Visitors to Hong Kong often spend time researching where to stay and where to go, and may get excited about the opportunity to enjoy Chinese food, especially if on their first visit to Hong Kong. Of course, Chinese restaurants abound in all major cities of the world these days, but there is nothing quite like Chinese food in China! Here’s are a few tastes of Hong Kong no visitor should miss.

Dim Sum

Hong Kong tastes are unique, and of course, no visit to Hong Kong would be complete without a Dim Sum experience! Dim Sum simply means ‘snacks’, but one only needs to visit a traditional Chinese restaurant in the late morning to discover it is much more than a quick snack. Dim Sum is a feast made up of a variety of ‘snacks’ over which families and friends linger and enjoy selecting from an array of dishes being wheeled around the room on trolleys. In traditional restaurants, the trolleys are pushed from table to table to ensure customers receive a speedy service and which also allow diners to see the dishes before ordering. However, many less traditional restaurants provide customers with a menu.

Famous Dim Sum dishes to try include:

Shu Mai: Steamed dumplings filled with shrimp and pork
Char Siu Bao: steamed buns filled with barbequed pork
Shrimp Har Gow: dumplings in which the shrimp can be seen encased in a transluscent skin.
Most hotels feature their own Chinese restaurants. However, there are some tastes of Hong Kong that require a visitor to step beyond their hotels and into the streets of Hong Kong.

Street Food in Hong Kong – Dai Pai Dongs

Once on the streets of Hong Kong, a visit to a Dai Pai Dong is a must. Dai Pai Dong is simply the local term for a street hawker selling all manner of tasty treats – Hong Kong style fast food! Dai Pai Dong food stalls are often little more than barrows on wheels, but such a description doesn’t do them justice, for many contain a huge wok and others display their delicacies to entice the hungry. In fact, many are a sight no photographer should miss!

Such stalls abound, particularly in the heavily populated districts of Mongkok and Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon and in Causeway Bay and Central on Hong Kong Island. Dai Pai Dongs can also be found on the popular islands such as Lamma and Lantau where crowds flock to spend their weekends. So popular are the Dai Pai Dongs that they will often feature a queue, for they are not simply tourist attractions; they are popular eating places for the locals, and with over 7 million people living in an area of less than 400 square miles, it’s little wonder that queues exist! A favourite Dai Pai Dong treat for many is a bamboo skewer full of fish balls, but all manner of delicacies are available for the tasting!

Some hawkers, like those who sell fish balls, confine themselves to providing a single food item. Look out for those selling egg waffles and join the queue – the taste will not disappoint!

Traditional Chinese Bakeries

Egg custard tarts (Daan Tarts) are another local delicacy. These speciality tiny tart shells are filled with sweet egg custard and though often available at Dim Sum restaurants, they don’t compare to to those bought hot from the oven! Traditional bakeries can be found in every district of Hong Kong, but note, traditional bakeries are not the fancy cake shops that abound. More often than not, they are small shops sporting huge visible ovens from which trays of daan tarts emerge and which are snapped up by customers as fast as they can be produced!

This is just a ‘taster’ designed to whet the appetites of those about to visit Hong Kong. For more information about dining in Hong Kong, visit the tourist authority website restaurant guide.