It goes without saying that Hong Kong’s culinary powers are at their peak when handling a wok and a pair of chopsticks. The Chinese have spent thousands of years perfecting flavours and experimenting with cooking creations. Hong Kong’s Chinese chefs – both purists and innovators – are the proud heirs of this rich heritage.
Of all the varieties of Chinese cuisine, Cantonese tends to dominate the dining scene in Hong Kong. The city borders Guangdong, the Chinese province from which Cantonese cooking originates. Distinct from other types of Chinese cooking in its light seasoning, Cantonese cuisine places a strong emphasis on freshness – hence the ability of the traditional market to endure in Hong Kong alongside more modern supermarkets.
The Chinatowns of the West were dominated by people from Guangdong and Cantonese food is the most international of Chinese cooking styles – dim sum and Chinese-style barbecue being good examples. Asia's world city, however, is where this cuisine can be tasted at its most traditional and creative, sometimes on the same street.
Hong Kong is the gateway to more than just Guangdong Province though. The city has long functioned as a cultural portal to the rest of China, and for China to the world. All the major types of Chinese cuisines can be tasted in Hong Kong, including the distinct flavours of Chiu Chow, Shanghai, Sichuan, Hunan, Beijing and many more.
So where do you even start? Even if you close your eyes you would eventually walk into a Chinese restaurant. Fortunately, many of the larger ones (and some of the small ones) have English menus. It is perfectly acceptable to peek at neighbouring tables and point out dishes you’d like to the waiter.