Insider’s Guide to Hong Kong’s Best Food Souvenirs
Apart from being a shopping paradise, Hong Kong is also known for its great food. We all wish we can pack delicious dim-sum, wonton noodles and char siu bao (barbecue pork buns) into our bags and bring them back home, but that simply isn’t possible. This comprehensive insider’s guide for Hong Kong’s best food souvenirs is going to give you some idea of unique food souvenirs that can fit into your luggage and is worth your suitcase space.
Wonder what other cool non-edible souvenirs you can get during a trip to the Pearl of the Orient? Check out our other insider’s guide for best Hong Kong souvenirs here, or simply explore around top shopping areas in Hong Kong, as recommended here.
Traditional Chinese Ingredients
Chinese cuisine is greatly different than any other cuisines. You can buy a lot of special cooking ingredients in Hong Kong at a price that’s much cheaper than any Chinatown, and impress your guests at the next exotic potluck night back home. Buy a jar of shrimp paste or shrimp block at Cheng Cheung Hing or Cheung Choi Kee during your excursions to Tai O fishing village, or just at a local supermarket. They may smell too strong for your liking but they are super good for fried rice, chicken wings and fried vegetables, and also other Southeast Asian food.
Tai O is also a great place to get dried seafood such as conpoy, fish maw and dried oysters, and other dried food like shiitake mushrooms and dates etc. If you don’t want to head to Tai O, Des Voeux Road West, the dried seafood street, is also a good place to get these ingredients. Just remember to read up on the difference between the good and fake stuff, and the price unit.
Tai O Fishing Village, Head to Tung Chung MTR Station. Transfer to various transport mode (see details here).
Des Voeux Road West, Sheung Wan MTR Station, Exit A2.
Traditional Chinese Snacks
Not too much of a cooking person? Hong Kong still offers many traditional Chinese snacks that are perfect for a between-the-meal bite or late night snack. You can get most of these treats at Kee Wah Bakery branches around town. Or alternatively you can buy them at local groceries or even roadside food carts.
Kee Wah Bakery, Various location around town. See branches here.
These snacks taste so different from your regular chips and sweets, they are all worth a try on their own. Here are a few that I think you should try:
Sachima or Ma Jai (as we Hong Kongers called it)
The Chinese version of rice krispies, this is basically a sweet and crispy pastry with fried batter bound together with sweet syrup.
Kee Wah Bakery’s Panda cookies are regular chocolate-flavoured cookies, except they are at the same time CUTE PANDAS. Perfect souvenir for kids and adults alike. P.S. these also come in penguin form.
Wife Cakes a.k.a. winter melon pastries
A personal favourite, this pastry is basically candied winter melon and white sesame seeds in a chewy texture, covered by a thin crust of flaky pastry. Nearly all bakeries around town bake this because this is so popular.
Deuk Deuk Candies/Ding Ding Candies
Not many foreigners, or even young Hong Kongers have tried this snack, but Ding Ding candies have always been my childhood favourite. The sweet is a hard maltose candy in various flavours from ginger to chocolate to mint. The reason why it is called deuk deuk or ding ding candies, is because of the noises made by street hawkers when they break the hard candy into smaller pieces. These are harder to find, but you can find them in local groceries or snack shops along the streets.
Dragon’s Beard Candies
Or the so-called Chinese cotton candies. It’s a combination of crunchy peanut and sesame filling, and chewy sugar “threads” coating – which resemble a dragon’s beard. The fresh-made ones are the best, but for souvenir, you can buy a brand called Yuhin in major supermarkets. They come in various flavours, even spicy and seaweed flavoured ones.
Asia is home to many interesting and innovative snacks. Hong Kong, being a major city in the region, of course offers many of these treats. From Japan and Korea imported snacks, to special Hong Kong flavours, get ready to be amazed by the great variety offered on the shelves. Snack and grocery chain 759 store and Ameyokocho (アメ橫丁) are both incredibly popular among locals. Okashiland is another long-established brand, but prices are higher and snacks are less “weird”. You can also find hidden treasures in smaller, local snack stores.
Here are a few uniquely weird and fun snacks that I have come across:
Chocolate Instant Noodles/Ramen
Yep, ramen mixed with chocolate sauce. Another one of Japan’s weird invention. Haven’t tried it myself (and not intending to…), but I have seen it on the shelves at Ameyokocho and even in supermarket.
Cup Noodles – Special Hong Kong Flavours
We Asians love our ramen, and a top brand here in Hong Kong is Cup Noodles. Though this is a sub-brand of Japan’s Nissin, several special flavours are found here in Hong Kong only, such as Spicy Seafood, XO Sauce Seafood flavours.
Pretz Special Hong Kong Flavours
Pretz is a popular stick-shaped biscuit with too many flavours to name. But one flavour only available in Hong Kong is its shark’s fin flavour. These come in a giant box with small packs inside. Don’t worry, no shark is harmed in the process of making this snack (although sadly shark’s fin soup still is a common dish in Chinese weddings). Special flavours like abalone can also be found.
Beverages to bring home
Enough food and snack and time for a drink. The conventional beverage souvenir to bring back is Chinese tea leaves. You can get high quality tea leaves or preserved tea cake at Ying Kee Tea House. If you are looking for regular quality ones just for souvenirs for your friends, colleagues, relatives etc., you can find different brands of tea in supermarkets. For the more “local” taste, you can bring home some instant milk tea or yuanyang (coffee with tea). You can buy those in major supermarkets as well.
Ying Kee Tea House, Various location around town. See branches here.
Hong Kong’s best food and taste often cannot be packed into your bags, and is best preserved in your memory. But hopefully, this article can give you some idea on how to bring the taste of Hong Kong back to family and friends at home. Happy eating!