I knew that while in Hong Kong I wanted to eat, and I wanted to eat well!
This is a city that is known for its great food joints and it seems that wherever I turned there were Michelin stars, TripAdvisor reviews, and posters with Anthony Bourdain’s personal recommendations staring at me in the face. So where was a hungry girl to start?
That’s where the Hong Kong Foodie Tasting Tours came into play. They promised to show me around Central and Sheung Wan (Hong Kong’s financial district) while uncovering some of the best family-run restaurants and eateries along the way. Little did I know that I would be setting out on a four hour long eating adventure that would have me discovering local foods and learning about Hong Kong through the culinary arts.
Could there be a better combination?
So without further ado, let me introduce you to some of the foods I got to sample:
Our first stop of the day was at a little underground restaurant that strictly specializes in noodles. Our table of four was brought steaming bowls of noodle soup with generous-sized pork wontons. The broth was very flavourful, but a little spoonful of vinegar along with a scoop of hot sauce pushed it up a notch. This dish was the perfect way to kick off the tour on a rainy day, plus the cozy setting gave the participants a chance to get to know each other a little better.
Barbecued Pork Rice
The second stop along the way was at a small local shop that specialized in roasted meats. Ducks, geese, chickens, and even a pig hung from the windows while inside the shop keeper and his friends were in the middle of a game of cards.
It was the kind of place that you could easily miss at first glance (yes, in spite of the meat dangling from the window), but once I had a taste of their barbecue pork rice, I knew why this was a stop on the itinerary. The pork had been roasted to perfection and it was covered in a sweet, honey-like glaze. Our guide Silvana told us that apparently some locals complain if the pork doesn’t have enough fat, but I was more than happy with my lean cuts of meat.
Sugar Cane Juice
All the sugar cane juice I have tried in the past has been freshly pressed, however, during this tour I got to try something that was a little bit different. We visited a family run shop that presses its own juice, however, they boil their sugar cane before pressing it. It sounds like such a small step, but the result was a sweet yet refined flavour that was incredibly refreshing.
One of the most interesting stops along our food tasting tour was a tea shop where we had the opportunity to learn about different types of tea. Here we met Ivan, a man who spent four years studying all there is to know about teas! That’s commitment.
All I can say is that I now view tea making as both an art and a science; there are so many considerations to make before you pour a cup – water temperature (lower for green teas, higher for black teas), how long you let it sit, the way you hold the cup.
I was first introduced to dim sum when I started travelling through Melaka, Malaysia. As you may already know, Sam used to wake me up before the sun had even risen and drag me out of bed in order to get the freshest dim sum possible. Keep in mind most Chinese tea houses in Malaysia open their doors at five in the morning…
Coming to Hong Kong, it was interesting to see the difference in the way dim sum is served. While in Malaysia most Chinese tea houses come around with push-carts filled with steaming baskets of dumplings, in Hong Kong the process was a bit more efficient. Because space is very limited here, restaurants cannot afford to push a cart from table to table; instead we were given a slip of paper to check off items from the menu.
During this food tour we got to try some of my personal favourites like the shrimp dumplings (har gao), as well as some new favourites like the crispy BBQ pork bun (char siu bao) and pork dumplings (siu mai).
I had already sampled the egg tarts during my visit to Macau the week prior, however, I soon learned that there is a difference between the Macanese egg tarts and those you can find in Hong Kong. While the Macanese egg tarts were influenced by the Portuguese who brought the recipe over all the way from the Jeronimos monastery in Belem, the egg tarts in Hong Kong were influenced by the British custard tart. Of course over the years these recipes continued to evolve and be influenced by each other…
I can’t say my taste buds were able to detect the difference between the egg tarts I ate in Hong Kong and those I had in Macau, but regardless, they were both delicious. And even if egg tarts are not your thing, there were still plenty of other treats to choose from!
I loved the tour! Yes, I enjoyed eating my way around Hong Kong, but this turned out to be so much more than just a food tour. Our guide Silvana was extremely knowledgeable about her hometown and this turned out to be a lesson in Hong Kong’s history, architecture, and culinary arts. I enjoyed the little snippets of information we got at every restaurant, street corner, and attraction along the way – it really helped paint a better picture of the city.
