Things to do in Mongkok | An Insiders Guide
Mongkok, insanely overcrowded, humid as hell and full of great things to do. For shoppers, Mongkok has both luxury malls and street markets. For foodies, Mongkok may be the highlight of your trip to Hong Kong with abundant street food, desserts and local eateries. Enjoy our insiders guide to Mongkok.
The Best Ways to Travel from Hong Kong to Guangzhou
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Hong Kong Street Eats | The best Street Food in Hong Kong
Cantonese people love to eat, and Hong Kongs street food reflects that. With a mixture of traditional cantonese snacks and contemporary delicacies, the street food is so good that the Michelin guide for Hong Kong included a street food category since 2016. Whilst in the 1950s & 60s Hong Kong streets were studded with street food hawkers selling from carts, today you are more likely to find your favourite street food being sold from small shops and stands on street corners. Take yourself on your own eating adventure around Hong Kong sampling some of the snacks below, or join one of our Hong Kong food tours. Egg Waffles (Gai Daan Zai)Gai daan zai, or Egg Waffles are one of the most popular Hong Kong street snacks. Made from a batter of egg, wheat flour, evaporated milk, and sugar, these are a locals favourite. You’ll encounter its sweet, tempting scent often as you wander the city streets.Besides the traditional flavour egg waffle, you can now find all sorts of modern variations including Pandan and Chocolate flavours, or served with ice cream, and even our favourite, peanut butter with condensed milk!Where to find Hong Kong Egg Waffles? It is easy to find gai daan zai in Hong Kong, but lots of it will be soft, soggy or not tasty. If you want to try one of the best versions in the city, head to Lei Kung Kee (492 Kings Rd., North Point), a hole-in-the-wall near North Point MTR. Expect long queues in the afternoon. Dao fu faDao fu fa is a popular snack in Hong Kong. Made from coagulated soybean milk—essentially very soft tofu—it can be eaten hot or cold and is normally served with a sweet sugar or ginger syrup. Sometimes it is also served with fruit or mixed with black sesame paste. Good-quality dao fu fa should be soft and silky-smooth.Where to try dao fu fa? The tofu at A1 Tofu Company (103 Kweilin St., Sham Shui Po, Kowloon, Hong Kong) is made from organic Canadian soybeans, and is known for having exceptionally great texture. Pig Intestines (Ja Zu Da Cheung)Pig Intestines. Doesn’t the name just make you salivate? Probably not, but this is a popular street snack in Hong Kong. It is a labour intensive and time consuming process to prepare these intestines. First they need to be cleaned with salt and flour, boiled for an hour, coat with malt sugar and dry for 3 hours before putting them in the deep-fryer. You can hide the flavour with some mustard or hoisin sauce. The intestines themselves are a bit chewy, in some ways like squid. Just hope that your intestines were cleaned properly before being deep fried!You can find pig intestines at any of the street snack stalls that you find scattered around Hong Kong. Try Mongkok or Sham Shui Po for your culinary adventure. Curry Fish Balls (Ga Lei Yu Dan)Curry fish balls is one of the best known Hong Kong Street Foods, and can be found throughout the city. In Cantonese these are literally called “Fish Eggs”, and are 5 – 7 small balls of minced fish mixed with flour and boiled in a spicy curry sauce. Served on a bamboo skewer, they are cheap, flavoursome and easy to find. These are so popular that you can even buy them at 7-eleven. If you are interested in trying Curry Fish Balls, this Hong Kong street snack that has been a staple over the generations is one of the tastings on our Kowloon Food Tour.Where to try it Hong Kong curry fish balls?The best is from Lam Kee hidden in Hung Hom Cha Kwun Lei. They have been around for many years and expect long queues during lunch and after school hours. Their old-styled traditional sauce made from oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, star anise and curry. HKD$7 for 6 fish balls. Stinky Tofu (Cau Dou Fu)Stinky tofu is fermented tofu that can be found as a street food in Hong Kong. This weird food has its origins in mainland China, but can also be found in Hong Kong and Taiwan. The Taiwanese are especially fond of this pungent food, serving more varieties than you can find in Hong Kong.The stink in the stinky tofu is from a fermented brine made from fermented milk, vegetables, meat and shrimp. Fresh tofu is immersed in the brine for a day or two to get its flavour. The smell of stinky tofu is quite overpowering. It