“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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6:30 pm | Kowloon
Food for the soul
In the Western world, there’s a common culinary misnomer. You’ve heard it said when you head out dine: “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 Guandong Province of China, this cuisine spread to Hong Kong over hundreds of years. Sometimes also known as “Teochew,” it makes use of the ingredients that are naturally available in the area.
The original slow food movement.
One might even think of Chiu Chow 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. While there are many excellent local favorites, one of the best is Chong Fat Chiu Chow Restaurant in Kowloon City. Take a short cab ride over and arrive early to beat the rush or be prepared to spend 45 minutes or more queued up to get in. Once seated, a cursory look around opens a window into how the food is made. Hanging on racks are fresh lobsters and shellfish. Nearby in a neatly arranged cooking area, it’s not uncommon to find the chef busy dicing up fresh ingredients while surrounding himself with organized groupings, perhaps to speed up his craft or maybe remind him of what matters most. The menu is incredibly thorough, and if you’re unsure about where to begin, don’t be afraid to go with your waiter’s recommendations. The staff is helpful and accommodating to first time-visitors.
A bit of tea before you begin.
Before any food is consumed, tea is served, oolong tea to be exact, in tiny cups. This tea service, called “Tieguanyin,” acts as a palate cleanser to get you ready to appreciate the nuances of the food to come, including such culinary delights as braised goose, air-cured sausage, whole fried fish, as well as a sweet and tart 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, you get the sense this is one of those magical places that locals and tourists both enjoy.
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