke it for no reason at all …

Now you have bought all the seafood you want. You may take them upstairs and let them do the rest of the job!


Salt and pepper prawns


Steamed abalone with soy sauce and spring onoin


Battered deep friend oyster with salt


Fried Garlic 泥猛 Mottled Spinefoot

Every year I visit Hong Kong, this meal is a must-go place. This is more than just a stomach-satisfying meal. I almost have emotional attachment here. Eating seafood and drinking beer  with my parents, farewell with high school friends, family gatherings, and more.

A trip to Ap Lei Chau is not complete without taking SamPan (the classic 3-minute boat ride across the harbour between Apleichau and Aberdeen).

Before that, let’s take a stroll in Ap Lei Chau.

When you are in Apleichau, the obligatory boat ride

If you find something like this, you are right!

Make sure it says to Aberdeen

On the Aberdeen side, where Jumbo Floating Restaurant is located ( I have never tried it though)

Apleichau bridge :’) These days, this view looks completely different with MTR (metro) going all the way to South Horizons.

When you are in Aberdeen, don’t forget to get some dim sum 🙂

To my favorite tea house that I introduced in Part I !

That wraps up all the most authnetic and affordable hot dishes I love in Hong Kong. After you are full, after you take a walk, what do you need? Something sweet. Part VII, the last part of my Hong Kong Food Guide Series, I will introduce some traditional, creative, Hong Kong style dessert.


The Ultimate Hong Kong Food Guide V- Street Food

Temple Street- the signature of Hong Kong culture – you will find inexpensive products of all sort, fortune tellers and palm readers, people shouldering you when you try to squeeze in the middle isle in the above picture. And of course street food. The most authentic and everyday street snacks we love.

In this part of the food guide series, I will bring you on a trip to Mongkok, eastern Hong Kong Island, over Lion Rock to New Territories for different style of street food.

Fish ball and siu maai

Credit: 公子飯堂
Siu Maai- chewy, ball made of a combination of flour, fish and sometimes pork



Fish ball- what does that mean? What does meat ball mean?
Fish ball served with curry means delicious T.T


Hong Kong style egg waffle


Crispy on the outside, soft inside – bamb- mind blown


Where to eat siu maai, fish ball, and egg waffle?
Tai On Building
This is my favorite go-to place for street food. I go there whenever I visit Hong Kong!


Deep fried pig intestines
I know what you are thinking… who on earth eats things like that? But give it a try. It has some really chewy texture. With the mustard and sweet and sour plum sauce, it is a pleasant combination.  I personally don’t love it. If you try it, you can tell what are the craziest food you have ever eaten.

Where to eat?
18 Arthur Street, Yau Ma Tei

Snake soup
Eating snake is not uncommon for older generations.  It is believed that consuming snakes is good for your health in some way. I don’t know. It was the first time I have ever tried snake soup, and I like it. It almost tastes like chicken soup.

36-40 Temple Street, Yau Ma Tei

Temple street at night is full of stores!
You can also find a traditional desert Dragon Beard Candy or lung so tong! The outside are white delicate beard-like coconut coat with mashed peanuts inside. I don’t have an address for this, but if you wander long enough, you should be able to find some old man/ woman who sells this on Temple Street!

Wandering near Temple street at night with my buddies

Now after a short walk, your tummy is ready for more snacks! Try this house special noodles– they are udon-like, cooked with shredded mushroom and pork. You can choose how spicy you like. On your right is a roasted duck leg in shark fin soup. I liked the special noodles but was disappointed with the roasted ducks. My standard is that the skin of roasted ducks should be crispy! I recommend trying roasted duck in one of the barbacued meat restaurant I introduced in Part III.

27A Ning Po Street, Jordon


Now what, assorted sauce rice noodle rolls. is a comforting dish for me, and was introduced in the MICHELIN Guide. I grew up eating this for breakfast. This is what my mom got for me every weekend. The white ones are called rice noodles rolls, or cheung fun. This cheung fun is mixed with peanut sauce, Chinese sweet (e.g. hoi sin sauce), soy sauce, or an optional hot sauce.

