One of the best cities in Asia for foodies, Hong Kong offers a crazy 15,000 restaurants and has the highest density of restaurants in the world. The city’s cuisine is mostly Cantonese-based, but offers glimpses of its colonial past with its East-meets-West offerings. Check out our list of the 19 must-eat foods in Hong Kong.

1. Pineapple Buns

Pineapple Bun

Sham Shui Po Foodie Tour — Pineapple Bun

Kicking off this list, we have the quintessential Hong Kong classic. Mostly served in bakeries and cha chaan tengs, the pineapple bun is a soft, fluffy roll blanketed in a crumbly, sweet craquelin-esque top. Sink your teeth into one and you will be greeted with a glorious medley of textures– think crunchy bursts of lightly caramelized sugar crust between bites of warm, comforting bread. Mind you, there’s no pineapple in the bun– its name stems from its topping’s resemblance to the fruit. If you’re not counting calories, you must try the buttered pineapple bun, which is stuffed with a generous slice of ¼-inch thick butter, cold from the fridge for the most amazing hot-and-cold sensation.

2. Zhu Cheung Fun (Rice Rolls)

rice rolls

Sham Shui Po Foodie Tour — rice rolls

Zhu cheung fun (also known as cheung fun) are steamed rice rolls you can often find as street snacks or at dim sum parlors. When made well, these rolls are silky smooth, not at all gummy, and have a wonderful aroma of freshly steamed rice. We love them doused liberally with lashings of seasoned soy sauce, sweet sauce, sesame sauce, and a dollop of chilli sauce on the side for a spicy kick. Always ask for extra sesame seeds on top, or opt for ones dotted with dried shrimps and spring onions for more flavor!

3. Milk Tea / Yin Yang 

hong kong milk tea

Sham Shui Po Foodie Tour — Milk Tea

Hong Kong-style milk tea is completely different from other Asian milk teas– and dare we say its on a league of its own. An earthy blend of black tea and evaporated milk, some even strained through silk stockings for the silkiest mouthfeel, Hong Kong-style milk tea is the epitome of the city’s East-meets-West culture. Also try yin yang– milk tea with coffee added in for that extra kick of caffeine to begin your morning.

4. Tofu Dessert

Tofu dessert

Sham Shui Po Foodie Tour — Tofu dessert

Hong Kong might not have the best reputation for being vegan-friendly, but the tofu dessert is perfectly suitable for both vegans and vegetarians. Also known as tofu fa or tofu pudding, this dessert is smooth like the best panna cotta and slides onto your tongue effortlessly. Tasting only of soybeans, the pudding is the perfect vessel for the light syrup and crunchy red sugar crystals often offered by tofu dessert vendors. Have the dessert served warm in the frosty winter air, or enjoy it cold when it’s blazing hot in summer.

Try the pineapple bun, zhu cheung fun, milk tea and tofu dessert at our Sham Shui Po Foodie Tour, at which we’ll ensure you end up at the best tried-and-tasted spots in the city!

5. Dim Sum

Dim Sum

Dim Sum

Ask anyone what Chinese food is to them and we guarantee 9 out of 10 people will say dim sum. Literally meaning “touch the heart”, these little morsels originated in Guangdong as delicious accompaniments to tea at tea houses. Must-trys include har gow– steamed dumplings of firm, fat shrimps enveloped in a translucent, chewy rice wrapper; siu mai– open-faced pork and shrimp dumplings wrapped with a thin yellow sheet; cha siu bao– fluffy white steamed buns stuffed with sweet and savory chunks of barbecued pork; and spring rolls– a variety of meat and vegetables rolled within a thin, crunchy pastry, served with Worcestershire sauce. Be adventurous and try everything on the dim sum menu, and allow your heart to caressed by a bit of Hong Kong, one bite at a time.

6. Hong Kong-style Egg Tarts

Central & Sheung Wan Foodie Tour — egg tarts

There are two distinct varieties of egg tarts: the shortcrust egg tart, and the puff pastry egg tart. Both are equally as good, but we think the classic will always be the shortcrust pastry egg tart. Hong Kong’s (much better) solution to British custard tarts, shortcrust egg tarts consist of a velvety, eggy custard that’s lighter than its British counterpart, encased in buttery pastry. Best served piping hot and with milk tea on the side! Hint: Remember not to get them mixed up with the Portuguese egg tarts! They’re not the same!

7. Wonton Noodles

Wonton Noodles

Central & Sheung Wan Foodie Tour — Wonton Noodles

Top-notch wonton noodles consist of thin, springy egg noodles cooked al dente, perched atop shrimp and pork dumplings and lifted by a spoon to keep them from turning soggy, swimming in an umami-packed broth and topped with yellow chives. Some spots boast of their shrimp-only dumplings, but purists will claim that only wontons that contain pork are the real deal. Eat the noodles first (with a bit of soup and chives in every bite) so they don’t go soft!

8. Siu Mei (roasted meats)

BBQ pork

BBQ pork

Siu mei refers to a range of Cantonese roasted meats, usually served over rice with vegetables for a quick lunch. Local favorites include BBQ pork (cha siu)– juicy cuts of pork slathered in a gravy of spices, wine, maltose and soy sauce, roasted in a cylindrical oven until the maltose caramelizes; roast pork (siu yuk)– an entire hog roasted on spits over an open fire, with a puffy crackling so crunchy you can hear its crunch with every bite; suckling pig (yu zhu)– the most tender meat topped with a paper-thin, unbelievably crisp crackling that shatters like glass; and roast goose (siu ngo)– roasted until the skin is bronzed and crisp, seasoned with an aromatic mix of five spice powder and wine, and served with a sweet, tangy plum sauce that cuts through the richness.

