Snacking in Hong Kong is a diverse business, with everything from slush drinks and egg tarts to octopus balls available on the streets. Graze your way around the city for a really local experience. Just look out for the long lines of customers and you’ll be onto a good thing!
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:
No.1: Pineapple buns
Traditionally, pineapple 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. Many vendors insert a cold pat of butter into a warm pineapple bun.
No.2: Egg tarts
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.
No.3: Faux Shark's Fin Soup
A version of the expensive banquet soup using other types of fish, black fungus and cellophane noodles for a similar effect. This is a popular traditional quick eat.
No.4: Wife Cake
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 they were his wife’s cakes. The name ‘wife cake’ stuck. In Hong Kong, back when the New Territories was a day trip away from the urban areas, it was de rigeur for visitors to Yuen Long to buy wife cakes to take home. Today, they can be easily purchased at Chinese bakery shops citywide.
No.5: Mini Egg Puffs
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.
No.6: Fish balls
Almost every Hongkonger has a favourite fish ball vendor. Bouncy and fluffy, the best Hong Kong-style fish balls are made with freshly ground fish paste, hand-beaten and slammed to springy perfection. It’s commonly enjoyed on a stick with spicy curry sauce.
No.7: Stinky tofu
Don’t be put off by the name or pungent aroma because the flavour of stinky tofu is actually quite mild. Chunks of crispy, fermented tofu that have been deep-fried before being slathered with your choice of sauce (usually chilli or hoisin), this is one of the city’s most popular street stall foods
No.8: Beef offal
Nothing is wasted in Chinese cuisine and that can be seen in the local love of beef offal. Slow-cooked beef smooth tripe, small intestines, large intestines, honeycomb tripe, lungs and more are served with chu hou sauce and refreshingly sweet turnip in a take away bowl.
No.9: Three stuffed treasures
Although they’re called the ‘three treasures’, there are actually more than three varieties. Freshly minced dace is stuffed into sliced eggplants, green peppers, tofu puffs, smoked red sausage or mushrooms, and then grilled on a griddle. Enjoy with soy sauce or chilli oil.
No.10: Put Chai Ko
Often translated as ‘sticky rice pudding’, put chai 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. Modern innovations of this traditional snack have introduced new flavours such as pumpkin and green tea.