Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hong Kong street food

Fried and stick food heaven?

a type of waffle known in Hong Kong
kai taan chai (little chicken eggs)

As regular readers of this blog know, Penang -- where I was born and my parents still reside -- is famous as a foodie paradise. In particular, it's its street fare -- what Penangites call 'hawker food' -- that people in the know go to Penang for and that got it a mention in TIME Asia's "Best of Asia" list.

For its part, Hong Kong got a mention on that same list as having the Best Urban Hike in the Dragon's Back. But whither street food in Asia's World City? For all of its not being to the liking of some (and my still not being able to go past the stench of stinky tofu and make like Josephine Siao's character in Hu-Du-Men and eat it), I have to say that I personally find much of it to be pretty tasty.

To be sure, some of it may take some getting used to -- pig's ear, tongue and intestines or beef stomach, anyone? -- but I've developed a real taste for a few items: notably, curry fishballs like Wong You Nam's character hawked in Just One Look; non-stinky fried tofu and associated fried vegetables (e.g., aubergine (AKA eggplant) and fishball stuffed green peppers like can be see in one of the pictures in this Globetrotters entry about Hong Kong street food); and 'little chicken egg' waffles of a sort that I've only ever seen in Hong Kong. And, actually, pig's ear and tongue too!

More street snack than a single substantial meal, it can be quite the pleasurable experience to stroll parts of Hong Kong where street food vendors exist in droves -- like Mongkok (like where the two photos at the top of this entry were taken), Wan Chai and Causeway Bay -- sampling food from different stalls. Good for you? At the very least, that's debatable. But hey, the way I see it, better to enjoy life while you're alive then to make too many culinary and other sacrifices in order to ensure that you live just a few years or maybe mere months longer! :b


Glenn, kenixfan said...

Those waffles look great!

The big food scenes that come to my mind at the moment are the scene in the Shaw flick How to Pick Up Girls where a young Maggie Cheung takes her suitor to a noodle stand. And wherever it was that Tony Leung and his cop buddies were eating lunch when Faye Wong strolled by in Chungking Express.

I like food and I have some food allergies so I bet Hong Kong street food could kill me with a smile on my face!

YTSL said...

Hi Glenn --

The waffles *are* great: love their crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside texture. :)

Re your movie food scene associations: am not sure I have seen "How To Pick Up Girls". As for "Chungking Express" -- am pretty sure it's the dai pai dong near Central Market (which is where Faye Wong would have picked up the groceries for the Midnight Express). For a look at other dai pai dong near there, check out where Louis Koo's mother works in "Triangle". :b

Horsoon said...

If I ever make a trip to HK, it'll be a 'Makan' trip!

YTSL said...

Hi Horsoon --

So long as you're willing to try a lot of different kind of foods, reckon you'd have a grand time in Hong Kong! :)

Willow said...

They're always eating in HK movies. lol

I usually don't eat the street food though. The concerns? Montezuma's revenge and health.

YTSL said...

Hi Willow --

Agree that people do eat a lot in Hong Kong movies. Don't agree re the health concerns over Hong Kong street food though. So far, touch wood, my stomach has been okay -- except when I had hotpot out in the open one evening!

Anonymous said...

The plus point is that dishes are served family style (not open air) and it is a good idea to pick a few items to share. I tried the fried tofu which is considered a classic of the street food and enjoyed the late night shopping.

YTSL said...

Hi Chua --

Your first sentence makes it sound like you're thinking of Hong Kong food that's not street food (i.e., not served open air). Also, while I take your point about many good meals being communal (just had dim sum with 12 colleagues for lunch today, so...), what I was thinking of when posting this particular entry was the snacky type street food -- of which Hong Kong has quite a variety as well! :)