Hong Kong, Travel
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Hong Kong – Street Eats Part 1

Birds eye view of the markets in Sohof

Birds eye view of the markets in Soho

Discover Hong Kong.

It’s the official travel slogan for Hong Kong and something that I held close to my heart during my time in Hong Kong. It’s my second time visiting Hong Kong, but it’s also the first time I’ve gone on holidays alone and in a way it’s exhilarating to know that I have full freedom in deciding what to do.

In the end, my time in Hong Kong can be whittled down to a handful of activities.

  • Walking
  • Eating
  • Walking
  • Shopping
  • Walking
  • Photography
  • and yes, Walking

On my most active day I ended up walking around Hong Kong from 10am to 1am the following day! But oh, the things I saw. And ate!

Fresh Food Markets

Fresh Food Markets

This is a town infamous for the quality of its designer knockoffs, but for me the true street appeal was the food markets. I lost count of the number of times I turned a street corner utterly lost only to be confronted with a street full of locals and side stand markets! The produce is a dizzying array of colour arranged artfully in trays, hanging from hooks or thrust in faces as the crowds pass through. Seeing all the food makes me wish for access to a kitchen, but I console myself with the occasional fruity snack and photo.

Tung Choi Goldfish St, Yuen Po Street Bird Garden, Flower Market Road

Tung Choi Goldfish St, Yuen Po Street Bird Garden, Flower Market Road

Away from the glamor of the massive shopping malls I find myself in a bizarre world on Tung Choi St where goldfish float serenely in plastic bags, baby turtles are climbing on top of one another clamoring for my attention. Mere blocks away I’m in a bird like paradise on Yuen Po Street where the elderly grandfathers are affectionately walking their pet birds in their cages and the gorgeous array of flowers on Flower Market Rd make me wish for an excuse to buy just one.

Lanterns on the alleyways of Soho

Lanterns on the alleyways of Soho

The alleyways of the Soho distracting are alluring and quickly become one of my favourite areas to simply walk around in. During the day it’s a confusing tangle of uphill streets and cars but at night the street markets suddenly turn on in a burst of light pulling me in like a moth to the flame.

Victoria Harbour's lightshow

Victoria Harbour's lightshow

But of course, I can’t let a visit to Hong Kong go without visiting the Victoria Harbour Symphony of lights. A free nightly show put on at 8pm, it’s a laser spectacular that attracts the families and tourists and on this night the promenade is packed out. Lasting just over 15 minutes it’s a visually gorgeous display that sees the lights on the skyline buildings flicker in a musically choreographed show. After a few minutes I begin to feel like I’m trapped in the middle of an 80’s movie credit reel but it’s something that has to be seen to be believed.

But while I feasted with my eyes, it was my stomach that was rewarded the most!

The Square, Nathan Road Novotel

Buffet Breakfast

Buffet Breakfast

The Square serves up a buffet style breakfast for its guests in the morning with a curious mixture of western and eastern elements. The dumplings and sausage hit the spot, although the bacon is typically buffet style limp but what really kicks me awake is the piping hot tea that slowly brings me back to civilisation.

Nathan Congee & Noodles

Pig's Liver

Pig's Liver

My primary eating Partner-in-Crime is Boo, she’s an astonishingly organised traveller whose notepad is never far from her grasp. The sheer amount of stuff she knows about food never stops to astound me and the first place she takes me to is Nathan Congee & Noodles, located very conveniently across the road from our hotel.

I have a second of hesitation when she asks me quickly if I have any problems eating Pig’s liver first thing in the morning, but what the hell! They’re delicately soft with none of the thickly cloying sensation I usually associate with liver, I eat more than my fair share but push the mound of shallots aside with a shudder.

Abalone and Chicken Congee

Abalone and Chicken Congee

On Boo’s recommendation I go for the Abalone and Chicken Congee, combined with a serving of fried bread (Yau Char Kwai) and a smattering of pepper it’s a silkily smooth start to the morning. Boo’s gone for the Frog’s Leg variation which is overly cloggy, somewhat surprising considering that all of the congee is cooked together in a massive pot. Later we spot the chicken pieces simmering away in an equally large pot of stock and deduce that the stock from the chicken must be thinning out the congee a little.

It’s rice, water and chicken in all the right ways and imprints on me so much that a few days later I make my way back here on a rainy morning just to eat the Chicken Congee one last time.