Not sure where the locals flock to for dim sum, egg tarts, wonton noodles, and BBQ pork? Let us take you to our favorite joints on our Central & Sheung Wan Foodie Tour!

9. Egg Puffs

egg puffs

Temple Street Night Foodie Tour — Egg Puffs

Also known as egg waffles or gai daan jai, egg puffs are one of our favorite street snacks. Crisp on one side and soft on the other, held together by a golden lattice of batter, egg puffs great for sharing as the each “bubble” is made to be torn from the waffle. Some stores get a little creative and serve egg puffs in different varieties– flavored with matcha, filled with chocolate chips, or even topped with scoops of ice cream. We definitely recommend trying the original first though, as the subtle eggy flavor is what makes the egg puff such a classic, nostalgic treat.

10. Curry Fish Balls

Curry fishballs

Curry fishballs

Golden, deep fried spheres of fish paste, bathed in a spicy curry broth and served on skewers– this classic street snack has been around for decades and is here to stay. Each store claims to have their own secret blend of curry spices, so definitely try as many as you can until you find your favorite.

Gorge on egg puffs, fish balls, and all sorts of scrummy street food on our Temple Street Night Foodie Tour!

11. Beef Brisket Noodles

Tai Po Market Foodie Tour — beef brisket noodles

Beef brisket noodles consists of tender chunks of braised brisket and springy egg noodles (or our personal favorite– chewy, spongy e-fu noodles), served in a flavorful beef bone broth and topped with a handful of spring onions. Some spots also serve a curried variety of the soup for those who prefer more intense flavors.

12. Fresh Seafood

Steamed fish

Steamed fish

Hong Kong’s proximity to the sea makes seafood an essential part of the city’s cuisine. For Hong Kongers, freshness is first priority when it comes to seafood, so rest assured that your meal will be as fresh as you can get. Must-trys include steamed grouper with springy, tender flesh, topped with a mountain of spring onions and doused with seasoned soy sauce, and stir-fried mud crabs with ginger and spring onion, piping hot and bursting with the complex, smoky aroma of wok hei.

In the mood to explore the less touristy areas of Hong Kong? Venture into the New Territories and feast on beef brisket noodles and fresh seafood on our Tai Po Market Foodie Tour!

13. French Toast

Hong Kong style french toast

Hong Kong style french toast

Hong Kong-style french toast is the devil on a plate. Peanut butter sandwiched between two slices of bread, dunked in egg and deep fried, this snack is an addictive, carby square of evil goodness. If that’s not good (or bad?) enough for you, it’s usually served with butter and drenched in golden syrup. We call the french toast the edible equivalent of an abusive boyfriend– obviously terrible for you but keeps you craving for more at the same time.

14. Claypot Rice

Claypot rice

Claypot rice

A winter favorite, claypot rice (bo zai fan) consists of a variety of fresh and cured meats cooked over rice inside a claypot, over a gas or charcoal stove. As it cooks, savory juices from the meats coat each individual grain of rice, turning the humble ingredients into pot of gold. We’ll let you in on a little secret– the best bit is the crunchy, charred layer of rice stuck to the sides of the pot. Just loosen it with your spoon mix bits of it into your rice for the most glorious medley of textures.

15. Hot Pot

Hot Pot

Hot pot

Hot pot dinners are as social as meals can get. Another winter favorite, Hong Kongers love gathering their friends and family around a boiling vat of seasoned broth, then dipping thin slices of raw meat, fish, or vegetables into the broth until they’re cooked, with a lot of chatting in between. Condiments are also an important part of hot pot– perfect your magical dipping concoction by choosing between a huge range of sauces and aromatics from plain old soy sauce to sesame paste or deep fried garlic. Think hot pot is only for winter? True Hong Kongers are die-hard devotees of hot pot even in the summer, when the city continues its winter communal-dining ritual by blasting the air conditioning.

16. Mango Pomelo Dessert

mango pomelo dessert

Lei Garden – Mango Pomelo Dessert

Invented in the 1980s by famous restaurant chain Lei Garden, this dessert consists of mango chunks, pomelo segments and pearls of sago swimming in a sweet soup of mango puree, evaporated milk and coconut milk. Always served cold, this childhood favorite is super refreshing and perfect for sweaty summer days.

17. Fried Beef Noodles

Beef fried noodles

Beef fried noodles

A true test of skill for any Cantonese cook, fried beef noodles (gon chau ngau ho) is an aromatic dish of flat rice noodles tossed with soy sauce, tender slices of beef, crunchy bean sprouts and spring onions over an extremely high heat for that quintessential wok hei. Don’t let your doctor know you’re binging on this dish as it is extremely high in fat and sodium, but if you’re in Hong Kong for the food, we think this dish is worth going on a month-long juice cleanse for.

18. Roasted Chestnuts

roasted chestnuts

Roast chestnuts

Once the crisp fall breeze sets in, you’ll start seeing hawkers pushing carts with a massive wok on one side, and a range of roasted goodies on the other. Go for the slow-roasted chestnuts– plump and bursting at the seams, smoky from being tossed in the searing-hot cinders. Healthy and substantial, these chestnuts will keep your hands warm and your bellies full as you make your way through the chilly streets in fall.

19. Sweet and Sour Pork

sweet and sour pork

Sweet and sour pork

If there’s one dish that reminds all Hong Kongers of their childhood, it would be sweet and sour pork. This Cantonese classic can be found in Chinese restaurants across the globe but we are adamant that the best can only be found in Hong Kong. Our hearts start fluttering when we see our first love, impossibly crisp and fresh from the fryer, coated liberally in a sweet and tangy sauce, and plated alongside juicy chunks of pineapple, bell peppers and onions.

Hope you get to try these 19 must-eat foods in Hong Kong in 2019! Happy new year!