Mar 08

Best Hong Kong Fine Dining Experiences

Whether you’re a foodie in the hunt for award-winning cuisines, or you’re simply looking for the most romantic restaurant with a stunning view of Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong Fine Dining scene offer choice, quality and ambience. Add this to the innovative and exciting menus and you’re set! In this guide, we select the best Hong Kong fine dining experiences.

Best Cantonese Fine Dining Experiences

Lung King Heen

Hong Kong Fine Dining - Lung King Heen

Hong Kong Fine Dining - Lung King Heen - Asian

Much of Hong Kong fine dining is based inside its many five-star hotels, but Lung King Heen at the Four Seasons stands out amongst stiff competition. It’s a 3 Michelin star holder, gaining the recognition in 2009 as the world’s first Cantonese entry. The food from Head Chef Chan Yan Tak more than holds its own against the stunning views of Victoria Harbour which give the restaurant its name: View of the Dragon. Don’t miss the exceptional seafood as well as a fabulous dim sum menu. If you’re an in-house hotel guest, then book a spot on the “In the Footsteps of a Dragon” food tour. It begins in the Lung King Heen’s kitchen and then meanders around Kowloon, where Chef Tak grew up and where he still finds his culinary inspiration. Participants can try a range of local ingredients before returning to the restaurant for a three-course lunch.

Photos: Lung King Heen

Duddell’s
Hong Kong Fine Dining - Duddells_Restaurant

Hong Kong Fine Dining - Duddells_Brunch_with_Champagne_Pimms

It may “only” have received two Michelin stars, but those seeking an unforgettable Cantonese foodie experience should not overlook Duddell’s. You’ll find it above Shanghai Tang Mansion. This restaurant is particularly popular for its weekend brunches. Unlimited food and free-flowing champagne mean that it is always lively. Tempting dishes like shrimp dumplings with morel mushrooms, jelly fish with sesame, braised fungus, crispy pork ribs and braised E-fu noodles will keep you topping up your plate. The atmosphere is great and we’re sure you will have a lasting impression!

Photos: Duddell’s

Ming Court

Again reinforcing that Hong Kong fine dining is associated with its hotel scene, the Ming Court, located at the Cordis hotel in Mong Kok, won two Michelin stars for its exceptional, authentic Cantonese cuisine. The food will have you returning over and over. Many of its signature dishes are award-winners in their own right. Try the Eight Treasure Soup, featuring abalone, chicken, fish maw, shiitake mushroom, bamboo pith, black tree fungus, dried tangerine peel and ginger. The Australian Wagyu beef, sautéed with foie gras, Thai basil and cashew nuts, is a must-try too. Vegetarians are also well-catered for; you’ll find it hard to resist pumpkin, taro and wild mushroom braised in coconut milk in a clay pot!

The Chairman

Hong Kong Fine Dining - The Chairman Hong Kong

Hong Kong Fine Dining - The Chairman - Slow Cooked Crispy Lamb Belly with Chinese Vinegar and Garlic Dressing

Few Hong Kong fine dining restaurants showcase local produce quite like The Chairman. Its chickens and pigs are raised locally in the New Territories before making their way to the table. Local fishermen rise early each morning to catch live fishes and shrimps in the South China Sea. Vegetable farmers toil in the fields of Yuen Long and the meat is cured at the restaurant’s own farm in Sheung Shui. Of course, the chefs play their part, creating sauces that lift these basic ingredients to the loftiest of heights. Little wonder, therefore, that these fresh ingredients combine to create dishes bursting with true Cantonese flavour. We say, you have to try the Slow Cooked Crispy Lamb Belly with Chinese Vinegar and Garlic Dressing!

Photos: The Chairman

Above and Beyond

Hong Kong Fine Dining - Above & Beyond - Wok-fried Wagyu Beef Cubes with Green Apple, Mustard and Wasabi

Hong Kong Fine Dining - Above & Beyond - Wok-fried Lobster with Egg White and Black Truffles.jpg

Above and Beyond, located at the Hotel Icon, serves some of the best Cantonese cuisine in the city. For lunch, its dim sum set menus hit the spot, incorporating such dishes as Steamed Barbecued Pork Bun and Steamed Shrimp and Bamboo Shoots Dumpling. For dinner, the Hong Kong Style Peking Duck set menu continues to delight clients. Alternatively, try Executive Chef Paul Tsui’s new signature dishes of Wok-fried Lobster with Egg White and Black Truffles and Wok-fried Wagyu Beef Cubes with Green Apple, Mustard and Wasabi. With 23 years of culinary experience, Chef Paul transforms even the most ordinary ingredients into works of art. Each of his dishes is created with the best of land and ocean in mind. Such exquisite food should be top on your Hong Kong fine dining bucket list!

