Pride. This is something that always struck me anew in Hong Kong when it came to food. Be it the street stalls that are so lovingly set up that even the last fish ball finds its place.
Or simply the glazed ducks that decorate the windows of the numerous small restaurants – eating in Hong Kong is not only a duty but also a freestyle.
Food in Hong Kong – Steaming Dai Pai Dongs
I wander through the streets of Hong Kong while my nose has to get used to every new smell. Strict fish in one corner, the smell of sweet tea in the other. Undefinable smells and very, very definable smells rise from the many small cookshops.
Behind the cooking pot is an old Hong Kong granny who must have been cooking noodle soups on this very corner for years. Small plastic chairs in pink, green, or blue are set up in front of the kitchen and not only the street vendor sits on them, but also businessmen, families, couples, and tourists who have followed the smell. Cookshops in Hong Kong have the beautiful name Dai Pai Dong and an even more beautiful history.
This is because people have been cooking like this in Hong Kong for years. Unfortunately, the government still doesn’t think it’s as great as the numerous tourists and locals. Soon the small kitchens should disappear and be replaced by large restaurants. I’m glad that I at least still have the chance to make a slalom along with the steaming and damn tasty smelling small stalls.
Eating in Hong Kong – Through the alleys of the city center
By the smell of it, I’m floating, like a cartoon character, through the alleys of Hong Kong. They are almost all, the smaller they are, lined with various stalls with colorful towers of goodies, tanks of fish, or other indefinable things.
The latter is actually the most interesting and so, slightly feudally, I start guessing which organ might be sizzling merrily on its hook in the sun. Okay, yes, feudal, but that is part of a foray through a big Asian city like Hong Kong.
Curious, I squint into each fish tank and watch the swimming octopuses, salmon, and other colorful sea creatures.
Right next door, they are available in a dried version: dried fish on a hook. By the way, this is almost a specialty in Hong Kong and is sometimes sold at horrendous prices.
Two steps further, I land in the fruit and vegetable alley and watch stone-old and yet fresh-looking locals, as they, always new, bring their stand in top form.
Pyramids of apples, bouquets of cilantro, mosaics of lettuce heads, and even giant hairy zucchinis are rearranged after each sale.
Eating in Hong Kong – Off to the noodle kitchen
I am hungry. After all the smells and staring at food, I’m animal hungry and end up in a noodle soup paradise called Tsim Chai Kee Noodle. As a vegetarian, I draw the short straw a bit here, but as my grandma would say now, I chose it that way.
Something I also noticed for the first time in Hong Kong is that most restaurants here specialize in one dish. There are the noodle soup restaurants, the tea houses with dim sums, the duck kitchens, and the fishball stores. They are spread out along the vegetable streets, the fruit alleys, and the fish market aka open-air aquarium.