Header image courtesy of Yaqut’s Lanzhou Hand-pulled Beef Noodles (via Foodpanda)
China is a country where regional differences are reflected in its food. Boasting a vast geographical landscape, the style of cooking can be divided into two main styles: northern and southern. In the north, the food is hearty, salty, and starchy, with wheat as the main staple due to the harsher climate. In comparison, towards the south, rice is the main staple, and the food is generally lighter and sweeter, with more vegetables. However, this is just an oversimplification of Chinese cuisine and there are many more factors to take into consideration, such as ethnicity and religion.
In Hong Kong, the main style of cooking focuses less on spice and more on the freshness and natural flavours of the ingredients. There are plenty of restaurants all over the city that serve amazing Cantonese dishes, but have you ever considered Northern Chinese food? Authentic Northern Chinese food is not as common here in Hong Kong, but it still exists in small pockets. Here are five places in Hong Kong where you can try Northern Chinese cuisine.
Islam Food is located in the centre of Kowloon City, and from the name of the restaurant, you can probably already guess what they have on offer: Chinese Islamic food. Islam Food has been in operation since the 1950s and presents a wide range of deliciously prepared halal Chinese food. Although this restaurant prepares a variety of different foods from all over China, their most well-known dish is the beef pocket—which they make fresh daily—as well as their signature dumplings, scallion pancakes, and the beef brisket. People from all walks of life come here, making it a very popular destination around the Kowloon City area.
Another well-known Northern Chinese dish is the infamous Lanzhou beef noodles. Hailing from the city of Lanzhou in Gansu province, and it consists of a clear soup with chilli oil and slices of beef, highlighted with chewy hand-pulled noodles. You can find this mouthwatering dish at Yaqut’s Lanzhou Hand-pulled Beef Noodles, which is conveniently located in Sheung Wan. Besides the beef noodles, they also serve up delicious side dishes, such as the black fungus with onion or seasoned cucumbers that will remind people of the fresh flavours of northern China.
Yaqut’s Lanzhou Hand-pulled Beef Noodles, Shop 10A, 1/F, Grand Millennium Plaza, 181 Queen’s Road Central, Sheung Wan | (+852) 9157 2777
Situated on Mercury Street in Tin Hau, Tian Shan Xiao Guan (天山小館) specialises in Northern Chinese cuisine from Xinjiang. Xinjiang food has a lot of emphasis on lamb, starch, and various spices—this is due to its ethnic Uyghur population, which highly influences its flavours. Tian Shan Xiao Guan offers a diverse menu filled with regional favourites, such as big-plate chicken, homestyle dumplings, spicy cumin lamb skewers, and much more.
Tian Shan Xiao Guan (天山小館), Shop A, 12 Mercury Street, Tin Hau | (+852) 2805 6130
Dumplings are an integral part of Chinese cuisine as a whole, but even this modest food can see regional variations. In northern China, the dumpling wrapping can be much thicker, while the filling tends to be meatier. Wang Fu (王府) is a small restaurant that specialises in Northern Chinese staples. Conveniently located in Central, it is the perfect place for a quick bite. Make sure to try their pork & chive dumplings, as they are a classic Northern favourite.
Situated just next door to Wang Fu is Northern Dumpling Yuan (北方餃子源), a humble restaurant that offers a myriad of delicious noodle dishes, but is best known for its simplistic and handmade dumplings. Like Wang Fu, this is another no-frills place to grab something quick when hungry. Whether you are going for the lamb & green onion, beef & celery, or pork & chive dumplings, all options are fantastically flavoured and priced affordably.
Northern Dumpling Yuan (北方餃子源), 69 Wellington Street, Central | (+852) 2525 9018