On your left is a cup of hot soy bean milk. Also a classic drink for traditional Chinese style breakfast.

Where is it?

Hop Yik Tai (合益泰小食)
121 Kweilin Street, Sham Shui Po

Now what, let’s do a hike to Lion Rock! I will bring you to more restaurants!
Tsz Wan Shan –> Lion Rock –> Tai Wai
The Lion Rock Trail is a underrated hike, with absolutely stunning night view, comparable to the night view of The Peak. But it is a lot easier to navigate to The Peak. That said, you should explore the less traveled path 🙂

Here is a great website for hiking routes information in Hong Kong. And here’s the Lion Rock trail.

Amah Rock, which literally means
“the stone gazing out for her husband”
So apparently a long time ago, a man left his family for work and the Mom and their children waited for their Dad to come back… that’s about it about the tale

Once you hike down Lion Rock, you will be in Tai Wai. With more fish ball, siu mai, and more street food!!!


Tofu pudding topped with brown sugar- cold tofu pudding is refreshing! You will taste the natural sweetness from some freshly steamed tofu. A whole bucket of tofu are then sliced into thin layers and served in a bowl. It has really smooth texture. Brown sugar- personal preference. Kids usually throw A LOT of sugar.


Right beside the tofu pudding store, you should be able to see this! It has traditional Chinese medicine/drinks. Instead of buying water, trust me. Just pick one of these drinks.  You will love it. Examples are sunflower tea, sweet bamboo juice.


If you are more adventurous and curious to wander  out a little bit further from downtown, try out this place for siu mai in Yuen Long. It has huge, juicy mushroom siu mai!

Yuen Long Queen of Siu Maai
Shop 11B&C, G/F, Wang Fung Building, 14 Fau Tsoi Street, Yuen Long

Visiting Hong Kong can’t be complete without exploring some islands! Tai O, Lamma Island, and Cheung Chau are some popular ones. And of course you will find a lot of the above recommended street food!!

Dried barbecued squid in Tai O

Preserved shrimp paste fried rice with pork!

Part VI and VII will be seafood and dessert!

The Ultimate Hong Kong Food Guide II- Best Noodles

After reading Nomadic Matt’s post on his favorite Hong Kong restaurants last year, I decided to write  The Ultimate Hong Kong Food Guide Part 1 to complement what he found.  I introduced some classic  dim sum,  some delicious traditional Chinese style breakfast, and a few Hong Kong style pastries. In the coming parts, I will introduce foods and drinks you can find in tea restaurants, or cha chaan teng, street food, Siu Mei (a category of Chinese barbecued pork or meat), clay pots, seafood, and desserts!

Today, I will introduce a type of restaurant called or chaa chaan teng , which literally translated to “tea restaurant.” Don’t get mixed up with tea house, because they sound very similar. Tea House mainly serves dim sum, while tea restaurants serves a variety of dishes, noodles, drinks, sandwiches for an affordable price.  Tea restaurant originated when restaurant owners incorporated Western  eating culture such as drinking tea and eating cake into Chinese eating culture. They were also called “cheap Western food,” mainly targeted to local people.
(For more information, check out:

In a tea restaurant, you can find a variety of food, including noodles, sandwiches, bakeries I introduced last time,  different rice dishes I will introduce next time,  and more! In part 2, I will focus on noodles!

Common Types of Noodles in Hong Kong

1. Thin Noodles
Typical combination: thin noodles with wanton
Photo from:

2. Thick Noodles
Photo from:

3. Yi Min
Photo credit: 味滋廚房

4. Oil Noodles
Photo from:
This is a bowl of “cart noodles”- noodles with assorted toppings: fish balls, beef balls, wantons, beef stew, turnips, veges, etc. Traditionally, street vendors in Hong Kong sold noodles and toppings in a cart. That’s how they got their names.