reminds me of the open sewers in Africa. You will need to overcome your natural instinct not to eat food with a rotten smell to try this snack.In Hong Kong stinky tofu is normally deep fried and served with hoisin sauce. In the past, stinky tofu was sold in street carts in busy areas like Mong Kok. Nowadays, you can find them in these little street side snack food shops dotted around the city. Fried Squid (Ja Yao Yu)Who doesn’t like some fried squid? The best fried squids are ones that are lightly battered, deep fried in oil over 180 degrees resulting in really crispy coating and crunchy squid inside. Kai Kei Snack (41 Dundas Street, Mong Kok) is a locals favourite for fried squid. Pineapple Buns (Bo Lo Bao)Pineapple buns are a sweet bun that is popular in Cantonese bakeries around the world. The pineapple buns actually contains no pineapple but got its name from the appearance of the sugary crust on top of the bun which has a pattern like pineapple skin.It may just be a simple bun, but it was listed by the Hong Kong Government as part of Hong Kong’s intangible heritage in 2014.Traditional pineapple buns contain no filling, but common variations include a red bean paste filling, or even real pineapple.Many Hong Kong restaurants, such as , offer an item called a buttered pineapple bun, which is a pineapple bun with a piece of butter stuffed inside. They are known in Cantonese as bo lo yau (菠蘿油), which translates literally to pineapple oil.In our humble opinion though, the best pineapple buns are found across the border in Guangzhou. Try Bing Sheng for their famous oversized buns with a pineapple filling.In Hong Kong we recommend Kam Wah Restaurant (47 Buke Street, Mongkok), their famous hot Bo Lo Yau (HKD$10) will live up to your expectations. Crunchy crust, soft bun and butter that melts as soon as you put the bun into your month. Lo Po Bang (Wife Cakes)Lo Po Bang or Wives Cakes is one of the most popular traditional pastries in Hong Kong. Originating from Guangdong in mainland China. The paste is a sweet mash of wintermelon, sugar and glutinous rice flour. We like our Lo Po Bang to have a good amount of wintermelon inside, the paste should be smooth and the pastry soft and flaky.There is a beautiful legend behind the origins of Lo Po Bang. It is said to have been invented by a man living in a small village in China. His father was terminally ill, and the man and his wife had spent all their money on trying to find a treatment to save the father. In the ultimate self sacrifice, the wife sold herself into slavery to raise more money to save her father in law. After the husband learned of his wife’s actions, he invented Lo Po Bang and sold enough to buy back his wife and save his father.You can find Lo Po Bang in most bakeries in Hong Kong, however the quality varies enormously and some to be honest are unpalatable.To try some great Lo Po Bang in Hong Kong, head out to Hang Heung Cake Shop in Yuen Long, 66 Castle Peak Road, Yuen Long, Hong Kong Lo Mai Chi (Glutinious Rice Balls)Lo Mai Chi are sweet glutinous rice ball. They sometimes have dried coconut on the outside and can be made from a variety of fillings including red bean paste, mango and durian. There are also more modern varieties with chocolate fillings.In Hong Kong you will find small speciality shops that sell freshly made Lo Mai Chi. The English name for these is often written as Nuomici, which Mandarin, not Cantonese.Lo Mai Chi are similar to Japanese Mochi, but the glutinous rice is softer and more sticky.Cheung Chau, one of the outlying island of Hong Kong is famous for Lo Mai Chi. Yong Xing Dessert place (3 Sun Hing Street, Cheung Chau) makes one of the best mango lo mai chi. Dragon Beard Candy (Long So Tong)Dragon beard candy is a traditional Chinese candy that you can find in Hong Kong. It is similar to fairy floss. The process of making the candy is often used by street sellers to attract customers, as the art of making it is in itself eye-catching. Dragon beard candy has a history of more than 2000 years in China. In the past, royal chefs in China would give a performance on how to make dragon beard candy in front of guests and serve them afterwards.Made primarily from maltose and sugar, after stretching the strands are rolled around peanuts, sesame seads, it has a stringy appearance with a rich sweet flavour and will melt on your tongue.The candy is best eaten freshly made and will quickly melt in warmer weather.Where to find Dragon Beard Candy?Dragon beard candy is not easy to find. You might be lucky to stumble upon it at a night market or festival. Otherwise there is a small shop in Sheung Wan near the MTR Exit B that sells it. Look for a Chinese