Thursday, January 23, 2014

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Pineapple Tarts (黄梨酥挞)

Pineapple tarts is a must-have amongst many households during Chinese New Year, especially in Singapore. Baking pineapple tarts for Chinese New Year has become yearly affair ever since I picked up baking.

Baking pineapple tarts is a very laborious affair and it needs alot of patience and time. But I just couldn't help it. Shop-bought ones are either no good, or over-priced.Trust-worthy quality pineapple tarts are not easy to find. I might as well bake it then.

Max had been living with shop-bought pineapple tarts for the past 29 years. He has no complaint and he eat what his mom fed him. But after I started baking, I'm surprised to hear from him how precise he wants his pineapple tart to taste! He wanted buttery and melt-in-the-mouth pastry with some tang on the pineapple jam. For me, my personal requirement is flaky and NO to milky taste. So, I work based on that.

I did googled some recipes and flip some recipe books. I skipped those that uses milk or milk powder. I skipped those that ask for margarine or shortening. I tried baking using 3 to 4 recipes for the past three years. And I finally convinced and settled down with The Little Teochew's recipe, because I believe simplicity could deliver the best.

I baked 3 batches of pineapple tart last year. Used Lurpak and President butter for the first two batches. It was good. But my MIL complaint that the buttery taste is not what she's looking for. She said "That's not local taste!"

.... She makes my face turned green.

I had a sleepless night, thinking what she meant by local taste. And for the 3rd batch, I used SCS butter, as this is widely used especially for Chinese New Year baking. And the result, she says "This is local taste lah!".... I guessed it right! This is the buttery taste that she's looking for!

..... Duh!!! I keep calm and continue my baking. Hahaha...

This year, I used SCS for my pineapple tarts as well. And for the pineapple jam, I got myself some Morris pineapple, followed Wendy's home-made pineapple jam recipe and cook up a big batch from scratch.

Ingredients (for Pineapple Jam)
(Source : Wendyinkk)

  • 2 large Morris Pineapple
  • 400g Sugar
  • 1 small stick of Cinnamon
  • some lemon juice (optional, if you prefer more sourish taste)

Method (for Pineapple Jam)

  1. Peel the pineapple, cleaned, cut into large chunk, included the core. 
  2. Put half the pineapple chunks into a blender, add 1/3 water and blitz away. Pour 80% of the blended pineapple into a large pan or wok that has large evaporation surface. 
  3. With the remaining blended pineapple in the blender, add the rest of the pineapple chunks into the blender and blitz away. Always leave some blended liquid on the blender, so that you don't have to add water for the next blending process. 
  4. Cook pineapple paste with the cinnamon stick under medium heat until it turned pasty, like oatmeal kind of thickness. Stir it occasionally. 
  5. Add sugar and stir. The pineapple paste will turn watery when sugars are added. Stir once a while. 
  6. Increase the heat to high. Don’t stir and let the base take on some color. It will caramelize the jam. Stir once a while to check on the color. Stop when it almost reaches your preferred color.  Do take note that some pans will continue to caramelize even when the heat is off.
  7. Do take note that the jam will thicken further upon cooling. It is better to undercook the jam rather than overcook it. You can cool the jam and see the texture. If it is too wet, you can always cook it again to achieve dry texture.
  8. Once jam is kept in the fridge for a day, pre-roll pineapple jam into balls the night before your baking day. 
Note : You can prepare this way ahead. I did mine more than a week beforehand. Air-tight sealed and keep it well in the fridge. It's absolutely fine with. 

Ingredients (for Pastry)
(Source : The Little Teochew, with modification)

  • 400g Plain Flour
  • 50g Corn Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Fine Salt
  • 280g Cold, Unsalted Butter, cut into cubes. 
  • 3 Egg Yolks, beaten
  • 3 tbsp Ice-Cold Water
  • 6 tbsp Icing Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • For the pastry glaze, mix 1 Egg Yolk + 1 tbsp Water. 

