Cheap ‘n’ Chic eats in Hong Kong Part II: Ten traditional street foods
Photo taken in Lantau Island
I was hoping to be able to write a second post last week but my in-laws are visiting us so I have been busy with them. It is very pleasing for me that they like my cooking a lot and would not mind to be my guinea pigs to sample my new dishes. Last week I have made my first quiche and linzer cookies successfully for example : )
Before I go into detail of my Cheap ‘n’ Chic eats in HK: Part II, I am very happy to be informed that I am featured @CommentLuv (a plugin site).
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Personally I like this plugin alot, not because Andy has featured me but because when I check my comments, I will be able to see my commentor’s latest post and if the title interests me, I will immediately click on the link and visit his/her blog.
Thanks to Andy Bailey, the creator of the CommentLuv plugin and site for his lovely introduction of my blog:
“Hungry? prepare to get hungrier when you visit Gourmet Traveller! Janet runs a gorgeous blog giving you the lowdown on some of the worlds tastiest dishes with lots of scrumptious pictures and recipes.”
For Cheap ‘n’ Chic eats in Hong Kong Part II, I want to share my long-lost tastes on some OLD fashioned street foods which some of them are rather difficult to come across them these days. Click here for my Cheap ‘n’ Chic eats in Hong Kong Part I.
Fig. 1 Candy and Coconut Wrap (糖葱餅)
Fig. 1 & 2: Traditional Candy and Coconut Wrap (糖葱餅) exist since the 1950s.
This snack used to be sold on the street by an old man carrying the metal box as shown above with a strap across his shoulder. This snack was my favorite since you cannot see them selling in regular hours, whenever I see them I would immediately stop and buy a piece. So what exactly it is? Basically a candy wafer is placed in the middle of a rice crepe, followed by sprinkling some sugar, shredded coconut and roasted sesame seeds. This is then wrapped up and placed into a little brown paper bag. This snack is never too sweet, the combination of the ingredients match with each other so well without overpowering each other, each bite gives you a kind of chewiness and undescriptible satisfaction. I found a short video of making of Candy and Coconut wrap from YouTube.
Fig. 3 Street hawker selling Roasted sweet potatoes (煨蕃薯) and Stir-fried chestnuts (炒栗子) in a wok filled with black sand and the sweet potatoes are roasted under the wok (see Fig.4 below)
Many Thanks to Joanne Leung for sharing her wonder shot in my post. As a matter of fact I did not realise the sweet potatoes are roasted like that until I see this picture .
Fig. 5 Egg Custard Tarts (蛋撻) with puff pastry from Honolulu Cafe (檀島咖啡餅店), Central
There are two types of pastry for the Hong Kong style egg custard tarts or commonly known as egg tarts (蛋撻), one is the puff pastry and the other is the shortcrust pastry, the most famous shortcrust pastry ones are claimed to be Tai Cheong Bakery (泰昌餅家). I personally prefer the puff pastry ones, I think it’s more challenging to achieve a nice flaky puffy pastry, Honolulu Cafe is the most famous for this, I have no question about their popularity at all.
Fig. 6 Paper wrapped cake (紙包蛋糕)
Paper wrapped cake (紙包蛋糕) is one of the typical cakes found in the tea restaurants in Hong Kong. It can also be found in most Chinatown bakery shops. The texture is like chiffon cake but baked in a paper cup. This is my favorite, I like particularly its softness and rich egg flavor.
Fig. 7 Hong Kong style Egg waffles or eggettes (little eggs), 雞蛋仔 ( pronounced as Gai Daan Jai )
This egg waffle is 100% local speciality of Hong Kong. The picture up there is already a modern version which is run by electricity. During the 80′s, charcoal stoves were used. I can hardly see any street hawkers anymore these days as this is not allowed anymore. However I found a wonderful post of which there exists one which is still using charcoal stove, ir’s located in Tung Lo Wan Road, Tin Hau, Hong Kong Island. The pictures in this post bring back a lot of old memory, there was the same street cart at the mini bus stop which I go on everyday after school or work. From time to time, I would buy one, take it with me and eat it on my way home. Sometimes I was too hungry that I could not wait until I got home for dinner. It is very important that the eggettes are cooled and aired briefly (about 10 minutes after made) but not eating immediately to maximise the crunchiness. The best eggettes should be crispy outside, soft, bouncy and with a hollow inside, you should be able to smell and taste lightly milky and eggy. Currently the most popular eggettes are from North Point Gai Daan Jai which always have long queues waiting. Although there are new flavors created some years ago such as chocolate but the original plain version is still most people’s favovite, LESS IS MORE!!!