Photos: Above and Beyond

Top Kaiseki Fine Dining Experience

RyuGin

This Tokyo favourite came to the Hong Kong fine dining fore with much anticipation. RyuGin offers kaiseki cuisine with a contemporary twist. Seasonal produce is flown in daily from Japan to ensure the dishes are fresh as well as interesting. You’ll find it at the top of the ICC Tower in Kowloon where the views are as jaw-dropping as the menu.

Most Innovative Hong Kong Fine Dining Experience

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon

This delightful establishment has worked hard to maintain its three Michelin star rating and boasts receiving the accolade for six straight years. Everything about L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon screams luxury: the velvet-upholstered seating, the contemporary décor and of course, the exquisite food. The restaurant is designed with a bar which encircles an open kitchen. You can witness all aspects of cooking while taking your pick of the French-style dishes. They’re served in tapas-sized portions enabling you to try a wider selection.

Most Romantic Hong Kong Fine Dining Experience

Caprice

Two Michelin stars and a clientele of repeat customers assure Caprice a space on this list of the best Hong Kong fine dining experiences. It’s based at the Four Seasons in Central. A team of chefs work in an open kitchen to produce innovative and sophisticated dishes with a French flavour. Produce is flown in daily from France to ensure an authentic dining experience and artisan cheese is stored in Hong Kong’s first cheese cellar, located on the premises. With an extensive selection of wines from Bordeaux and Burgundy as well as beautiful interiors and Chinese-inspired Czech crystal chandeliers, it offers the best atmosphere for romantic dinners, birthday or anniversary celebrations.

Best Fusion Fine Dining Experience

Ta Vie

Hong Kong Fine Dining - Chef Sato Ta Vie

Another Central favourite is Ta Vie, meaning “Your Life” in French. Its ethos is simple: Pure, Simple and Seasonal. In Japanese, the restaurant’s name translates as “journey”. Indeed, diners embark on a culinary journey as they work through the creative Asian menu. All the while, taste is the guiding factor and is never sacrificed for a gimmick. To highlight the Asian heritage, Ta Vie features a selection of unique-flavoured herb teas, served with raw honey harvested from local organic farms. They also offers a fine selection of Umeshu and Japanese whiskies. Under talented Chef Hideaki Sato’s management, Ta Vie has been awarded Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. In 2017, it is ranked 33 on the list.

Photos: Ta Vie

Best Hong Kong Fine Dining Experience for Business Meetings

Man Wah

Many attest that Man Wah is Hong Kong’s most beautiful dining location, with panoramic views of Victoria Harbour setting off the opulent decor. The ambience is perfect to impress your business partners. On the 25th floor of the Mandarin Oriental, its silk paintings and birdcage lamps are exquisite. The food is no shrinking violet either. Braised Japanese sea cucumber, wok-fried fillet of spotted grouper and a comprehensive lunchtime dim sum menu hit the spot. For drinks after the meal, The Chinnery or Captain’s Bar welcome suits with open arms.

Amber

The bronze organ chandelier suspended from the ceiling is a focal point of Amber’s decor but it’s still the food that’s the star of the show here. The superb restaurant at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental has two Michelin stars under its belt. Dutch Head Chef Richard Ekkebus draws heavily on French cuisine for his innovative menu. Fresh fish of the highest quality is imported daily from Japan. Try the eight-course degustation menu and you won’t be disappointed! Exquisite food and attentive service make this the perfect choice for business meetings, reflecting the importance of individuals who are joining you.

Top Hong Kong Fine Dining Experience with a View

Hutong

Hutong Archway_Hong Kong_Fine Dining

Hutong_Interior_Tatami_Fine Dining

Proving that Hong Kong fine dining doesn’t have to be synonymous with Michelin’s recommendations, Hutong offers superb Chinese cuisine in a delightfully atmospheric setting. Try the Ao Yun tasting menu! With dishes such as tender Waygu beef cheeks, seared scallops and stir-fried Pacific lobster, it is sure to make a lasting impression. Other signature dishes include Crispy de-boned lamb ribs and “Red Lantern“, crispy soft shell crab with Sichuan dried pepper. The breathtaking views over the harbour from its floor to ceiling windows are also something special, a far cry from the narrow Beijing alleyways which give the restaurant its name. One crucial tip that we’ll like to share – do request for window seats. If your reservation is around 8pm, you will be in perfect time to catch the spectacular light show, A Symphony of Lights!

