My first trip to Hong Kong and I was more focused on seeing the sights than trying to navigate public transportation to dining destinations or deciding among the infinite array of Michelin-starred, dim sum, traditional Cantonese, and storied choices. Of course, a girl’s got to eat and I savored as much of the local cuisine, fine dining, and street food that one person can but, while I was out exploring the city, choices in dining were largely based on the need for a bathroom break – western style…
Being an adventurous diner, I decided on the first day to have a hearty Asian style breakfast that would hold me over to dinner – with maybe a pork bao (bun), tea sandwich, or street snack here and there to supplement There were western style breakfasts of omelettes, eggs benedict, waffles, pancakes, granola, etc. available, but I can get those anytime! I was intrigued with the breakfast trays: Chinese, Thai, Japanese, and Healthy Special, and tried a different one each morning, beginning with the Chinese breakfast of congee, dim sum, rice roll, and condiments above. More savory than we are accustomed to, but as a savory lover and eater of leftovers for breakfast, this was right up my alley.
Congee is a type of rice porridge popular in Asia; comforting and satisfying, like oatmeal, it’s a great way to energize for the day and, similar to chicken soup, provides soothing relief when you’re not feeling well. Sprinkled with peanuts, green onions, and fresh ginger – I loved it!
Thai omelette of ground pork + shrimp | rice, sliced papaya and soy sauce with Thai pepper
The Thai omelette was light & healthy with fresh cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and papaya – loved that the omelette wasn’t dripping with cheese or sauce like we do it here. Very possibly, my favorite of the week, clinched with sweet, slices of papaya!
The best restaurants in Asia are found in hotels and from what my eastern friends have told me, this has always been the case. Unlike the U.S. where hotel restaurants were often considered sub-par and unglamorous, but with more high profile chefs – culinary icons and celebrity chefs – choosing to have their restaurants in landmark hotels, this is becoming true in the U.S., too. Our home for a week was the Sheraton, Hong Kong; the premium restaurants, attentive service, elegant decor with subtle Asian motifs, stunning views of Victoria Harbor, and central location in Tsim Sha Tsui confirms a return visit. Next time I’ll make it across the street to Nobu in the Intercontinental.
Japanese breakfast | grilled salmon, miso soup, rice, tamagoyaki, tsukemono, umeboshi
This is the breakfast of my ancestors, although I grew up eating Cream of Wheat (blah) and Quaker Oats oatmeal because, in a household of four kids, it’s fast, nutritious, and inexpensive. Tamagoyaki is slightly sweet Japanese rolled omelet also called tamago or dashimaki, tsukemono are Japanese pickles (not limited to cucumbers), and umeboshi is pickled ume plums.
Going down the menu, my last Asian-inspired breakfast was called Healthy Selection of crispy baked tofu, rye toast, and fresh fruit. The crisped tofu crusted with an assortment of sesame and other seeds and topped with a chunky tomato sauce was excellent! I’m going to copy this is my kitchen for a meatless dinner soon. Each Asian breakfast was high in protein, but low in saturated fat for a heart healthy meal with staying power.
Hong Kong is a truly fascinating country with a long and rich history; in fact, until 1997 it still belonged to the United Kingdom, as part of a 100 year lease. The city has since been operating under a mixed law system that blends British and Chinese ideas into one; it is this combination that gives Hong Kong such a diverse atmosphere that appeals to most visitors of this tiny south coast metropolis packed with 7 million people. The vibrant modern city is made up of two parts; the uptown central business area of “Hong Kong Island” with its 5 star hotels and upscale European restaurants, and the more authentically Chinese “Kowloon Side” that connects to the mainland offering a dizzying array of cultural experiences and the well-known, busy markets of Hong Kong.
Hong Kong’s British influence is why Westerners may find it to be a more comfortable transition to the East than other cities in Asia – it’s so civilized, with most hotels offering tea service in the late afternoon. One of the must-do’s on my list was tea at The Peninsula Hotel, an important landmark in Hong Kong history. I’ll be sharing tea at The Peninsula and other Travel Eats and adventures in Hong Kong in my next post. Hope you have a fabulous week!