While researching online, I even found two eggettes recipe: one even uses sourdough, you would need to buy the iron mold though which can be found in Shanghai Street. I don’t have a gas stove at home so this is not possible for me to try.
Another recipe I have copied from Hong Kong Light Box. I don’t think most of us will make this at home but the methodology will enable the readers to get some insights of how these eggettes are made!
- 4 ounces flour
- 1 ounce corn starch
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 4 ounces granulated sugar
- 2 ounces evaporated milk
- 4 ounces water
- Sieve the flour, corn starch and baking powder into a mixing bowl.
- Mix the egg and the granulated sugar until dissolved. Then add the evaporated milk and water to the mixture gradually. Finally, add the powder. Keep stirring until the mixture becomes thickened.
- Heat your eggette iron pan/ mold* on both sides, then brush some cooking oil into the mold and pour the eggette batter into it (80% full). Put the lid on the mold. Clamps the molds together tightly. Finally, heat both sides for 2 to 3 minutes until the eggette is done.
- Use a fork to get the eggettes out carefully.
- Cool on a cooling rack for 5-10 minutes.
- Eat immediately while warm.
*You can found the eggettes iron mold in Shanghai Street, Yaumatei, Kowloon.
Fig. 8 Street cart (licenced street hawker) selling traditional pickles and various snacks.
I was so surprised to come across this kind of street cart selling snacks in Tsim Sha Tsui in my recent trip. This is very commonly seen outside the cinemas in the past.
光酥餅, liternally pronounced as ‘Kwong So Ben’ in Cantonese is a little snack I used to have when I was little, when newer generations of cakes and snacks, the traditional snacks are gradually fading away. I came across this in Lau Fau Shan (流浮山) in my last trip. It looks like super big macaroons to me. This cake is very airy and relatively dry in texture. The main ingredients used are flour, sugar, baking powder, corn flour, eggs, water and ammonia bicarbonate 臭粉. To make, you first mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and corn flour together, then follow by eggs, water and ammonia bicarbonate. Mix to form a dough and then let it rest for at least 10 hours before kneading. Finally, shape into round shaped pieces and bake for around 15 minutes. Serve when they are cooled. They can be kept for over a week in airtight container.
Fig. 10 Left: sweet or savory tea bun (鹹甜茶果); Right: Gai See Tan (雞屎藤)
These tea buns are usually only sold in remote areas, in the countrysides or small islands such as Tai O. They are made of glutinous rice flour on the outside and inside fillings are namely cubes of mushroom, pork, dried shrimps, a vegetable called ‘Sha Got’ (沙葛), white sesame. Red bean curd and oyster sauce are used as seasonings. As for the sweet fillings, sugar, palm sugar, roasted peanuts and white sesames are used. These are then placed on a piece of banana leaves and steam for 8-10 minutes.
Chinese has a habit of drinking Bitter tea regularly for detoxing. However a lot of children are not willing to drink them due to the bitterness and Gai Zee Tan (雞屎藤) is made by Chinese herbal plant which has a detoxing effect specially for children.
Fig. 11 Claypot Steamed Rice Cakes (砵仔糕)
These claypot steamed rice cakes, on the contrary, are easier to find even in the city nowadays. They are made of rice flour, yellow sugar or white sugar with red beans and cooked by steaming. When done, they are taken out by two toothpicks and best eaten when they are still warm.
So that’s all for my Part II, hope you have enjoyed reading and stay tune for Cheap ‘n’ Chic eats in Hong Kong Part III.