Gourmet Paradise

Hong Kong's cuisine is renowned for its exotic fusion of Eastern and Western flavours along with a wide variety of culinary delights. Its cultural blend, proximity to mainland China and reputation for quality have made Hong Kong the world's undisputed Gourmet Paradise. Discover the veritable smorgasbord of cuisine in the World of Dining from every Asian delicacy to the very best Western fare. In order to attract visitors, quality service is a must. The Hong Kong Tourism Board rewards local enterprises that provide exemplary service and help raise Hong Kong's profile as a world-class city with the Hong Kong Awards for Services.

Hong Kong Awards for Services
The annual Hong Kong Awards for Services is a welcome opportunity to give official recognition to organisations whose outstanding achievements help raise Hong Kong's profile as a world-class city with a trademark for excellence. Now in its sixth year, the Hong Kong Award for Services: Tourism Services is organised by the Hong Kong Tourism Board as part of the Awards scheme. This year, it attracted a record number of 71 entries from large, medium and small-sized companies providing services/facilities such as accommodation, food and beverage, retail, inbound tour co-ordination and other tourism-related services. Each and every entrant has made unfailing efforts to add fresh qualities to Hong Kong's tourism product. The winners are recognised for their high service standards, providing visitors with a consistent quality of service and performance.

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World of Dining

Hong Kong has a world of exquisite, mouth-watering dining options. As you would expect, good Chinese restaurants are found everywhere in Hong Kong. Some of the best can be found in major hotels and shopping complexes. Most specialise in one or more of the following: Cantonese, Chiu Chow, Hunan, Szechuan, Peking, Shanghainese or Chinese Vegetarian. As an international city, many cultures and tastes are represented in Hong Kong's world of dining. Enjoy fine dining or casual family-style meals in some of Hong Kong's Eastern and Western restaurants. Day and night, Hong Kong's gourmet delights are plentiful. Whether you want to pick up a snack or dress to a theme, the City of Life offers it all.

Chinese Food
The variety of flavours, aromas and textures of Chinese cuisine are sure to delight the palate. Some Chinese dishes are simple and others gourmet exotica, but all are designed to satisfy your senses. The most popular styles of Chinese cooking in Hong Kong are Cantonese, Chiu Chow and Shanghainese. Cantonese and Chiu Chow both originate from the same Chinese province of Guangdong but are vastly different in style and flavour. Many restaurants also specialise in vegetarian fare, famous Peking dishes and the zesty flavours of Hunan and Szechuan. For the ultimate experience, indulge in a bottle of Chinese wine. In flavour and distillation process, these wines are completely different and definitely worth a try.

How to use chopsticks - A quick lesson on how to use chopsticks!
1. Hold one chopstick still in your thumb joint.
2. Balance the other chopstick between your index and middle finger.
3. Use your thumb, first and index fingers to manipulate the top chopstick in a pincer movement.

  • Cantonese
    The fresh, natural flavours of Cantonese cuisine are designed to tantalise the taste buds. Cantonese is the best-known style of Chinese cooking worldwide. Ingredients are purchased and prepared the same day and cooked just before serving, using few spicy seasonings. In many seafood restaurants, diners can choose fish from the tanks in which they are swimming. The price of the seafood is determined on a "pay by tael" basis. A tael is a Chinese unit of measurement, approximately equal to 1.2 ounces. Dried seafoods such as shark's fin, abalone and conpoy, are often served.

    Enjoy an old Cantonese custom, dim sum, which is inextricably linked to the Chinese tradition of yum cha or "drinking tea". Dim sum (literally "to touch the heart") are special Cantonese snacks chosen from steaming bamboo baskets of delectable dishes paraded past on trolleys. Hong Kong boasts the best international dim sum chefs, who prepare mouth-watering delicacies such as steamed pork spareribs, steamed buns with roast pork and har gao, shrimp dumplings with a translucent skin. There are usually three to four pieces per order, with each dish, plate or steamer basket having a different price. When getting your teacup filled, it is Chinese custom to tap your fingers on the table near your cup twice as a sign of reverence and thanks. Another style of Cantonese dining can be found at outdoor cooked-food stalls. These aromatic eating-places serve some of the best - but very simple - seafood, noodle and rice dishes - typically in an alfresco atmosphere.

  • Chiu Chow
    Tantalising taste sensations and refined poultry dishes are the hallmark of Chiu Chow cuisine. The Chiu Chow flavours originated around the Swatow district of eastern Guangdong province and are now among the most popular in Hong Kong. Piquant sauces often enhance dishes, with tangerine jam for steamed lobsters and broad-bean paste for fish. Duck and goose are Chiu Chow favourites. Spicy goose is served with garlic and vinegar sauce. Many Chiu Chow classic dishes are light and tasty, with an abundant use of vegetables. Chiu Chow chefs are skilled vegetable carvers, creating fine flowers, birds, dragons and phoenixes from carrots and ginger. The region's deluxe delicacies include shark's fin and bird's nest soups. The pungent Tiet Kwun Yum oolong tea served in tiny cups before and after a meal is a digestive aid.

  • Shanghainese
    Experience the sensationally rich, sweet flavours of Shanghainese cuisine. Shanghai does not have a definitive cuisine of its own, but refines those of the surrounding provinces. Its flavours are heavier and oilier than Cantonese cuisine, featuring preserved vegetables, pickles and salted meats. Lime-and-ginger-flavoured "1,000-year-old" eggs are perhaps Shanghai's best-known culinary creation. Beggar's Chicken is a legendary dish wrapped in lotus leaves, covered in clay and oven-fired to steamy, tasty perfection - in olden times, it was baked in the ground. Other popular dishes include hairy crab, "eight treasure" duck, "drunken" chicken, braised eel and yellow fish. Dumplings, breads and noodles are served more often than rice.

