Back in September, I bought Tom a Hong Kong foodie tour ticket for his birthday (as I mentioned here). Of course, I bought myself a ticket too! Tom had to choose between the Central tour and the Sham Shui Po tour, and he picked the Sham Shui Po (SSP) tour as this is an area of Hong Kong that we don’t know very well. We went on the tour in October (while our parents were around to babysit!) and it was such good fun!
First of all, I have to mention that the tour isn’t cheap (you can go to the website to look at prices) but it’s a lovely thing to do for a treat, a special occasion or if you want something a bit different to do while you’re visiting Hong Kong. We were the only people living in Hong Kong on the tour, all the other people were tourists. Also, if you’re having trouble picking between the two tours, I think the main difference is that on the Central one you are introduced to more of the standard Hong Kong dishes, whereas on the SSP you have more of the unusual ones (but nothing too weird!). If you’re visiting Hong Kong for the first time you might like to try the Central one, but if you’ve already tried a fair amount of Hong Kong cuisine or you want to see a really ‘local’ area of Hong Kong then the SSP one would be great. We were particularly pleased to go on the SSP one because there’s not a lot of English spoken there, and not many restaurants have English menus, so it’s probably not somewhere we’d be able to try to go for food on our own!
What was really great about the tour actually was that it wasn’t just about the food. The tour is 4 hours long so I think 4 hours of eating would just be too much anyway! It included a walking tour around parts of SSP and an insight into the area, the way people live and some traditional aspects of the culture. I’d not really noticed before, but there’s very little in the way of high rise in the area. Most of the buildings are less than 10 stories, and there are very few new buildings. It’s actually an area of Hong Kong that’s changed very little in the last few decades. It was great to see some old businesses in the market area that have been doing the same thing for decades, such as a noodle shop that makes noodles by hand on site – a rare thing these days.
Of course, I can’t go without mentioning the food! We stopped off at 6 restaurants (well, 5 and one bakery) and had a small dish in each. Despite having tried a fairly wide range of cuisine since moving to Hong Kong, neither Tom nor I had had any of them before, apart from the pineapple bun – and this one was by far the best we’d had – so warm and soft! I think my favourite were the rice rolls though. We’ve had rice rolls with meat in before (usually as part of dim sum) but these were just thick rolls of the rice itself – it’s a bit like pasta but made from rice, if that makes any sense! So tasty!
Anyway, here are a few highlights:
Hot, fresh pineapple buns! (which don’t have pineapple in, the sugary crust on top is supposed to resemble a pineapple)
Yummy rice rolls :)
Fiona, our guide, showing us how best to prepare our rice rolls (I think this involved a mixture of vinegar and sesame oil?)
Traditional noodle shop, all different types of noodles!
We could also see the man making the noodles in the back of the shop
Dried seafood shop, so smelly!
Tom enjoying(?) some tofu pudding! We were shown the way that this little business makes tofu pudding and soybean milk. Both are very labour intensive for such a cheap, small dish!
A former pawn brokers shop in SSP. There used to be loads here, and there are still quite a few but unfortunately mainly patronised by domestic helpers these days.
And finally, one of our more random stops – a knife shop! The owner of this shop went to Sheffield to learn his trade and came back to Hong Kong afterwards and has been making knives ever since! (I love the name!)
So those were some of the sights of our trip. It really is a great way to spend a morning, I’d recommend if if you want something a bit different to do in Hong Kong!
Thanks for reading!