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Your guide to the signature Cantonese dishes of 7 Hong Kong districts

By Gigi Wong 3 October 2019

Header image courtesy of Deliveroo Foodscene UK

Hong Kong is known as a gourmet’s paradise, offering a wide array of palate-pleasing choices when it comes to food and dining. Due to Hong Kong’s close proximity to other Cantonese cities in the Guangdong area, delicacies from surrounding towns propagated and can now be found in various districts in the 852. From roast goose in Sham Tseng to typhoon shelter crab in Aberdeen, we’ve rounded up the seven signature Cantonese dishes representative of different districts in Hong Kong.

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Roasted goose in Sham Tseng

Known as the “Hometown of Roasted Goose”, Sham Tseng is home to many eateries that serve this delectable Cantonese dish. Sham Tseng in Cantonese means “deep well,” a special kind of old-fashioned grilling technique; namely, a dry well is dug deep in the ground with charcoal placed underneath and an iron branch laid thwart across the wellhead. Goose was then hung on the iron branch and slowly roasted. 

Nowadays, roasted goose is usually fried in a large-scale iron cylinder, known as the “chargrilled goose.” Despite a change in its cooking method, the roasted goose made in the area still maintains a divine quality, which lends a distinctive smokiness to the succulent meat, topped with a thin, crispy skin. The dish can be found at various restaurants in the area, including Sham Tseng Chan Kee Roasted Goose—the first roasted goose restaurant in Sham Tseng—and Yue Kee Restaurant, a highly popular eatery established in 1958.

Sham Tseng Chan Kee Roasted Goose, Shop A, G/F, Chan Kee Commercial Centre, Sham Tseng | (+852) 2416 8893

Yue Kee Restaurant, G/F, 9 Sham Hong Road, Sham Tseng | (+852) 2491 0105

Photo credit: Yahoo Food

Noodles with dregs of lard in Sham Shui Po

Not the most appetising-sounding name, but noodles with dregs of lard is a reminder of the old days. Hongkongers born in the 1960s to 1970s are certainly familiar with the dish, but for those who aren’t, bear with us. Lard, the fat extracted from pork meat, goes through a process of oil extraction, wherein a residue (a.k.a the “dregs”) is formed. It might sound gross, but that particular type of oil dregs is actually an extremely delicious cookery material which many chefs use to fry vegetables or stir noodles with. 

Because it can be attained at a low cost, noodles with dregs of lard became a blessing during hard times, especially for low-income families and blue-collars who could not afford expensive peanut oil. Sham Shui Po, being one of the oldest and densest districts in Hong Kong, has seen numerous diners serving up the dish. One of the most coveted spots is Chow Kee Noodles, which offers its signature noodles with dregs of lard ($34). Remember to add in a portion of their homemade, spicy fried radish that is available on each table. Another restaurant to try is Chuen Yuen Tang, who use thick Shanghainese noodles in their dish.

Chow Kee Noodles, G/F, 117 Fuk Wing Street, Sham Shui Po | (+852) 6777 1387

Chuen Yuen Tang, Shop 2, G/F, Wah Tao Building, 14–16 Tai Po Road, Sham Shui Po | (+852) 2788 2383

Photo credit: OpenRice

Roasted pigeon in Sha Tin

Speaking of Sha Tin, the food that springs instantly to mind is certainly roasted pigeon—one of our favourite signature Cantonese dishes. Once roasted, the delectable juice and crispy skin of a pigeon is absolutely unmissable. Sha Tin boasts a great number of restaurants that offer the mouthwatering dish. The diner that started it all is Lung Wah Hotel. Since established in 1951, it has seen local film stars, socialities, and government officers breeze through its doors. 

Although its hotel business closed down in the 1980s, the restaurant has remained and it has prided itself on its signature roasted pigeon. Braised and roasted to an ultra-crisp state, the dish is a warm, collective memory for Hongkongers. Having witnessed the success and flourishing of Lung Wah Hotel, other food corporations also join in on the game. Rivervine Keung Seafood Restaurant is one of them. Well-adored by the neighbourhood, it offers a roasted pigeon combo with the renowned chicken porridge & roasted goose at around $70. Considering the great bargain and the fact that it’s open until 2 am every day, Rivervine is an ideal spot for late-night supper.

Lung Wah Hotel, 22 Ha Wo Che Chuen, Sha Tin | (+852) 2691 1828

Rivervine Keung Seafood Restaurant, G/F, 20–30 Riverside Garden, Sha Tin | (+852) 2646 0928

Rice noodles in Tsuen Wan

Hongkongers have a penchant for everything paired with a bowl of steamy rice noodles—just think of spicy Sichuan rice noodles and savoury Yunnan rice-flour noodles. The fast food-style cuisine is in line with the fast pace of the 852. One of the major consumer districts in town, Tsuen Wan is strewn with rice noodles restaurants—and we’re not just talking about restaurant chains like TamJai SamGor Mixian. 

