“Life Well Travelled Hong Kong” is a digital journey that brings Hong Kong to life through the eyes of two travelers seeing it for the first time. Read their story here, or download our free interactive eBook. Learn helpful tips. Even book a ticket.
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12:30 pm to 6:30 pm | Kowloon
Food for the soul
In the Western world, there’s a common culinary misnomer. You’ve heard it said before when you’re out dining: “Hey everyone, let’s go get some Chinese food.” As if to imply there’s one style of food that everyone in a country of billions eats. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. The dining and cuisine in Hong Kong and beyond is as diverse as the people. People, it turns out, who have come from all over. One such example is known simply as Chiu Chow. Originally from the
Eastern Guangdong Province of China, it spread to Hong Kong over hundreds of years. Chiu Chow makes use of the ingredients that are naturally available in the area. One might even think of it as the first example of locally grown and sourced. Built on a foundation of fresh ingredients, the style of cooking is highly regarded from a health standpoint. Oil is rarely used in the cooking process. Instead, steaming, poaching, and braising are the preferred methods. Colleagues of ours have recommended a few choice local favorites, with Chong Fat Chiu Chow Restaurant in Kowloon City first on their list. Our mouths watering with thoughts of a great meal, we take a short cab ride over. A light rain falls as we navigate the midday traffic. We arrive for lunch and have the restaurant all to ourselves, a stark contrast to how things are on the weekend when it’s almost impossible to get a seat. A cursory look around shows a window into how the food is made. Hanging on racks are fresh lobsters and shellfish. Nearby in a neatly arranged cooking area, the chef is busy dicing up fresh ingredients, surrounding himself with organized groupings, perhaps to speed up his craft or maybe remind him of what matters most. The menu is thorough and we’re in the mood to be daring, so we throw caution to the wind and go with our waiter’s recommendations. But before any food is consumed, we are served oolong tea in tiny cups. This tea service, called Tieguanyin, acts as a palate cleaner to get us ready to appreciate the nuances of the food to come. Today, we enjoy a meal of braised goose, air-cured sausage, and whole fried fish, as well as a sweet-and-tangy noodle dish that can best be described as a magnificent pancake. All delicious. Each memorable on its own. Sitting back and taking it all in, we get the sense that this is one of those magical places that locals and tourists both enjoy. We are so impressed with this style of food, we resolve to head out for more the following day. This time to Chateh, a modern upscale restaurant in a fashionable mall. Here the ambience is a little more upscale. We make fast friends with the owner and get a tour of the kitchen, where the intricacy of the food meets an amazingly efficient line. We watch them turn out dish after dish with immense precision. The presentations of food here border on gourmet, but the principles of how it’s made remain the same as the day before: a joyful, delicious expression of cuisine that’s also healthy. Now that’s worth seconds.
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