Michelin elevates HK street food to culinary pantheon

November 06, 2015 13:55
Among the delicacies cited in the Michelin Guide are (from left) rice rolls, egg waffles and traditional Chinese pastries. Photos: internet, openrice.com, HKEJ

Street food in Hong Kong and Macau has made it to the prestigious Michelin Guide.

The century-old international reference book on good eating recommends 23 shops in Hong Kong and 12 outlets in Macau in its latest edition, Apple Daily reported on Friday.

Among those cited are Hong Kong-style egg waffles from Lee Keung Kee in North Point, rice rolls from Hop Yik Tai Snacks in Sham Shui Po and Ki Tsui Cake Shop in Mong Kok.

Michael Ellis, international director of Michelin Guides, said this was the first time street food was included since the guides were first published in 1900.

Despite the relatively tiny space in these eateries, the quality of their food continues to improve and, together, they offer a great variety of local flavors, Ellis said.

In Hong Kong, most of the recommended shops are located in old districts, including three each in Sham Shui Po, Tsuen Wan, North Point, Mong Kok and Wan Chai.

Delicacies such as steamed rice rolls and tofu pudding are selling for HK$7 to HK$8 each.

Ellis said the Hong Kong-style egg waffles, fish balls, egg tarts and stinky tofu are his favorite street foods in the territory.

The Michelin Guide has included 77 restaurants in Hong Kong, including eight with three stars, 18 with two stars and 51 with single-star rating.

As many as 78 restaurants were given the "Bib Gourmand” rating for offering exceptionally good food at moderate prices, such as a three-course meal under HK$300.

Veteran economist Andy Kwan Cheuk-chiu said restaurants could gain prestige and popularity after being cited in the Michelin Guides, but the fame could also prompt their landlords to raise rents.

“More customers could patronize the shop but the increase in business may not be able to cope with the higher rents,” Kwan said.

Yuen Chi-yan, a community activist and university lecturer on heritage conservation, is worried that the Michelin recommendations could prove to be more of a curse than a blessing for small shops, as their landlords would be encouraged to hike rents significantly while the surge in the number of customers could affect food quality.

Yuen lamented that Hong Kong has already lost many of the best outlets of street food and the Michelin Guide recommendations have come too late.

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