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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Affordable food in Hong Kong that will surely make you come back for more!

This post is dedicated to the explorers out there who aim to see and taste the world while being on a budget. Gaining knowledge about different places around the world need not be too costly, most especially if you just wanted to get immersed into an adventure as far as being a local of that place is concerned. And one thing that you should start planning for any trip is, which food is that country known for because to experience it, tells a lot about how people, basically, are. Their preferences says a lot about what kind of people they are. It tells alot about how they come together as families, it tells a lot about their economy and simple as it may seem, it may tell how people move around and about it.

Hong Kong is known for the following:

1. PEARL MILK TEA


This is one of the most sought after here in Hong Kong. Gong Cha, in particular, presents an array of tea made of taro, oolong, plum and many more. This could satisfy your thirst for a good drink in Hong Kong as you conquer its streets of ladies markets, souvenir shops and good food most especially during these summer months (June, July and August).

To some people, they are weirded out with the jelly pearls at the bottom. But for me, it is the best part in finishing up this drink. In addition, I love how I can control how much sugar can be mixed into my drink. The cashier may or may not ask you, how do you want your sugar? But they welcome this annotation. And they give you a percentage. I always go for the 50% or mild amount. Take a look at their menu so that you'd have an idea of what Gong Cha could offer.


There are actually a lot of milk tea stations that are immitating them but Gong Cha just simply is the BEST. It's safe too the way they prepare the drink because you can actually see how your drink is being mixed altogether and you can see them gloved while packing it up with the necessary plastic sealed cover and they make you pick your own straw from the bunch so as to show courtesy not to touch the part where you're supposed to sip the milk tea from.

The places that I know that has Gong Cha stands are Tung Chung and Tsing Yi MTR and Wan Chai, Exit A4, afront Paissano's Pizza. Write it down in your itinerary. Trust me.

2. HONG KONG SIU MEI

As I grew up in the Philippines, I have developed fondness to siu mai. Come to Hong Kong, I was educated with the right term to use. It's called "siu mei" and the local dimsum stores offer it in large servings here in Hong Kong. Hen Lin of the Philippines just offers 1/3 of Hong Kong's real serving.

I came here 7 years ago and it was just HK$10 for 4 back then. Now it just got up to HK$12 but the size is still the same and it's still worth your money. Sometimes, when my co-parade dancers and I miss it, we go to Fu Tung Shopping Centre (in Tung Chung) and they offer an array of dim sum there that you'll surely enjoy if you're touring around Hong Kong with an aim of tasting the local food on a budget. A HK$20 worth of siu mei partnered with a drink (Gong Cha, Pearl Milk Tea for me is the best to combine with this) is enough for you dinner. To some Filipinos here in Hong Kong, they take it home to combine the meaty siu mei with rice.

Siu mei and other dimsum delights can be experienced in doing yum cha. This is tea drinking that allows you to eat dimsum on the side in replacement of breakfast or lunch. It is a traditional (Cantonese) Chinese way of spending the morning and gathering with families during the weekends. It is a good thing to experience when a first timer in Hong Kong arrives because of the wide array of dim sum a yum cha restaurant could offer.

3. PORK BUN (TIM HO WAN)


My good friend Bobby and I
are Tim Ho Wan virgins no more.
Now for sure you have somehow heard of how Tim Ho Wan had been branching out here in Hong Kong and abroad (as the latest one recently opened in the Philippines) because of the great demand for pork bun from the fans. 3 pork buns literally just costs HK$19 to be exact but it's more than rewarding once the robust flavor of the barbecue pork melts with the sugary coated pork bun in your mouth.

I tell you, IT IS WORTH LINING UP FOR!

So don't get intimidated with the full packed branches. The rest of the delicacies offered here isn't a failure all at the same time so, just avoid lining up while you're too hungry. It will upset you because too many tourists are taking their time in chatting and catching up with friends while they savor the pork buns the poor you are longing for. While you remain outside, that is a frustrating scene to see, right? So, maybe, just the right range of hunger with a good company to chat with is the best to have as you wait.


The least crowded location I believe is at Shop 72, G/F, Olympian City 2, 18 Hoi Ting Road, Tai Kok Tsui Olympian City Mall, Hong Kong, China (Mong Kok). Going thru the Olympian City mall is the best and easiest route. No reservations are honored so come at your own risk. I suggest you go there before lunch or dinner time sets in. We reached Tim Ho Wan around 6:30 in the evening and we had a whole 16 seater table all to ourselves plus 3 2-seater tables. Nobody complained since people didn't start coming in yet 'til 7:30pm. By that time, our friends were around to fill up the table already so no harm done. I spent HK$60 for the entire night because I shared the bill with 4 of my friends. I enjoyed the food and I believe, so did the baby in my tummy.


As you can see, the pork buns come in three's, the siu mei in fours and the chicken feet, in a serving that can be shared. After ordering these for 3 rounds (There were 4 of us), we have had more than enough. If you are up for congee and other dim sums (I heard the sponge cake too is good plus char siu pao are also awesome!), here is a list of the rest of the choices. Trivia goes, Tim Ho Wan is one of the best dim sum places that it ranks #67 above all 4,348 restaurants in Hong Kong and owns an Excellence Award for the year 2014! (Source: Trip Advisor)

Other info you may need to know:
- No parking for this particular franchise.
- Contact number: 2332 2896 (Maybe if it's not too busy, you can do a reservation.
- Payment Method: Cash Only

4. SAIZERIYA

It offers a wide range of choices from Italian, to Western to a slight Mediterranean but in a very cheap price. This is particularly famous amongst students because of its food's affordable prizes yet the servings are enough for one person. It also comes with limited drinks with a whole lot of sodas, coffee, and tea to choose from. It's up to you if you want it cold or hot.

My own personal favorites here are the following:


Baked Spinach with Cheese

Garlic Garnished Steak

Sizzling Plate of  Shellfish


Cheese Pizza with extra Mozarella

Many people who crave for Italian dishes plus grilled lamb steaks and baked casserole food but are on a budget ease their way to Saizeriya. Needless to say, it's jampacked most of the time too. So to try and experience, come on a week day, on a non-lunch or dinner time and be ready that you have to wait for a long time. For temperamental people, think twice. We truly enjoy coming here though one suggestion for the branch manager in Tin Shui Wai, clean the place thoroughly. Because of how busy it gets in a day, they need more personnel to cater to the restaurant's sanitation.

Basic Info:

- Location: Shop 216, 2/F, Tin Chak Shopping Centre, Tin Shui Road, Tin Shui Wai.
- Mode of payment is Cash and food costs HK$50 up.
- Sitting is on first come, first served basis. Come at your own risk.
- Seating Capacity in Tin Shui Wai maybe around 60-80 people at a time.
- NO outdoor seating is available.
- Contact number: 2617 3004.
- Opening hours: 11:00 to 22:30.
- For tourists, I'm sorry but there's no wifi.
- They don't offer delivery.
- Serves alcoholic drinks.
- No 10% valuie added tax

If you do have encountered restaurants or treats that belong to this post, please do let me know by leaving a comment below. Splurge in these delights as you visit Hong Kong next time!


Related posts:

1. DIN TAI FUNG - another famous Shanghai Dimsum place amongst tourists visiting Hong Kong
2. 10 THINGS I LOVE ABOUT HONG KONG - Besides the food, check out the list of why I chose to become a Hongkie!
3. HOMEBAKERS TURNED ENTREPRENEURS - Looking for affordable cake masters to grace that dessert table with the works, find out who to contact here.

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