Travel Guide to Honk Kong
Hong Kong is the quintessential example of east meets west, and its fusion food is world-renowned. Over the next couple of days, as we film our episode, we’re taking you with us to try the best food in Hong Kong…. from street food to Chinese barbecue. Let’s do it. The story of Hong Kong is pretty wild. It was a sleepy fishing village until the 1800s when a series of crazy events led it to become part of the British Empire. Back then the British Empire had a problem: a major trade deficit with China. The British were importing tons of things from China: silk, tea, and porcelain, but the Chinese didn’t want to bring anything back from Britain, just take the gold. So the British came up with a devious plan: they got the Chinese hooked on opium. They grew it cheaply in their colony of India and flooded the Chinese market to the point of causing a full-blown opioid epidemic. When the Chinese tried to put a stop to the trade, the British responded militarily in what became known as the First Opium War. There were two. Put simply, the Chinese lost and the British took Hong Kong as a colony. Hong Kong remained a British colony for a hundred and fifty-six years, becoming a major trading port with a fabulously wealthy economy before returning to Chinese rule in 1997 with the promise of 50 years of autonomy. Alright ladies and gentlemen, right now we are in the neighborhood of Kowloon on the peninsula. Hong Kong is actually the Island of Hong Kong, but the region is actually the surrounding area, including this peninsula. Now the island is super small, so everything there is a lot more expensive because there’s not a lot of space. We’re going to a local market called Mong Kok Market, which is a wet market and that’s apparently the best place to get street food in the area. Let’s go check it out. In order to get there, we’re going to have to hop on the subway. So let’s go for a ride. We’ve descended into the subway, but before we can get to a subway station, we’ve had to walk through a mall.
Hong Kong is very world-famous for its shopping…. tons of designer brands, usually at prices much more affordable than back home, some of the shops of dubious quality, but when in Hong Kong you’ve got to shop, got to eat. Well, I literally stopped a film for maybe 15 seconds, and I’ve totally lost Markdown here. There are just so many people, and it’s kind of like sensory overload, but that was quick. I got lost in maybe 10 seconds. There are so many people here. 130? All right, we got day passes. We’ll be able to use the metro, which goes all over Kowloon and connects us to the city, as well. We’d like to get to the island by the scenic Star Ferry, but first things first. We’re hungry, and this is the fastest way to get the market. First up we’re going to try to keep things a little bit healthy in the beginning. We are at a produce market, and we’re going to have some jackfruit, which is a type of fruit that grows here in Southeast Asia. This jackfruit is a typical fruit from this part of the world. You don’t find it a ton in the US, but it’s becoming more popular with vegan cooking because it’s like a meat substitute. Not too sweet though. There’s a little bit of a seed pod in there. Yeah, there is, right there. And when he’s chopping it up, it’s almost like garlic, like shelling garlic. I lost my seed pod. That’s what the seed looks like. Not bad. It’s pretty neutral, like the flavor’s neutral. It’s not that sweet. It’s not that savory. Well, this place is incredible. When you come to Hong Kong, the food scene here is so diverse. It’s so vibrant. But what a lot of people miss is where those raw materials come from. A market like this is very representative of how local people here get their food. Dish by dish, day by day, they come to the market. They get the ingredients fresh. A lot of times, especially with the fish and stuff, they’re delivered still alive, which means you can’t get produce you cannot get materials fresher than this, and that is one of the main reasons why the food here is so good. I was in Hong Kong nine years ago on this trip I did through Southeast Asia after college.
