Best Pick

Cheung Chau: what to eat at the pirate island
Date Published : 15 Mar 2018

Cheung Chau is one of those islands just a little too far away to be considered a weekly affair and a little too close to be considered a getaway. It's a beautiful island that preserves its cultural identity and all of its charms, as can be seen in the big marriage celebration boards hung up around town when locals get married or in the old-school bakeries that feature biscuits and other crumbly goodies from days past. Ancient trees are protected in the island, while vehicles are prohibited, and bicycles and fishing boats decorate the landscape.  Known as the supposed treasure-hiding place of the notorious pirate Cheung Po Tsai, a trip to his claustrophobic little cave is not to be missed. It's a magical, time travel-like experience to stand on the end of the rocks that surround the cave, imagining the pirate ships that scuttled around the area hundreds of years ago. Another one of the island’s cultural legacies is their famous bun festival. You may have heard of Hong Kong’s chaotic bun festival, held annually around May, where thousands of adorably bouncy steamed buns colour the island in pink and white. But to Hong Kong locals, Cheung Chau’s food legacy is more than just buns.Retro dim sum @Han Heen Dim Sum
For those arriving in the island early, dim sum at one of the local restaurants is a great way to start. Many of these restaurants have been around for decades, and it shows in the menu. In Han Heen Dim Sum, you choose your dim sum the old way, by picking it up straight from the steaming bamboo baskets. The dim sum selection ranges from the popular siu mai to older retro favourites such as sticky rice roll. Giant fish balls @Tung Yuen Snack Shop
Being a fishing island, it's no surprise that Cheung Chau's fish balls are absolutely on point. They don’t just taste like the sauce they’re dipped in; you can actually taste the fish in the fish ball, as you should. Tung Yuen Snack Shop features a variety of different flavours ranging from the original curry, green curry, plum sauce and satay. We really recommend the plum sauce - it's the original curry sauce, with the added sweet tanginess of the plum flavour. Oh and did we mention, they’re also gigantic, perhaps three or four times bigger than the average fishball, almost like a child's fist. G/F, 30 Praya Street
Mango mochi @Welcome Food Court
The iconic mango mochi isn’t one to be missed, a generous slab of sweet mango wrapped in a thin not-too-sticky mochi coating. It’s simple, no other sauces added. There are several stalls selling this popular snack and they’re all pretty similar, so just stop by and get one. There are other popular flavours such as durian, as well. G/F, 150 San Hing Back Street Potato Tornado @Island Brewery
Actually, it's just called “potato chip” but we’re sticking with its catchy name - the potato tornado. It’s honestly a Hasselback potato stuck on a stick and fried till golden. While we prefer our tornado potato a little more potato-y and soft, Cheung Chau’s version comes super crispy. They also let you choose from a variety of different seasonings including the special “Cheung Chau Style” which we are guessing is basically salt, pepper and seaweed. 16 East Bay RoadSweetcakes (Chinese desserts) @Sen Chao Kee
This is definitely one of our favourites in Cheung Chau, a humble store with great choices. We recommend the red bean, the coconut, and the meidou, a turnip-based sticky rice cake. A really unique one to try is the dark green ball-shaped sweetcakes made with Chinese feverine. Seafood dinner @So Bor Kee
Seafood restaurants line the coast with many restaurant staff steering passersby in. A popular spot is So Bor Kee, a seafood and Chinese eatery with an extensive menu conveniently in English and Chinese with nice pictures. Choose any four big dishes on the menu for only HK$280, including all the delicious seafood choices, that are usually pricier elsewhere. We recommend the deep fried squid with garlic breadcrumb toppings, the spicy clam with black bean sauce, the steamed prawns with garlic and a stir-fried tofu dish with vegetables.  G/F, 11C Pak She Praya RoadThere's so much more to explore in the island; even throughout our quite structured food adventure we accidentally came across a hipster-esque, modern coffee shop (single origin, cold brew, that type), hidden away in one of the many tiny alleyways. A German beach restaurant, a contemporary Taiwanese dessert shop, and mysterious street vendors (apparently there is this one elusive and legendary fishball street vendor who only appears occasionally at 5 pm), these are only some of the gems you can come across. Cheung Chau, the whole island itself, is an underrated hidden gem; its charms should be valued on non-bun days of the year as well. With a big cultural and historical legacy, especially when it comes to food, Cheung Chau is not one to be missed.

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