A Quick trip to Hong Kong


In October I was headed to China to visit some students at their internship sites in Shenzhen, and decided to stop in Hong Kong on the way. It was also cheaper to fly into Hong Kong than Shenzhen.

This is where is all started for me. I lived in Hong Kong for a year and a half back in the early 80’s and this was my first exposure to Chinese culture and the language. In fact, I learned Cantonese before I ever studied Mandarin at University. I still speak Cantonese but it is a bit rusty these days. In my early career I did quite a bit of work with Cantonese coauthoring a textbook series and teaching Cantonese courses at BYU.

Hong Kong is a dynamic, exciting place, and it has changed much over the years. Each time I go, I am amazed at how the skyline changes. Considerable amounts of land has been reclaimed into Victoria Harbor to make room for development.

With only a day and a half, I naturally focused on eating—Cantonese pastries, dimsum, chasiu, and a few other things. It was also fun to just walk the streets. I usually stay in a small hotel in the Mongkok District, on the same street I used to live on back in 1983. It’s a bit nostalgic and I don’t like the heavy tourism district of Tsim Sha Tsui. Hong Kong is a very crowded place. Back in the 80’s, the Mongkok District was considered one of the most densely populated places on the planet with 144,000 people per square kilometer.


Street in Mongkok


Another Mongkok street


Night markets abound in the Mongkok area


The famous “Ladies Street” market


A couple getting their fortune told



Hong Kong street food


Hong Kong subway: always seems to be crowded


The infamous  and chaotic Chungking Mansion in TST District

Not everyone shops in grocery stores. You can still find meat and produce markets all over Hong Kong, tucked away on side streets.



Cantonese food is known for their roast meats, particularly roast goose, salt baked chicken, roast suckling pig, and chasiu (a bbq roasted pork).



Lunch; in the little bowl is a dipping sauce made with scallion, ginger, and oil.


Working class dimsum restaurant, full of older people.


Beef balls


Siumai (steamed shrimp dumplings)


Choisum (caixin)


Fried noodles

Most Westerners do not care for Chinese desserts, usually because they are not that sweet, and very different from what we are used to. However, Cantonese pastries are the exception, at least in Hong Kong. Two delicious pastries are a coconut bun, called gāi méi baū in Cantonese, and a pineapple bread, called bō lòh baū in Cantonese. I always have to get some of this delicious bread when I am in Hong Kong.


gāi méi baū


bō lòh baū

And finally a couple shots of some typical Cantonese dishes.




After our short trip, we hopped on the train for the short 40 minute ride to the border and on to Shenzhen. It was a nice quick trip, though the heat was pretty unbearable, in the 90’s with high humidity. Oh well, that’s what you get in Hong Kong some times of the year.

12 thoughts on “A Quick trip to Hong Kong

  1. Wow I definitely want to visit Hong Kong after reading this! The food looks amazing! I would love to visit the night markets they have. My mom is from Taiwan and always talks about how night markets are the best thing ever, I wonder if they are at all similar to the ones in Hong Kong. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Loved this article! I will be studying abroad in Hong Kong in about a year and the photos made me even more excited. I’ve always been interested in the Chinese culture and wanting to visit. This is also the reason for my minor in Chinese. Can’t wait for some yummy dimsum!

  3. Hong Kong is one of my all time favorite places. When I visited, I found Hong Kong to be a very energetic city – something was always happening and people were always moving. If my memory serves me well, the city was clean and the people were friendly. They were fond of my brother’s fair skin, blonde hair and blue eyes. He speaks Mandarin very well and found himself in conversation with some older locals who taught him a bit of tai chi while we were in a garden. I am eager to return to Hong Kong for a potential job in the future.

  4. WOW! Great post! I visited Hong Kong a few years ago during New Years and I absolutely loved it. Reading this post brought back so many great memories. I wish that I spent more time in Hong Kong, so I could try more of the foods. I plan on studying abroad in Hong Kong, so when I’m there I will definitely try some of these delicious foods. Your pictures were a great addition to your post. I was able to visualize all the yummy foods and reminisce about memories I made when I first visited.

  5. Hong Kong is a place that I really want to visit! I also find it really interesting that you were going to visit students during their internships — I have always wanted to work overseas in the future, preferably in China. Something that I also really enjoyed from your post were the pictures of the busy streets and side street markets. I have seen similar things when I have gone to Chinatown in San Francisco with my family, but one day I want to experience the real deal in China. I love the ambiance of street markets and really want to try a bunch of street food! I also agree with what you wrote about westerners and Chinese desserts (most Asian desserts, to be honest), but I have eaten them since I was younger and I love them!

  6. I also lived in Hong Kong for a year during my childhood. 
I thought it was especially interesting that you learned Cantonese before Mandarin because in my school they only taught us Mandarin (even though Cantonese is primary language). I think a lot of Hong Kong’s appeal to foreigners is the liveliness and vibrancy of the city. All your pictures depict that and make me want to go back to Hong Kong!

  7. Wow! that’s crazy cool. I’ve never left the US but has always dreamed of going to an Asian country, I at first though china and hong kong were one in the same. after reading your blog, as well as videos about the countries I realize they are different. I’ve also had a great fascination in what Chinese people would eat or do on a daily basis in their homeland (as I love trying different Asian food), and you’ve given me a glimpse. Thank you!

  8. This looks delicious! I am surprised by how many of these foods look familiar to that which you can get at a chinese restaurant.

  9. Hong Kong is one of the places that I would like to go visit, someday. The first time I ever left the country was this summer, my family and I went toTaiwan, so maybe someday I will be able to go to Hong Kong and visit all the beautiful sites, and eat some of the food. Your post has given me a little bit more of an understanding of the different kinds of food that they have and the different areas that would be good to go to visit, if I get the chance to go.

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