Sure, we’re down to splash some cash on a fine meal every so often, but we'd be foolish to disregard the unsung heroes of Hong Kong's exciting and vibrant food scene. We're talking about street food. Luckily, the folks at Michelin Guide agree! Along with announcing the winners of the 2020 Michelin Guide for Hong Kong and Macau yesterday, where a full list of 70 Michelin-starred restaurants was established, a new list of Michelin-recommended street eats was also revealed. From long-time street food veterans to the oh-so-sweet treats, here are some of our favourites.
Michelin Guide-recommended street food
As with most Sham Shui Po dai pai dongs, Keung Kee is as authentic as they come, with local workers and neighbourhood families making up most of the clientele. Just off bustling Apliu Market, the stall takes up half the pavement with its six tables and roaring wok. And since the tables face the kitchen, you get a clear view of the restaurant’s two middle-aged, short-shorts-wearing chefs. If that doesn’t put you off, go for the Hainan chicken, chicken’s feet, and tasty seafood dishes.
Just by the look of the décor – yellow-painted facade, chairs as well as seat cushions with durian patterns – you know this restaurant is all about the big smelly king of fruits. Aside from its hugely popular durian cheese tarts, the durian mochi is also worth a try. Wrapped inside a thin mochi skin are frozen durian, cream and cake. It is basically an elevated kind of durian ice cream.
The Hong Kong tradition of serving yuen yeung (a mixture of coffee and Hong Kong-style milk tea) probably originated in joints like this one. And while tea and coffee drinks can be found across the city, stalls like So Kee are still some of the best “cafés” around. Patrons of the café/noodle shop mostly order the pork ramen with an egg on top – a dai pai dong staple. For a real treat, order the French toast and a glass of yuen yeung.
So the name sounds a bit dodgy, but rest assured, there’s no dog meat involved in any Block 18’s noodles. The name doggie’s noodle actually refers to their specialty glutinous rice noodles. Here at this street food joint, tuck in a hearty bowl of noodles served in rich broth with liberal helpings of mushrooms and minced meat. Their fake shark fin soup with duck is popular, too. Block 18’s noodles make for a perfect meal to refuel after a day of shopping around Sham Shui Po.
When it comes to tofu pudding, one of Hong Kong’s beloved classic dessert, Kung Wo is king. The tofu is smooth like silk and brings out that rich soy bean flavour that old timers reminiscing about. Soy is obviously their expertise. This authentic retro restaurant is famous for their tofu puffs, deep fried tofu dishes and homemade sugar-free soy milk. What’s more, most of the tofu dishes don’t cost more than $10.
You may remember this 40-year-old shop as the Hong Kong torchbearer for the ‘Michelin curse’. After it was recognised by the guide, its rent was hiked and the shop moved to a new location around the corner. Politics aside, this dessert shop really packs them in, all eaters looking for a taste of classic Chiuchow desserts, like red bean soup with lotus seeds and black sesame soup.
A visit to Joyful Dessert House is a must for all foodies with a sweet tooth. Every dish on the menu here is as decadent as it is delicious. Crowd favourites include the mango Napoleon, Green Tea Lava Cake with Ice Cream and theParfait with Orea and Okinawa Black Sugar.
Sham Shui Po has no shortage of mouth-watering street food but Hop Yik Tai’s cheong fun, or rice noodle rolls, are worth crossing the harbour for. Made fresh every day, their cheong fun is incredibly smooth and paired perfectly with sweet sauce, sesame sauce and soy sauce. It’s no wonder why there are queues all the time. The popular local eatery was also recommended in the Michelin Guide last year.
Mammy Pancake has more than 10 branches spread out across the city. Thanks to an interview with a Japanese TV programme, the store has been attracting a good number of Japanese tourists. Variety is the name of the game here with more than 15 flavours to pick from, as well as special seasonal flavours. Mammy has recently rolled out salted seaweed and corn, numb and spicy meat floss, and organic chestnut flavours. We had a go at the seaweed flavour ($30), which immediately felt oily when we grabbed it – it was the seaweed. While it did have a crunchy exterior and the corn adds an interesting texture, the eggette sadly lacks a distinctive egg aroma.
The Hong Kong style tarts, buns, and puffs at this bakery are worth pushing through the crowds in Mong Kok to get to. Their moon cakes are particularly good, while the egg centers are like full moons in velvety lotus paste skies. $60.