Hello! 你好 (néih hóu)! – Welcome to Hong Kong!
Written by (University of Sheffield): Gefei Du (Bay) & Pavill Ruangvichatron
Tour Designers (HKU Space): Lam Wing Tung (Kelly), Simon Tsang, and James Yiu
Hong Kong is globally renowned for its amazingly tasty food which could be seen through its numerous Michelin approved restaurants. In this walking tour, we will be presenting several places and dishes that you would have to try to get an authentic taste of Hong Kong. These fantastic dishes and food sites were recommended by our three lovely Tour Designers (names above) who were very kind to show us around. Our Tour Designers are all from Hong Kong and are Hong Kong locals, they are also students studying at HKU Space. The walking tour will take place in the areas of Mong Kok which is in the heart of Kowloon and is very popular for its food, shops and markets. Throughout this walking tour, several academic notions of food security and food justice will be highlighted, examples of such notions include: authenticity, local food, food culture, etc.
The local food places that are going to be explored are all recommended by our Tour Designers. Since our Tour Designers are still students and do not yet have their own income, the prices of the foods are cheap and affordable for students. Not all of the food sites are family-owned where some are local food chains. Nonetheless, just because they are not family-owned this does not mean that the food is authentic. Jackson & the CONANX group (2013) critiqued the idea of authenticity to be referred to commodities that is genuine, factually true, and verifiable. With our Tour Designers being born and raised in Hong Kong, they claimed that the food they showed us is what they generally eat and it is what Hong Kong eat. Hence, it can be argued that these foods and food sites that are going to be explored would have an authentic characteristic to a high extent.
This walking tour is fully walk-able on feet and will take around 2 hours to complete the tour. Since all the places do not have seats, please do be expected to be eating while standing. In preparation for this, it will be advisable to bring tissues and hand sanitisers to clean up after eating. Another thing to keep in mind is that this walking tour can be really filling, so it might be wise to bring a couple of friends to share the food with you. Also go on a day where you have an empty stomach, since you can enjoy everything to its full capacity and be able to have a better experience. Lastly, the prices that are listed will be in Hong Kong’s local currency – Hong Kong Dollars (HKD). Enough for the introduction… let the walking tour begin!
The tour STARTS off at Prince Edward MTR Station (Exit B2). Take the MTR to Prince Edward Station and exit at Exit B2. Once you have exited, walk straight on to Sai Yeung Choi Street, keep on walking straight, cross one road, and then turn left when you see a shop called KOWLOON WATCH CO in front of you (picture below). Cross that small road in front of the KOWLOON WATCH CO, now you will be facing the shop and be on Nullah Road. Turn left and follow walking pavement, the path will automatically make you turn right where on the right-hand side of this path will have several shops. Keep on walking straight, not long after, on your right hand side you will reach ShareTea.
(Prince Edward MTR Station – Exit B2 → ShareTea)
(KOWLOON WATCH CO)
ShareTea offers tasty Taiwanese Milk Tea which can be bought for around $14. ShareTea is a food chain business that has its origins from Taiwan. It was founded in 1992 by Mr. Cheng Kai-Lun in Taipei City, Taiwan. As of today, ShareTea has many branches around the world, where its first branch opening in Hong Kong back in 2010. Since then, Taiwanese Milk Tea has been satisfying the taste buds of the people of Hong Kong, becoming popular and enjoyed by many locals. We tried the Classic Taiwanese Milk Tea and it tasted amazing – rich milky tea flavour with a refreshing touch.
(Classic Taiwanese Milk Tea)
After ShareTea, we will now be heading to our 2nd food site. While facing the ShareTea store, turn left and walk straight, you will come to a cross-road, turn right on the cross-road and follow the walking pavement. You will now be on Tung Choi Street where the shops will be on the right hand side. Keep on walking and after a short walk you will face Delicious Food on your right-hand side.
(ShareTea → Delicious Food)
Delicious Food will provide you with the delicious yet questionable food called Stinky Tofu. Coincidentally with its name, stinky tofu is a popular fried fermented snack from Taiwan that has a unique stinky foul smell to it. Delicious Food is a local family owned shop that sells amazingly delicious stinky tofu in Hong Kong. The shop is very famous through out Hong Kong (been opened for around 20 years), and is visited by many local celebrities (photos of visiting celebrities can be seen on the right hand side of the stall). A slight warning though, stinky tofu is not for the faint-hearted, since its smell does put a lot of people off from trying it. Nonetheless, we tried it (costed around $10 for one) and it actually tasted outstanding! It was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, and surprisingly for us, the smell sort of added an extra tasty flavour to it. Not to mention that there is an array of sauces that you can add to the stinky tofu, this does give out various different flavours that all go well with it.
Moving on from Delicious Food we will be entering our 3rd and 4th food site. Now on the map below, follow the dotted line, not the bold one. While you are facing the Delicious Food stall, turn left and walk straight (continuing on Tung Choi Street). On Tung Choi Street, it is also known as Goldfish Market, where on this road you will be seeing a lot of shops selling goldfish as pets. Keep on walking straight for around 5 minutes, after walking straight for 5 minutes, you will see onto your left and over a road a set of stairs. Turn and face left, cross the road, and you shall be facing that set of stairs on your right hand side (picture below). Face front in those set of stairs, go to to left of it (it will be a small walking alleyway) and walk straight on. Keep on walking for around 5 minutes, turn left where you see the Mong Kok Road Sign (picture below), and you will now be on Mong Kok Road. The stalls will now be on your left hand side, keep walking for a bit and you will come across two food sites: Hoixe Cake Shop and Tong Kee Bao Dim respectively.