Photos: Hutong


Looking for more insights into Hong Kong’s dining scene? The range in Hong Kong is astounding, from high-end cuisine in luxurious restaurants to comfort-based traditional street-food stalls. Based entirely on your interests, let us customize a culinary journey for you on our private Hong Kong Food Tour. We offer flexible food-stops and pace, as well as a taste of Hong Kong’s history, culture and local life. Visit Big Foot Tour for more details today!

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Feb 27

Step-by-Step Guide to Victoria Peak, Hong Kong

A journey to Hong Kong is incomplete without a trip to Victoria Peak, one of the most popular tourist attraction in Hong Kong. Standing at 552 metres above sea level, Victoria Peak is the highest mountain on Hong Kong island, offering a breathtaking awe-inspiring view of Hong Kong. In this travel guide, we share with you some interesting stories on Victoria Peak, how to get there, as well as our step-by-step guide for the best (and free) view from the top! 

History of Victoria Peak in Hong Kong

Did you know that Victoria Peak has a few Chinese names? They are Tai Ping Shan, which refers to the Mountain of Great Peace, and Tse Ki Shan, which stands for the Mountain of the Hoisted Flag.

Before the Opium War, Hong Kong was haunted by pirates. These pirates would raise their flag of skull and skeleton on the Victoria Peak and demand merchant ships to surrender large amount of treasure. Hence, the locals refer to Victoria Peak as the Mountain of the Hoisted Flag, Tse Ki Shan. The most famous pirate was known as Cheung Po Tsai. Eventually, Cheung Po Tsai worked hand-in-hand with the Qing Dynasty and brought peace to the area. As a result, gone were the days when pirate flags were hoisted on Victoria Peak. The official Chinese name of Victoria Peak became the Mountain of Great Peace, Tai Ping Shan.

Victoria Peak is also known as Mount Austin. Today, we named it after Queen Victoria. This goes back to Hong Kong’s history, when the First Opium War started in 1840. The war finally ended in August 1842, with the signing of China’s first unequal treaty, the Treaty of Nanking. The Qing government ceded Hong Kong island to the British, which was under reign of Queen Victoria.

Back then, British colonies developed hill-stations, wherever possible, as a refuge from the lowland heat and the tropical diseases that claimed so many lives. In spite of its small size, Hong Kong was no exception. Victoria Peak used to be a natural signalling post for incoming cargo ships in the 19th Century. In time, the more privileged early residents, such as our governors, found the Peak District to be the perfect retreat from Hong Kong summer heat.

How to Get to Victoria Peak in Hong Kong

Today, Victoria Peak is world-famous for offering fabulous panoramic views of Hong Kong. There are many ways to get to Victoria Peak.

By the Peak Tram: The most popular option is to catch the Peak Tram from the Lower Terminus. The Peak Tram operates from 7am to 12 midnight and it takes only seven minutes to get to the top. Provided that the waiting line is short, this is the quickest way to get to Victoria Peak.

More often than not, the queue for Peak Tram at the Lower Terminus is terribly long, sometimes up to 2 hours! This is partially because travel agents with big tour groups typically have priority access to the Peak Tram. Consequently, the wait becomes frustrating. Our tip is to give the upward tram ride a miss and use the Peak Tram for the return trip instead. The waiting line for Peak Tram at the Upper Terminus is usually shorter, as most of these big tour groups would head back to the city by coach buses.

Alternatively, try taking a taxi or a bus to Victoria Peak!

By Taxi: Taxi drivers should go strictly by the meter in Hong Kong. A taxi ride from Central to Victoria Peak takes around 20 minutes and the taxi fare is around HK$100.

By Bus 15 from Central Bus Terminus: If you are up for an adventure, we suggest taking Bus 15 from Central Bus Terminus. Many locals adore this option in part due to the scenic and thrilling bus ride. Here are the details:

Make your way to the Central Bus Terminus by taking the MTR to Central Station. Once you get to Central Station, take Exit A. Look across and you’ll find a bus interchange on street level. That’s where you should head!
Central Bus Terminus Hong Kong - Big Foot Tour

Right outside Central Station, Exit A, take the upward escalator and cross the foot bridge. Thereafter, keep a lookout for the Central Bus Terminus sign.

Central Station Exit A Hong Kong - Big Foot Tour

At the junction shown below, turn right and you will find an escalator that leads to the Central Bus Terminus. Don’t miss it!

Central Bus Terminus Hong Kong - Big Foot Tour

Make your way down to Central Bus Terminus.

Central Bus Terminus Hong Kong - Big Foot Tour

Look for Bus 15. On average, there are buses every 10-15 minutes. At the moment, the fare is HK$9.80 for Adults and HK$4.90 for Child or Senior. You can pay with your Octopus card by simply scanning the card as you board the bus. If not, please prepare exact fare because no change will be given. For the best view, we suggest heading up to the Upper Deck and grab the front row seat on the left side. Buckle up your seat belts. The bus moves crazily fast!

