I woke up bright and early to meet my lovely guide in Sheung Wan, and I was told not to eat breakfast as there was going to be a lot on offer! With two more guests joining us, Laura took us for dim sum at one of HK’s oldest and most ‘local’ dim sum joints, where trolleys still brought dishes out to tables. These traditional dim sum houses are fast fading and being replaced by waiter service, so this brought back great memories of growing up in HK in the 80s when these restaurants were abundant. We were encouraged to try as many dishes as we wanted, taking any that took our fancy as Laura explained the history of the restaurant, and dim sum in the region.
After having quite a few traditional dishes including dumplings, rice rolls and buns (I was starting to fill up fast!), we walked through the back streets of Sheung Wan. As we passed the traditional medicine and food shops, Laura explained the history of the area and some of the established family-run shops.
As we made our way into Soho via the market around Gage Street, we stopped at Hong Kong’s best-known noodle shops, famous for wontons and beef brisket noodles. We each had a bowl as Laura talked about traditional egg noodles and what to look for, slurping happily as we watched a chef making them by hand in the corner.
This was my favourite dish so far, and Laura’s hilarious tale of the shop’s family history made this a particular highlight on the tour!
On we continued (now feeling very full), only stopping for a cup of traditional HK-style ‘stocking’ tea, made with condensed milk. I opted for Yin Yeung, a half-coffee, half-tea concoction and HK’s answer to an Italian espresson, thick and bracing. The tiny shop was full, with a line of people waiting patiently, so we ordered ours to go before waddling down to the tramlines.
As we made our way on the tram, Laura pointed out the various landmarks (great for tourists!), and we stopped off in the heart of busy Wan Chai at an old BBQ meat restaurant. The owners greeted Laura like an old friend and ordered a plate of roast duck and BBQ pork for us to share. Even though I felt very full at this stage, I couldn’t help myself… The meat was deliciously tender and sweet, the bowls of rice soaking up the sauces, and I was in meat heaven!
Our final destination was a bakery made famous by their egg tarts. As we sat on the roof of a beautiful, old Wan Chai building munching on our egg tarts, I looked over the streets of the city I love so much and felt great contentment at a morning very well spent.
Overall, this tour was both enjoyable and informative, and Laura has researched it meticulously. Despite having been born and raised in this city and knowing it like the back of my hand, it was nice to be surprised once more. Laura is both insightful and a lot of fun to be around. I was left feeling well and truly stuffed, with food and history! The tour is very relaxed and can be taken at your own pace, with all the walking being gentle. Laura is available for group and private tours, and also runs different food and history tours around Hong Kong, as well as boat trips. Remember to wear comfortable shoes and don’t eat breakfast!
Private Food tours: Any other time. Customers can be picked up from their hotels and returned to them; prices start from $2,015. See here for more info on the food tours!
A true blue Hong Kong girl, Sharon works as an English teacher. When not thinking about or making food, she spends her time at home in Cheung Chau… usually at the beach… With a large cocktail in hand! Follow her on her blog Jasmine and Ginger or on Twitter @jasmine_ginger.