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5 Dangerous Dishes You Can Find in Hong Kong's Restaurants

By Amanda Sheppard 26 October 2018
Hong Kong is a city for foodies – from dai pai dongs to fine dining, there’s something to cater to every palate. It also plays host to some curious culinary creations, but some food is riskier than others. Weird? Yes. Wonderful? We’ll let you be the judge of that. Here are five dangerous (and oftentimes unethical) delicacies and dishes that we plan on steering well clear of in the 852.

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dangerous drinks hong kong

1. Snake Wine

Though not the most adventurous name, this aptly-titled liquor often sees an entire snake suspended in a bottle of rice wine. It is then left to ferment for weeks, or sometimes even months. This delicacy has been consumed for three millennia, though it has fallen out of favour with the majority of local liquor lovers. Strictly speaking, this isn’t as dangerous as it sounds, as the alcohol deactivates any venom present within the snake, but if you trade in a branded bottle for moonshine, you may be in for a nasty surprise.
[caption id="attachment_128649" align="aligncenter" width="660"]where to eat fugu in hong kong Image via Shutterstock / KPG_Payless[/caption]

2. Fugu

Pufferfish – known as fugu – is a Japanese delicacy that you don’t want a back-alley alternative for. The fish is known to contain a harmful toxin which could prove fatal if ingested – remember that episode of The Simpsons where Homer is told that he only has 24 hours to live after eating some? To prepare fugu, chefs must train for a minimum of two years and obtain a special license granting them the rights to prepare the dish for guests. In Hong Kong, dried pufferfish can be sampled at Inakaya, in the ICC.

3. Jellyfish

Jellyfish may be more common as a maritime monster that wreaks havoc on unsuspecting swimmers, but certain species actually end up on the dinner table, too. Jellyfish is eaten across Asia as a snack, salad, or appetiser. Not only are they safe to consume; some even believe eating jellyfish can alleviate aching bones and tired muscles. Just don’t opt for a DIY approach or start sashimi-ing a nearby stinger.
[caption id="attachment_128652" align="aligncenter" width="660"]where to eat balut in hong kong Image via Wikimedia Commons / Marshall Astor[/caption]

4. Balut

A popular dish in the Philippines, balut is not for the faint-hearted. A duck embryo is boiled and eaten whole, from the shell. It’s a controversial dish and one that turns the stomach of many a meat-eater and vegan alike, but the Filipino national delicacy also boasts a legion of local followers. Here in Hong Kong, you can find it at Foodtrip Bedana’s in Jordan – if you dare!

5. Home-ing in on Risky Dishes

On the rare occasion that you do manage to cook at home, you assume that you’re in safe hands because you know exactly what’s going into your meal. But do you actually? Recent health scares that have shaken the Mainland (and our wet markets and supermarkets by default) include everything from exploding watermelons to fake eggs and melamine-loaded milk. Yikes!
Read more! Explore the rest of our Culture section on Localiiz for more quirky Hong Kong stories.

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Amanda Sheppard

Senior editor

Following a brief and bitterly cold stint in Scotland, Amanda returned to Hong Kong—a place she’s called home for over 18 years—to begin her career as a writer. She can often be found getting lost somewhere very familiar, planning her next holiday, and enjoying a cup (or three) of good, strong coffee.