Fried and stuffed three treasures
Take a peek into the hot steaming carts lining the streets of Hong Kong and you might find treasure. Three treasures, to be exact! Usually made with chillies, bitter gourd and eggplant stuffed with a fish paste, these compact flavour bombs are first fried, then sometimes topped with a gravy or thick sauce. Think chips and gravy, but with more veggie content. Win-win!
Rice is such an Asian staple that it's become somewhat of an obsession. And at the heart of it, rice noodles! A taste of these chewy rolled sheets would transport many back to their childhood: the soft noodles with sweet sauce are considered "child-friendly" food, alongside the ubiquitous pork buns. Find these at your local Asian grocer, or you can find a fried version of these at some favourite yum cha restaurants.
Curry fish balls
The fish ball is another staple protein in the lives of many Hong Kong people, and it's easy to see why. This cheap source of protein is easily frozen for convenient access and is usually precooked, which means reheating is as much cooking as you need to do. And the springy texture is oddly addictive, too. In the streets of Hong Kong, they're often threaded on a stick and coated with a curry sauce. The perfect food for eating on the go!
We buy our fish from a local store called Sjofiskur and every day I get a fresh delivery to Kaffivagninn
This dish makes for a lovely, light supper. The fish is moist and almost bouncy, the sauce an equal combination of buttery goodness, tangy creaminess from the sour cream and a rat-a-tat jolt of the various bitter-sweet-aromatic herbs as you taste each one. As a main course, I’d serve this with new potatoes or bread. But it’d be fantastic alone as a summertime starter.
Say what you will about stinky tofu, but it is and will remain a delicacy. Blocks of tofu are usually fermented with Chinese herbs, then fried and served with a punchy chilli sauce. You can actually find some brave stalls in Sydney selling it at the Friday Chinatown markets - give it a go, and tell us what you think!
Squid or Octopus
Braised or grilled, these tentacles serve a dual purpose: they make for satisfyingly chewy-tender bites to keep you going whilst shopping, and they are a great prop if you feel the urge to play Davy Jones come over you. Either way, it's the best bit of these many-legged sea creatures, for your eating pleasure.
There are two ways to cook fresh squid - for a very short time or long and slow. This recipe opts to go the latter route, delivering deep flavours and extremely tender squid. Frozen peas make everything easier here, but by all means use fresh podded peas if you have access to some. Podded, peeled broad beans are also a delicious alternative. Spoon a little tapenade on top of each serve, if you like.
"This dish is one of the must-haves when you visit this iconic restaurant in Willunga on South Australia’s beautiful coastline. There are no tricks or secret ingredients in this recipe but you’ll get the best results with spanking fresh squid." Shawn Peddle, Poh & Co.
Fried pork intestine
As you can see, we are big fans of the food on a stick, and while this one might be a little polarising, we assure you that it's a crunchy melt-in-your-mouth experience you won't regret! If, of course, you can get past the smell. Many famous stalls get relocated because of neighbours complaining of the smell of cooking intestines, but it's such a treat that you can still easily get the fried large intestine and its food cousin the braised small (or sometimes large) intestine along the streets of Mongkok or Tsim Tsa Tsui.
If you're looking to give the braised offal a try (fried ones can be notoriously hard to find), you can get them at some local barbecue meat restaurants. Just remember to go early - they often sell out!
You probably already know this one, but no list of Hong Kong's street food would be complete without the famous egg tarts that have inspired many a trip to this foodie island. A (delicious) remnant of Portuguese colonisation, these tarts involve a puff or shortcrust pastry, and a sweet silky egg custard filling.
Considered to be a legacy of the Portuguese and British, these ubiquitous Cantonese custard tarts have been around since the 1940s.
Pineapple may be used for many things in the Chinese cuisine, but not for this bun. The name comes from the buttery crackle-crust on the top, and many locals enjoy this bun warm, with a generous slice of butter wedged into the middle. Yeah, that's right. A slice of butter. How else would you eat it?
You've probably seen this around Sydney and Melbourne, albeit in slightly different forms. Waffle batter gets cooked to a crisp golden brown in takoyaki-like pans, resulting in protruding hemispheres, instead of square indents. Either way, smart entrepreneurs have turned this humble street snack into the perfect holder for soft serve, and Australia has never looked back. Curious? You could probably find an egg waffle ice cream stand in a shopping mall near you!
This is a seasonal snack and is as simple as it gets. Chestnuts get roasted in an open wok-like drum during winter, and you can buy paper bags full of these piping hot morsels to snack on while you get on with your day. Good news, you can try these here too - many grocers in Haymarket set up a chestnut kiosk in winter. Just follow the smell, and you won't regret it!
On this week's episode of Luke Nguyen's Food Trail, Luke explores the streets of Hong Kong and what they have to offer. Tune in 8pm, Thursdays on SBS and then you can catch-up on SBS On Demand. Visit the program page for recipes, videos and more.
Every single Cantonese restaurant in the world has mango pudding on the menu. If white people order deep-fried ice cream, then Asians order mango pudding. For Mr Wong, I wanted to give this classic more texture and put my own stamp on it. I added tapioca, those mouth-popping balls that you eat with frozen yoghurt, fresh pomelo and mango, as well as passionfruit granita to accentuate the tropical fruit vibe.
This much-guarded recipe is one that many Cantonese chefs and cooks take to their graves. We’ve pieced together this recipe from a variety of sources. The chicken feet are first deep-fried, then plunged into iced water for 2 hours to make them ‘puff up’. Then they’re braised to infuse flavour and achieve a succulent texture. For maximum flavour, marinate the chicken feet overnight.