Taste the culinary treasures of the Greater Bay Area
Embark on a gastronomic journey by delving deeper into the culinary culture of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, where each city has its own distinctive cuisines. Read on for our recommendations of specialties and delectable souvenirs that are loved by locals.
Recommended speciality: Hong Kong-style French toast with a cup of milk tea
Who doesn’t love tea and toast? Crunchy, golden and sweet, this dish is quintessentially Hong Kong with its perfect blend of Chinese and Western elements. Hong Kong-style French toast takes a peanut butter sandwich, carefully coats it with egg before frying, and tops it off with a slab of butter and a drizzle of condensed milk — it’s as delicious as it is indulgent. Wash it down with a cup of Hong Kong-style milk tea. The popular beverage was influenced by British culture but is made with evaporated milk and sugar. Stop by any local cha chaan teng cafe and treat yourself. Lots of sets are available and you can opt for more simple flavours to suit your taste.
Souvenir: shrimp paste
The salty umami flavour of shrimp paste is the ideal way to enjoy an authentic taste of Hong Kong long after you return home. Families in some of Hong Kong’s fishing villages have been making shrimp paste for generations, meaning you can explore the great outdoors and pick up a jar or three at the same time.
Recommended specialty: Portuguese egg tarts
Portuguese egg tarts in Macao are a delicious blend of silky custard nested in a flaky, crispy tart that is delicious but not oversweet. The slightly burnt puff pastry is the quintessential element, which wafts a delightful caramel scent, promising to give you a lasting impression.
Souvenir: grilled jerky
Aromatic, charcoal grilled pork and beef jerky can be found on almost every street in Macao. Freshly roasted, there is a gratifying selection of different jerky flavours, such as honey, black pepper and mala (spicy and numbing). Take them home and reheat in an oven to elevate the experience!
Recommended specialty: Shajing fresh oysters
Shajing is renowned for being the home of oysters in Shenzhen. Back in the Song dynasty (1127–1279), people started to breed oysters, and the history of oyster farming has spanned a thousand years. Oysters in Shajing have snow white, succulent flesh with no impurities. Crispy fried, steamed with garlic or stir-fried with ginger and green onion, Shajing oysters taste fresh and delicious.
Souvenirs: dried oysters and oyster sauce
Shajing sun-dried oysters are briny and full-flavoured, and semi-dried golden oysters are known for their sweet and refreshing taste. Sticking to the authentic recipe, oyster sauce made with oyster juice is the best condiment in the kitchen.
Recommended specialty: Doumen double-shell crabs
Found in brackish water, double-shell crabs have chunky flesh and plentiful fat, which is suitable to be steamed or baked. As one of the four delicacies in Zhuhai, double-shell crabs are usually fattier than other types of crabs. Breeding double-shell crabs is not possible, and catching double-shell crabs is difficult due to their natural habitat. So, it’s not surprising to discover that double-shell crabs are a widely treasured indulgence.
Souvenir: sweet flaky egg rolls
Sweet flaky egg rolls in Zhuhai are made in the traditional way, by hand. Giving off the delectable egg scent, the egg rolls are crispy and crumbly. Apart from the original, you may also choose from an assortment of flavours like coconut milk, green onion, sesame and meat floss. You will definitely find one that pleases your taste buds!
Recommended specialty: Shiqi baby pigeons
Refined culinary skills are often manifested in Zhongshan dishes. Amidst the great diversity of ingredients, Shiqi baby pigeons are the most celebrated specialty. Premium baby pigeons of 21 to 28 days old are hand-picked by veteran chefs. After undergoing processes of deep-frying or a combination of baking and roasting, baby pigeons are crisp and tender, giving you a rich and scrumptious culinary experience.
Souvenir: Shenwan pineapples
Shenwan pineapples are a specialty in Zhongshan due to their sweetness and lack of fibrousness. Shenwan pineapples can be dried or canned, both of which taste fresh and sweet, which make alluring treats for yourself and perfect gifts for your loved ones.
