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The Best Weird Foods in Hong Kong

1. Stinky Tofu
No doubt you will have heard or read about the stench emanating from one of the strangest foods to come out of this part of the world. But nothing can really prepare you for the stink. Smelly tofu, like durian, is one of Asia’s most iconic ‘weird foods.’ The stench is a result of fermentation of the tofu and it is such an overpowering smell you’ll be hard-pressed to shake it off for months to come. But Hong Kongers really love that stink. Well, most Hong Kongers.

2. Birds Nest Soup
One of Hong Kong’s most prized delicacies, Bird’s Nest Soup is a gelatinous mix of chicken broth and swiftlet’s (a type of bird) saliva. That’s right, you’re eating swiftlet’s spit. Swiftlets make their nests from saliva and each year, after the bird has left the nest, it’s harvested and added to the soup, which, like many things in the city, is famed for its health benefits.

3. Shark Fin Soup
One of the world’s most controversial dishes, demand for Shark Fin Soup in Hong Kong and China is apparently critically reducing the number of sharks in the oceans. Chopping up Jaws may not seem like an issue to lose any sleep over, but the lack of sharks is causing critical changes further down the food chain. The soup itself is mostly prized for its premium price tag and is a firm fixture on wedding and graduation party menus. The taste is by no means disgusting, but nor is it special, just slightly fishy.

4. Chicken Feet
So it looks awful, but once you get over that, what is there not to love about chicken feet? Just like head cheese or coq au vin, Cantonese-style chicken feet is a perfect marriage of thrift and culinary genius. Euphemized as ‘phoenix talons’ in Chinese, the chicken feet are typically deep fried then stewed in a blackbean sauce. The cartilage softens to a melt-in-the-mouth consistency and great practice is needed to spit out the little bones in that dainty manner perfected by grandmas in dim sum restaurants across town. Lei Garden skips the deep-frying and stews their chicken feet in abalone sauce, resulting in a wholesome, more texturized treat.

5. Chicken Testicles
Our second entry in ‘parts of the chicken you didn’t think you could eat’, Chicken testicles pop up on many a Hong Kong menu. The testicles themselves are boiled or fried whole and look a little like chipolata sausages, with a soft interior. They’re served with rice, or noodles and broth.

6. Turtle Jelly
Like Shark Fin Soup, Turtle Jelly is another naughty delicacy that doesn’t impress the WWF. Hong Kong and China’s penchant for these shelled creatures is having a devastating effect on their numbers and you should give Turtle Jelly soup a miss. You can spy the Turtle Jelly shops in Hong Kong by the empty turtle shells piled up inside. The turtles are boiled for up to twelve hours, mixed with herbs and lotions and served up as a type of jelly like soup. The draw here is, again, the medicinal properties, certainly not the taste.

7. Coffee and Tea Together
Like tea? Like coffee? Why choose? In Hong Kong, you can have them mixed together in the same cup. Known as Yuenyueng, the drink mixes two thirds Hong Kong style milky tea with one third coffee, and can be served hot in winter or, in the sweltering humidity packed with ice cubes. Dai Pai Dongs are a great place to pick up a cup.

8. Snake Soup
Snake soup is said to cure any number of ailments. Forget about that. The real reason to indulge in this Cantonese delicacy is because it’s the perfect dish for cool weather. There’s something about the brothy mix of snake meat, mushrooms, ginger and pork that does an even better job of warming you up than chicken noodle soup. The soup is usually served with fried bits of dough, slivers of kaffir lime leaf and chrysanthemum petals for aroma. And yes, snake really does taste like chicken.

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