Memoirs to the Motherland // DIY Hong Kong Food Tour

Love for gastronomic delights is in my blood. Despite living across the world from each other, my cousins and I always have at least one thing in common— a desire to live to eat and enjoy all the epicurean delights the world has to offer. And of course, there’s no better place than Hong Kong to bond over a love of food. One night, my cousin J took us on a DIY food tour. We traversed all over Kowloon, going from a craft beer place, to street food, to a classic dessert cafe. In a span of five hours, we made five different stops and it was glorious. I must warn you, do not try this at home (without practice, at least).

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We began at TAP, which is short for The Ale Project. Unlike here in the states, craft beer is still new and hasn’t quite taken off yet. However, there is a small movement brewing, and there are a few spots where you can get uniquely brewed beer made in Hong Kong. With over 14 beers on top and more bottled, the casual vibe and local feel of TAP reminded me of San Francisco.

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A got a sampler of all their local beers, with 1842 Island being his favorite. Not only do they have local beers, they also have a truly unique fusion menu. First off, the Toasted Gai (ie toasted chicken), their version of fried chicken & waffles. Crispy fried chicken sat on thick sliced sourdough french toast with melted kaya butter and malted barley syrup drizzled on top. It lived up to the expectations. Perfectly crisp chicken, thick, toasted bread with a soft inside, and lots of butter.

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We also tried the toast sampler (I know right, more bread?!), where I saw Lap Cheong (Chinese sausage) Schmear and knew I had to try it. Mind blown! The sampler came with Fancy Toast, which had apricot butter, melted brie, local honey, fresh pepper, the Pintxo de Antxoa, which has boquerones in vinegar, romesco, green olive relish, and the Lap Cheong Schmear toast, which featured house made pâté with local duck liver and pork lap cheong, crispy shallots, chives.

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They were all very good. The lap cheong toast tasted very much like pate, and had a strong lap cheong flavor which is what I was looking for. The Fancy Toast was fantastic, and reminiscent of what I would find on a cheese platter in the states. While I also enjoyed the Pintxo de Antxoa, I would not say it’s for everyone.

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Then… We moved on to try some street food. These are not for the faint of heart, but a must-try for those adventurous eaters.  Squid, heart, liver, gizzard, intestine… It is definitely not something you’d see in the US. Spicy mustard is drizzled on top and adds a nice kick to the skewers. It was M’s favorite food during the trip.

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Nearby was an herbal soup stand, where each bowl is chock full of Chinese herbs and medicines to promote a healthy body.

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After the “appetizers”, we went to Eat Chinese Restaurant for a full-on meal. How fitting. There we finally got our fix of classic Chinese BBQ, clay pots, and some much-needed vegetables.

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I’m literally getting full writing this. Then we went to a dai pai dong, which was on my list to stop by. These food stalls are a thing of the past, and give truly authentic experiences of outdoor eating. It’s like a food truck before food trucks were cool.

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長發麵家 is famous for their soy sauce and pig lard noodles. Yup. Simple yet decadent, it’s a stripped-down Hong Kong meal at its best.

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Finally, dessert at Golden Hall Dessert. We had these mochis I’ve never tried before- it tasted like maltesers wrapped in a mochi layer. Soft and chewy on the outside, crunch on the inside.

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Of course, we couldn’t miss out on a classic mango coconut sago dish. If you haven’t heard of sago, it’s similar to tiny tapiocas (but better in my opinion). It’s like a warm dessert soup with mango, tapioca and rich coconut.

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And there you have it! I would highly encourage doing your own DIY food tours. It’s a great way to explore the city and try lots of different foods. If you’re heading there, I would recommend downloading the OpenRice app, the “Yelp” of Hong Kong and Macau. If you’re interested in seeing what I bookmarked and where I went, my OpenRice profile can be found here.

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