I went to Hong Kong for about a week staying at the Chungking mansions, the cheapest places around, and I was partying by going in that 7/11 over there and drinking beers from the refrigerator. We’re getting some directions from some friendly locals because we’re a little bit lost. The market that we came to, Graham Street Market, we thought was going to be more of a street food market, but turns out it’s like more of a produce market. The mission continues. It’s starting to get a little late. It’s about 4:30 in the afternoon, but really street food does not really take off until the evening until 7 or 8 p.m. We still have some exploring to do. We’re going to find food. One of the coolest things about the city is the geography. It’s a small island; it’s very, very steep. And there’s a lot of people living in a very small place. You have all these streets like this that go up and down the hill, and they’re like massive highways of foot traffic. On top of them, a lot of them have these escalators that basically take you up and over the crowds and drop you in central spots. It’s a very good free budget activity because it’s like almost going on a gondola across the city. You get to see everything just about 30- 40 feet above the ground. It’s very cool. We’ve come to Yat Lok. This is a restaurant that’s been around since 1957, but it actually has a Michelin star, and that’s because here in China, the Michelin Guide has really expanded to include a lot of stuff that’s street food and little like mom and pop spots like this, especially here in Hong Kong and Macau. It’s been in the Michelin Guide for the last four years. They’re famous for their roast goose and noodle soup, and it’s time to eat. Roasted goose with noodles and BBQ pork is good right now. The broth Is really light. It’s super flavorful. The goose is delicious. The skin is crispy and sweet. It’s really yummy. We found this little street food joint. They specialize in seafood and we’ve ordered what we think are fish balls. They come with some bok choy, it says dace, but we don’t know what dace is. It’s really nice. It’s light. It’s not too fishy It’s really good. Try some. This is basically a dumpling without the flour outside of it. It’s like a snail outside of its shell. All right, so we are off the island. We’re back on the peninsula; we’re at Temple Street. There’s a night market here. They sell all sorts of gifts books and gadgets, as well as a bunch of street food. Now we’re going to try to find some of the most authentic street food from here in Hong Kong. It’s very local; it’s very busy, and it’s very cheap. Let’s go. All right, here we have curried fish balls. They’re basically fish balls that are cooking on a curried sauce served on a stick. I got six of them here for just over one u.s. dollar. That’s nine Hong Kong dollars. So let’s see what they taste like. The fish ball is super good. I’ve have had fish balls and other parts of China. The curry though, I don’t know where it comes from. Maybe it’s from the influence of Indian migrants who’ve come here over the years. I don’t know, but it tastes delicious.
Right now we’re about to get what could be one of my favorite foods on planet earth… Quintessentially, Cantonese dim sum. They have a bunch of different styles here. You can get it all over the city in Hong Kong, but we’re going to hop across the street here, grab some dim sum, and see how it is. Let’s go. Honestly, this is probably the crappiest dim sum in the city, and it’s still really good. Alright next up is stinky tofu. It’s like tofu, but it stinks. Alright, we’re going to see how it tastes. Hopefully, it tastes better than it smells. This is a classic street food here in Hong Kong. It is stinky because the tofu has been soaking in a brine of milk, meat, and veggies for quite a while, usually a couple of weeks. So that’s what makes it smell bad. It doesn’t smell that bad. Does it smell bad? It kind of smells like an old sock. Super appetizing. Yeah. Wow, Pungent taste. Stinky taste? It tastes stinky. I actually think it tastes worse than it smells, no offense to locals here who love it. If Marko gave it that review, I’m not going to lie. I’m slightly worried because usually, Mark’s all like, all chirpy, all positive, even with disgusting foods. Let’s give stinky tofu a shot. Smells like sweet and sour sauce because I did a thorough dipping, but I’ll try the side that’s not covered in sauce first. It doesn’t taste bad. It’s just like…it’s sour. It’s legitimately sour; it’s kind of bitter, and it creeps up on you like the first bite. Oh, it’s fine. It’s just deep-fried tofu. And then once you start to chew it and it hits your taste buds, it’s almost like your mouth starts watering It kind of smells like if you went to the gym real hard and then you left your gym clothes in the closet for two or three days. That’s kind of what it smells like. Mmm Way better than stinky tofu. This is nice. Yeah Garlic garlic, fresh green onions, glass noodles, and I’ve never seen a clam-like this. It’s extremely long. It’s like six inches long Without a doubt, that is the winner so far on the street food scene. Delicious. So good the clams with the glass noodles and a very generous serving of garlic and spring onions on top. It’s just absolutely delectable. We’ve made some friends with our neighbors here at the restaurant. They’re from Korea, super friendly and they’ve offered us a little bit of their chicken meat. It’s actually really good. It’s garnished with some cashew nuts, some pepper, some spring onion, a little bit of lettuce. Is that garlic as well? Wow. Super good. Alright guys, thanks for watching. We did our best to eat some local Hong Kong food. Probably didn’t get it all. If you have some tips on what else we should try next time we come to Hong Kong, leave them below in the comment section. As you may know, we have been doing this in our spare time while hosting our new TV show. As Marko said this is by no means an extensive one-stop-shop for Hong Kong, but we do want to come back. We want to do a big Southeast Asia trip. So if you have any destinations that you really want us to cover, please share them down in the comment section. If you have any tips, any restaurants for other travelers, make sure to share those as well. Don’t forget, we also made a full-length TV episode about Hong Kong. We ate at some great restaurants, everything from street food to Michelin-Starred restaurants. Make sure you go check that out on the Tastemade channel on YouTube TV here in the United States. And hopefully, that will be available internationally soon. If you enjoy this video, you know to do: big thumbs- up, share it with your friends, subscribe, turn on notifications. And in the meantime remember: stay curious, keep exploring, and we’ll see you guys on the road. Peace.