15 Weird foods to EAT in HOng Kong | The ultimate weird food guide for HK
The Eating Adventures team loves exploring Hong Kong to find the weirdest and most exotic food. Here is the our ultimate guide of 15 of the weirdest foods that you can find in Hong Kong.
BIRD NEST SOUP
Birds nest soup is one of the most expensive exotic delicacies that you can eat in Hong Kong. The nest itself is actually solidified saliva from male Swiflets. The nest are normally used to make a soup and are prized for their high nutritional value. Bird nest soup can either be sweet or savoury and should not be prepared with anything that has a strong flavour so as to appreciate the delicate flavour of the bird nest.
When dissolved in water the birds nest has a gelatinous texture. The colour of the nest varies with quality, with the purest white nests being the most expensive.
We have had the good fortune of trying high quality bird nest in a sweet soup dessert and highly recommend it!
Buying birds nest from speciality shops for home cooking costs around HKD150 to HKD500 per gram.
If you are interested in trying birds nest in a restaurant here are two options:
Tin Ngai Kam Bird Nest Place (G/F, 210 Shanghai Street, Yau Ma Tei) – A small no-frills place specialising in medicinal soups and birds nest, their small soup costs HKD238.
Shang Palace, a 2 Michelin-star Cantonese restaurant inside the Shangri-La Hotel, their bird nest soup costs HKD680-HKD720 per person.
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.
How about some egg that has been cured in horse urine?
Century egg is also known as hundred year eggs or thousand year eggs. It can be prepared from duck, quail or chicken eggs that are preserved in a mixture of clay, ash, quicklime and ricehulls. After preservation, the egg white will turn a translucent brown colour and the egg yolk will turn dark green or grey.
Common ways you will find century egg in Hong Kong is either served in congee, or with garlic, chilli and vinegar sprinkled on top. You can also have century egg without further preparation.
Century egg has a subtle flavour and the Chinese believe it is a good hangover cure.
And sorry to disappoint, but despite many people believing that century egg is cured in horse urine because of the smell, there is actually no urine involved.
Blood tofu is definitely one of the weirdest foods in Hong Kong. It is coagulated fresh pigs blood that has been solidified into cubes by heating and adding salt. It has a soft and smooth texture and you will commonly find it either being eaten as a dish by itself in a soy broth or in congee. If you are lucky, you may also come across duck blood tofu. The taste, as you would expect is like you are eating blood.
Blood tofu is a Cantonese speciality that has its origins in southern china in poorer times when food was scarcer. It is rich in a range of vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, iron, calcium and niacin. Excessive consumption can cause iron poisoning, so don’t eat it more than a couple of times a week.
Turtle Jelly is a Chinese medicine that is sold as a dessert. It is believed to be good for your skin, as well as improving circulation, reducing acne and assisting your kidneys.
Traditionally it should be made from powdered plastron (the lower turtle shell) combined with a mixture of Chinese herbs. Due to the high cost of turtles, some turtle Jelly being sold in Hong Kong has been found to contain no turtle at all, so if you want to try this, check with your concierge for a reputable shop.
Turtle Jelly is an acquired taste, slightly bitter and can be sweetened by adding some syrup.
Turtle Jelly is normally sold by the same shops as sell herbal tea, and you can expect it to cost around HKD50 per portion. One famous place to try turtle Jelly is Gong Wo Tong in Jordan (15 We Chong Street)
Snake soup is a true Cantonese delicacy and one of the favourite tastings on our Hong Kong Food Tours. Don’t be put off by the idea of eating snake—this soup is surprisingly tasty and not scary at all! It typically contains two types of snakes, some of which are venomous, and is thick with a complex flavour comprising, among other things, ginger, lemon leaves, fungus, and sometimes star anise. While the snake meat itself tastes like chicken, it is the flavour of the soup that will keep you coming back for more.
