29 November 2009

Is the food in Hong Kong as bad as Ihatehongkong makes out?

Dear Chinese Guy,

I read on another blog that food in Hong Kong is universally terrible and virtually inedible as owners of cafes, restaurants and fast food places seek to maximise profits and skimp on ingredients, labour and anything else they can think of. Is it as bad as they make out?.


Dear JC

Food in Hong Kong can be good bad or ugly, in that it depends where you go mostly, Derlei for example makes various observations regarding the food in Hong Kong, taking a rather limited view. For example:

Like stale noodles, beef balls and fish balls and mystery meat balls, beverage syrups …”

Sure that exists, you can get a bowl of noodles, dumplings, some eggs and a piece of Spam as well as a cup of coffee or a 500ml bottle of coke.

Derlei is rather harsh about this in that yes such noodles and dishes do exist and are common in many areas and small cafe or Dai Pai Dong in Hong Kong. Except what he or she omits in his or her rant of the situation is that such food is cheap. VERY VERY cheap. For example in Tai Po complex which is a combined food court, sports centre, library as well as fresh food market. as pictured below.

Here you can get a bowl of noodles, dumplings, some eggs and a piece of Spam as well as a cup of coffee or a 500ml bottle of coke. For $22 Hong Kong. It is possible to get this cheaper outside the Tai Po complex around the corner near the Mo Man temple where it can be had for $19 Or in other currencies (correct as of November 2009) .

  • £1.80 UK
  • $2.83 US
I have never been to the USA, but in the UK £1.80 buys you very little, it may buy you a sandwich or a pastie OR a cup of coffee. In London £1.80 won't buy you either. Pasties may look edible but they are crammed full of transfats, mechanically reclaimed meat and BSE. Such things are labeled as 'meat' with content of the 'meat' being in single figures.

Something half way decent in the UK would be closer to £3 or $36.6 HK say Char Siu rice more examples: here and here. A plate of rice and two sides of vegetable usually Pak Choi and a sausage of some kind maybe Lap chong. Etc, both REAL meat you can see the fibres in the meat with $36.6 you will have $10 change from Cafe De Coral or Maxims along with a medium cup of tea.

But hey if the author chooses to go to the lowest and cheapest places and yet has the gall to complain then that's his or her problem.


  1. I stayed at a Mid-level corporate housing for about a month and a half, and I loved all the food I encountered in HK, including cheap street food. Maybe the only exception was the fruit juice, which was just a ground-up fruit that wasn't even really chilled.