A big thank you to the Hong Kong Foodie Tasting Tours for showing us the best eats in their city, and to our very fun guide Silvana who taught us all about the local cuisine while pointing out great spots to try out!
I had those pork buns too and they were the best thing of my life… yum!
Aren’t they amazing? I really liked the sweet glazing on the outside. Yum!
When we went to Hong Kong, we tried some egg-waffles. I know I’m absolutely butchering the name, but it looked like sugary spheres shaped as a waffle. It was sooo good. =) And then there was the milk tea. It was served hot and very strong. But I LOVED it. =)
Time for some dim sum!
I haven’t tried the waffles yet. I’ve been too busy stuffing myself with egg tarts and coconut tarts, but I’ll see if I can spot those. 😉
Wow looks like a lush tour! & that egg tart looks to die for. x
It was! I wasn’t expecting to spend 4 hours just eating! It’s definitely the kind of thing you want to do on an empty stomach. 🙂
It is a good thing that you two are in a walking city. It seems like a endless buffet of creative delicacy’s ! So…I’m guessing all diets are off now !!
Is there a “food-court” culture in Hongkong? It’s quite common in Singapore so I am quite sure Hongkong won’t be much different. The bbq pork with rice looks AMAZING. Was it as tasty?
The best post to read right before dinner 🙂
I’m not sure about the ‘food-court’ culture. Most of the places I have been eating at are little family owned shops, but that being said, I’m sure plenty of people just swing through a food court at the mall to grab a quick bite. I’m yet to see the interior of a mall in Hong Kong!
This tour sounds AWESOME. I really shouldn’t read posts like these before lunch. You’re killing me. I’m a big fan of dim sum or “little morsels of heaven” as my friend calls them. Great post!
Happy travels 🙂
Haha, that’s a nice way to refer to them. 😉
Yum!! Food tours I find are really great for the most part. This made me pine for dim sum….one of my faves!
Yes! I really enjoy food tours AND cooking classes. 🙂
I visit Hong Kong every 2-3 weeks to chill out and have some nice food. Tried all of the dishes you mentioned already. My very favourite one is Barbecued Pork Rice although I am not the biggest fan of meat. I also indulge myself in having a few egg tarts with a nice milk tea with bubbles 🙂
I seriously love this city and it’s food! That’s so great that you live so close to Hong Kong that you can come in for a little day trip every once in a while. 🙂
Bookmarking this for when I hopefully make it to Hong Kong in Spring, it all sounds amazing!
I hope you get to visit! This has been such a fun place, not only is the food amazing but it’s also a really lively city with so much going on. 🙂
Never been to Hong Kong but this is making me want to go!
Now that’s a tour to take repeatedly – Yum!
Dim sum is always fun – each choice is like a little gift.
I like the way you describe it. 🙂 Each dumpling is a little surprise!
I’ve already eaten lunch but this definitely made me hungry again!
Hong Kong for dinner? 😉
The ONE thing I felt like we missed out on in our Chicago Chinatown tour is noodles – those look incredible!
Ahh this looks amazing! This is what I want to do if I ever make it to Hong Kong. Eat all the delicious food. Those wonton noodles need to be in my hands right now! I’ll need to come back to this post if I ever plan a trip to Hong Kong.
Yum! I took their other tour in Kowloon, which was super fun, but it looks like you got to try a wider array of tasty treats. I’m drooling over that barbecue pork rice!
Glad you guys got to take part in a Foodie tour! Johnny and I loved them.
After having that sugar cane juice, I started going crazy trying sugar cane at every place I could find near my home. I found myself going back to that place (they also have one in Wan Chai) because all the others just don’t taste as good. It’s crazy how much of a difference that one step makes!
I didn’t realize that sugar cane juice was so popular over here! That’s good news! 😉
Sounds like a great tour Audrey! I like the look of the egg tarts. Awesome photos too by the way.
I love the pic of the Wonton Noodles.
