Top 7 Hong Kong dishes that will make you WOW
Talking about Hongkong's cuisines, CNN says: "The city is home to some of the most food-obsessed people in the world and produces an extraordinary array of food items ranging from the stubbornly traditional to unselfconscious fusion foods, each more drool-worthy than the next."
1. Stinky tofu
Stinky Taufu (photo: Li Jin)
No doubt you will have heard or read about the stench emanating from one of the strangest foods to come out of this part of the world.
But nothing can really prepare you for the stink. Smelly tofu, like durian, is one of Asia's most iconic "weird foods."
The stench is a result of fermentation of the tofu and it is such an overpowering smell you'll be hard-pressed to shake it off for months to come. But Hong Kongers really love that stink. Well, most Hong Kongers.
In Guangdong culture, people like using the word "phoenix" to represent chicken. The other reason probably is in Chinese pronunciation, phoenix (feng) sounds more beautiful to Chinese than chicken (ji).
Though foreigners might feel a bit apprehensive when hearing its name, Chinese people, especially the older generation, are fond of phoenix talons. It’s important to cut off all the nails of the chicken feet before frying them.
Hongkong's chicken feet (source: Alpha/Flick/CNN)
The fried chicken feet are placed on a small plate, and placed into a bamboo steamer. After frying and steaming, chicken feet become very soft and you can easily chew the bones. Phoenix talons can be served inpidually as well as with pork ribs and rice.
So they look awful, but once you get over that, what is there not to love about chicken feet?
Just like head cheese or coq au vin, Cantonese-style chicken feet are a perfect marriage of thrift and culinary genius. Euphemized as "phoenix talons" in Chinese, chicken feet are typically deep fried then stewed in a black bean sauce.
The cartilage softens to a melt-in-the-mouth consistency and great practice is needed to spit out the little bones in that dainty manner perfected by grandmas in dim sum restaurants across town.
Lei Garden skips the deep-frying and stews their chicken feet in abalone sauce, resulting in a wholesome, more texturized Hong Kong food treat.
Consuming phoenix talons is good for skin and bone, because they contain much collagen and calcium. Women who are looking for better skin should eat more.
3. Pineapple Bread
Pineapple Bread is a sweet bread originating in Hong Kong, very popular, and found in nearly every bakery.
Pineapple Bread (source: Yum of China)
The surface of the bread looks a pineapple, hence the name, but the traditional variety doesn't actually contain pineapple. A mixture of sugar, eggs, flour, and lard form a crisp surface with soft bread underneath, and it's best eaten when hot.
Hong Kongers eat millions of these compressed fish-meat snacks every day. And with a stall stewing fishball skewers in almost every 7-Eleven in the city, they're as ubiquitous and as accessible as that other classic Hong Kong snack, siu mai dumplings.
Everyone has their own favorite fishball joint, and ours is Tung Tat for their firmness and intense curry flavor.
4. Fish Balls
Fish balls are a typical Hong Kong snack, made of fish meat and can be pided into two varieties.
One is the well-known cooked food sold by street venders. Its history can be tracked back to the 1950s. This type of fish balls are made of fried fish meat. Food stalls often sell them with spicy or sweet sauces.
Fish ball (source: Master Chef)
The other kind is sold uncooked and usually served as an important ingredient of hot pot, or cooked with noodles in hot soup. The price is higher and taste different from the first type. These are available in traditional markets and super markets.
According to a statistic in 2002, the daily average consumption of fish balls in Hong Kong is 55 metric tons (about 3.75 million fish balls).
5. Five-layer roast pork
A great piece of "siu yuk" should have a top layer of crackling skin, then alternating slivers of fat with moist meat, and a final salty-spiced layer at the bottom.
Euphemized as five-layer meat, the morsels are served with sharp yellow mustard to cap off an overwhelming experience of textures and flavors all rendered from a humble slice of pork belly.
6. Sweet and sour pork
No, it isn't just for gwailos. Sweet and sour pork, called "gu lo yuk," is also a comfort food craved by Hong Kongers. The Cantonese original is made with vinegar, preserved plums and hawthorn candy for a nearly scarlet color and that sweet-sour tang. Nowadays, it's mostly made with ketchup and coloring.
7. Egg tart
Like many classic Hong Kong food dishes, the origins of the egg tart are a bit murky, but it seems likely that they are yet another example of British tea time snacks -- custard tarts, in this case -- that were adapted to local Chinese tastes.
Egg tart (source: foursquare.com)
Since they became popular in the 1940s, two varieties of egg tarts have emerged: one with a flaky puff pasty shell and another with a sweet shortbread crust. Both are filled with a rich custard that is much more eggy and less creamy than English custard tarts or Portuguese pasteis de nata./.
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