sign with small writing that says “Super Bowl King Traditional Sweets and Desserts” Three Stuffed Treasures (Jin yeung saam bo)Three stuffed treasures is a street snack that has it’s origins in Shunde in Guangdong. You may have actually tried variations of this street snack in dim sum restaurants without even knowing it. Traditional three stuffed treasures comprises bitter melon, long green chili and eggplant. Each is stuffed with fish paste. When you buy this from a street vendor in Hong Kong, there are actually more than 3 varieties to choose from with other options including stuffed tofu, stuffed mushrooms and even sausages, The vendor will stick a piece of each chosen variety on a bamboo skewer and deep fry them. Be wary of food safety if buying this on the street, as it may have been sitting out all day.To try three stuffed treasures, you need to go to a stall that makes them in the original way – deep fried in pork oil. Nowadays, people are very health conscious and will run away as soon as they hear the word “pork oil”. Luckily, there is Dong Hing Snack Food in Stall A4, 43-59 Dai Tsuen Street, Tai Kok Tsui that makes their own pork oil, beat their own fish mince and the smell spreads throughout the whole street. Beef Offal Stew (ngao tsap)Slow cooked beef offal, boiled for hours in a master stock that may have been used for years. Fresh beef is also included in the soup. Our favourite part is the honeycomb tripe, but you will also find small intestines, large intestinese and lungs in this delicious delicacy. Try to find a vendor that includes some white radish, which will soak up the flavour of the soup.In the past is was possible to find this being sold be street vendors in Hong Kong, but with an ever reducing number of street vendors, you are likely going to have to go to a restaurant for this street food.Where to try beef offal stew?Sui Kee 2, Gutzlaff Street, Central, Hong KongThis famous beef offal and beef brisket stew place has been around for more than 60 years. It has been passed down to three generations but owner Li said his only son is not as tough as he is and simply not interested in spending up to 15 hours in the stall. So, enjoy it while you can! Wun Jai Ci – “shark fin” soupIn the 40’s, around Temple Street Yau Ma Tei area, there were street sellers that gathered left over shark fins from restaurants and recooked them in a nice thick soup so that common people can also enjoy shark fins.Due to increased hygiene standards, vendors don’t use leftovers anymore and they have replaced the shark fin with vermicelli. Cooked with black fungus, mushrooms, shredded chicken meat, cured ham, this tasty and filling soup is a great snack to have.Where to try imitation shark fin soup?Bon Bon Cafe92 Ivy Street, Tai Kok Tsui, Hong Kong Boot zai go – steamed glutinous rice pudding Originated from Tai Shan in Guangdong, it is made from brown sugar and glutinous rice flour, steamed in porcelain small bowls, often with red beans inside. In the past these were sometimes served by street vendors skewered on two bamboo sticks.Where to try boot zai go?Kwon Kee, 115-117 Fook Wah Street Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong
WEIRD FOOD TO EAT IN GUANGZHOU
Guangzhou may be the ultimate travel destination for those of you seeking to expand your culinary horizons with unusual exotic food. Weird food, does not necessarily mean bugs and strange furry animals. The people of Guangzhou have a love for food, and there is a huge diversity of fresh produce available. A simple trip to the market in Guangzhou can present a wide range of fresh food that would be more than enough for an episode of Bizarre Foods. Chickens with black meat, goose eggs, pigeons, scorpions, crocodiles, more varieties of mushrooms than you have ever seen before, and that is before you check out the seafood. Any of you that are lucky enough to visit Guangzhou can see these exotic wonders and a lot more on our Guangzhou Food Tours.
Our focus in this list is bizzare or unusual foods that are readily accessible to try in Guangzhou, the things that are part of everyday life for local Cantonese people. Remember, what is weird to you, is normal to us!
Weird Foods of Guangzhou - No 1. Black Chicken (Wu Gai)
In English this chicken is called a Silkie. They have beautiful soft white feathers, and amazingly black meat and bones. If you go to a market in Guangzhou, you will see the black meat on display at any chicken stall. The meat is commonly used to make chicken soup and is has been prized for its medicinal qualities in China for hundreds of years. The soup is a clear soup boiled with goji berries, dried yam, dried orange peel and ginger.
