Thanks to all who have participated in the West Asia Food Fest last month. You may check the round up of all the entries over at Shannon's blog.
I will be the host for the 4th Asian Food Fest. I really have to thank Wendy for the opportunity. This time, it is a little bit special, because the 4th Asian Food Fest will goes on for TWO months instead of the usual one month affair. And, I will be hosting the combination of Hong Kong (香港) and Macau (澳門).
Interesting eh? So, you must support lah! Haha...
Hong Kong has many nicknames, but most famous is 东方之珠, literally "Pearl of the orient". It was named according to the shiny city lights from both sides of Victoria Harbour and the high rise buildings. Ask anyone around you, I assure you, almost everyone knows Hong Kong is famous with it's paradise of shopping, eating and City of Life.
So, how does Hong Kong linked to Macau? They are almost neighbors because they are just an hour ferry ride away from Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal.
Macau is well known as one of the world's biggest gambling centre. During the olden days, Macau was rented to Portugal by the Chinese Empire as a trading port back then. And Macau resident, also known as Macanese has its unique cultural combination of Chinese and Portuguese. Lots of tourists swear that Macau serves yummy Portuguese food.
Hong Kong Cuisine
Hong Kong cuisine is mainly influenced by Cantonese cuisine since 1920's. In 1949's, Shanghainese and western cuisine influence kicked in, and this is also, due to Hong Kong's past as a British colony and long history of being an international city of commerce. From the roadside stalls to the most upscale restaurants, you can find unlimited variety of food in every class. Probably due to the combination and complexity in cultural influence, international gourmet expertise have given Hong Kong the reputable labels of "Gourmet Paradise".
Hong Kong homes and kitchens tend to be small due to a high population density. Modern people are often too busy to cook. Hence, take-out and dining out is very common. From walled village (围村) dishes to Hong Kong-style teahouses 茶餐厅 and dai pai dong 大牌档, the true flavours of Hong Kong are revealed in its indigenous food, and the way it is prepared, served and eaten. So, what's the "Must Eat" food when I go Hong Kong? That's of course Dim Sum, Chinese Barbecue, Late Night Eats and alot more.
SIGNIFICANT HONG KONG FOOD
Dim Sum (点心) - It means ‘touch your heart’ and with as many as 150 items on a restaurant menu, and 2,000 in the entire range, it is a challenge to not find something you love or something you could make. Going for dim sum is known as yum cha (饮茶), which literally means ‘drinking tea.’ Usually a brunch or lunch affair, it is a common form of family, co-worker and other group get-togethers.
Chinese Barbecue, known as siu mei (烧味). It is impossible to miss this cuisine in Hong Kong because after the highly-seasoned meats are roasted on spits over an open fire or in a rotisserie oven, they are hung inside the restaurant and visible from the street. You’ll see it hanging in fast-food chains, high-end restaurants and supermarkets. Chinese barbecue restaurants usually have highly flexible menus that allow you to pair your roast meats with rice, noodles or rice noodles. Combo plates enable solo diners to sample several meats in one meal.Late Night Eats (筲夜) - In Hong Kong, late night eats is very common. The factors include the 24 hour nature of this fast paced city and the tendency of its industrious population to work late into the evening. Whatever the reasons, if you get on the Hong Kong clock and schedule your meal a bit later, you’ll be able to experience some of the city’s truest flavours. From the traditional street stalls called dai pai dong (大牌档) to the late-night hotel buffets, just about any type of food can be found late at night. Some of the most popular night-time eats include Chiu Chow da lang (潮州打冷), Chinese desserts, hotpot, noodles and congee. Look for these, and you’ll probably find a bustling nighthawk venue.
Hotpot (火锅) - Eating is often a social experience. Nothing demonstrates this better than diners huddled around a pot of boiling meats and vegetables on a chilly winter evening. Although hot-pot-for-one makes this style of eating a possibility for any occasion, traditionally hotpot is always a group event. In uniquely Hong Kong ingredients, wonton are usually added into the pot.
NOODLES AND CONGEE
Noodles and congee (rice porridge) are often served under the same roof. Some of the more traditional restaurants that serve both will have two open kitchens flanking the entrance. One kitchen will be dedicated solely to making congee, the other to making noodles.
Congee ranges from the plain starchy variety to the lighter versions that include vegetables and meat and even hotpots in which the ingredients are cooked in a congee soup. The huge variety of noodles and congee available can be enjoyed 24 hours a day in the city. In fact, these are popular Late Night Eats (筲夜)
Cantonese-style Congee (广东粥) - Congee, or rice porridge, is found all over China. However, it is unlikely that anyone puts more effort into congee than the people of Guangdong Province and Hong Kong. Raw ingredients are put in continuously boiling rice porridge until they become soft and their flavours are infused in the entire mixture.