Recommended specialty: Baiyun pig trotters
Baiyun pig trotters are a famous traditional delicacy in Guangzhou. To make pig trotters, there is a particular cooking process. The key step requires trotters to be plunged into a bowl of ice water to enhance the crispiness of their skin. Served cold and mixed with a sweet vinegar sauce, it transforms into an unparalleled, mouth-watering appetiser that can be paired with beer or wine.
Souvenir: Phoenix cookies
Phoenix cookies are one of the four most popular pastries in Guangdong. Made with pork, sugar, white sesame, melon seeds and olive seeds, the ingredients form a soft and fragrant filling. Together with the savoury and sweet taste, the nostalgic flavour takes you back in time.
Recommended specialty: fried milk
Not only is Shunde a place with exquisite gourmet food near Foshan in Guangdong Province, it has also been appointed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a Creative City of Gastronomy. Fried milk is an awesome local dish in Shunde. Velvety milk rectangles are deep-fried to golden brown perfection, juxtaposing crispiness and softness, making it a sweet delight with contrasting textures.
Bengsha (butterfly-shaped cookies) is a traditional snack in Daliang, Shunde, which is made with flour, sugar, salt, fermented red bean curd and other ingredients. It is deep-fried to create a crunchy texture with a palatable aroma, and the motif of a golden butterfly makes it even more unique.
Recommended specialty: braised pork with preserved vegetables
Braised pork with preserved vegetables is representative of authentic Huizhou dishes due to its significant amount of oil and rich savoury flavour. Succulent but not greasy, the mellow pork blends with the refreshing preserved vegetables harmoniously, and what you need to complete the meal is just a bowl of rice.
Souvenir: preserved vegetables
Huizhou is referred to as the ‘Hometown of Mei Cai’ (a kind of preserved vegetable) in China. Preserved vegetables produced by locals are golden in colour, with a pleasant fragrance and crunchy texture, and they are the most sought-after souvenir in Huizhou.
Recommended specialty: Houjie preserved sausages
Guangdong people love preserved meat and Houjie preserved sausages are of superb quality. The sausages are petite in size and have an even distribution of fat and meat. As they are cured with fenjiu (a distilled spirit originated from Shanxi), the fragrances of meat and spirit fuse together after steaming. Nobody can possibly resist the temptation.
Souvenir: maltose pomelo peel
What makes maltose pomelo peel a specialty in Dongguan is the elaborate preparation procedures involved. After selecting high-quality pomelo peel, the peel must be sun-dried and soaked for a prolonged period of time to remove their bitterness. Then they are sliced into thin pieces and candied with maltose. No wonder the pomelo scent is so prominent with each bite, you will surely find it sweet and enticing.
Recommended specialty: Enping rice flour noodles
Rice flour noodles are the staple food of the people of Jiangmen. The rice fragrance is rich and the texture is smooth and chewy. Locals like to pair rice flour noodles with herbal pork bone broth or lotus root with pork bone broth, encapsulating the authentic culinary style of creating a ‘natural, delicate, intense and fresh’ flavour.
Souvenirs: Xinhui tangerine peel and tangerine pu’er tea
Tangerine peel is a common food ingredient used among Guangdong people, which is good for your spleen and can regulate the flow of energy inside your body. It can be used to cook with meat, poultry and fish, and it is also a soothing ingredient in soup. In recent years, the much-celebrated tangerine pu’er tea is a wondrous concoction of Xinhui tangerine peel and Yunnan pu’er tea.
Recommended specialty: tofu pudding
Tofu pudding in Zhaoqing is made with spring water from Dinghu Mountain, creating a particularly soft and tender texture. When complemented with brown sugar, ginger juice or osmanthus syrup, the sweetness and silkiness of the dessert are further enhanced.
Souvenir: steamed sticky rice dumplings
The large, steamed sticky rice dumplings in Zhaoqing contain lavish ingredients, including glutinous rice, mung beans, pork belly, salted egg yolks, chestnuts, dried mushrooms and dried scallops. Wrapped like a parcel in winter leaves, which can be found in abundance in Zhaoqing, their natural scent brings out the freshness of the ingredients.