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Hong Kong Lifestyle

Food & Drink

Hong Kong is one of the great centres for international cooking. Apart from Chinese food, which is superb, there are also many Indian, Vietnamese, Filipino, Singapore/Malaysian and Thai restaurants. It is the home of authentic Chinese food from all the regions of China, which may be sampled on a sampan in Causeway Bay, on a floating restaurant at Aberdeen, in a Kowloon restaurant, in a street market or at a deluxe hotel. Hotels serve European and Chinese food but there are also restaurants serving every type of local cuisine.

Chinese regional variations on food include Cantonese, Northern (Peking), Chiu Chow (Swatow), Shanghai, Sichuan and Hakka. Cantonese is based on parboiling, steaming and quick stir-frying to retain natural juices and flavours.

The food is not salty or greasy and seafoods are prepared especially well, usually served with steamed rice. Specialities include Dim Sum (savoury snacks, usually steamed and served in bamboo baskets on trolleys). These include Cha siu bao (barbecue pork bun), Har gau (steamed shrimp dumplings) and Shiu mai (steamed and minced pork with shrimp). The emphasis in Northern food is on bread and noodles, deep-frying and spicy sauces.

Specialities include Peking duck and hotpot dishes. Shanghainese food is diced or shredded, stewed in soya or fried in sesame oil with pots of peppers and garlic. Chiu Chow is served with rich sauces and Hakka food is generally simple in style with baked chicken in salt among the best dishes.

Sichuan food is hot and spicy with plenty of chillies. A speciality is barbecued meat. Drink: The Chinese do not usually order a drink before dinner.

Popular Chinese wines and spirits are Zhian Jing (a rice wine served hot like sake), Liang hua pei (potent plum brandy), Kaolian (a whisky) and Mao toi. Popular beers are the locally brewed San Miguel and Tsingtao (from China) with imported beverages widely available.


There are many nightclubs, discotheques, hostess clubs, theatres and cinemas. Cultural concerts, plays and exhibitions can be seen at Hong Kongs City Hall which also has a dining room, ballroom and cocktail lounge.

The Hong Kong Cultural Centre, including a 2100-seat Concert Hall, 1750-seat Grand Theatre, a studio theatre with 300-500 seats and restaurants, bars and other facilities, has become the major venue for cultural concerts, plays and operas.

Hong Kong Art Centre in Wan Chai supplements the City Halls entertainment with culture in the form of Chinese opera, puppet shows, recitals and concerts. American, European, Chinese and Japanese films with subtitles are shown at a number of good air-conditioned cinemas.

Two daily papers, the Hong Kong Standard and the South China Morning Post, contain details of entertainment. An unusual event to watch is night horse-racing held Wednesday nights from September to May. For further details, contact the Hong Kong Tourist Association.


Whether one is shopping in modern air-conditioned arcades or more traditional street markets, the range of goods available in Hong Kong is vast. Many famous-name shops have opened in Hong Kong, bringing the latest styles in great variety. Places that display the HKTA sign (Hong Kong Tourist Association) are the best guarantee of satisfaction. Bargaining is practised in the smaller shops and side stalls only.

There are excellent markets in Stanley on Hong Kong Island, which is in a beautiful setting in a small village on the coast, and in Temple Street, Kowloon, which is a night market. Tailoring is first class. Except for a few items such as liquor and perfume, Hong Kong is a duty-free port.

Shopping hours:

  • Hong Kong Island (Central & Western): 1000-1800 (1000-2000 along Queens