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Beginner's guide to Hong Kong food

CNNGo.com 11/28/2011 20:02
Beginner's guide to Hong Kong food - food - Hong Kong

Eating in Hong Kong can be overwhelming. Food trends are ever-morphing and the choice of things to eat is staggering, such that at any time, a "Hong Kong meal" can mean many different things. But just like the most complex building structures in the world, Hong Kong cuisine can also be broken down to its bricks and mortar. The following pillars of local food culture should be part of any Hong Kong itinerary.

Dim sum

Within each steaming bamboo dim sum basket, Canton's long history of culinary excellence is distilled into a mouthful of dainty dumpling, or a light-as-cloud bun.

One of the tenets of Hong Kong eating culture, a dim sum restaurant should be the first stop on a culinary tour both for the good eats as well as that quintessential Hong Kong dining atmosphere that is somewhere between unbridled feast and sophisticated grazing.

Best place to get it: In the sea of dim sum choices in Hong Kong it's easy to get lost. Maxim's Palace at City Hall is an old standby for a modern dim sum experience and Lin Heung Teahouse for a historical one.

The traditional roving dim sum trolleys are still in use both at City Hall Maxim's Palace and Lin Heung Teahouse.

Maxim's Palace at City Hall, 5-7 Edinburgh Place, Central, +852 2521 1303 
Lin Heung Teahouse, 160-164 Wellington St., Central, +852 2544 4556


Cha chaan teng and bing sutt

Eating at a cha chaan teng or bing sutt is about letting go of the rules. 

Ever wondered what a beef sandwich, dipped in egg and deep-fried, then slathered with butter and syrup would taste like? You can find out by ordering the Hong Kong-style French toast stuffed with satay beef slices at Lok Yuen.

Or have a craving for Japanese-style pork with instant noodles and a milk tea at 3 a.m.? Head to Tsui Wah Restaurant.

The food at a cha chaan teng or bing sutt fuses influences from British colonialism as well as Hong Kong's neighbors in Southeast and North Asia.

It is the equivalent of a diner, with fast, hot and consistently tasty meals. 

Best place to get it: Tsui Wah Restaurant, once a modest establishment, now has 20 branches and is representative of local cha chaan teng culture. The service is fast and tourist-friendly.

Tsui Wah Restaurant has multiple locations across town, for details see http://www.tsuiwahrestaurant.com/.

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