Nathan Congee & Noodles
11 Saigon Street,
Jordan, Hong Kong

Mak Man Kee Noodles

Beef Brisket and Wonton Noodles

Beef Brisket and Wonton Noodles

It’s a quick lunchtime assignation with HK Epicurious who we had a chance to meet at an earlier Novotel Blogger dinner, he’s actually due to fly out of the country that afternoon and has yet to pack but still makes the time to show us around Tsim Sha Tsui before settling in for a quick lunch at Mak Man Kee Noodles. I’m curious at the tiny serving size of the Wonton Noodles, but a quick glance around shows it to be the norm. While the noodles are nothing to rave about, the glistening bowl of Beef Brisket tempts me to eat just one more piece.

Mak Man Kee Noodles
51 Parkes Street,
Jordan, Hong Kong

Lee Ken Egg Waffles

Egg Waffles

Egg Waffles

Determined to eat up one evening, Boo and I venture out into Tsim Sha Tsui and wander the streets in search of food. With recommendations from a friend of Boo whom we met up with for tea and the street tour from HK Epicurious still fresh in our minds, we suddenly stumble across the crowds at Lee Ken Egg Waffles.

The stand is littered with newspaper articles and photos of celebrities snacking down, and after minutes we have our hands on our very own paper bag of Egg Waffles. They’re piping hot and soft enough to be torn apart one by one and are lightly crunchy without being overly sweet. It’s the perfect snack for a balmy night of walking.

Ken Egg Waffles
78 Nathan Road,
Jordan, Hong Kong

Hong Kong Old Restaurant

Smoked Pigeon

Smoked Pigeon

We’re here for some old style Chinese food! The tables are round, the tablecloths are shiny and we’ve got our eyes on the Smoked Pigeon. Although I’ve eaten Pigeon before, it’s not until it lands on the table that it occurs to me that I am indeed eating my one of my arc nemesis’ (I have this weird thing against birds, don’t ask). It’s been fried to a crisp without being overly oily and to be honest if I’d been asked I would have guessed it was quail.

Hong Kong Old Restaurant
4th Floor, Miramar Shopping Centre,
1 Kimberley Street, Hong Kong

Sun Kee Restaurant

Cheese Instant Noodles with grilled pork neck

Cheese Instant Noodles with grilled pork neck

Of all the places I ate at in Hong Kong, Sun Kee is undoubtedly the most memorable. It’s a quick pit stop on HK Epicious’ food tour of Tsim Sha Tsui, but the mention of Cheese Instant Noodles has our ears perking. It’s only inevitable that we’d end up here.

The noodles are a rather unappetizing glug of creamy cheese when they first arrive on the table. I feel like I’m stirring up a bowl of Natto to ‘activate’ it, but a few tosses later we’ve got a cheesy concoction ready to eat. The cheese becomes a slightly salty aftertaste to the noodles and suddenly I realise I’m eating an instant noodle carbonara… with deliciously sweet pork neck. However, the starchiness of the noodles and cheese hit about 10 minutes later and I put down my fork in defeat.

Soy Sauce Cuttlefish

Soy Sauce Cuttlefish

Never one to back down from a challenge, Boo spots a picture of the Soy Sauce Cuttlefish on one of the many articles on the wall and quickly orders it for the table. The legs are amazingly thick, averaging 1cm at its base and it’s a messily sweet ordeal to eat. They’re a little too sweet for Boo’s liking but I find them just to my taste.

Sun Kee Restaurant
Shop 13-14, Ground Floor,
Champagne Court,
16-20 Kimberley Street, Hong Kong

Mak’s Noodles

Wonton Noodles

Wonton Noodles

We’re dining out in Soho tonight, Boo’s on a mission from her mother to buy noodles from Mak’s and only the original will do! Despite the fact that there’s a Mak’s branch only blocks away from our Hotel she’s been ordered to go to the original Branch in Central to make her purchase. It’s only supposed to be a pitstop, but I not so subtly nudge her into a booth and suddenly we’re snacking on yet another miniature bowl of Wonton Noodles.

Unlike our earlier bowl of Wonton Noodles at Man Mak Kee this bowl is indefinitely much more satisfying. The noodles spring back to the bite, the wonton seems to have a much more refreshing texture and the soup is amazingly fragrant and I may have emptied the bowl on our way out!