Central Bus 15 Hong Kong, Big Foot Tour

Depending on the traffic, the bus ride takes around 40 minutes. Don’t worry about missing a stop because Victoria Peak is the terminus station. As such, once the bus driver switches off the engine, you have arrived at Victoria Peak. Time to alight!

Step-by-Step Guide to the Best (and Free) Viewing Spot at Victoria Peak

At Victoria Peak, you’ll notice a gigantic structure, which looks like a bowl and a pair of chopsticks to most Chinese. That is the Peak Tower, where you will find Madame Tussaud’s Museum, Upper Terminus of Peak Tram (where you can buy tickets for the Peak Tram ride back to the Lower Terminus, or simply use your Octopus card!) and Sky Terrace 428.

Standing at 428 metres above sea level, Sky Terrace 428 is the highest 360 degrees viewing terrace in town.  You’ll need to purchase a ticket to enter Sky Terrace 428. For more information on ticket prices, please refer to The Peak.

Alternatively, we say, take a short 15-minutes walk and head straight to our SECRET SPOT! In our opinion, this spot offers a much more magnificent view of Hong Kong’s charming skyline and the best part? It’s free of charge!

Ready?

Head left to find this tiny path, marked as Lugard Road.

Victoria Peak Hong Kong - Big Foot Tour

Victoria Peak Hong Kong - Big Foot Tour

Lugard Road. You are on the right track!Victoria Peak Hong Kong - Big Foot Tour

The tracks are well-paved and perfect for an easy stroll. In fact, this scenic path is a popular trail for joggers who love a quick getaway from the buzz of the city.

Victoria Peak Hong Kong - Big Foot Tour

Just follow the path. There’s no need for any deviation.

Victoria Peak Hong Kong - Big Foot Tour

Stay on the right lane. Keep going!

Victoria Peak Hong Kong - Big Foot Tour

Keep right. At this point, you are only a few minutes away!

Victoria Peak Hong Kong - Big Foot Tour

You’ll arrive at this spot where it seems to be THE place. Well… Not yet! Walk further up. Remember, we want you to have the best view from Victoria Peak!

Victoria Peak Hong Kong - Big Foot Tour

Here we are! There is no obstruction, but just a sight to behold!

Victoria Peak Hong Kong - Big Foot Tour

An awesome view of Western Hong Kong from Victoria Peak. Take as much pictures as you wish!

Victoria Peak Hong Kong - Big Foot Tour

Our charming Victoria Harbour.

Victoria Peak Hong Kong - Big Foot Tour

How about a Panorama shot?

Victoria Peak Hong Kong - Big Foot Tour

We hope you have enjoyed this step-by-step guide to Victoria Peak. For more local insights or tips and tricks to maximise your time in Hong Kong, book a Big Foot Tour with us today. We offer 3 kinds of private tours (Real Hong Kong Tour, Hong Kong Food Tour, Hong Kong Private Tour), each of which comes with many great opportunities to explore the city like a local. Check us out now!

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Feb 14

Travel Guide to Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery is a little off the beaten tourist trail as it is located on a steep hillside. As you make your way uphill, thank your lucky stars that you weren’t part of the construction team. Work began on the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery project in 1949. The monastery was the brainchild of the venerable Reverend Yuet Kai. Together with his disciples, they carried all the building materials up to the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery personally by hand!

10000 Buddhas Monastery Pagoda - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

History of Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery

Reverend Yuet Kai’s story is unusual, to say the least. Born into a wealthy family, he studied philosophy at a well-known university in China. At age 19, Reverend Yuet Kai converted to Buddhism. His religious zeal knew no bounds. To demonstrate the depth of his faith, he cut off two fingers on his left hand as well as a piece of flesh – which was the size of his palm – from his chest. Thereafter, he burnt them in order to light 48 lanterns as an offering to the Buddha. Reverend Yuet Kai was an old man by the time the idea for the monastery was conceived. However, he still joined his disciples in carrying those materials up the hillside!

Eight long years later, the exterior building work was finished but it took another decade before the rest was done. Reverend Yuet Kai died, aged 87, in 1965. Following his wishes, eight months on, his disciples removed his body from the coffin. Reverend Yuet Kai’s body was in almost perfect condition, just as he had predicted! The disciples then embalmed the body with Chinese lacquer and gold leaves. To this day, the immortal body of Reverend Yuet Kai occupies a prominent position in the main hall of the monastery where devotees can come to pay their respects.