Note : If you have lard at home, do add some. I did two batches of pastry. One using 280g Butter (follow recipe) for giveaway purpose. While the other batch that I want to keep it for own consumption, I used 250g butter + 30g lard oil. The result is seriously awesome! So, I'd highly encourage you guys to be more courageous and go ahead to do some experiment to find the right Oomph! taste for yourself :)

Method (for Pastry)

  1. Cut butter into small cubes. Put it back to the fridge. Take the butter cubes out when you are ready to use it. 
  2. Sift flour, icing sugar and salt together. Mix well. I keep mine in the fridge to keep my flour cold. The weather in Singapore is hot. I can't help it. 
  3. Using the pointed ends of a fork, rub the cubed cold butter into the flour until it looks like fine bread crumbs. If necessary, use fingertips to continue rubbing lightly on the bigger pieces of butter into finer pieces. 
  4. Beat together egg yolks, cold water and vanilla extract (and lard oil if you are using it). Add it into the butter flour mixture. Using finger tips, gently coax all the crumbs into one large dough ball. Do not knead the dough. As long as the crumbs comes together, you should stop working. 
  5. Divide dough into two balls. Wrap the dough using clingwrap, chill in the fridge for 10mins.
Note : The reason for dividing the dough into two balls is because the dough is very buttery and oily. It would be ideal to use a smaller portion at a time and keep the rest covered in the fridge, otherwise, the dough will ooze oil. 

Method (Baking)
  1. Take one dough ball out of the fridge, roll out to desired thickness. Cut out dough using tart cutter. Arrange neatly onto baking tray, with at least 1.5cm apart. 
  2. Glaze the tart shells (the entire tart pastry surface, not just the rims). Bake it at 175 oC for 5mins. 
  3. Take the tart shells out of the oven, glaze the tart shells one more time (but just the rims for this time). Place pre-rolled pineapple jam balls onto the centre of each tart shells.
  4. Bake the pineapple tart for another 15mins, or until the tart pastry looked golden brown. 

My butter is cold, and my flour is cold too. The task here is to coat the butter crumbs in flour, while doing your best to prevent the butter from melting. If your kitchen is air-conditioned, that would be the best! You might find it messy if you are doing this for the first time. But once you have the hang of it, it will be fine.

 I have pastry cutter to do the work, so, it is much easier compared to fork.

If you made shortbread pastry before, you will know how this should go about. Handling the dough is the key. If you overworked the dough, you will ruin everything. You have to be gentle to the dough, so as to achieve wonderful buttery, flaky texture.

.... my camera sucks. It doesn't bring out the color of the buttery dough. Sigh!

Okay. Move on.

You can choose not to glaze the tart. But I'd highly recommend you to do that. Because glazing the tart will makes the tart sturdier during baking. And glazing gives you a nicer orange-y festive looking tart too. Btw, Max says tarts without glaze looked like under-cooked tart. Hahaha... He and his very own logic.

Accomplishment! Alot of work, it sucks my energy dry. But definitely worth it.

Always remember that good food either comes with a price tag or it takes patience and effort to make it right. You can choose to buy shop-bought pineapple jam if you are not picky about it. It definitely save you alot of work. But if you are particular with that, like me, be prepared to do it from scratch. Cooking the pineapple jam can be quite strenuous.

So, if you wanna make some good pineapple tarts, you don't expect it to be easy. That's the simple rule. And no, my tart doesn't look like that on my 1st attempt 3 years back. Practice makes perfect. I need more of that for sure.

Will I make it again? Yes! This is indeed melt-in-your-mouth pastry and it taste really awesome!

I hope you like it! And I have to thank to the fellow ladies who shared the recipe and tips :)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Shrimp Roe Wanton Noodles / 虾籽云吞捞麺 - (AFF - HK / Macau #3)

I love shrimp roe noodles. I had this in Macau last month and I'm absolutely in love with it. The noodles itself has mild salty shrimp taste. And when I toss the noodles with the shrimp paste and soy sauce dressing.... Fwoh! Addictive!

Especially when it is cold weather, one serving might not be enough!

I stayed at 新马路 area when I was in Macau. Just walk down the road, I found 喜临门麺家 at 十月初五街38号. This shop sells authentic and traditional Shrimp Roe Noodles (虾籽麺) and some good quality Shrimp Roe (虾籽) as well.

Shrimp roe wanton noodles is common in Macau and also Hong Kong. I had a random chat with the noodles shop owner. I was told that this palm sized hard bundle of shrimp roe noodles is originated in Macau, and this delicious noodles then spread to Hong Kong. Whether it is originated in Hong Kong or in Macau, I didn't specifically do any research on that. I just listen to what the noodles owner say. However, it might be true, because the location of this shop is very near to the sea port. Getting shrimp roe should be easy I guess.

Since I knew Singapore seldom import good shrimp roe noodles and as far as I know, getting shrimp roe in Singapore is not so possible. Without even thinking, I immediately bought some shrimp roe noodles and shrimp roe. So that I could cook for AFF.