Amongst the independently-operated eateries, one standout is certainly Lao Ban Lan Yunnan Rice Noodles. The well-loved restaurant uses small pots to cook each bowl of noodles, an effort to ensure that the essence of the ingredients is maintained. You can also choose from its diverse array of soup base, including Mongolian soup, cordyceps ginger wine soup, sour and hot base. Yunnan Small Pot Rice Noodles, on the other hand, is owned by a lady who inherited the rice noodles cooking technique from Yunnan Lijiang. Its noodles are boiled with open-fire and made-to-order. The pork cartilage rice noodles with pork belly & intestine ($46) is a must-try.

Lao Ban Lan Yunnan Rice Noodles, Shop 28–29, 3/F, Heung Che Street Market, 8 Tso Kung Street, Tsuen Wan | (+852) 9842 1971

Yunnan Small Pot Rice Noodles, Shop G01, G/F, 328 Plaza, 328 Sha Tsui Road, Tsuen Wan | (+852) 2439 5767

Street food in Kwai Fong

Hong Kong is famous for its street food culture. In 2016, our shore was selected to be one of the 23 best street food cities in the world by CNN. The new English lexis “sou gaai,” which means “to sweep through a street loaded with street food”, was even created specifically for the 852. Speaking about street-style comfort foods in town, one cannot ignore Kwai Chung Plaza in Kwai Fong. The labyrinthine street food complex offers an eclectic choice of cheap and casual eats. 

To mention a few: You can treat yourself to an affordable box of tossed noodles with squid ($30) or fish dumplings ($25) at Ah Gai. Let Me Order, on the other hand, serves up refreshing homemade Hong Kong-style taro rice balls ($36) coupled with the likes of sweet potato, glutinous rice, and red beans. If you’re looking to tickle your taste buds, Sichuan Delicacy offers skewered food like spud & beef skewers ($8) dipped in hot, tangy soup, as well as sour and spicy Chongqing noodles ($24). Last but not least, how could we talk about Hong Kong street food without touching upon everyone’s favourite egg waffles? Try out the egg waffles at Bove with creative fillings, including the green tea egg waffles with mochi.

Ah Gai, Shop 303F, 3/F, Kwai Chung Plaza, 7 Kwai Foo Road, Kwai Fong | (+852) 2385 1486

Let Me Order, Shop 2026, 2/F, Kwai Chung Plaza, 7 Kwai Foo Road, Kwai Fong | (+852)

Sichuan Delicacy, Shop A75A, G/F, Kwai Chung Plaza, 7 Kwai Foo Road, Kwai Fong

Bove, Shop 3069–T20, Top World, 3/F, Kwai Chung Plaza, 7 Kwai Foo Road, Kwai Fong

Poon choi in New Territories

Poon choi (盆菜), which is Cantonese for “food served in a basin,” is a type of traditional food among the indigenous residents of the New Territories. When these villagers used to assemble in ancestral halls on festive occasions, they would take the opportunity to enjoy this speciality dish that symbolises prosperity and affluence. During recent years, the rural dish has transitioned from clan halls to a popular cuisine in the catering business. 

As a convenient choice for family and social gatherings, poon choi is usually ordered from catering outlets at the beginning of the Lunar New Year. Located in Yuen Long, Fei Kee Poon Choi offers a deluxe version of the feat during Chinese New Year at around $1,100 per large basin, which includes delicacies like abalone, steamed chicken with salted sauce, and braised hogskin. Another well-known supplier is HDCWU, which serves up walled-village-style poon choi, such as the braised pork belly & stewed shiitake mushrooms, with delivery service around Hong Kong.

喜臨門盆菜 HDCWU, Flat 1, 7/F, Tuen Mun Industrial Centre, 2 San Ping Circuit, Tuen Mun

輝記盆菜 Fei Kee Poon Choi, Flat 1, G/F, Lin Fat Building, 2 Fung Kwan Street, Yuen Long

Photo credit: Catharine Chan / Flickr

Typhoon shelter crab in Causeway Bay

The typhoon shelters of Causeway Bay existed as far back as the late 1800s. The families who used to live in sampans and fishing vessels in the shelters were known as “boat people.” They’ve developed their own customs and rituals, as well as their floating restaurants which have attracted crowds of diners to feast on freshly-caught seafood. Typhoon Shelter Crab, thus, emerged. The pungent crabs are often fried with plenty of spices and infused with scallions, chillies, garlic, and fermented bean sauce. 

Although many of the floating restaurants have moved onto the land, the signature dish remains a success. Under Bridge Spicy Crab, for instance, has become a go-to diner for affordable and fresh spicy typhoon shelter crabs. You can also request the level of spiciness for all their dishes. One of the few remaining floating restaurants, Shun Kee Typhoon Shelter Seafood allows you to dine right on the water in a cluster of lightly swaying sampans—an absolutely unique dining experience.

Under Bridge Spicy Crab, Shop 1-2, G/F, 414-424 Jaffe Road, Causeway Bay | (+852) 2573 7698

Shun Kee Typhoon Shelter, Typhoon Shelter, Victoria Harbour, Causeway Bay | (+852) 8112 0075

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Gigi Wong

Junior editor

From Hollywood blockbusters to indie flicks, Gigi loves just everything about films. Aside from rock & roll, she is also partial to jazz and vintage music. You can find her indulging in all sorts of books, eating out, discovering vinyl albums, and playing Blu-ray movies on her TV.