  • Peking
    Originated in the Imperial courts, Peking's stylistic dishes are fit for an emperor. This mouth-watering cuisine is renowned for its use of the best ingredients. Its flavours are influenced by highly flavoured roots and vegetables such as peppers, garlic, ginger, leek and coriander ("Chinese parsley"). The food of this northerly city is substantial, to keep the body warm. Noodles, dumplings, and breads (baked, steamed or fried) are served instead of rice. The most famous dish, Peking duck, is usually prepared for a minimum of six people. To achieve the prized crisp skin, the duck is air-dried, then coated with a mixture of syrup and soy sauce before roasting. The skin is deftly carved at the table and the slivers of skin are wrapped in thin pancakes with spring onions or leeks, cucumber, turnip and delicious plum sauce. Popular, too, are "sizzling" plates of seafood or meat, and succulent beggar's chicken. A whole chicken is stuffed with mushrooms, pickled Chinese cabbage, herbs and onions, wrapped in lotus leaves, sealed in clay and cooked slowly. Usually, the guest of honour breaks open the clay with a mallet, allowing a fragrant aroma to escape and revealing a chicken so tender that it can be pulled apart with chopsticks.

  • Szechuan & Hunan
    The fiery flavours of Szechuan and Hunan are renowned for their intensity. Landlocked Hunan's chilli-rich cuisine is similar to that of western China's Szechuan province. Chilli, garlic and the unusual "strange sauce" enliven many dishes. Mustard sauce complements duck's tongues, and minced bean paste forms a pungent and powdery coating for fish or scallops. Honey sauces are favoured for desserts such as water chestnut or cassia-flower cakes. Hunan's range of soups includes noodles in soup, mashed pigeon in consomme and a salty, thin version of the West's pea soup. Although rice is Hunan's staple, northern-style bean-curd "bread" rolls or dumplings and savoury buns are also popular. Bursting with flavour, Szechuan food includes some of the spiciest dishes in China, so check the chilli content on the menu. The zest of dishes is flavoured with star anise, fennel seed, chilli, coriander ("Chinese parsley") and other spices. Chillied bean paste, peppercorns and garlic are also widely used. Chicken, pork, river fish and shellfish are popular ingredients, and noodles or steamed bread are preferred to rice.

    Not all Szechuan cuisine is spicy. Common cooking methods include smoking and simmering, which allow peppers and aromatic seasonings time to infuse food with unforgettable tastes and aromas. Traditional dishes include crispy beef, deep fried with tangy kumquat peel, and duck, the premier Szechuan specialty. The duck is flavoured with peppercorns, ginger, cinnamon, orange peel and coriander, marinated in Chinese wine for 24 hours, steamed for two hours, then smoked over a charcoal fire with camphor-wood chips and red tea leaves added.

  • Vegetarian
    Hong Kong's vegetarian cuisine is well regarded for its healing and nutritional qualities. The soya bean, processed into bean curd (tofu), is the prime ingredient of vegetarian cuisine. The curd is prepared to taste similar to roast duck, barbecued pork, salted chicken, scallops and delicacies. China's treasury of mushrooms and other types of fungi add variety to the vegetarian cuisine.

  • Festive food
    Symbolic food plays a crucial role in celebrations throughout the Lunar calendar.

    Chinese New Year

    Chinese New Year represents new beginnings. Richly flavoured cakes, called nin go, are extremely popular during this time because to the Chinese they represent success. Nin in Cantonese means "year" and go, "high", so to eat these foretells a successful year ahead. Lotus seeds in a sweet soup, called lin chi, is also popular. It is offered to newly married couples because the name, lin chi means "every year a son", urging couples to have children soon.

    Dragon Boat Festival
    Entwined in the mythology of the Dragon Boat Festival is zongzi, a tasty glutinous rice dumpling. Some believe that when poet Qu Yuan committed suicide in 278 BC by jumping in a river, locals threw rice into the river as a sacrifice to their dead hero, and to nourish his spirit. In a dream, the poet revealed the fish were eating the rice and requested it be bundled and wrapped in silk to protect it. In another version, the rice packets were meant for the fish, in an effort to keep them from devouring Qu Yuan's body. There are many different types of zongzi. Hong Kong's favourite dumpling features pork soaked in soy sauce or bean paste in the middle of the glutinous rice. Zongzi come in many shapes, but are most commonly triangular or pyramid shaped.

    Mid-Autumn Festival
    The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, is held on the fifteenth day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, when the moon is at its maximum brightness for the entire year. These mooncakes can be found in any bakery before the festival in all shapes and sizes. They may be filled with an assortment of ingredients including dates, nuts, lotus seed paste, bean paste and even pork or Chinese sausages.

  • Chinese Wines
    The distinct flavours of Chinese wines are designed to perfectly complement your meal. Unlike Western wines, Chinese wine is distilled from rice, millet and other grains, as well as herbs and flowers. A wide variety of tonic wines are made with traditional ingredients. The popular rice-based Xiao Qing, Yellow Wine, is best served warm. It tastes similar to medium-dry sherry and goes well with a wide range of Chinese cuisine, especially during the cool season. Gao Liang and Mao Tai are fiery, millet-based distillations with an alcoholic content of 70 per cent. These are definitely best sampled after a hearty meal. Wu Jia Pi, is a sweet herbal wine believed to have medicinal qualities.

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  Information provided by Hong Kong Tourism Board.


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