5. Rice Noodles
Typical combination: rice noodles with fish balls and beef balls
Photo from:

6. Rice Vermicelli
Similar to rice noodles, but they are thin!SONY DSC

Photo from:

7. Mixian
Virtually made of similar ingredients like rice noodles and and rice vermicelli, but mixian have a very smooth texture.
Photo from:

8. Laai Fun
Similar to mixian, but they feel like slightly hollowed in the middle when you bite it. Also, typical combination is Barbecued duck laai fun!
Wow! WOW! Can you tell the skin is crispy?
Photo from:

9. Instant Ramen Noodles
The best Hong Kong-Japanese instant noodles ever!
Photo from:

 In a typical noodles place, you can (almost) always mix and match! You can pick one type of noodles of your choice, and 2-4 toppings, including but not limited to fish balls, beef balls, cuttlefish balls, beef stomach, fried fish skin (crispy!), pork knuckles, wanton, and pork blood jelly.

DSC05639Fish ball and fish slides rice noodles

DSC05636Sweet and hot sauce (grounded pork) lo mien (thin noodles)

DSC05642Braised Beef Tendon *v*

DSC05644Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh, yum!

Where to eat?

Cheung Fat Noodles (長發麵家), 1 Yiu Tung St, Sham Shui Po
Monday-Sunday 1100-0400

On the same street we were leaving Cheung Fat Noodles, I found another classic cha chaan teng. My dad told me this place looks exactly like what he used to see in his childhoods. So we decided to try out their milk tea! It can’t be wrong!  And they did not disappoint us!


DSC05664Left: coffee; right: milk tea
You can also order yuenyeung, which is half milk tea, half coffee. But my dad and I decided to make our own yuenyeung after we finished half of our cups:)

DSC05668At the very bottom: rice vermicelli, thin noodles, macaroni, mixian, instant noodles(+3 HKD), udon(+2HKD)

Recommendation: Pork liver noodles and grounded beef noodles!

Warning: this place isn’t the cleanest place. But the 9.5/10 milk tea definitely worths it!

Where is it?

So Kee (蘇記茶檔), 15-16 Yiu Tung St, Sham Shui Po
Monday- Sunday 24 hours (seriously?)


Noodles with Wanton and Beef Stew(雲吞牛坑腩麵)- Mix and match time: you can often choose among fish balls, cuttlefish balls, beef balls, and your choice of noodles: thin noodles, thick noodles, oil noodles, rice vermicelli, thick rice noodles. I took thin noodles in the above picture. Beef stew: tender boneless short rib with rich flavor.

Where to eat ?

Hop Hing Noodes Ka (合興粉麵家)
91 Shung Yan St, Kwun Tong
Monday-Sunday 0930-2300

Chiu Yuen Chiu Chau Noodle (潮苑正宗潮洲粉麵)
12 Wu Pak St, Aberdeen

Nam Kee Spring Roll Noodle Co. Ltd (南記粉麵)
208 Aberdeen Main Road, Aberdeen
Monday-Sunday 1000-2200

Nam Yu-Marinated Pork Knuckles (thin) Noodles– Braised and marinated with fermented  red bean curd, pork knuckles are tender, with mildly sweet taste. Served with thin noodles and some veges. They are known for their bamboo-pressed noodles! That means the noodles are supposed to be al dante, slightly chewy or in Chinese, 彈牙(teeth-bouncing).

Where is it?

Wing Wah Noodle Shop(永華麵家)
89 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai
Monday-Satuday 1200-0200

Wing Wah is a slightly older noodles shop. You may find some differences among these noodles places. They also have wanton, beef stew, traditional Chinese desserts, and more!


A dish that emerged in the past decade: Cheese Instant Ramen Noodles with Barbecue Pork Neck. You may not have tried pork neck: it is slightly chewy, but tender. With Hong Kong’s favorite ramen noodles and a generous amount of cheese, this dish will fill your stomach pretty quickly. (Don’t eat if you are on a diet..)