There are about 12,800 statues of Buddhas at the monastery and each has a different posture. If you’re wondering about the discrepancy between the number of Buddhas and the monastery’s name, there’s a simple explanation. In Cantonese, the phrase for ten thousand really means “a large number”. So, the name is not a mistake. We’d suggest you count them, but only after you catch your breath post climbing all those steps!

Step-by-Step Guide to Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery

There’s no disputing that the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery is worth a visit, but it can be tricky to find. If you follow our step-by-step photo guide, you won’t get lost. Be prepared for quite a climb though. There are a lot of steps! But everything has a silver lining and the climb is going to put some tourists off – meaning there’ll be less of a crowd to share it with. Here’s where you need to go.

Firstly, take the MTR to Sha Tin Station. You need to take the East Rail Line. Don’t confuse this station with Sha Tin Wai Station on the Ma On Shan Line! When you arrive at Sha Tin Station, take Exit B, labelled Grand Central Plaza.

Sha Tin Station, Exit B, Grand Central Plaza - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

Make a left and aim for the ramp. Alternatively, you can follow the signage for taxis and pedestrians.

10000 Buddhas Monastery - Sha Tin - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

Once outside, please follow the pedestrian path for a short distance. At this point, you are still heading in the general direction of Grand Central Plaza.

10000 Buddhas Monastery - Sha Tin - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

Next, bear left and cut through these village houses.

10000 Buddhas Monastery - Sha Tin Village Houses  - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

You’ll also walk past these stalls selling paper offerings, incense sticks and fruits for worshiping.

10000 Buddhas Monastery - Sha Tin Village Houses  - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

10000 Buddhas Monastery - Sha Tin Village Houses  - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

Shortly after, you’ll notice this pathway on the left marked with a cluster of signs. Follow the path and you’ll find a white sign for Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery. This means you are on the right track!

10000 Buddhas Monastery - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

10000 Buddhas Monastery - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

This is a close-up of that same sign.

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

From here, keep heading straight. The path is lined with a metal fence – the hillside to your left and the village to your right.

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

Continue straight on. You’ll pass more buildings and a few turn offs, but don’t deviate.

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

Keep right; you don’t need to go up the steps.

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

Head straight and you’ll find yourself walking past the public toilets. You’re steadily making your way uphill towards the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery. Keep going!

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

Walk past this small red gate. Keep right.

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

Keep climbing and go past this culvert.

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

Remember to keep heading in the general direction of the trees.

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

The path’s long but well maintained. Here, bear right and follow the path, aiming for the yellow sign in the background.

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

Keep following that yellow sign!

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

Soon you’ll arrive at the monastery. You’ll know you’re almost there when you see a huge golden Buddha statue to the left of a series of steps.

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

Go up these steps, which as you ascend, are lined with more golden Arhat statues.

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

Hurray! You’ve finally arrived at Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery; it’s red with golden adornment. This is the main area, where you’ll find those 12,800 Buddha statues on the walls, each with different posture. But we’re not done yet – there’s more!

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

Head right, skirting around the building where you will find the brown sign. It leads to other sections of the monastery, such as the Amitabha Hall, Jade Emperor Hall and Tai Sui Gallery.

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

There are now three routes to choose from. First, take the lane on the far left to visit the Jade Emperor Hall, Amitabha Hall, Avalokitesvara House, Cundi House, Ksitigarbha House, Sprinkler Guanyin, YueXi Pavilion and Naga-puspa Court. The middle lane brings you to Tai Sui Gallery while the far right lane will bring you back to the city.

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

This is the path to look for when you make your way back to the Tai Sui Gallery – the middle lane of the three.

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

When you arrive at this junction, you are at the end of the Tai Sui Gallery. Follow the lane where the people are in the photo and you’ll find yourself in the right direction to get back to the city.

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

Ready to head back to the city? More life size Arhat statues await on your journey home!

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

Finally, you can see the city. Watch out for that Sheung Wo Che Road sign. The Sha Tin MTR station is just north east of this picture.

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery - Big Foot Tour - Hong Kong

We hope you will have fun exploring the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery! The opening hours are from 9am to 5pm everyday (except on days with heavy rain, or with typhoon signal 8 or above).

For an in-depth tour of Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery or if you are interested in one of our private walking tours of Hong Kong, visit our Big Foot Tour website today!

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Feb 03

Top Ten Hong Kong Desserts

Do you have a sweet tooth? Read on – because here are our picks of the best Hong Kong desserts!