Because the Chinese believe this soup to be warming, it is particularly popular in winter, but you can find it year-round. It’s said to be good for circulation
RAW HORSE MEAT
Horse meat sashimi or Basashi is not a Cantonese speciality. This exotic delicacy originating in Japan is one of the more interesting imported foodie experiences you can try in Hong Kong. The meat gets frozen first to kill bacteria and then is served cold along with soy sauce, garlic and wasabi.
Horse meat is rich in protein, zinc, iron, and vitamin B, as well as low in fat.
If you want to try this Japanese delicacy while you are in Hong Kong, try Seki Tei Japanese restaurant in Tsim sha Tsui.
Chicken testicles are one of the less appealing weird foods that you may find on a menu in Hong Kong. They may be added to a hot pot, deep fried or boiled. The texture is a bit like soft tofu and the flavour is more like liver.
Chicken testicles as a dish originated from the Hakka area of Guangdong province. In restaurants they call these “Hens’ eggs”. It is meant to be good for women’s skin and for men’s kidneys.
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 wet markets in 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 Hong Kong Restaurants! A single Geoduck can weigh around 1.5 pounds.Lots of high end seafood restaurants in Hong Kong will have live Geoduck on display. Alternatively you can always find fresh Geoduck on display at the Mongkok wet markets. Expect to pay around 180HKD per pound 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.
If you would like to go to a Geoduck speciality shop, you can try Sek Tek Guo in Tun Mun.
Sea cucumber is a marine delicacy in Hong Kong, and despite the name, is not a vegetable. They are commonly dried for preservation and then rehydrated by soaking in water prior to cooking, although you can also find them fresh. They are prepared numerous was including in soups, steamed, deep fried, and even in Cheung fun (rice rolls). Prices can vary depending on type and quality, with the rare white sea cucumbers costing up to $80 per gram.
This is one of our favourite delicacies, and we highly recommend it!
Durian. Where to begin? Definitely the most delicious fruit in our opinion, and possibly one of the tastiest foods you can eat in Hong Kong. The flavour varies depending on the variety, but think of it as some sort of delicious mix between avocado and custard. The texture should be soft and creamy. If the flesh is hard it means that it is not ripe yet. Durian is not grown in Hong Kong, so it is all imported from Thailand and Malaysia. During durian season it is easy to find durian being sold in the supermarkets and fruit stalls around Hong Kong. Prices vary depending on the breed of durian and quality. Look for a durian that still has a green shell, has not opened yet and has a strong sweet smell.
Snake wine is made from infusing whole snakes in rice wine. The snakes used for this are often venomous. Whole live snakes are placed inside jars, along with Chinese herbs, and sometimes other animals such as lizard. The wine is then left absorb the essence of the snake for several months or even longer.
The wine has a high alcohol content, and would normally be consumed as a shot. The venom from the snake is no longer dangerous after mixing with the alcohol, and the rice wine is thought to have many medicinal benefits including being anti-inflammatory and preventing hair loss.
One of the risks of snake wine is that the snake inside the bottle is not dead. There have been several cases in china of people opening a bottle after it has been left to mature only to be bitten by an angry snake.
Pig’s brain has higher content of calcium, magnesium and iron compared to pork, however, it is extremely high in cholesterol. It is also not recommended for men but it is used as a Chinese medical for headache and insomnia. Commonly cooked in soup with other Chinese Herbs .
Another exotic treat in Hong Kong that is not a Cantonese speciality. Head down to Crafty Cow in Sheung Wan for some Panko Crusted bull testicles. With a more gamey flavour than beef, some people say they taste a bit like venison. Bull testicles are high in protein, vitamins and minerals.
JELLY FISH SALAD
You will never imagine but jellyfish makes a good refreshing salad in summer. Jellyfish is soaked in cold water first then gets boiled in water for 10-15 minutes before rinsing under cold water. Mixed with shredded cucumber, coriander, drizzled with soy sauce, vinegar, sesame seeds and chilli oil, the jelly fish itself is very bouncy. In fact, Hong Kong kids call them “rubber bands”.