Hong Kong's Top 10 Hidden Street Food Items
So you can tell your curry fishballs from your siu mai, your egg puffs from your waffles: But what about these lesser-known Hong Kong street foods?
With 3,420 licensed “light refreshment restaurants,” or snack stalls in the city, Hong Kong has a range of unique street food that's a challenge to find anywhere else in the world.
1. Sweetheart cake (老婆餅)
Sweetheart cake (or lo por beng, meaning “wife cake” if translated literally) is a round cake with winter melon filling wrapped with a layer of puff pastry. There’s a love story behind this delicacy: Legend has it there was a wife who sold herself into servitude for money to buy medicine for her in-law. Her husband created this cake to earn money to buy her back.
Where to find it: Yuen Long is known for its sweetheart cakes. Check out the historical Hang Heung Cake Shop (G/F, 64 Castle Peak Rd., Yuen Long) for some traditional flavors.
2. Put chai gou (缽仔糕)
This palm-sized pudding cake is Hong Kong’s equivalent to the cupcake. Molded and served in a little porcelain bowl, this chewy and sticky steamed rice cake is made from either white or brown sugar, with plenty of red beans too.
Where to find it: Try Sai Ying Pun’s Cheuk Yuet Bakery (183 Queen’s Rd. West, Sai Ying Pun).
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3. Bak tong gou (白糖糕)
Made with white sugar (bak tong) and rice flour, this traditional snack was created by accident back in the Ming Dynasty, when a street hawker tried to make sponge cake but accidentally made this clear, moist and fluffy cake instead.
Where to find it: Kwan Kee Store in Sham Shui Po (Shop 10, 115-117 Fuk Wah St., Sham Shui Po) specializes in Chinese puddings and still serves some pretty killer bak tong gou.
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4. Tong chung bang (糖蔥餅)
Carried around by street hawkers in a transparent metal box, this sweet snack is served a-la-minute: by wrapping a candy wafer, shredded coconut and sesame inside thin crepe pancakes.
Where to find it: Tong chung beng are available on the street or at fairs like the CNY flower markets. If you’re in the Kowloon Tong area, there’s usually an old man selling the treat on the footbridge from Festival Walk to the MTR station.
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5. Black sesame roll (芝麻卷)
Perfect for the summer, this cool dessert is made of, you guessed it, black sesame. A thin layer of black sesame paste is partly dried and refrigerated. The sheet is then rolled up: They’re often known as “rolls of film” because
of the resemblance.
Where to find it: This treat can be found in traditional Chinese vegetarian stores, or time-honored dim sum places like Fook Lam Moon (53-59 Kimberley Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui).
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6. Ding Ding Tong (叮叮糖)
Ding ding tong gets its name from the “ding ding” sound when hawkers break this hard maltose candy into smaller pieces to be sold. Traditional flavors include sesame and ginger.
Where to find it: The candy is still available in some old snack shops, including the famous Yan Kee Ding Ding Tong (Room 5, 2/F, Wing Wah Building, 49-53 Fuk Wing St., Sham Shui Po) which has rejuvenated the snack with a number of new flavors including strawberry and chocolate.
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7. Stuffed three treasures (煎釀三寶)
Available alongside fishballs and siu mai around town, you can detect the smell of this fried snack from a block away. The three treasures are bell pepper, eggplant and tofu, which are stuffed with a carp fish paste and deep-fried.
Where to find it: You can find stuffed three treasures on almost every corner. Head to Yee Heung Soy Bean Shop in Kowloon City (74 Nga Tsin Long Rd, Kowloon City) for some quality bites.
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8. Lettuce and carp fish soup (生菜魚肉)
You may know about fake shark’s fin soup, but have you tried its sister snack? A common Hong Kong street food item between the 60s and 80s, this snack is pretty self-explanatory: a soup made with shredded lettuce and slices of carp fish paste, seasoned with sesame oil and ground pepper.
Where to find it: Once sold from street hawkers’ carts, this soup can still be found around town in traditional snack restaurants, such as Sik Kee Restaurant (42 Ap Lei Chau Main St., Ap Lei Chau) which offers plenty of nostalgic snacks.
9. Deep-fried pig’s intestine (炸大腸)
Pig’s intestine is actually a pretty common ingredient in Chinese cuisine. Crispy on the outside and soft and moist on the inside, they’re well-cleaned before being deep-fried.
Where to find it: Available citywide, including at Dor Bo Snacks (Shop B, 98 Woosung St., Jordan) near Temple Street.
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10. Sang Cheung (生腸)
These orange curls in street stalls may look like intestines—but the bright little delicacies are actually pig’s uterus! Brined in lo shui stock, these chewy treats are usually eaten with mustard and hoisin sauce.
Where to find it: Fei Ze Snacks in Mong Kok (Shop 4B, 55 Dundas St., Mong Kok) is probably the best place to get sang cheung in Hong Kong.