Hong Kong Desserts: Mango Pomelo Sago

Hong Kong Desserts Mango Pomelo Sage

This much-coveted favourite among Hong Kong desserts was created a little over three decades ago. It migrated with the Singaporean Lei Garden when it opened its first branch in Hong Kong. Boiled sago is added to a blended mix of diced mango, coconut milk, evaporated milk and regular milk. Sliced pomelo is used as a decoration. It’s a refreshing dessert, chilled before serving to form the perfect antidote to the oppressive tropical heat and humidity that can be a challenge in Hong Kong’s wet season. Try your luck at Lucky Dessert in Sham Tseng and Hui Lau Shan in Mong Kok!

Hong Kong Desserts: Egg Waffle

Hong Kong Desserts Egg Waffles

Known locally as gai daan jai, egg waffles are a popular Hong Kong dessert choice. Oval in shape, some say they took this form because after the war, eggs were a luxury item in short supply. The egg shape mould was a nod to the dessert they truly wished for. However, others say the batter has historically always contained egg. These days, on top of the traditional mix, flavourings such as ginger, green tea or purple sweet potato are used to create a modern twist to a Hong Kong classic. If you’re looking for the best Hong Kong egg waffles, we recommend checking out Lee Keung Kee in North Point and Mammy Pancake in Causeway Bay.

Hong Kong Desserts: Sweet Red Bean Soup

Hong Kong Desserts Red Bean Soup

Soup might not be the obvious choice when it comes to Hong Kong desserts but you will want to try sweet red bean soup. As the name suggests, it’s a sweet treat and can be served hot or cold. It gets its flavour from the adzuki beans which form its key ingredient. Dried tangerine peel is added to add a hint of tangy citrus. The addition of Chinese rock sugar completes the trilogy, creating a subtle flavour. This soup will leave you begging for more. We recommend visiting Yuen Kee Dessert in Hong Kong’s Western District and Kai Kai Dessert in Jordan!

Hong Kong Desserts: Tofu Pudding

Hong Kong Desserts Tofu Pudding

Tofu is quintessentially Asian and in Hong Kong, this pudding is commonly paired with the aforementioned sweet red bean soup. The main ingredient has been around for over two thousand years. Liu An first came up with the idea during the Han Dynasty. This traditional bean curd secured a spot on Hong Kong’s inaugural list of living heritage, published in 2014. Smooth and silky, pair it with sweet ginger or serve it with syrup and savour the taste as it slips down your throat. You can find this, one of the all-time classic Hong Kong desserts, at Kung Wo Dou Bun Chong in Sham Shui Po and Kin Hing Tofu Dessert on Lamma Island!

Hong Kong Desserts: Glutinous rice balls

Hong Kong Desserts Glutinous Rice Balls

Some Hong Kong desserts are savoured during special occasions. This one is often eaten during the Lantern Festival and you’d also be unsurprised to be offered it at a Chinese wedding. Known locally as tong jyun, which translates as round balls in soup, that’s exactly what you’ll get. The round shape symbolises togetherness, so the dessert has emotional significance as well as great taste. Balls of rice flour dough are filled with sugar, sesame seeds, sweet bean paste or sweetened tangerine peel. Head to Fook Yuen in North Point and Chiu Chow Hop Shing Dessert in Kowloon City to see what the fuss is about!

Hong Kong Desserts: Grass Jelly

Hong Kong Desserts Grass Jelly

Grass jelly is another of our favourite Hong Kong desserts; though it has a slightly bitter taste. When it’s served chilled and topped with fresh fruit, it really hits the spot! It’s made by boiling the stalks and leaves of a special plant and cooling the mix until it sets to a soft jelly. Purists will order it with sugar syrup but it’s great with fruit such as melon or mango. If you go to Kei Kai Dessert in Yuen Long, ask for their B Boy Grass Jelly. We’d also like to point you in the direction of Honeymoon Dessert in Sai Kung.

Hong Kong Desserts: Steamed milk pudding

Hong Kong Desserts Steamed Milk Pudding

Steamed milk pudding, also known as double-layered milk, is the ultimate naughty but nice must-have Hong Kong dessert. Its origins can be traced back to the era of the Qing Dynasty. It is thought that a farmer accidentally invented it as a way to preserve his milk. We’d recommend the steamed milk pudding from Yee Shun Dairy Company in Causeway Bay and the Australian Dairy Company in Jordan.

Hong Kong Desserts: Mooncakes

 Hong Kong Desserts Mooncakes

These sweet pastries are typically gifted and consumed as part of the celebrations for Hong Kong’s Mid-Autumn Festival. Whole duck eggs are encased in thick lotus seed paste and sweet pastry. Look out for inventive fillings devised by the big hotels who seek to outdo each other in their attempts to tempt Hong Kong people’s taste buds.

