Hong Kong Origins Storiesi

The fascinating backstories of your favourite Hong Kong dishes, buildings and traditions.

  • The same classic Chinese teapot shape is found in dim sum restaurants from Hong Kong to New York, but its poor, cheap design means it’s far from fit for purpose
  • The spout is too short and leaks everywhere, the belly is too wide and burns the palm, the handle crushes the fingers and the lid falls off all the time ...

The ultimate in affordable comfort food is everywhere in the city, from neighbourhood cafes and fast-food chains to Michelin-starred restaurants – so why do we love Cantonese barbecued pork so?

Fifty years ago, the RMS Queen Elizabeth moored in Hong Kong and parts of it are still lying on the seabed of Victoria Harbour today – why is it here, how did it sink and what happened to the wreck?


The city’s oldest street has always been a prime shopping, entertainment and commercial area, but did you know it used to have more squatter huts than fancy buildings?

From David Bowie and Stanley Ho, to US presidents and their servicemen, old Hong Kong’s tailors made clothes for everyone – but are TST’s famous suit makers going out of fashion?

Is the tragic story of a poet from China’s Warring States period really the reason we eat zongzi during Dragon Boat Festival? Or has it been a tasty on-the-go snack for much longer?

The ride, one of the city’s signature attractions, is getting an upgrade to allow bigger carriages to ferry still more tourists up the hill to enjoy the views

The site of some of Kowloon’s oldest buildings including the graceful Peninsula hotel, the buzzing shopping street remains popular with tourists – and the streetwise sales people that target them

More than just movies, these iconic venues once hosted live theatre and music – from The Beatles to Cantonese opera – but how many of these historic halls are still standing today?

It’s a popular tourist destination today, but did you know it’s older than California’s Tinseltown and used to be a haven for sailors selling antiques?

The colourful, multi-compartment box filled with sweets, fruits, nuts and seeds is a fixture in Chinese households during Lunar New Year, but what do the different snacks symbolise, and what auspicious qualities do they invite in the coming year? 

Before premium, brand-name mooncakes became the must-gift seasonal treat – there was the legend of moon goddess Chang’e and the folk tale about Ming Dynasty revolutionaries

Fortune cookies are Japanese, prawn crackers Indonesian, everybody knows chow mein is American – but orange chicken might be more authentic than you think

Get ready for the clanging of cymbals and beating of drums that announce the colourful trance of the lion dance – but how much do you know about this centuries-old CNY tradition?

As 1.5 billion people this week celebrate the arrival of the Year of the Rat, we delve into the rich Chinese New Year traditions – from a people-eating monster called Nian to today’s Spring Festival