Another unusual fact about this chicken is that is has 5 toes instead of 4 toes like most other chickens.
In addition to chicken soup, the eggs from Silkie's are blue / black colour, fragrant and delicious. They run at about double to cost of normal chicken eggs.
Black chicken is so common that we will not recommend an individual restaurant. Almost every neighbourhood has a soup shop that will sell Wu Gai soup. Most large restaurants will also serve the soup. Ask your concierge for a suggestion, or any Cantonese local!
Weird Foods of Guangzhou No 2 - Scorpion
If you are reading this, you have probably already come across the common images of people selling scorpion skewers in Beijings night markets. Unlike in Beijing, this is not a tourist novelty. In Guangzhou if you go to most wet markets, you can find someone selling a variety of different scorpions. In Chinese medicine, scorpions are known for their detoxification purpose. It is often used to treat arthritis. Normally used in soups, locals think male scorpions with small bellies and thick legs are the best.
If you are interested in trying some scorpion soup, there is a 35 year old restaurant called Dun Ping Huang on Tong Fu Dong Road, Haizhu. They specialise in slow cooked soups and serve a wide variety of medicinal soups including scorpion soup, cow penis soup and turtle soup.
Weird Foods of Guangzhou No 3 - Goose Eggs
Goose eggs, exotic, delicious and sure to give you high cholesterol. One of the more tame exotic foods that you can try in Guangzhou, these jumbo eggs are around 3 times the size of a normal chicken egg, and at least double the price per gram of a chicken egg. We like our goose eggs pan fried and have it as a common breakfast treat. You probably won't find this on many restaurant menu's, but you can buy it at any wet market. Goose eggs are high in protein content and full of minerals and vitamins. It is said to help improve one’s memory.
Weird Foods of Guangzhou No 4 - Pigeon
There is a Chinese proverb that one pigeon is worth nine chickens. Pigeon is a delicious treat available in many restaurants across Guangzhou and also fresh in all wet markets. Common ways to eat pigeon are roasted, similar to duck or goose, or in a soup or hot pot. The meat is darker than chicken, more like duck, flavoursome but not fatty. There is not much meat on a pigeon, so either order a few to share, or have it as part of your main meal. Pigeon soup is particularly delicious.
Where to try it?
You can try good roast pigeon all over Guangzhou, ask a Cantonese concierge for a recommendation. For pigeon soup, my favourite is from a small restaurant in Liwan district. Nothing fancy, but authentic and delicious.
Wang jin ge on Jiang Yi Road, Haizhu specialises in pigeon and is one of our favourite restaurants. You can have your pigeons cooked in four different ways plus treat yourself with one of their medicinal pigeon hotpots.
Weird Foods of Guangzhou No 5 - Donkey
Donkey is not a Cantonese speciality, but it is available in Guangzhou. Originating from Northern China, Donkey can be prepared in a variety of ways. Hot pot is one of the most common. The meat is similar to beef, but with a more subtle flavour and is considered a delicacy. If you are living in Guangzhou, you can buy fresh donkey meat in Liwan near the Lamb wholesalers. There is a Chinese saying “There is dragon meat in heaven and there is donkey meat on earth.” It is meant to be excellent for people with bad back.
Weird Foods of Guangzhou No 6 - Geoduck
Geoduck (pronounced Goo-ey-duck) its the largest burrowing clam in the world. They originate from the west coast of Canada and the USA and are sold live in markets across Guangzhou, as well as neighbouring Hong Kong. Geoducks take 6 years to reach maturity and can live for an amazing 140 years, although life expectancy is considerably shorter for those in Guangzhou Restaurants! A single Geoduck can weigh around 1.5 pounds.
Lots of high end seafood restaurants in Guangzhou will have live Geoduck on display. Alternatively for the very freshest and widest choice, head to the Huang Sha Seafood markets and be amazed. Expect to pay around 300 RMB per kilo for this rare delicacy. The best way to prepare geoduck is to quickly boil them in hot water then dip into ice cold water. Sprinkle with shallot, ginger and chilli, drizzle with soy and cooked oil.