Many thanks to @DribsAndNibs and @MissNomNomCity for the photo features.
This blog is based on first-hand experiences from students studying in western countries but was born in Hong Kong. There are some pretty interesting food cravings we never would expect...
“Although London's China Town is like our go-to dining spot, it is far fetched from anything in Hong Kong. They try so hard to recreate many local dishes that nothing really tastes too authentic (despite that 'Gwai Lo' Chinese is still pretty good!). I don’t usually crave the well-known stuff, but what I miss the most is that average bowl of homemade soup from home, or that '炸雞腿' I shared with my high school friends. It is the people, the culture and the "FOMO" of family and friends we endure the most while studying abroad.”
“I don’t know why but the MCD in Hong Kong is always the best. The McNuggets, especially the McWings and McSpicy Chicken Filet that isn’t available anywhere else. This is just the ultimate cheat meal, I always crave the 24/7 delivery."
2: Cha Chaan Teng’s Instant Noodle
“I admit I've been eating way too much instant noodles when I am studying. I know it is very bad for me but this is just home food. It is easy and delicious. But there is something about the Cha Chaan Teng's instant noodles in Hong Kong that taste exceptionally better. Now I usually eat instant noodles and watch random Cantonese movies to feel more like home."
3: A good bowl of authentic fish ball
“Nothing beats fish ball noodles soup in Hong Kong. It is just sad to buy generic fish balls or eat tasteless noodles soups from westernized Chinese restaurants. I mean this is quality food. Although there aren't many places in Hong Kong now that still does the hand pounded fish balls, but we still use fresh fish paste and a good broth. There is only one city that makes the best fish ball noodle soup, and everyone in the world should try it.”
4: Pineapple Bread
“There is pineapple bread everywhere in China Town but it is always cold and hard (never fresh). The yellow batter is soggy not like the flakey ones in Hong Kong at all. Every time I go back to Hong Kong and go through an infamous jet-lag, I will go to a Cha Chaan Teng in the early morning and get a freshly baked pineapple bread. It is the best- with a block of butter in-between that is what I call home-sweet-home.”
5: Hong Kong Dai Pai Dong Food
“We have a lot Canton style / Dim Sum places in London, but the cooking standard is nothing like the ones at home. It takes years of culinary practices, and even a raw talent to master the stir fry skills to create the most authentic dishes. I rarely order sweet and sour pork when I lived in Hong Kong, but once I studied abroad I’ve been craving the most standardize dishes since.”
6: Dim Sum Places
“First of all, most dim sum places in western countries are OVERPRICED! The Hong Kong local dim sum places charge $30-40HKD with freshly steam dumplings and meat, but it cost around $20USD for a meal here and it is mostly processed food. I miss home!”
7: Exotic Meats (parts of Chicken/Cow/Pork)
“I hope countries could embrace more on exotic food, we aren’t weird you are just missing out! We don’t get beef brisket in a lot of places, it’s just not what people normally eat in western countries. Even if they do it is not slow cooked in a flavorful broth. Similarly, I always miss the Yakitori places in Hong Kong. We love to experiment like the Japanese, cooking chicken or cow intestines and making skewers that taste bomb!"
8: Any Mango Desserts
“Hong Kong people love mango, that's for sure! Sometimes I just wish I have a bowl of Mango Sago or Mango Milk Pudding. Besides, there is a huge contrast on the sugar level in desserts between the east and west countries. It is always good to have a mild dessert sometimes just to satisfy the sweet tooth than a full chocolate cake.”
9: Authentic Thai Food
“The westernized Thai food is green curry, pad-thai, and fried calamari. It is good but it is not the Thai food in Hong Kong. The close to authentic Thai food would be boat noodles with beef intestines, 'Goong Che Nam Pa' which is the raw shrimps soaked in fish sauce, and mango sticky rice.”
10: Street food (siu mai, fishball, etc)
“This brings me back to high school times in Hong Kong. I would always hang out with my friends after school and eat Siu Mai, fish balls, egg waffles, Buut Jai Go and more. Sometimes we get so full we won't even have the appetite for the dinner after at home. I just miss it, the street food in Hong Kong is too distinctive, there's nothing a like here.”
11: Hong Kong Style Bakery (HotDog / Burgers)
“Hotdogs stalls or burgers places is everywhere from where I live. I love the western's culture on street food markets and their weekend pleasures. But I always find the depth too overwhelming and the portion too heavy. I miss Danish Bakery or Wing Lok Yuen hotdogs. It is western food catered to Hong Kong people’s taste buds; there are fever layers, less meaty but much sweeter.”
12: Scrambled Eggs
“Hands down the best scrambled eggs in the world is in Hong Kong. This also comes down to best egg's breakfast. They just perfected the texture, they have mastered it to literally amazing with anything- no question needed.”
13: Tsui Wah at Lan Kwai Fong
"I'm sure everybody misses Chinese food after a night out. What's better than a good old fishball noodle soup and some Lai Yao Ju when you are drunk AF, and surrounded by all your peers from HK. We usually get a kebab, a greasy chicken burger from a random Chicken & Burger shops, or go to a drive-through now."
14: Local Hotpot
"Cantonese people LOVE hotpot, we have it all the time even during the summer! Chinese people are loud and we love having feasts! Typical high school reunion or close family gatherings we usually have hotpot because it encourages interaction and create more intimacy between each other - at the same time it is casual and exciting. Well, of course all the ingredient are also fresh unlike the ones in USA which is awesome!"
15: Chinese Home-cooked Food!
“Ultimately I miss the food at home most. Family style is always the best. It is not because it tastes the healthiest or my nanny cooks well. It is more the moment, the feeling of being so close to one another. When I was living in Hong Kong, I never acknowledge how comfortable having dinner at home was. Once I studied abroad, I miss my mom’s homemade tomato and egg, the always warm homemade soup and the most authentic bowl of rice. We would just put the TV on and all immediately dig into the food. Although there weren't any interesting conversations, we were all just enjoying the food and felt extremely comfortable being around each other. That’s family, and is something nowhere can ever replace.”
Of course, there are plenty more dishes students miss. Hong Kong is a food paradise, we just can't list em' all! Here are some honorable mentions from the commenters.
2. Pepper Lunch Hong Kong
3. Cheung Fun
4. Egg Tarts
5. Steamed Seafood
We learn so much more about our own culture just by reminiscing it, but at the end, we love Hong Kong just as much.