Where can I find it?

Sun Kee (新記芝士麵)
3 Burrows St, Wan Chai
Monday-Sunday 0730-2300

Cha Chaan teng is more than just about noodles! I’ll bring you to a few more cha chaan tengs with different snacks and drinks!

Exploring Hong Kong cuisine wouldn’t be complete without trying our rice dishes, clay pots, street food, seafood, and desserts, which are what I will be introducing in my next parts.

How to use OpenRice to find noodles and tea restaurant in Hong Kong?

OpenRice is YOUR GUIDE to finding Hong Kong restaurants!

Go to “Find” tab, pick Noodles/ Rice Noodles under “Dish,” and/or “Tea Restaurant” under “Restaurant Type.”

Feel free to ask me any questions in the comment below!

A little bit of Hong Kong in Oakland, USA

Authentic Cantonese Tea Restaurant found in Oakland! Absolute best quality per price in the WORLD (ok I meant the US) ! They have 99% authentic Cantonese dishes! (The missing 1% attributes to geographic location… Chinese restaurant in the US can’t be 100% the same… 😦 ) But expect absolute chaos, so-so customer service and cleaning towel dropping all over places…

$5.99 for a Cantonese dish of your choice! TOO many choices!!


Which dish do I recommend? Try everything!

Note: if there are no Broccoli chicken, Mongolian beef, and Orange chicken, there is a great chance it is an authentic Cantonese restaurant!   Nuanced difference I know… 🙂


Some even better Cantonese dishes! I would recommend trying these rather than those on the menu! My recommendation:

1) Top left:  Duck Stew with Lotus Root
2) First row, sixth card from left to right: Frog Legs Clay Pot
3) Second row, first card from left: Beef Stew with Chinese Turnip (classic!)
4) Second row, second card from left: Lotus Root with Pork Knuckles
5) Second row, fourth card from left:  Stewed Mutton with Soy Bean Skin (MAN!)
6) Second row, fifth card from left: XO(hot) Sauce Pork belly Stir Fry with Four Season Beans
7) Third row, second card from left: XO Sauce Beef Rips with Eggplants Clay Pot
8) Third row, third card from left: Ox Tail with Red Wine Pot (DANG!)
9) Third row, fourth card from left: Black Pepper with Soy Bean Skin and Pork Stomach

Conclusion: (it sounds Chinese people are trying to eat all sorts of animals…. ) but try them all! These are REAL Cantonese food!


What it is saying:
$5.99 each with a free hot drink
Add $0.99 for a FREE cold drink, THANKS:)
Chinese people are hilarious….


I decided to order a curry beef stew! Huge portion! 98% authentic!


Chinese eating culture at work: people would literally FIGHT to take the check


Old mama eating and drinking tea 🙂


What a shame… someone parked right in front on the restaurant …………….. who do you guess would do this?….


Just like that, I felt like I went home for an hour 🙂 with a mix of excitement, homesickness, and a lot of cultural identity paradox…..

The Ultimate Hong Kong Food Guide I – Dim Sum

I just returned Hong Kong after an 8-month trip in Latin America. I’ve read a lot of travel advice of where to eat and what to do. But I found out eventually you yourself are the person who discovers cool places to go or eat, that are not on any travel websites.  Those places where I love the most are those I accidentally ran into. I still remember the 3-dollar dinner with steak, avocado and rice in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. I still remember the extremely delicious  1-dollar fried fish with rice I had at a family-run restaurant in Cusco, Peru. I still remember eating fried lamb intestines in a traditional restaurant in Madrid.  Being the only foreigner in a restaurant can be both intimidating at the beginning.  But I know I was at the right place where local people go and was tasting the absolute most authentic food.