I walk down further. And I randomly walked into a noodle shop, and ordered a serving of Shrimp Roe Wanton Noodles (虾籽云吞捞麺). It is not difficult to identify what's in the noodles. Other than the wantons served, it has shallot oil, dark soy sauce, soy sauce, shrimp paste as dressing on the noodles, and then topped with shrimp roe and spring onions. This is the serving that I had in Macau.

Max is very excited to try this noodles. Less than 3 days after we are back to Singapore, he already kept telling me that he wanted to eat shrimp roe noodles. Looking at this piece of dried noodles. One of the special characteristic that distinguish this noodle from many other varieties of Chinese noodle is the salty shrimp roe forming tiny black spots on strips of the noodles.

You don't have to go Macau or Hong Kong just to get shrimp roe noodles. Cold Storage do sell. However, maybe the quality and taste might vary a little.

I also bought a bottle of shrimp paste from Macau. This shrimp paste taste like belacan (The usual shrimp paste found in Malaysia and Singapore), but this Macau shrimp paste is more fine and spread-ably soft texture. If you can't get this, I'd suggest you to use the ordinary belacan, mix with water until it achieve thick dripping consistency, just like dark soy sauce kind of thickness.

Because this noodle has mild saltiness on its own, the most common method of cooking is directly boiling the noodles and drizzle over some sauces for additional flavorings. This noodles is not difficult to replicate. All you need is to go to the Cold storage, buy shrimp roe noodles, get some belacan, and make some wanton to go along.

Ingredient (for Noodles)
  • 1 Shrimp Roe Noodles
  • ½ tsp Shrimp paste (or belacan), mix with water, until thick dripping consistency
  • ½ tsp Dark soy sauce
  • 1½ tsp Soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Shallot oil
  • 2 tsp Shrimp Roe as topping
  • some spring onions as garnishing
This makes one serving of noodle. For dressing wise, do play around with it to suit your taste. You may consider shrimp paste as an optional, as I know it is not easy to get. One serving of noodles only use a few drops of shrimp paste. So, don't stress yourself too much.

Ingredient (for Wanton) 
  • about 50g Minced Pork
  • 10 Fresh Prawn, deveined, shells removed, cleaned, pat dry, cut prawns into half.
  • Some store-bought Shanghainese wanton skin
  • ½ tbsp Soy Sauce
  • ½ tsp Sugar
  • ½ tsp Corn flour or Tapioca flour
  • a pinch of salt and dash of pepper to taste
This makes about 10 big wantons or more. It depends on the size of your wanton.

  1. Put all wanton ingredients together. Using chopstick or fork, stir them vigorously until all ingredients are well mixed and the minced pork are well blended with condiments and looked gluey.
  2. Wrap wanton accordingly. Cook wanton in hot boiling water. Once they are done, remove from water. 
  3. Cook shrimp roe noodles in hot boiling water until noodles are soft. 
  4. Once noodles are cooked, drizzle over shrimp paste, dark soy sauce, soy sauce, shallot oil. And then top with shrimp roe and spring onion as garnishing.
  5. Serve noodles with wantons at the side. 

Look at the size of my wanton. They are big. I wrapped 1 prawns in each wanton. Hehe..

And shrimp roe wanton noodles done! Max says this taste really like the one we had in Macau!

Pretty straightforwared eh. As long as you get the ingredients right, I think this is not difficult to replicate. So, do go down to Cold Storage and buy some shrimp roe noodles and make some wantons today!

Do try it out!

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest ( Hong Kong + Macau ) – Jan+Feb Month hosted by Annie of Annielicious Food

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Hong Kong Egg Tart / 香港蛋挞 - (AFF - HK / Macau #2)

Both me and Max I loves Hong Kong egg tarts. This pastry-crust filled with egg custard and baked snack were introduced in Hong Kong in the 1940's by Hong Kong-style teahouses (茶餐厅). Hong Kong egg tart is an adaption of English custard tarts, as Cantonese had more frequent contact with the West, in particular Britain back then. 

When we talk about Hong Kong egg tarts, it is widely known that they have two kinds of tart shells. The puff pastry-like (酥皮), or some called it as water and oil pastry base (油皮水皮) and the other one is cookie pastry-like (饼皮), or some called it as butter pastry base (牛油皮).

