Egg waffle is a popular street snack in Hong Kong which has even been recommended by the Michelin Guide. Made from eggs, sugar, flour and milk, the batter is cooked on two plaques of spherically shaped plates, giving the waffles their unique bobble-like roundness. These days, the delicious waffles are often given unique flavors, such as green tea or chocolate, and are frequently served with a variety of different fruits and ice cream flavours.
The outer pastry crust is filled with egg custard and is then baked to form these Hong Kong egg tarts that are based on both the British custard tart and the Portuguese pastel de nata. In Hong Kong, they are commonly eaten in tea houses known as cha chaan tengs, as an accompaniment to tea, though you’ll find them in bakeries as well. These days, there are several variations of egg tarts including chocolate-flavored tarts, green-tea-flavored tarts, and even bird’s nest tarts.
Rice noodle roll
These delicious noodle rolls are made from rice milk that is steamed and rolled into sheets. Its appearance has been said to resemble pig intestines in look and texture, as they’re quite slick and slippery (ew?), subsequently given the nickname Chu Cheung Fun, quite literally translating to pig intestines. In the past, hawkers would cook and sell this snack from a wooden cart, snipping the rolls as needed after steaming. These small rolls are served with a generous slathering of soy sauce, a delightful peanut sesame sauce and sweet sauce with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.
It might be a good idea to bring a nose plug with you if you dare try this street food snack. Known for its pungent odor, this is a smell that no one can seem to forget and is often said to be the effervescent scent in Mong Kok. That sweet, sweaty and rancid smell drifts unforgivingly into your nostrils, but the taste can actually be quite pleasant. This smell is the result of the fermentation process involving milk, fish and meat that can last a couple of months. It does taste better than it smells.
Curry fish ball
Visitors must have heard of the celebrated street food of curry fish balls, even if they have not traveled to Hong Kong before. It is made from minced fish meat and tastes like Japanese Takoyaki. It is served with a thick curry sauce that is sweet and mildly spicy. It is drizzled with curry sauce and can be made both spicy and mild, depending on preference.
Reputedly first made in Hong Kong in the 1960s, these buns are topped with a walnut pastry that is incredibly addictive. The appearance of the topping, in its checkered pattern, spikes after baking – hence the name. If you want to try a real pineapple bun, then opt to include that thick, slick slice of butter many traditional dai pai dongs serve it with. Inserting the butter into the bun after baking so that it melts and oozes a beastly number of calories makes all the difference in taste.
This is one for those with a more adventurous palate, as beef offal generally includes ingredients such as lung, tripe, stomach, intestines, bowels and other such grizzly parts. These parts would be cut into smaller pieces and handed to customers craving these delights, who are said to flock at the mere sound of slicing scissors. These are usually mixed with peppers, radish and sauce.
In the 1960s it is said that hawkers would shoulder two buckets of tofu pudding with a flat bamboo pole through the streets. As time went on, production of Dou Hau moved into factories to be sold primarily in tofu shops. This pudding can be served hot or cold and is usually accompanied with either syrup or brown sugar. If opting for the hot dish, many people recommend switching to the brown sugar topping as the sandy texture contrasts exquisitely with the smoothness of the tofu.
Imported from Taiwan, bubble tea has gained overwhelming popularity across Hong Kong. Literally translated as “pearl milk tea”, bubble tea consists of chewy tapioca balls in milk. It is a popular drink that combines a solid snack and a liquid perfectly. A lot of innovative alternatives have popped up to cater to the taste of patrons too. Milk tea is sometimes replaced by chocolate, green tea, ginger tea and even oolong, so try a few to find your favorite.