Hong Kong Desserts: Egg Tart

Hong Kong Desserts Egg Tarts

If ever a dessert is a reminder of the melting pot of cultures that characterises Hong Kong, then it’s the egg tart. It draws its influences from the Portuguese Pastéis de Belém and the British custard tart. However, the Hong Kong egg tart has the creaminess of the former and the smooth uncaramelised taste of the latter. This delicious hot pastry is commonly consumed in teahouses known as cha chaan tengs as an accompaniment to tea, though you’ll find it in bakeries as well. If you’re looking for some of the city’s most flavorful egg tarts, then head on over to Tai Cheong Bakery and Happy Cake Shop!

Hong Kong Desserts: Shaved ice dessert

Hong Kong Desserts Shaved Ice Dessert

Shaved ice dessert is the perfect solution to a hot day, refreshing yet tasty and of course, sweet. It originated in Roman times in Italy but is now popular throughout Asia. It’s one of the best Hong Kong desserts in our opinion. The dish has different names depending on where you source it. In Taiwanese cuisine, ask for Baobing. If you are in Japan, it’s called Kakigori; in Korea, Patbingsu. Our favourites are the Hanbing Korean Dessert Café which you’ll find in Harbour City. It serves its snow ice in a wide range of flavours including green tea, mango and even Oreo! If you’re in Causeway Bay, Chung Kee Dessert is an alternative we’re also happy to recommend!

Are you a foodie and looking for a personal gastronomic experience in Hong Kong? Join us on our Hong Kong Food Tour today! For more information, please visit our main website, Big Foot Tour.

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Jan 23

Our Favourite Chinese New Year Traditions

Chinese New Year’s finally here! Our favourite time of year brings a whole host of traditions. While the highlight of the festivities will be the chance to celebrate Chinese New Year with our friends and families, there are a lot of other things we look forward to as well.
Chinese new year hong kong

Shopping at the Flower Markets

Shopping at Hong Kong’s flower markets is a popular occupation during Chinese New Year. The annual Flower Market at Victoria Park has already begun! From January 22nd until 6am on New Year’s Day, there will be plenty of opportunity to stock up on some of the plants and flowers traditionally associated with the holiday. Look out for mandarin trees, a symbol of prosperity, cherry and plum blossom which represent new beginnings as well as lucky daffodils and bamboo.

Spring Cleaning

It’s important to make sure homes are free of dirt before the clock strikes midnight. On Chinese New Year’s Eve people are busy sweeping up any last vestiges of dirt. But woe betide anyone who’s tardy with their housework: it’s considered unlucky to clean on Chinese New Year’s Day. If the dustpan comes out after midnight, then all the good fortune that has been accumulated will be swept away with the dust. For the first five days of the Chinese New Year, people place any rubbish in the corners of their living rooms. The superstitious believe that if dirt is swept across the threshold, then a member of the family will be lost as well. On the fifth day, that rubbish goes out the back door, so that good fortune can’t be lost from the front.

Chinese New Year Reunion Dinner

Much as we love the company, Chinese New Year is as much about the food as it is the getting together with family. It’s a time when we enjoy some special foods, and each has a symbolic meaning as well as being valued for its delicious taste. Fish is served to represent abundance, as the Chinese name sounds like the word “surplus”. Carp and catfish are commonly found on the table, with their head pointing to the most distinguished guest; don’t move it! Also key dishes are Chinese dumplings and spring rolls, which signify wealth. For a long life, it’s best to look out for longevity noodles, longer than the usual variety.

Those hoping for a promotion at work should dig in to the glutinous rice cake, which traditionally symbolizes a higher income or position. Nin Gou, as it’s called, is a delicious combination of dates, sugar, sticky rice, chestnuts and lotus leaves. Sweet rice balls are associated with family togetherness while certain fruits are chosen for both their appearance and name. The Chinese word for tangerine, for instance, is similar to that for “success”. Anything golden in colour is considered lucky.

Lai Si

Chinese new year hong kong laisi

We’re hoping for a glut of red and gold envelopes this Chinese New Year – are you? Lai Si are the little packets that, if you’re lucky, will come your way filled with cash. Signifying prosperity and fortune, you’re most likely to be given them if you’re a kid, as it’s customary for an elder to give them to someone much younger than themselves. However you’ll also witness them being given from bosses to employees, married couples to singletons and as tips to waiters, doormen and others providing a service.

If you do decide to dish them out, then make sure you include brand new notes (never coins). The amount should have nothing to do with the number four, as that’s considered unlucky. The word sounds like “death” in Cantonese. But make sure that it’s an even number, as odd numbers are associated with funerals. Once you’ve got your head around that, you’ll be pleased to know that both the donor and the recipient share the good luck.

