Street food for the tough stomach

The Real Taste of Hong Kong is in the Streets

I’ve trekked with two types of travelers: 1) the one who prefers to dine in clean and sanitized places, carefully avoiding grade C and below restaurants and 2) the cowboy who doesn’t mind braving underground spots and eating street food as locals do.

Shanghai St. near Ladies’ Market
BBQ by the stick. “Fresh! Home-made Food” at Shop 1B 34 Temple St. Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon

I prefer traveling with the latter. That old saying, “When in Rome…” applies to the more fulfilled wanderer. My nth trip to Hong Kong over the holidays is the perfect example. I’ve sampled hotel versions of dimsum, wanton and grilled eats, but nothing compares to the food found in the shabby streets of Hong Kong, where the intense smell of mixed meats and sauces permeate the sidewalks.

Temple Street night market

Curry fishballs

Instead of joining finicky tourists looking for English-speaking restaurants that serve pleasantly plated dishes, I prefer falling in line at hole-in-the-wall spots with Hong Kong locals waiting to sit hunched around communal tables where plates of greasy native dishes are served in a hurry.

Somewhere in Mongkok
Fresh fishball curry along Shanghai Street. No translation necessary.

The best Hong Kong dishes I’ve tried were found in food carts, hawkers, takeout joints, and modest eateries where I would order by pointing at the menu’s photos that have no English translations.

Hong Kong style waffle, a.k.a. grid cake
Grilled chicken wings from Fresh! Home-made Food

From fishball curries served in disposable cups to grilled chicken wings purchased per stick, these street delicacies soothed my constantly hungry tummy.

Street food for the tough stomach

What’s your street food story?