They were tasty too. 😉
Oh my! That all looks so delicious! How could you possibly eat all that in one day? You should come to Shanghai and try some of the stuff the city has to offer. You’ll be glad to know that egg tarts are abundant in the city. 🙂
I’m usually not a big fan of Cantonese food (too much meat), I’m more into Northern Chinese cuisine. But I love bakeries in Hong Kong (yes, egg tarts and coconut bread, yummy!) and dim sum. And anything with noddles 🙂
I am not planning any visits to Asia at this time, but have to remember all the dishes you’ve mentioned here, Audrey 🙂 Bookmarked 😉
All the food looks so delicious! It looks like you had a wonderful time in Hong Kong!
Looks delicious! I actually didn’t know food tours were even a thing until I started travel blogging and reading other travel blogs…this is about the 3rd food tour post I’ve read now. I’m thinking about trying one soon (in Chicago) and my biggest fear is actually getting too full to enjoy it lol. I’m a skinny girl who usually can’t finish meals at restaurants, buffets are a waste of money for me, etc. Any tips on pacing yourself so you enjoy the entire tour?
looks like I’m going to have a food tour in February!! Going to HK for the next Chinese New Year and I can’t wait to try the local food. Last time we went, Cafe de Coral was the most local I could get. That was when I wasn’t so into traveling yet.
Thanks for sharing!
I love food tours. I recently did one in Prague and it was a great way to learn my way around the city and about the city’s recent history.
This sounds like an amazing afternoon for foodies and non-foodies alike! Everything looks divine and it’s such a pleasure to try new foods and flavours as you travel, though I loved that you also mentioned how much you learned about Hong Kong’s history and architecture as well as their fabulous culinary artistry! Delicious way to spend a day!
Aww, that brings back memories. Went to HK for my honeymoon and I was basically stuffing my face with dim sums all day long.
Isn’t it such a great city to just eat? I love all the variety here.
I still regret skipping Hong Kong. Dim Sum is like my favorite food in the whole world (I say this a lot but with Dim Sum I’m serious. I don’t joke around when it comes to Dim Sum).
Our initial plan was to tour around China, go to Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and than back to China to see the coast. But, as you might know, things never go as planned when you’re traveling. Sometimes I tear up a bit when I think about all the good Dim Sum I missed out on. The tour also looks great by the way.
Eating dim sum in China is pretty much my top dream right now. Sad? Don’t care.
Looks so delicious! My roots are in Hong Kong, and I grew up eating all these delicious foods. But I haven’t had them in Hong Kong though! I think its definitely time to eat my way around the city.
Sounds right up my street! We’ll definitely be checking that out when we make it to Hong Kong.
We did a HK foodie tour through Sham Shui Po and absolutely loved it. Not only was the food incredible but Silvana’s knowledge and frinedliness really made it for us. I’m glad you enjoyed it as much as we did! There’s so much good food in HK we probably ate our own body weight in Dim Sum :-p
That’s so cool that you guys took a tour through the same company! I wanted to take their other tour as well (I think that one focuses more on breakfast foods?), but I ended up running out of time.
You’ve made me so hungry with this post. Why did I have to look at it before I have had dinner? Oh, why?
It sounds like a great tour, though. I love when you can get a good sense of the city from a guide – and eat the whole time!! 🙂
Great post. I have to admit I am a sucker for steamed buns and dim sum, but have you tried the spies of Sichuan?
I didn’t make it as far as Sichuan this time around, but hopefully in the future. 🙂
Yum! Don’t you love doing “research” for blog posts?! 🙂
A foodie tour is brilliant — every city should do these! I’m heading over there in a month and will check them out. These places look great!
That’s a lot of food in 4-hours. Everything looks so tasty! Just wondering, any particular favorites for you?
The crispy BBQ pork buns were one of my favourites! They became a dietary staple the rest of my time in Hong Kong. I also really enjoyed the shrimp dumplings and egg tarts for dessert. 😉
No restaurant names? 🙁
If I shared all the restaurant names then I’d be putting the Foodie Tours group out of business because there’d be no need for a local guide. 😉 You can find most of these foods at local restaurants across the city, however, I think their food tour is really worth doing because you learn so much about the city’s history and about the establishments that you visit.
Thank you, Audrey! I was looking for a foodie tour for my trip in November, and this one sounds perfect!
Brings back memories of Hong Kong!! Every time I go, I make sure to visit Tim Ho Wan for their crispy pork buns. Perfect combination of sweet and salty