Lighting joss sticks at Wong Tai Sin temple

Wong Tai Sin Temple is busier than ever during the run up to Chinese New Year. On Chinese New Year’s Eve, queues will form as people wait outside. On the stroke of midnight, they’ll pour inside to light sticks of incense. Why such a rush? Well, many believe that the earlier those sticks are glowing, the greater their luck will be in the upcoming year. The temple itself is one of the most famous in Hong Kong. Constructed in 1921, as the name suggests, it is dedicated to Wong Tai Sin. He was known as the Great Immortal Wong. It’s typically Chinese in appearance, with red pillars supporting a golden roof. Yellow latticework and multi-coloured decoration complete the colourful picture.

Lunar New Year Night Parade

One of the most colourful events on the Hong Kong social calendar has surely got to be the Chinese New Year Parade. The procession consists of elaborately decorated floats, bands of musicians, acrobats, drummers and dancers. Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without a sprinkling of dragons and lions too. This incredible street party welcomes visitors from across the world. Participating in this year’s event are performers from across the globe, representing nations as diverse as Peru, Japan and the Czech Republic. If you’d like to catch the event, it’s free to watch. Come early to secure a spot; we recommend stationing yourself along Canton Road, Haiphong Road and Nathan Road. The fun starts at the Hong Kong Cultural Center at 8pm on New Year’s Day.

Lunar New Year Fireworks

Who doesn’t love a great fireworks display? Hong Kong Harbour forms the ideal backdrop for a 23 minute display of pyrotechnics kicking off at 8pm on January 29th. The sky will light up in a riot of colour, the fireworks launched from a fleet of barges and pontoons moored up in the water. Whether you’re in Kowloon or on Hong Kong Island, the view’s guaranteed to be fabulous. If you’re on the Tsim Sha Tsui side of the water, a popular vantage point is the Hung Hom Bypass, closed to traffic for the duration of the event. Alternatively base yourself along the promenade anywhere from the Star Ferry Terminal to the New World Centre. Across the harbour, try Bauhinia Square near the Convention Centre or along the Central Waterfront Promenade.

The Lion Dance

Lions bring good luck and thus the Lion Dance will always be an integral part of any self-respecting Chinese New Year celebration wherever you are in the world. This energetic dance is accompanied by the beat of drums, gongs and cymbals. The result is a cacophony of noise to equal the riot of colour found in the elaborate costumes.

The dance is thought to originate from the days of the Han Dynasty. A few lions had been introduced to Chinese society via the Silk Road. This was a big deal considering that lions weren’t found in the wild. Performances started to take place, with two humans in costume mimicking the movements of these semi-mythical creatures. The practice became both more common and more popular. By the time of the Tang Dynasty, the Lion Dance was established as one of the dances seen at court. Now, you can still see similarities. Watch closely and you’ll observe cat-like traits such as scratching, licking fur and shaking the body.

Chinese new year hong kong lion dance

Chinese New Year Lantern Festival

The Spring Lantern Festival heralds the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations. Throughout the month, the Hong Kong Cultural Centre is the location for a fantastic lantern exhibition and it’s free to enter. Although of course, you’ll see lanterns adorning buildings all over Hong Kong, the sheer number in one place make this an unmissable sight. Visit at night when the lanterns are lit; it’s magical.

Informally known as Chinese Valentine’s day, February 11th 2017 marks the 15th day of the new Lunar Year and this is when the Lantern Carnival will take place. The action’s likely to kick off at 7.30pm and last until around 10pm. Performances take place at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre throughout the day. You’ll have the chance to see folk singers, dancers, musicians, acrobats and more. If you can’t get there, consider heading along to one of the other venues which are hosting events, including Sha Tsui Road Playground in Tsuen Wan and also the North District Park.

Getting our fortunes told at the temple

There’s one thing left to complete our run through of Lunar New Year, and that’s to get our fortunes told at one of Hong Kong’s many temples. Even the government participates in the ritual known as kau cim. On the 2nd day of the Lunar New Year in Sha Tin’s Che Kung temple, a member of the government shakes a tin of fortune sticks, waiting for one to fall. The fortune of Hong Kong for the upcoming year rests on the outcome. The city holds its breath as they wait to find out what the verdict will be. Yes, Chinese New Year is an opportunity to take stock. We’ll look back at the past twelve months, trying to learn from our mistakes and build on our successes. We wish you good fortune, health and happiness for the Year of the Rooster!

Love to find out more about Hong Kong and its fascinating culture? Join us on our Real Hong Kong Tour today! We offer the perfect overview for first-time visitors, including plenty of fun facts and insider stories. For more information, visit Big Foot Tour – Hong Kong Walking Tours.

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