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Kowloon's epic eats: dim sum and then some

Eating well in Hong Kong is like getting sand in your pants at the beach; it’s absolutely going to happen. In cultural Kowloon's Sham Shui Po, one of our favourite under-the-radar neighbourhoods, you're spoilt for foodie choice.

Eating well in Hong Kong is like getting sand in your pants at the beach; it’s absolutely going to happen. In cultural Kowloon’s Sham Shui Po, one of our favourite under-the-radar neighbourhoods, you’re spoilt for foodie choice.

A local meat stand- a common sight in Kowloon's Sham Shui Po neighbourhood.
Local fresh meat stands are a common sight in Kowloon’s Sham Shui Po neighbourhood. Image: Ivy Carruth

Picture fat noodles drenched in chillis, glistening roasted goose, and, is it just me, or have carb-tastic bakeries hit Asia’s World City like a flour storm in a bread bowl? 

A Chinese bakery classic

A big round yellow pineapple bun baked to golden perfection.
Pineapple buns contain no pineapple. You won’t miss it. Image: Ivy Carruth

I implore you to sink your teeth into the pillowy, sweet(ish), warm perfection that is bo lo bao. Also known as pineapple buns, these moreish half domes are buttery perfection and worth every single calorie. Time to fess up, though; there’s no pineapple in a pineapple bun. They’re called that because of the crackled pattern of the baked sugar and brushed egg yolk across the top.

Have one (or, okay, TWO) with a Hong Kong-style milk tea from Kowloon Restaurant (282 Yu Chau St). Here the tea, nai cha, is served with imported milk from Holland. It’s a solid breakfast or anytime treat, really, for under $AU8. 

Tofu triumph

A bowl of white creamy tofu with yellowy-orange ginger syrup drizzled on top.
You won’t find better dessert-style tofu in Kowloon – warm with kicky ginger syrup. Image: Ivy Carruth

Give me a chance to explain. Tofu is a powerhouse of nutrition that lends itself to savoury, sweet and everything in between. No one does it better than Asia, and in Hong Kong, no one does it better than this Kowloon storefront. Trust me, trying the silky dau foo fah will have you re-evaluating your relationship with soybeans.

Served warm with a spoon and generous lashings of spicy hot ginger syrup, the pudding-like consistency is a familiar comfort even as the dish itself is unchartered territory on your palate. The A1 Tofu Company (103 Kweilin St) uses organic Canadian beans and regularly sells out; don’t dawdle. It’s a bit famous in Kowloon.

Noodle nirvana

A white plate with noodles covered in brown sauce and sprinkled heavily in dried shrimp roe
I’m not saying these shrimp roe noodles from Lau Sum Kee will change your life, but I’m not saying they won’t, either.

It’s a given that noodles will be on almost every menu in Hong Kong. But why not find some that really knock your socks off, hey? At Lau Sum Kee Noodle Shop (80 Fuk Wing St), four generations have perfected the humble food with duck egg yolks mixed with flour.

Anthony Bourdain made a special trip to try their ha zi lo meen, or dry noodles sprinkled in dried shrimp roe powder, which is the house specialty. This is one of the last places in Hong Kong using the traditional bamboo method … sitting on one end of the pole while rolling out the dough. 

Michelin made

A yellow bowl with long cylinder shaped rice noodles covered in sesame oil and soy sauce.
Rice rolls are tubes of rice powder and water, drenched in the sauces of your choice. Image: Ivy Carruth

At this tiny but mighty closet of a restaurant, Michelin has seen fit to bestow four stars upon the modest rice roll since 2016. Hop Yick Tai (121 Kweilin Street) is unassuming, and you’d walk right past it unless you knew to look for it. The rolls, or ju cheung fun, are long and slender and made only of rice flour and water. Patrons queue to order them right from the steamer, indicating how many they’d like, while the staff adroitly pull them out and cut them with scissors into three pieces. Smother them in sesame seeds, soy sauce and hoisin. 

Dumpling love

One perfect dumpling, pan fried, sits inside of a white bowl with green chopsticks on the side.
Sometimes one perfect dumpling can turn your whole day around. Image: Ivy Carruth

Simply put, a dumpling consists of cooked dough, usually steamed, fried or boiled, wrapped around a filling of … something. Yuen Fong Dumplings (104 Fuk Wa St) have been at it for years, with a cadre of admirers who are just as likely to eat in the shop as they are to take their plump yummies home for cooking.

The signature dumpling here is a Kowloon classic, pan-fried with watercress, bok choy and pork. Broth can be ordered on the side, infused with carp for classic flavour, and of course, kimchi and pickled vegetables sit on the table where you’re invited to serve yourself.

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Make the most of your time in Kowloon, and see what’s new.