As a convergence of many different cultures and traditions, Hong Kong offers up some unique foods — most of which introduce western visitors to the delicacies of the east, and some which celebrate more familiar European culinary traditions. In the city for a spell? Check out these incomparable Hong Kong food markets:
Located in the Jordan District, Temple Street Night Market stands out for its vibrant activity after dark. The market opens at 2pm, with vendors hawking everything from shoes and pants to newspapers and antiques. Food takes center stage, though, with fresh fruits and veggies, day-catch seafood, and slews of restaurants. Rice hotpots are common dinners if you’re in the area (grab one with minced pork cakes and salted egg), but seafood is really the name of the game: deep-fried squid, steamed grouper served with soy sauce, and chili crab. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, consider a sweet-and-sour pigeon, served with the head.
A bit further south, in Tsim Sha Tsui, sits LetPacific Halal Food Market. This is obviously a great place for Halal foods, and most of what you’ll find here is packaged — including pastas, beans, oils, pastes, and spices. Compared to many of the street markets in Hong Kong, it’s exceptionally clean — which is a big plus for many tourists — and offers a wealth of fresh and prepared international foods in the onsite deli. If you have a spot to cook your own meals while in Hong Kong, this is a good place to pick up essentials. (Our rec: Grab some donner kebab, yogurt (for tzatziki), potatoes, and whatever fresh veggies are on hand and you have yourself a feast.)
Dried Seafood Street and Tonic Street Market
While Americans don’t lean on dried foods all that much in their cooking, it’s central to Asian cuisines. That’s why you’ll find dried everything at this market, including dried fish, dried snake, dried sausage, and dried scallop. Some of the offerings here purportedly have healing properties, though it’s likely that’s just a marketing ploy. Nearby, you can find some ingredients for tonic preparations, including ginseng and birds’ nests (yes, actual birds’ nests).
Java Road Market and Cooked Food Centre
Everybody mentions this hotspot, and with good reason. While it’s always crowded and noisy, it’s worth the fuss for a taste of Tung Po seafood restaurant, which Anthony Bourdain famously favored. Get the Squid Ink Pasta with (about $25 USD), or you can enjoy an equally good feast at nearby Chuk Yuen (for more hotpot goodness). Bonus: It’s BYOB so bring your favorite bottle to share with fellow diners.
Graham Street Market
This delicious mainstay (of some 200 years) has been threatened by recent developments that would raze the market to make way for hotels and apartments. Fortunately, things are moving slowly so get here while you can — and slurp up the soups, fermented beans, sauces, and more. Devoted shoppers claim this is the place to come for western “oddities” you can’t find elsewhere, including dried olives, parsley, and cucumbers. You can also get Hong Kong staples, including whole pig, tofu, live seafood, and artisanal soy sauce. Even if you don’t buy anything, there are great photo ops all over.
BONUS: Cat Street
To be honest, Cat Street is better known for its antiques, hand-crafted figurines, glass snuff bottles, and a smattering of jade ornaments. But we thought pairing food with some browsing would be attractive to most visitors, so we recommend first grabbing several bites at Man Mo Dim Sum, where you will experience the earthy-sweet perfection of tuna bowls, housemade wontons and pancakes, and meat-stuffed dumplings, then ambling down Cat Street and picking up some souvenirs.
For a full list of Hong Kong food markets by district, visit discoverhongkong.com.