(Delicious Food → Hoixe Cake Shop & Tong Kee Bao Dim)
(Set of Stairs)
(Mong Kok Road Sign)
(Hoixe Cake Shop)
(Tong Kee Bao Dim)
Our 3rd food site Hoixe Cake Shop which sells various of Hong Kong’s bakery. The bakeries in Hong Kong are very popular among locals, it fuses the tastes of both the West and the East in one. When you go in the shop, there are many different bakeries to choose from, however, we would recommend trying the most famous one which are Egg Tarts (cost around $5). We bought some Egg Tarts and tried it ourselves and the taste was outstanding. It was egg-y and soft in the centre while have a crispy bread-y crust surrounding it.
Walking a bit further from the bakery shop you will come across the 4th food site which is Tong Kee Bao Dim. In this food stall they will be selling Hong Kong’s famous Dim Sum. Dim Sum or Yum Cha has long been a part of Hong Kong’s Cantonese cuisine for many years. Most Dim Sum are steamed dishes with some pan-fried ones, there is a huge range of variety for Dim Sum, where some restaurants can sell over 100 different items. Although there are a huge range of things to choose from, this time we would recommend you choose Shao Mai & Har Gow (Steamed Shrimp Dumpling). Buying both the two costed us around $40 ($20 each), we tasted them two and it was too good to put it into words! Both the 3rd and 4th site are chain food shops were they both have become famous throughout Hong Kong.
(Shao Mai & Har Gow – Steamed Shrimp Dumpling)
Moving on to our 5th food site, now this site is slightly different from the rest because it is an Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) Street Market, where we will be visiting Fa Yuen Street Market. Go back to the Mong Kok Road Sign (picture above) and right beside it you will see a crossing (picture below). Cross over the road and turn left, keep walking straight and the entrance of Fa Yuen Street Market will be on your right hand side (picture below).
(Hoixe Cake Shop & Tong Kee Bao Dim → Fa Yuen Street Market)
(Fa Yuen Street Market Entrance)
Fa Yuen Street Market is the 5th food site and this market is a market set up by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD). The FEHD is a department of the Hong Kong government who looks after the food and environmental hygiene of the country. Due to their establishment, they have set up markets that go with their food, health and environmental standard. However, to what extent this actually meets the standards are questionable and you can see it by yourself. Nonetheless, the market is an interesting place and definitely a good experience to go around it. In this market, you will be able to see various things: downstairs – fresh meat, fruits, seafood, dry and wet goods, various cooked food, etc; upstairs – a Cooked Food Centre (sells various cooked foods where you can order to eat on the chairs and tables given). In this food site, we recommend to go around the different stalls and get a sense of different kind of commodities they offer. We highly recommend you to try the Siu Mei (Cantonese Roasted Meats). In Siu Mei, there are different kinds that you can choose from. We went for a mix of things (picture below), where we bought the Siu Ngaap (Roasted Duck), Char Siu (Barbecued Roast Pork), and Soy Sauce Chicken for around $60. The taste of the meats we tried were outstandingly succulent and full of flavour, we would definitely recommend it to you all!
(Siu Mei Stalls in Fa Yuen Street Market)
(Siu Ngaap – Roasted Duck, Char Siu – Barbecued Roast Pork, and Soy Sauce Chicken)
From Fa Yuen Street Market, we will be taking you to the 6th and last food site. Come out of the same entrance you entered the Fa Yuen Street Market (picture above), turn and face left then walk straight on Mong Kok Road. Keep on walking until you come come across Sai Yeung Choi Street on your left, go on to Sai Yeung Choi Street and keep walking straight. Walk until you come across Mong Kok MTR Station (Exit B2) on your right hand side. Go into Mong Kok MTR Station (Exit B2) and now you will be in the station, walk underground in the station and exit at Mong Kok MTR Station (Exit E1). When you exit through here, around this area is where The Fishball Revolution happened during Lunar New Year / Chinese New Year in 2016. The rioting that happened was an interesting phenomenon, briefly it was where the locals challenged the officials regarding the local food status of Hong Kong during Hong Kong’s most celebratory festival. From Mong Kok MTR Station (Exit E1), face this exit and walk on to Nathan Road, cross over Nathan Road and keep walking straight where Mong Kok MTR Staion (exit E2) will be on your left hand side. Keep on walking until you reach onto Sai Yeung Choi Street. Turn right on Sai Yueng Choi Street and keep on walking straight, the shops will be on your left hand side. Keep on walking until you come across our 6th and last site (on the left hand side) Wang Jin Tea.
(Fa Yuen Street Market → Mong Kok MTR Station – Exit B2)
(Mong Kok MTR Station – Exit E1 → Wang Jin Tea)
(Wang Jin Tea)
In Wang Jin Tea (the 6th and last site) they sell Hong Kong style street food, refreshing drinks, and some deserts. The thing that we tried and recommend you of having are the Curry Fishballs which costs around $20 per portion (picture below). The taste of the fishballs were too good to explain, they were soft and bouncy while having a bit of a kick because of the curry sauce that was added to it. This store do sell a lot of other easy going street food that you definitely have to try. This stall is local owned, where they do express some concerns over big food businesses taking their sales away. The person who was serving us told us ‘that there has been a decrease of income due to the popularity of Japanese and Korean food for the younger generation.’ Now the tour has come to an end, hopefully, this walking tour would have satisfied your cravings for the Hong Kong cuisine and gave you an ‘authentic’ taste of Hong Kong!