I remember how HongKong Tai Cheong bakery (泰昌饼家) cookie pastry egg tarts got me crazy during my first visit to Hong Kong. Their egg tarts has the best consistency of both egg custard and the crust. Oh Yumm!!! Look at the snacks I bought from Tai Cheong bakery! Hahaha... No! You are supposed to look at the egg tarts only :)

The one I'm making here is cookie pastry-like (饼皮) egg tart. It takes me two attempts to get it right. The first time, I did the crust right, but the egg custard needs improvement. The 2nd time was much better. Both crust and egg custard's texture is achieved. Comparing to Tai Cheong's egg tart, mine is softer in texture and do fall apart easily.

Ingredients (Makes 6 Egg Tarts)
(Source : Wendyinkk, and as a reference)

for Pastry
  • 140g Plain Flour
  • 1 tbsp Icing Sugar
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • ½ Egg White
  • 75g Salted Butter
for Filling
  • 75g Castor Sugar or fine sugar
  • 75g Hot Water
  • 2 Whole Eggs
  • 125ml Fresh Milk
  • ¼ tsp Vanilla Extract
  • a pinch of fine salt
Note : Pls do not substitute butter with Margarine, Planta, Buttercup or Farm Cows. They won't be the same. When it comes to recipes that ask for butter, do use butter - SCS, Anchor, President, Lurpak and so on.

Method (for Pastry)
  1. Cream butter with icing sugar, egg yolk and egg white. I'm using hand-held mixer.
  2. Add in flour and mix well. Once it is well mixed, using hand, press the mixture together and form a dough. If the dough is too wet or oily, do add some flour. Give it a few knead. But don't over-work the dough.
  3. Wrap the dough in a clingwrap. Put it into the fridge for 10 to 15mins to let it cool.
  4. Take the dough out of the fridge. Cut pastries into 6 equal portion. The individual dough should weight about 38 grams each. 
  5. Roll individual dough into a ball. Using both palm, press the pastry ball into a flat piece. Line dough in the middle of tart cases, lightly press the dough into the tart cases. 
  6. Refrigerate the tart cases for 30mins, and it is ready to use. 
Method (for Filling)
  1. Add castor sugar into hot water, mix until sugar completely dissolved. Set aside and let it cool. 
  2. Beat eggs with milk, vanilla essence and salt. Pour in sugar water. Mix well. 
  3. Sift egg mixture TWICE to achieve smooth egg mixture.
  4. Carefully pour egg mixture into each tart shells. 
  5. Bake tarts for 25mins at 180 degree, fan ON.

This is how the tart pastry looked like after pastry is pressed on the tart case. When you press the dough into the tart cases, you should make the pastry higher, so as to build a wall at the side, so that the tart will be able to carry more egg mixture.

Take tarts out of the refrigerator, carefully pour egg mixture into each tart shells.

Tart shells must be filled with egg fillings fully. So that the result of the egg tart would be nice. I don't like half-filled tarts by the way.

After baked for 25 mins, and tadaaaa!!!

Look at the egg custard. It's sweet, soft, smooth and satisfying. It was buttery and abit at the crumb side, but still hold it's shape. The aromas were mouth-watering, especially when the eggy custard was still piping hot. It melt in my mouth almost instant!

This recipe is a good keeper.

Do try it out!

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest ( Hong Kong + Macau ) – Jan+Feb Month hosted by Annie of Annielicious Food

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Famous Shatin Chicken Congee / 驰名沙田鸡粥 - (AFF - HK / Macau #1)

This is my first post for Asian Food Fest for Hong Kong / Macau. I'm replicating Hong Kong's famous Chicken Congee from Shatin, originated by a well-known congee shop named Keung Kee (强记沙田鸡粥).

I was in Hong Kong last week. It was cold on the Christmas eve. We didn't go for feast on the eve of Christmas. Max brought me all the way to Shatin just to eat 强记鸡粥 instead, because I had been talking about it since months ago. It was good. And here (below photo), this is the actual 强记鸡粥. The one above is my replication.

If you watch TVB show or dramas, you probably know 沙田鸡粥 Shatin chicken congee, as it always appear on TV since 80's. If you've been to Shatin for Keung Kee chicken congee (强记鸡粥), you will know why people come back for it's congee. The congee texture is silky smooth and chicken pieces are nice to eat as they are well marinated with salt.

Congee is well known as one of Hongkie's supper choice. Usually, congee shops in Hong Kong will open till midnight or more than that. For 强记鸡粥, they open till 3am.

