The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Cheap local eats

It's only our second week in Hong Kong, and I'm tired. There are still plenty to do before we're settled in, but at least we can enjoy the following harbour view from our Four Seasons studio for the next couple of weeks (or until we find an apartment to call our new home):

Hong Kong Harbour around sunset:

I thought I'd share some shots of what we ate during our first week here. Most of our time out and about as a family involved running errands or viewing apartments, with only enough time for something quick. Hopefully in a few weeks time I'll have some proper HK dining food to show. These meals were cheap, quick and - with the exception of one or two dishes - delicious. For most of them, we walked in off the streets, and I didn't think to take note of the name or location because there are many such dining opportunities everywhere in Hong Kong.

We were in Wanchai on Saturday to look at mobile phones at the Wanchai Computer Centre, and it was lunch time by the time we'd purchased a phone for me. We wandered around the side streets, keeping away from the busy main streets, in search for some good Chinese food in the kind of shops that tourists and foreigners generally avoid, where locals enjoy a good home-style meal for cheap. We weren't searching very long when the owner of a noodle shop saw us looking at his menu (which had no English), and immediately came out to greet us. Did they serve century egg congee? "Of course!" Great, he spoke English. What noodles did they have? "Many kinds - got pork, got beef - what kind you want?" Then when we were ordering, I asked what drinks they had. "Many kinds - got coffee, got tea, coke, orange juice, horlicks..." I guess next time I'll just order and then find out if they have the item. Rob ordered the Fish Ball Noodles, I got a delicious Preserved Egg and Pork Congee, and we enjoyed both dishes very much. We got the lunch set for 2, which included a vegetable dish and drinks - a pretty good deal for only HK$60.

Noodles with meaty fish balls; and the century egg congee with pork which even Rob said was tasty (he's generally not a big fan of the preserved egg):

After lunch, we went next door to a dessert cafe, and it turns out that it is run by Singaporeans. We had the Bubur Pulut Hitam (black glutinous rice dessert) and the "Hong Kong version" of the Bubur Chacha (usually with yam, sweet potato, taro and sago, but this version was more a mixed beans sweet soup). These weren't too bad, but we've definitely had better.

Black glutinous rice porridge with coconut milk; and the mixed beans dessert, also with coconut milk:

Last time we found a fast food restaurant that does good charsiu and roast duck, and we had a hankering for these greasy goodies because it has been a good few months since then. On Sunday after spending some time with the monkeys at the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens, we stopped by Maxim's MX for a takeaway lunch. The Roast Duck with rice and half-catty serve of Char siu costed around HK$60, and we enjoyed these in all their fatty deliciousness. This kind of fast food beats Maccas (McDonald's for the non-Aussies) hands down.

Late last week we boarded the ferry for a quick trip in and out of Macau for visa purposes (we bought the return tickets back to HK shortly after we landed, but it still took out 4 hours of our day), and had a quick bite at the only place that served hot food in the Macau Ferry Terminal. With a menu of noodle and rice paired with a limited selection of protein dishes, I must admit that we weren't terribly impressed with the menu. However it was dinner-time, and we had 45 minutes to spend before our return ferry was scheduled to leave, so we just settled to have dinner at this diner. The Charsiu and Roast Duck Rice was - not surprisingly - a disappointment, but the Chicken Curry Rice was quite delicious. The meal was around HK$60 for the two plates, which seems to be the average cost for a casual meal for two in HK. It doesn't seem like there's much to do in Macau when you bring kids along, so it's unlikely that we'll come back out here again anytime soon. (Technically this doesn't really count as Hong Kong food because we ate them in Macau, but this place caters mainly to the Hongkies who travel to and from Macau.)

Succulent chicken thigh fillets in a curry-based sauce; and the unremarkable - but perfectly edible - charsiu and roast duck:

So far, we haven't suffered from any stomachaches or food poisoning, and we'll continue eating the local cheap fare because that's the best way to experience the local cuisine.


  1. Like the blog!
    Very nice photos and insight from each dish.Great job!

  2. Re: Like the blog!
    Thanks for reading! I'm glad it was helpful :)