Chiu Chow-style Congee (潮州粥) - From Chaozhou in Guangdong Province, Chiu Chow people have brought their distinct dialect and cuisine to Hong Kong. The difference can be seen in their fresh-seafood renditions of congee, such as the baby oyster congee.
Wonton Noodles (云吞麺) - Noodle strips made from rice, this is a staple food of South China and Southeast Asia. Their versatility and flexibility mirror the characteristics of Hong Kong’s people. Traditionally, bite-sized wontons (a kind of Chinese dumpling) are served in an aromatic stock with noodles that are springy to the bite. Ideally, the wontons will be filled 70 per cent with shrimp and 30 per cent with pork.
Stir-fried Rice Noodles with Sliced Beef (干炒牛河) - Noodles are narrow strips of dough, usually made from eggs and flour. They are prepared in a staggeringly huge amount of ways in Hong Kong, but stir-frying them is one of the most popular cooking methods. Stir-fried noodles with soy sauce and sliced beef is one of the most common renditions of noodles in this style.
Cart Noodles / Tze Zai Meen (车仔麺) - Cart noodles are the best choice for fellow Hongkies when they need some late night eats. Varieties of noodles type, and mix and match the ingredients. This started as a street hawker meal in the 1950s. The ability to choose the number and types of ingredients offered an inexpensive meal.
Snacking in Hong Kong is a diverse business, with everything from slush drinks and egg tarts to octopus balls available on the streets. Graze the way around Hong Kong for a really local experience.
In Hong Kong, snacks are usually sold in restaurants or from take-away windows on the street. The entire repertoire is vast, but here are some classics:
Pineapple Buns (菠萝包) - This bun contained no pineapple and earned its name because its chequered top resembles the skin of a pineapple. The top half of the bun is made from cookie-type dough, while the bottom is made from Chinese-style bread dough, which tends to be softer and sweeter than Western bread.
Egg Tarts (蛋挞) - A pastry-crust filled with egg custard and baked. This popular Hong Kong snack probably originates from English custard cakes. Some are made with cookie dough while others have a flaky pastry. The latter are often referred to as Portuguese egg tarts.
Wife Cake (老婆饼) - A bun filled with sweet winter melon paste. Legend has it that when the winter-melon puffs made by a woman in Guangdong Province were highly praised in public, her husband proudly declared that there were his wife’s cakes. The name ‘wife cake’ stuck.
Mini Egg Puffs / Egglets (鸡蛋仔) - Sweetened egg batter grilled in a mould to make puffs. Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside. These days it comes in a range of flavours, including chocolate, strawberry and coconut.
White Sugar Cake (白糖糕) - Originating in Shunde, Guangdong province, this traditional pastry is made by steaming a dough mixture of rice flour, white sugar, water and yeast. It is sweet with some sour notes and has a soft and spongy texture.
Put Zai Ko (缽仔糕) - Often translated as ‘sticky rice pudding’, put zai ko is typically made of rice flour and red beans. These ingredients are put in a small china bowl. When the pudding sets, it can be removed from the bowl on a small stick and eaten like a popsicle.
When we talk about urban food, we usually think of Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, speed and efficiency are expected and demanded.
Hong Kong-Style Teahouses (茶餐厅) and local fast food chains are the one. They serve Chinese and localised Western dishes under five minutes! Baked pork chop rice is one of the signature dish. Instant Noodles which usually called "yat-ding" (一丁) or some preferred dried Instant Noodles "lou ding" (捞丁) are also common in Hong Kong-Style Teahouses. And yea, some of them expect you to eat them fast too! So that the next customer can have your seats. This always happens. Haha...
(Photo Credit : Good Life Good Times)
(Photo Credit : Discover Hong Kong)RURAL FOOD
Photo Credit : China Daily USA
The most notable walled village dish is called 'poon choi' (盆菜), or 'big bowl feast'. A huge amount of ingredients are layered in a large bowl and eaten communally. One big bowl feast could include pork, beef, lamb abalone, chicken, duck, shrimp, crab, various mushroom, chinese radish and tofu in none to 12 layers. That's enough to satisfy a group of ten people. The ingredients are not mixed. The bowl's contents are eaten layer by layer.
'Poon choi' (盆菜) has become a food experience unique to Hong Kong and is listed as part of the city's intangible cultural heritage.