I had been asking around, included two Hongkie friends of mine, just to find out more on how to cook up a pot of good Hong Kong style congee. The silky smooth, gluey and creamy kind of white porridge, which we usually called it as 明火白粥 'ming foh bak zhok'. I even tried a few congee stall in Hong Kong. Actually, almost all of them are good. The difference is probably whether the chef will add MSG into their pot of white beauty or not.

After I finished my congee at 强记鸡粥, I peeped into their kitchen, and saw a big bag of Jasmine rice (茉莉米) and a small bag of glutinous rice (糯米) at the side. For instance, I have two questions in my mind. And I ask my Hongkie friend for answer.

1) 澳洲丝苗米 is supposed to be the most ideal rice grain to cook up a pot of good Hong Kong style porridge. But how come 强记 used 茉莉米 instead?
Answer : Maybe it is due to cost. 强记 expanded to 22 outlets in Hong Kong now. 澳洲丝苗米 is much more expensive.

2) What has that bag of 糯米 got to do with the 茉莉米? Are they mixed together in order to cook up their successful pot of porridge?
Answer : 糯米 probably has got nothing to do with that pot of porridge. To cook up a good pot of 明火白粥, flame control and long cooking time is the main factor.

In order for me to cook a pot of reasonably good congee, I think it is important for me to understand ahead. I fell sick after I came back from Hong Kong. And this gives me perfect reason to cook congee! I love congee by the way.

I walk to the nearest Giant and bought a fresh kampung chicken at S$7.50. This chicken is skinny. And it smells good after it is cooked. I kinda like it! It is not easy to find a good kampung chicken (as in real kampung chicken) in Singapore nowadays.

Although it is just a pot of congee. But in order to cook it properly, I won't pretend that this is easy. Ingredients are simple tho. All you need here is abit of patience and time.

Recipe (Serves 4 to 6)
(Source : 沙田鸡粥 with modification)
  • 150g Jasmine Rice (茉莉米), or 澳洲丝苗米 for better choice
  • 4500ml Water, or more
  • 1 Fresh Chicken, preferably Kampung Chicken
  • ½ tsp Salt + 1½ tbsp Salt (I'm using Sea Salt)
  • 1 tbsp Cooking Oil
  • a thumb sized ginger, finely julienned
  • some spring onions
Note : 
  1. If you have 澳洲丝苗米, please use it as it is better choice. In Singapore, we can't get 澳洲丝苗米. So, I can only use Jasmine rice.
  2. The ratio between rice and water is around 1 : 30, or more water.
  3. You need a stainless steel pot with high in body for ideal congee cooking.
  4. Of course, you need to go to the market to get a fresh chicken early in the morning.
Method (for chicken)
  1. Boil 4500ml water in a pot. Once water is boiled, hold the chicken head (refer to photo) and soak the chicken body into the boiling water. With your hand still holding the chicken head, pull the chicken up, and soak it in again. Do this for 4 to 5 times before you release the chicken head and let the chicken soak into the water completely. By doing this, water will go into the chicken body completely. This is to ensure that the chicken is well cooked too.  
  2. Keep an eye on the pot. Once you see the water is boiling again, heat off, and let the chicken sit inside the hot water untouched and covered for 15mins. If your chicken is big, you might need another 5 mins. For this part, you have to gauge it on your own. 
  3. Prepare a tub of ice-cold water, preferably with ice cubes. Once chicken is cooked, using chopsticks, gently remove the chicken from the water and place the chicken into the ice water. 
  4. Once chicken is completely cooled, drain. Apply 1½ tbsp salt inside out, and all over the chicken. Set aside and let it marinade. 
Note : It is highly advisable to marinade the chicken overnight (about 8 hours or so), because I knew 强记's one is marinated very well. You have to plan your time. Maybe you can cook the chicken the night before. Marinade it, and keep it in the fridge for the next day morning use. The longer the chicken gets marinated, the better the flavor it is. For me, I'm eating it on actual day. So, I marinated for about 5 to 6 hours only. Not good enough, but still fine :)

Step 2 : Hold the chicken head and soak the chicken body into the boiling water.

Step 3 : Gently remove the chicken from the water and place the chicken into the ice water.

