The “ber” months have arrived. And the slightly cooler temperatures get me dreaming about going over to Hong Kong soon for a food trip.
There is no dining destination in Southeast Asia quite as full-on satisfying and culinarily comprehensive as Hong Kong. Last August (appropriately the month of the Chinese Hungry Ghost festival), my friends and I joined the Pinoy Eats World food tour to eat our way through Hong Kong. Although the Philippines and Singapore are great foodie ports of call, they cannot match the wide-ranging diversity and deliciously extensive range and depth of both Chinese and Western cuisines that Hong Kong serves up. From the dingy dai pai dong stalls in Wanchai and yum cha restaurants in Causeway that serve steaming-hot bowls of hand-pulled noodles swimming in broth made from rich mother soup stock that may have been stewing continuously for years to the excellent seafood palaces near the waterfront and the most exciting and even innovative Western restaurants this side of the world.
The term dim sum literally means “point of the heart” because these tasty nibbles were originally intended to be snacks, not main meals, and thus only meant to “touch the heart”. According to Wikipedia, “the unique culinary art of dim sum originated with the Cantonese in Southern China, who over the centuries transformed yum cha from a relaxing respite to a loud and happy dining experience.” And, indeed, our Pinoy Eats World group definitely enjoyed a loud and happy dining experience throughout the length and breadth of that tummy-and-soul-satisfying morning.
Our first foray into our food trip was at the small hilly streets and back alleys of Central. There, among the noodle and dim sum houses along Stanley and Wellington Streets, we went “dim sum diving” — sampling roast goose here, spicy beef brisket there, some Beijing-style mutton xiao long bao here and other specialities there. Yat Lok, Nam Kee, Wang Fu, and Maks — we visited all 4 restaurants, with a walk or a hike in between each restaurant to keep our appetites sharp and at the ready for the next nosh. And yet, we had barely skimmed the surface of the dim sum treasures that this fine city has to offer. That is why I want to go back. Perhaps the next time, I will dive a lot deeper and spend 2 or 3 days exploring the hidden dim sum gems of Hong Kong.
If you are interested in joining a food tour organized by the Pinoy Eats World group headed by JJ Yulo, just click on the link, which should take you to their Facebook page. Aside from Hong Kong, they also do Pampanga, Bangkok, and Turkey.