I want you to have this feeling! My goal is to give you another perspective of the best, most authentic Hong Kong-ese food that you may not have noticed.  I am a backpacker myself and want to eat cheap and good. I know exactly what backpackers are looking for.  In this series of Hong Kong Food Guide, I will take you beyond just eating dim-sum, beyond ordinary food guides and beyond overrated and overpriced restaurants. The diversity and the complexity of food in Hong Kong will blow your mind!  I will include specific food that you must try, some recommendations of my favorite restaurants, how they are called in Cantonese and some interesting facts or anything you should not miss.


Tea House (茶樓)


Tea House or chaa lau(茶樓) is one the most traditional types of restaurant you can find in Hong Kong. Or simply we call it “yum chaa”, which literally means “drink tea”. Originated from Canton province, chaa lau mainly serves tea and dim sum. Yum chaa is also essentially a family activity, where we always find ourselves eating with our relatives. In a typical chaa lau, you will mainly find grandfathers and grandmothers hanging out as early at 6 in the morning. Chaa lau is usually a morning and afternoon thing. Here are some of my favorite dim sums!

First thing first, what is dim sum? 

Dim sum (點心) is a category of food typically found in a tea house that are bite-sized and served in a steam bamboo basket. Dim sum varies and can be dumplings, buns or wraps with fillings inside.



Shrimp Dumpling or haa gau (蝦餃)

Not a single tea house does not serve haa gau! Its skin can be thick and thin, depending on different tea houses, but it should be chewy! If you can taste the freshness and the juicy meat, it is probably a great haa gaau!

Pork Dumpling or siu maai (燒賣)

Same for siu maai. You will always find it in a tea house! Siu Maai is always wrapped by a yellow skin, but the fillings inside vary. Typically, you will find a blend of pork and shrimp.

Barbecued Pork Bun or chaa siu bao (叉燒包)

Bun is a big thing in dim sum. There are a variety of buns in a Chinese tea house. The best and most common ones are barbecued pork buns. Mixed with grounded barbecued pork and oyster sauce, a good chaa siu bao should be hot and the filling should not be too dry. If you open the bun into half, those fillings should gently flowing.

Sticky rice bun or lor maai bao (檽米包)- Sticky rice wrapped by a thin yellow skin, also my favorite dim sum!


Malay Steamed Cake or ma laai go (馬拉榚)- Slightly sweet and fluffy cake, perfect dessert dim sum

Custard Bun, or naai wong bao (奶黃包)

Custard bun is definitely the best among the sweet buns. Like barbecued pork bun, the steaming hot sugary-salty lava inside the custard bun should be ready to erupt! But depending on tea houses, some may not be as fluid as others.


Steamed Rice with Chicken Feet (fung jau 鳳爪) and Pork Ribs (pai gwut排骨)

It may sound weird  that we eat chicken feet. But those seasoned chicken feet with pork ribs with steamed rice will change your mind.  Ask for extra soy sauce!

Rule of thumb: A great dim sum should be always steaming (freaking) hot! If it gets cooled down, or not hot enough, it is not the same thing… much like a not-so-hot shower. You can always request for a hotter basket of dim sum!

Also, don’t forget to order some tea! You will be asked what kind of tea you would like, and it costs about 1-2 USD/person. Try pu erh(普洱), iron buddha- tit goon yam(鐵觀音), jasmine tea- heung pin(香片) or dragon well tea- long jing(龍井).

  Where to eat them?
DSC05289Chau Kee Tea Restaurant (周記茶餐廳), 154 Aberdeen Main Road, Aberdeen. +852 2552 5260.  Breakfast and lunch only.
USD 2-3/ basket dim sum. 

Congee Restaurant or  juk dim (粥店)


Congee restaurants may not be adored by Hong Kong kids out there, but it remains my favorite. You may or may not have heard of congee. Someone call it porridge. It is essentially rice that is cooked in extra amount of water until thick and smooth. There are a few categories of congee. Cantonese congee, which I am introducing today, is cooked until the rice are perfectly soft. While bubbling hot, they are mixed with your choice of grounded pork, pork skin, grounded beef, squids, pork intestines, pork blood jelly and/ or thousand years eggs. A sprinkle of peanuts and spring onion or cilantro take it to another whole new level.


