massive Hong Kong Food tour in Sydney
Hong Kong food in Sydney is dear to my heart. With my parents born in Hong Kong, I grew up travelling to Hong Kong on a frequent basis to visit extended family and, of course, eating lots and lots of good food.
But what to do if you don’t want to take a 9 hour flight to Hong Kong? Let me take you around a few go-to spots for great Hong Kong food in Sydney.
Here are all the details:
KOWLOON CAFE SYDNEY
Shop 7A-9A 421-429, Sussex St, Haymarket
I went crazy with the menu at Kowloon Cafe Sydney, because in true Hong Kong diner fashion. The menu is HUGE.
They have all the classics you would find, and everything from taste, portion size to presentation is what you would find at a diner in Hong Kong.
One thing that’s not too authentic is the decor. The interior is a fun, Instagram worthy retro style of HK diners back in the 70’s. You don’t find these anymore in HK, which makes this place even more photo-worthy.
The first thing I think of when someone says “cha chaan teng” is HK style lemon tea.
It’s an iconic beverage drunk hot or cold, but mostly cold.
It uses red tea with lemon and syrup as sweetener. A good lemon tea shouldn’t be overly sweet, just enough to counter the bitterness of the tea, but not overpower it so you don’t get the refreshing dryness after each gulp.
Tip: you want to poke your lemon slices to make it lemon tea, otherwise it’ll just be tea.
I also ordered a HK milk tea. HK milk tea is a lot stronger and richer than the usual milk teas you may be use to. The tea leaves are strained a few times to get a concentrated flavour and the milk is actually condensed milk.
What you get is a very rich, sweet and aromatic tea. I love it.
Then I ordered 4 snacks. HK French toast, Curry fishballs, Cheung Fun and Siu Mai.
All classics I grew up eating. HK French toast is nothing like French toast. The only similarity is bread dipped in egg. But instead of pan frying, you deep fry and instead of one slice of bread, it’s two with a generous slather of peanut butter. Topped with a knob of butter and syrup.
Perfect for those who like sweet things. But if you are more a savoury person then the next three would be more your thing.
Curry fishballs is all about the curry. The fishball is boiled and then deep fried before being left to simmer in curry sauce waiting to be served. The curry is aromatic, not too spicy but very very appetising. You can never eat just one.
Then we have the chueng fun, which is rice noodles that are steamed and dressed in oyster sauce, peanut sauce, seafood sauce and maybe a few others.
I’ve mentioned chueng fun a few times in my articles about Chinese food, because it’s such a famous cantonese dish. But the rice noodles don’t actually taste like anything. (think plain white rice, in a different form)
Chueng fun is all about the texture. Good chueng fun shouldn’t break apart, be smooth/silky with no grains from the rice or lumps from the dough.
And then lastly before I go on to the mains, we have siu mai. The siu Mais here had a good bite which means they were super fresh. Really enjoyed it.
We’re finally on to the mains. I ordered 2 which I really enjoy, beef brisket noodles and tomato based pork chop baked rice.
The beef brisket noodles were served with egg noodles and some box choi. The noodles were springy with a bite to it. They had a good flavour to it and it complimented the broth so well.
The beef brisket was soft and tender which is exactly what you want. It should never be chewy, and the flavours were rich and beefy. I also loved how generous they were with the beef.
Lastly we have a tomato based pork chop baked rice. Baked rice is a HK diner classic where you’ll find a range of different types of baked rice.
It’s cooked rice placed in a casserole dish and then a fried pork chop on top before covering it with a very rich tomato sauce and cheese.
The rice gets an added baked flavour, the pork chop stays moist and isn’t tough, the tomato sauce is rich. I really like it.
Shop 2/1-5 Railway St, Chatswood
Sugar Cubed is a small eatery serving an array of food and drinks. However, I’m not here for that. I came to Sugar Cubed to showcase their classic Cantonese style dessert soups.
Chinese desserts are not typically very sugary sweet and these dessert soups are a perfect example of this. The focus is bringing out the natural flavours of the ingredients and combining the flavours to make a very soothing, comforting mouthful.
Tong Yuen in ginger soup is typically eaten during Chinese New Year or any event where the family comes together for a reunion. (no particular reason other than the pun in “Tuen Yuen” = reunion and “Tong Yuen” = glutinious rice balls)
Tong yuens are these small chewy balls of rice dough that can be filled with various fillings such as red bean paste, peanuts or black sesame. The ginger soup is sweetened with rock sugar to make a spicy but sweet syrupy soup.
Next, we have a stewed papaya with snow fungus soup. The sweetness of the papaya gets absorbed into the soup which is sweetened with sugar and the snow fungi adds a fun texture.
Another dessert soup is their peach gum with coconut milk. Peach gum is the solidified resin from peach trees, which has been popping up in Chinese soups in the last few years because of it’s supposed health benefits and collagen properties.
The peach gum doesn’t have much taste and its mostly a textural experience. Gummy, chewy, a bit slippery. The whole dish takes its flavour mainly from the coconut milk and papaya stewed together to make a subtly sweet and warming dessert.
I also ordered their mochi and tofu fa. Both classic Chinese desserts you find everywhere in HK.
Mochi, or Lou Mai Chi is a sticky dough made from cooked rice. The process of making the dough makes the rice slightly sweeter and is often filled with a range of fillings.
I tried Sugar Cubed’s Yin Yeung, Hong Kong Style Milk Tea, Peanut & coconut, Black Sesame flavours. The Yin Yeung is named after the drink, where coffee and Hk milk tea is mixed together, and I have to say the tong yuen rendition was very similar in flavour.
The rice dough delightfully chewy, sticky and smooth with no lumps or bits. My favourite out of the four flavours was the Yin Yueng with the black sesame being a close second.
Last up is the tofu fa. You can measure the quality of a Chinese dessert shop by the quality of their tofu fa, and Sugar Cubed’s tofu fa is excellent.
Tofu fa is one of those dishes that looks unassumingly simple, but is actually incredibly hard to do well.
The tofu fa was silky smooth, not too watery that it breaks apart to the slightly touch. The flavour of the soy bean is present and the syrup doesn’t over power the tofu flavour to still give it a very comforting, sweet and nutty taste.
CELCIUS DESSERT BAR
Bus Interchange, kiosk 4/436 Victoria Ave, Chatswood
Celcius Dessert Barmakes some amazing ice-cream flavours, drinks and most importantly, egg waffles.
Egg waffles is truly a HK food found nowhere else in China. The batter is distinctively eggy and the waffle iron used to make it gives the egg waffle a crispy exterior but leaved the inside soft and fluffy.
I really recommend you give this a go.
To finish this tour, I was recommended their Taro latte, and I’m so glad they did.
It smelt amazing and it tasted equally so. Taro has a very subtle nutty sweetness, and when put into a latte form the creamy goodness of a latte paired with the nutty warm goodness of taro. It’s a perfect combo. Think taro ice-cream, but liquid hot.