OFFERING everything from Michelin-endorsed dim sum to juicy smoked goose served in world-renowned restaurants, Hong Kong is home to some of the finest culinary experiences on the planet.
But there are hundreds of underrated meals that aren’t going to have quite the same impact on your credit card balance. And many of them can be found in Hong Kong’s hawker markets, which are filled with cheap, delicious eats.
Queen Street Cooked Food Market
The Queen Street Cooked Food Market is the epitome of what a good hawker market should be.
Despite its relatively small size, this Sheung Wan space continues to lure local gluttons thanks to its diversity.
Tsang Kee is a Chiuchow family eatery that dishes out authentic gue (粿), a Cantonese rice snack with sweet or savory fillings. The eatery’s stir-fried rice cakes and pan-fried Chinese leek pockets also sell out fast.
Meanwhile, the market’s Chautari Restaurant is an authentic Indian and Nepali diner.
Then there’s Traditional Beijing Dumpling House, which makes some of the heartiest dumplings in town.
Chan Chun Kee specializes in pork offal soup, but its Cantonese stir-fry dishes make it a popular dinner option too.
If you fancy Southeast Asian food, there is the Thai & Vietnam Cuisine restaurant in the corner.
Wrapping up the list is ABC Kitchen, an unusual European bistro with red-and-white checkered tablecloths and a relatively opulent menu that includes items like pan-fried foie gras with apple sauce and roasted suckling pig served on verduras agridulces and mashed potatoes.
Tai Po Hui Market
If you want to venture far from the tourist trail, the historic district of Tai Po and its Tai Po Hui Market and Cooked Food Center in the New Territories is a good place to start.
With 260 grocery stores and about 40 hawker stalls in the cooked food center, Tai Po Hui is the largest food market in Hong Kong.
Dining at its cooked food center is an all-day affair. It begins before sunrise with cheap and rare old-school dim sum at Lam Kee.
For lunch, you can have a bowl of Shanghai-style crispy pork chop noodles at Tung Kee or wontons with bamboo noodles at Ping Kee.
In the evening, seafood aficionados can head to the massive fresh food market to buy the catches of the day and bring them up to one of the open-air stalls at the hawker center, where they’ll cook them for you. Ng Zai Kee and Miss Three Seafood Restaurant are both popular choices among locals.
Finally, make your day whole with a Hakka mocha (客家麻薯) from Sweet Bon Bon.
Tsun Yip Street Cooked Food Market
Kwun Tong, with its small cafes and independent shops all hidden in unassuming industrial buildings, is a paradise for culinary treasure hunters.
This east Kowloon food market is one of the best-value lunch options in the neighborhood, featuring dozens of restaurants spread over two floors that serve everything from Sichuan-style noodles to roast spring chicken.
Hoi You’s mouth-watering crispy “three yellow” chicken dish is one of the main draws of the market. Chuen Min is another popular option on Tsun Yip Street, serving regional Sichuan classics such as dan dan noodles and lesser-known dishes like burning noodles.
Yuen Long Kin Yip Street Cooked Food Center
A foodie haven in the north of Hong Kong, Yuen Long is a hub for both modern and traditional eateries.
Not only is the Kin Yip Street Cooked Food Center one of few semi-alfresco street restaurants, it’s also home to one of the best Cantonese roast meat restaurants in town.
The no-frills Tim Kee has long been attracting diners from near and far with its charcoal-fired Cantonese roasts. Its roast pork belly with crispy skin and flavorful char siu (叉烧) are two must-haves.
Unlike the honey-glazed versions that are more commonly found around town, Tim Kee’s meats are roasted and seasoned in a more traditional way, resulting in a rustic texture and a savory flavor.
Fa Yuen Street Market
After taking photos of the famed signs and market of Fa Yuen Street in Mong Kok, you can head into the Fa Yuen Street Municipal Building to refuel.
Among all the stalls in the market, Mui Kee Congee has the biggest following. This eatery stretches across a few stalls and displays a multilingual menu. Its specialty is fish broth-based fresh boiled congee.
A massive pot of rice congee is cooked in advance but each order is crafted individually. Once you order the type of congee you want, the chef will use a small pot to re-boil it and add the raw ingredients, simmering it till everything is cooked.
Aldrich Bay Market
While most of Hong Kong’s cooked food markets pride themselves on offering a wide range of food options, there’s only one reason to visit Aldrich Bay Market: claypot rice.
Located in a residential district on the eastern side of Hong Kong Island, Aldrich Bay in Shau Kee Wan doesn’t draw many tourists. As a result, this quiet market mostly serves locals looking for a sizzling-hot serving of claypot rice.
Shiu Wah Kitchen offers some classic claypot rice options like preserved Chinese sausages or sliced beef with egg as well as some unusual ones like geoducks and scallops.
The sweetened soy sauce, rich toppings and succulent yet distinct rice grains are all important elements of a good Cantonese rice casserole. But the star of every claypot rice serving should be its perfectly charred rice crust that sits in the bottom of the pot and easily peels off with a light nudge of your spoon. (SD-Agencies)
SOURCE: Shenzhen Daily