If you only know the cosmopolitan and uber trendy side of Hong Kong, you miss out on the many amazing pockets of deliciousness that are tucked away from the tourist's gaze.
Choi Hung Estates in Hong Kong is one of the oldest public housing estates. The many towers of apartment buildings have given rise to a sprawling market, dai pa dongs, and traditional eateries where only the locals eat.
On this last solo excursion to Hong Kong, I asked Michael Hansen of Hansen's Hikes to plan another hike for me -- albeit an urban crawl this time. I also specifically requested that we end our walk with lunch at another very local, traditional eatery.
And so, this is how I discovered Dragon City Tea House.
As you can see from the photo, it's a ramshackle kind of place (without an English sign) but don't be deceived -- the dilapidated, shabby ambience is inversely proportional to the taste of the food.
This being a "tea house" Dragon City serves light refreshments from morning till noon but there are other small dishes that may be ordered. We settled on dim sum since Michael vouched that varieties on hand were well worth ordering.
The hakaw or har gow were indeed rave worthy -- the skin was translucent and fine but didn't break, stick or tear when you lifted it from the steamer.
Each small lovely bundle yielded several plump and fresh prawns inside. It was much better than har gow I had eaten in far fancier and more expensive places.
What dim sum meal is complete without siu mai? This most popular and classic dim sum was outstanding too. Delectably delicious, I could really detect each tasty little bit of coarsely ground seasoned pork. The bright smidgen of colour on top was not grated carrot but real shrimp roe -- the traditional topping for siu mai.
I had to try the steamed spare rib rice which came with chicken feet. This was so well seasoned with the flavours of black bean and red chili pepper mixing with the aroma and and fragrance of the glutinous rice. I ate it local style -- putting the small bones neatly on the table, beside my cup.
Lots of locals were already eating when we arrived. Dim sum is a casual meal and you can see from the regulars just how relaxed the atmosphere is. We actually shared our table with two other solo diners but I must admit, we dawdled over our meal far longer than they did.
A pot of black tea accompanied our orders. I was certainly amused when the same hot tea that we drank was the same liquid that they used to scald the utensils and tea cups that were given to us.
Since it was boiling hot, I suppose it was enough to "kill" all the germs.
The dim sum cart is in plain view of every one. If you want to eat some more, all you have to do is walk over and make your choice.
I thought that this dim sum roll looked interesting -- the yuba or tofu skin is wrapped around strips of ham and vegetables. It was very savoury and quite filling.
There were metal hooks on the ceiling -- Michael said that the locals who come for their tea and dim sum breakfast each morning bring their pet birds and hang the cages on these hooks.
I can just imagine how busy, noisy and cheerful breakfast time must be.
It's another experience to look forward to, next time I am in Hong Kong.other