One very interesting finding during my trip to Hong Kong Last week. I found rural food in urban area! I found 'gow zai fun' (狗仔粉), literally puppy noodles if you want it to be translated. This was found in 1960's street food. Hong Kong's economy was bad back then, 'shun tak' (顺德) people used hot water and rice flour to make some sticky noodles to keep their stomach full. The noodles are hand made, and it's shape looked like puppy's tail, and hence, they named it 'gow zai fun'. To cook the noodles, dried shrimps (虾米), preserved turnips (菜脯), pork lard bits (猪油渣), chinese mushroons (冬菇), and other condiments are used. It's simple and I'd guarantee you that this is so so so so delicious! I asked my Hong Kong friend about it, and they told me that this is now considered as a rural food and can only be found in villages area. I'm surprised that I see this in Yau Ma Tei (油麻地) area! I'm totally hooked with this old-fashioned food.
Macau's cooking consist of a blend of Cantonese and Portuguese cuisines. Many unique dishes resulted from the spice blends that the wives of Portuguese sailors used in an attempt to replicate European dishes. Its ingredients and seasonings includes those from Europe, South America, Africa, India, and Southeast Asia, as well as local Chinese ingredients.
Typically, Macanese food is seasoned with various spices and flavors including turmeric, coconut milk cinnamon and bacalhau (Portugese dried and salted cod) that gives special aromas and tastes. It is not difficult to understand that Macau has its renowned for its flavor-blending culture, and modern Macanese cuisine may be considered a type of fusion cuisine. Pork chop bun, ginger milk and Portuguese-style egg tart are the very popular modern food in Macau. Ask any tourist who went Macau before, they will be able to tell you "Yes! Must try pork chop bun and Portuguese-style egg tart!!!"
Yea, I tried both when I'm in Macau.
The Portuguese egg tart is Macau's most famous food. It consists of flaky pastry shell, with a rich, sweet egg custart filling with a consistency similar to Crème brûlée. A caramelized top plays an integral role in the taste. Everywhere from restaurants and hotels to street food vendors sells them.
Pork Chop bun is another well-known Macau street food. It is literally a seasoned pork chop on a bun. The pork is incredibly tender and flavorful, rests in a piggy bun, which has a crunchy exterior, soft center and a good chew that gives you a simple but full of satisfaction.
Serradura, the not-so appealing name for a dessert that translates from Portuguese as "Sawdust". It is much loved dessert in Macau. It is a waste that I didn't get to taste it when I'm in Macau last week. It is a chilled pudding, in a semifreddo style. It is basically a layered dessert of sweet biscuits crushed to resemble sawdust, cream, condensed milk and vanilla.
(Photo Credit : Tra News)
(Photo Credit : A Coffeeholic Travel Tale)
I took a bus that takes me 31 bus stop journey just to visit a Portuguese restaurant. I was told that their Portuguese dishes are great. Throughout the dinner, these are the two dishes that attracts me. Drunken Steak and Macanese roast chicken. Don't ask me what's the actual name of the dish. This is what it's stated on the menu, and the waitress claimed that it is traditional food. If you know these two dishes, do let me know.
Shrimp Roe Noodles (虾籽麺) - You may call this grey area. Because both Hong Kong and Macau serves this noodles. I found a small shop sells dried shrimp roe noodles and I bought a few packet home. With my conversation with the shop owner who'd at her age of 70 years old, she said that Shrimp Roe Noodles is originated from Macau. How true? I'm not sure. If you know, pls tell me. I only know that this is really good. Shrimp roe noodles are well cooked, drizzle with some shrimp paste sauce, oil, some soy sauce and then topped with shrimp roe and green onions. It's so yumm!
Despite all those signature food featured all over the social media, I do realized that Chinese food in Macau is actually the same in Hong Kong. Typical noodles and congee, egg tarts, polo buns, and the list goes on.
Sites and Food Blogs dedicated for your reference :
Hong Kong Cuisines
Cantonese Style Congee - Taste Hong Kong
Sha Tin Chicken Congee - 沙田鸡粥 at Youtube
Puppy Noodles 狗仔粉 - Wonderful Sky
HK Style Wanton Noodles - Steamy Kitchen
HK Egg Tart - Kitchen Tigress
HK Egglets 鸡蛋仔 - Christine's Recipe
White Sugar Cake 白糖糕 - Wendyinkk
Polo Bun 菠萝包 - Grace Kitchen Corner
HK Zha Jiang Noodles - Christine's Recipe
HK Turnip Cake (香港萝卜糕) - Vio Kitchen
Water Chestnut Cake (马蹄糕) - Christine's Recipe
Here's a list of HK dishes (香港街头小吃) by Maise Kitchen - 香港街头小吃
Almond Cookies (杏仁饼) - Debbie Adventure
Almond Cookies (杏仁饼) - Daima Kitchen
葡國雞) - Open Rice
These are the few references I found. I'm not sure about the accuracy tho. Do some homework and google more. You may find some better recipe than this.