Mak’s Noodles
77 Wellington Street,
Central, Hong Kong

Nan Tei

Stuffed mushroom with Chicken, Corn and Grilled Duck Tongue

Stuffed mushroom with Chicken, Corn and Grilled Duck Tongue

I’ll admit it. After a week of Chinese food we’re sick of… Chinese food.

We stumble across Nan Tei by accident, it’s starting to sprinkle and we quickly move to one side of the narrow sidewalk to let a pedestrian past us. She trickles our curiosity when she pulls aside the door of the restaurant before disappearing inside.  It turns out that she’s just walked into Nan Tei, an Izakaya style restaurant with one especially tantalising dish – Chicken Wings stuffed with Foie Gras! It’s too tempting to resist but we’re disappointed to find out the dish isn’t available today.

Obviously the only solution is to drown our sorrows in Umeshu.

Quick snacks of mushroom and corn buoy our spirits, but it’s the pipingly hot sticks of Grilled Duck Tongue that I fall in love with. There’s a long stick of cartilage in each piece and it doesn’t take me long to get the knack of biting down in the perfect spot and pulling all the meat off in one bite. It’s burning on the tongue and heavy on the salt – absolutely perfect.

Nan Tei
55 Staunton Street,
Mid Level, Central, Hong Kong

Sadly, it’s also the last meal I’m destined to have with Boo, she’s homeward bound the next day and we say our farewells. I know I only visited Malaysia back in May, but I’d be happy to visit again in a heartbeat, if only to meet up with Boo in her hood!

By no means is this the end of my eating adventure, I had to split the post up into 2 it was getting too long! Coming up – a day trip to Macau, Pineapple Buns and the best Daikon in the world.

eatshow&tell traveled and stayed in Hong Kong as a guest of Novotel Hong Kong, which included the buffet breakfast at Square Hotel. All other meals were personally paid for.

16 Comments

  1. You guys ate a lot within a short time! Very nice coverage of some local places and that’s only the first part hey! I also think Mak’s Noodles is probably my favourite wonton place in HK, apart from Chee Kee and Tasty Congee/Ho Hung Kee. But it’s funny to see the Causeway Bay Mak’s outlet to get so many neg reviews online – as that is slightly more consistent in its ‘soup base’ than the Central store. As I visit the latter a lot since its just 1 block from the office, sometimes they kind of stuff up the soup and its bitter and salty! Sometimes its wonderful and full of dried fish essence! And their wontons have no pork, but only prawns, fish floss and sesame – very well balanced. : )

  2. love your opening market pic. makes me feel even luckier that i’m surrounded by these sights every day! & also really glad you got to try egg waffles, absolutely love ‘em. (ps. was the Mak’s in Jordan “Mak Man Kee” rather than “Man Mak Kee”?)

    • Thank you! Just looking back at these photos makes me want to come back and do it all over again. And you’re absolutely right about the restaurant name! Fixed up now :)

  3. Wow how lucky to get a trip to Hong Kong! I have been wanting to go there for ages. I bet all the food was very cheap too??

  4. So you’re Boo’s partner in crime while in HK. I’m about to embark on my own adventures to HK and I’ve been taking notes from Boo’s round ups too.

    I can’t wait to go around in a photosnapping and eating frenzy when I arrive.

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. I just loved wandering around all of the markets in HK…but was a little disturbed at the bird market where they pulled the legs off the crickets as they popped them into the bird cage…didn’t want the crickets to hop away I guess. Wish I’d been more into food when I visited HK…next time.

  6. omg I love those egg waffles! brings back lots of nostalgic memories of walking around HK munching on these. I’ve actually considered buying one of the special irons so I can make them at home but it’s always been too much of a hassle to bring one back. I’ll just have to eat my fair share next time I’m in HK!

  7. Yum.. the round up is so good and comprehensive… makes me wanna go back even though I’ve just returned… was really very pleasantly surprised at how good mak’s noodle was. great post

  8. abercrombie says

    that was epic… im just tired reading and salivating let alone walking from 10am to 1am

  9. Yes, walking in HK is the best way to find so many little eating treasures. All of those places are marked for our next visit! Especially the Cheese Instant noodles, glad I don’t have a heart condition…

  10. I miss the simpleness of being able to pick up a slab of egg waffles and fresh soy bean milk for breakfast =( But I also seem to have forgotten the fact that Hong Kong and Macau both have much smaller standard serves of bowls of soup noodles – never understood why the ones here are so large!

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