Since arriving in Hong Kong, I’ve been surprised by the relative lack of regional Chinese restaurants. While Hong Kong and Guangdong style cuisine reigns supreme, there are noticeably few Sichuan, Shanghai, and Northern-style Chinese establishments. I might even venture so far to say that Japanese and Vietnamese restaurants outnumber their Mainland counterparts.
As a result, I was pleasantly surprised when my co-worker suggested that we try a Beijing-style dumpling place for lunch. The meal brought back pleasant memories of my 6-month stint in Beijing, in which jiaozi were an integral part of my diet.
The restaurant is located in the Queen Street Cooked Food Centre, in the Sheung Wan District. For those unfamiliar with Hong Kong’s cooked food centres, they are basically a large room filled with hawker stands, each serving a different type of food. Though not always the cleanest option, cooked food centres are a wonderful way to become acquainted with local Hong Kong dining. Authentic home-cooked fare makes braving the loud, crowded, no-frills setting worth it.
The meal started off with a complimentary bowl of soup. Fresh cilantro, tomato, and egg accentuated a simple broth. In contrast to most Chinese starter soups, which consist of random vegetables and leftover bones, this soup was clean and composed.
The main attraction of the meal was the dumplings. I ordered pork and dou miao (Chinese pea shoots) dumplings. The dou miao added a nice crunch and freshness to the pork filling, while the jiaozi pi (or wrapper) held together well. Doused in vinegar and chili oil, these dumplings were satisfying and soothing–just like a Chinese grandma made them. At $30 HKD (a mere $3.85) for a plate of 12 dumplings and a bowl of soup, this was certainly a bargain for lunch.
Even though we gorged ourselves on dumplings, my co-worker and I still managed to save room for a traditional Cantonese dessert, purchased from the stand next door for HKD $3. I apologize for not knowing the name of the dessert, but it is similar to Japanese manju–a glutinous rice cake stuffed with sweet mashed taro.
For deliriously delicious dumplings and much more (like this Mediterranean full-service restaurant), head to Queen Street Cooked Food Centre when you are in Hong Kong!
Lao Beifang Jiaozi Guan
Food Market, 1 Queen Street , Sheung Wan