Hong Kong & Hot Buns 香港和热馒头

Always a fan of Chinese cuisine, in recent years it’s become more of an obsession than a simple appreciation, so there was no question as to where I would stop off on my way to Sydney.  I arrived in Hong Kong as I do most places – hungry and eager and with a determination to eat an amazing pork bun. And I wasn’t disappointed.

First stop – Cheung Chau

Ferryside Cheung Chau - no cars allowed so there are lots of bikes!

Scared off by Tripadvisor reviews of budget central HK accommodation I decided to stay a bit further out and so ended up on the little fishing island of Chenug Chau.

I headed out for my first dinner with much excitement. A plethora of bustling seafood restaurants line the ferry side of the island where sweet and sour smells fill the air. But I was confronted with quite a conundrum…eating Chinese food at home there are usually two rules I go by

  1. Find the  restaurant with the most Chinese people eating there (er…everyone was Chinese)
  2. Don’t eat anywhere that has pictures in the menu (eerrr…if there were no pictures how would I know what I was ordering???)

Needless to say it didn’t work out to be my most successful dinner. I ordered crab. It came smothered in a glutinous sauce. With chopsticks. Messy.

Crabby deliciousness - just a bit slippery with the chopsticks!
They didn't look like this in the menu. And they weren't in the dessert section...

I also ordered what I thought would be some lovely savoury dumplings. They were deep fried donought type buns with a sticky condensed milk sauce…

Not my biggest success but it still tasted good!

A day of Dim Sum

More successful was my venture the next day. Chenug Chau is a warren of winding streets housing lots of busy food stalls and little restaurants piled high with bamboo steamers full of dim sum at all hours of the day.  These buns I grabbed from a shop teeming with school kids looking for their lunchtime fix where truly exceptional.  They were steamed vegetarian buns, fresh and soft, they burst with a perfect broth and a filling of nuts and Chinese greens. Amazing.

The best food I have ever eaten from a plastic bag!

Next stop was Mongkok for Tim Ho Wan – famous for being the worlds cheapest Michelin starred restaurant. Google this place and you’ll find rants about the 4-hour wait, the crazy lady out front and claims that the Michelin star was just a PR stunt. Ignore all of this and go there. At 4pm.

Don't worry about not being able to read the sign - just look for the crowd waiting outside

I only had to wait 10 minutes, sometimes solo eating has it’s benefits. Before I knew it the buns I longed for, my beloved Cha siu bau ( bbq pork buns) were thrust in front of me. They were fried and crispy but also melting and soft and delicate and the char siu was the stuff of dreams. I also ate the very best prawn dumplings I have ever had. Perfectly cooked prawn in nimble, translucent rice pastry that dissolved in my mouth.

Michelin starred dim sum for a very small sum - HK$61 !!!

I finished with tonic medlar and petal cake jelly. Little bites of heaven in Hong Kong.  Oh and the whole thing cost me HK$61 – that’s about £5….

I have lots more to recommend so another post will follow. There is also a great website OpenRice  it’s a Hong Kong site but also has reviews in English

Are you headed to Hong Kong? Let me know what other must eat places you get to visit…

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