Method (for congee)
  1. Wash rice and drained. Add in ½ tsp Salt and 1 tbsp Cooking Oil to marinade the rice. Marinade it for 2 hours. Or at least 1 hour if you don't have time. 
  2. With the water that I used to cook the chicken, reheat it under high heat. Once it is boiled, add in marinated rice. Still under high heat, let it boil for 1 hour without lid.  
  3. After 1 hour, reduce heat to medium high and let it boil for another hour. You may add some water in-between if you want. But don't forget to give it a stir.
  4. Once porridge is cooked, add in some ginger, and salt to taste. Give it a stir. 
Note :
  1. It is important to use high heat to cook the porridge at the beginning. When the water boils under high heat, the rice grain dances in the water. And this explains why the porridge won't stick at the bottom when high heat is used.
  2. I cook my porridge for 2 hours only. I knew it is not enough. To boil a pot of good Hong Kong style porridge, you need at least 4 hours. But I think it only makes sense to boil it for 4 hours if I'm cooking for 12 or more. Agree?
Step 2 : Add marinated rice into the boiling water.

To Serve
  1. Chop marinated chicken into pieces. Place it into a claypot. Add more ginger if you want. 
  2. Pour hot porridge over. Put the claypot on flame and bring the congee to a boil. 
  3. Garnish with spring onion. Serve immediately.

Put the claypot on flame and bring the congee to a boil. 

And Shatin Chicken Congee.... DONE!

The texture of the congee is pretty well cooked, although the cooking time is 2 hours only. I have to admit that my congee is not as smooth as compared to 强记's one. But it is indeed creamy and glossy. I like it! The two hours stove cooking is worth it! And oh! I have to confess... I always use rice cooker to cook my porridge by the way. It is the lazy way. But for this 明火白粥, I can't.

Max who's not a congee fan, tells me that my chicken congee is as good as 强记's one. I know he's lying. Hahaha... I know. Not 100% of course, but at least there's 70% to 80% similarity. I'm glad :)

Do try it out!

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest ( Hong Kong + Macau ) – Jan+Feb Month hosted by Annie of Annielicious Food

Asian Food Fest #4 (Jan+Feb 2013) : Hong Kong + Macau

Hello 2014!!! Happy New Year everyone!

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.


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 (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)

Although stir-fries (煮炒) are a humble home dish that can be found anywhere. But to make a good stir-fry, the chef has to have excellent cutting skills and ensure there is sufficient heat, precise seasoning and quick thickening and plenty of 'wok hei' (the subtle combination of aroma and taste that a well-used wok imparts to food). It won't be hard to find a good stir fry in Hong Kong. Typical 'dai pai dong' (大牌档) serves some of the best stir fries. Sweet and Sour Pork is probably one of the Cantonese-style dish that is common to tourists. 

(Photo Credit : Discover Hong Kong)

Some Hong Kong's early inhabitants lived in walled-villages (围村) in the present-day New Territories (新界). The walled villages until today, remain it's tradition and so does the unique cooking styles of their residents. I have a Hong Kong friend who grew up in walled village and she shared with me about it. Walled village food puts a strong emphasis on freshness and on eating ingredients that are in season. This type of cuisine is typically rustic and hearty, although more exotic and creative interpretations are also available.
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.

Macanese Cuisine

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

Almond cookies are also well known in Macau. They can be found everywhere. One of the best known places to get them is Koi Kee Bakery, with numerous of branches. It's almond cookies are baked on the premises, and have gritty texture and nutty flavor, made with mung bean flour. 

  (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. 

So, remember... If you wants to cook Macau dishes, do try to cook some famous and signature Macanese food ok? :)

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
Stir Fried Clams with black bean sauce - Christine's Recipe
HK Zha Jiang Noodles - Christine's Recipe 
Supreme Soy Sauce Fried Noodles - Christine's Recipe
Macaroni Soup with Ham (火腿通心粉) - Christine's Recipe
HK Sweet Bun / Pai Bao (排包) - 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

Macau Cuisines
Almond Cookies (杏仁饼) - Debbie Adventure
Almond Cookies (杏仁饼) - Daima Kitchen
Minchee Macau Meat Hash - 
Pork Chop Bun 猪扒包 - Cook4YourMan 
Almond Cookies - Lily Wai SekHong
Serradura - My Buttery Fingers 
Macanese Chicken (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. 

1. Who can join? Anyone can join.
2. Prepare a dish (sweet or savory) that is from West Asia, be it old time favorites, modern goodies or dishes that has been localized. Remember to take photos of the finished product and if possible, the preparatory process as well.
3. Provide recipe that is credited (from books, internet, friends or family or your own, be specific). Submissions without stating recipe and/or sources will not be accepted for all forms of submission.
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a. Prepare a dish (sweet or savory) that is from Hong Kong or Macau
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