Left: Thousand Years Eggs and Grounded Beef Congee
or pei dan ngau yuk juk (皮蛋牛肉粥)

Right: Sampan Pork Blood Jelly Congee
or teng zai ju hung juk (艇仔豬紅粥)


Sesame ball or jin dui(煎堆) – a chewy, golden-yellow, deep-fried, center-hollowed dough with sesame seeds coated on the outside

Rice rolls or cheung fun(腸粉)–  a smooth and tender strip of rice noodle rolls, better with a lot of soy sauce! It comes plain or with fillings such as barbecued pork, dried shrimps and spring onion, grounded beef or vegetables.

 Fried dough sticks or yau zha kwai (油炸鬼) sometimes called youtiao- a long, crispy and deep-fried dough

Dough stick wrap or zha leung(炸兩)- oh boy, the perfect baby of fried dough sticks and rice rolls

Dough stick rolls with dried shrimps or haa mai zha leung guen(蝦米炸兩卷)– A blend of smoothness and crispiness in a bite, with flavor-enhancing dried shrimp, spring onion and soy sauce and  your choice of sweet and spicy sauce or both.

They should be smooth in the outside and crunchy in the inside. Mediocre dough stick rolls have soaked and non-crunchy fried dough stick inside. You don’t want that!

DSC05562Worth trying: soy sauce fried noodles or chau min(炒麵)

Where to eat them?

In Hong Kong, you will easily find (Wet)Market and Cooked Food Center easily with congee restaurants and other great authentic restaurants.  I recommend checking out the Market and Cooked Food Centre in Java Road in North Point, Lockhart Road in Wan Chai and Sheung Wan. But the restaurant I am introducing today is a little bit out of center in Chai Wan, which is about only 20 minutes ride by MTR(metro). But please go there…they have perfect dough stick rolls!!


金記粥麵(Kam Kee Congee and Noodles), Yue Wan Market and Cooked Food Center 1/F Shop 11, Chai Wan. 33 Yee Fung Street. 7am-1pm. Congee, Fried dough rolls- USD 2.5
Fried noodles, rice rolls- USD 1.5-2 

Bakery/ Pastry



Pineapple bun or bor lor bao(菠蘿包)

I dare to say every single person in Hong Kong has tried this bun before! It is that good! It is named by its sweet and crunchy skin that resembles the skin of pineapple (I might be wrong but that is just my guess…)  USD 0.5-1/piece

Variation: pineapple bun with butter or bor lor yau (菠蘿油 ) (Oh yeah!) Bor lor yau can be found in a bakery or a cha chaan teng (tea restaurant- another category of restaurant that I will introduce later!)


Cocktail bun or gaai mei bao (雞尾包)-  probably the second most common pastry you can find in a bakery-  it has a bunch of yellowish and sweet fillings inside. I always kill a cocktail bun in 3 seconds.
USD 0.5-1/piece


Egg tarts or daan tart(蛋撻)

Another must-eat pastry when you visit Hong Kong- an oven-baked pastry with eggs and evaporated milk poured inside a flaky or crunchy cookie crust
USD 0.5-1 /piece

I like both types of crusts! You should try both!

DSC05535 I couldn’t resist biting it before I took this picture of a cookie-crust egg tart…

Where to eat them?

Generally, take a stroll anywhere but Central and Tsim Sha Shui and you should be able to find a bakery shop in Hong Kong! They literally exist in anywhere! I recommend finding them in Aberdeen, Sheung Wan, Wan Chai and Mongkok. Or ask a random person that you are searching for pineapple bun. Any single person should be able to point you to a bakery nearby!

Part II is coming!