Hong Kong Foodie Tours


Hong Kong bursts at the seams with global fabulousness, but it’s easy to argue that you’ve not experienced its soul unless you’ve stepped into some of the tiny, no-frills establishments focusing on just one or two particular delicacies. Though finding the most ultra local places to make those “ah-ha” food discoveries can be daunting, Hong Kong Foodie Tours ensures those hidden treasures are more accessible than ever.

To get to the start point of their Sham Shui Po Food Tour in the heart of Kowloon, I take the Tsuen Wan line of Hong Kong’s efficient subway to Sham Shui Po Station. My guide, Fiona, waits in front of a tidy French-style bakery kiosk and advises me and other tour participants that what waits outside is authentic Kowloon to the core. We emerge from the sleek, mall-like station into an aromatic patchwork of small restaurants, shops, stalls, produce stands and local businesses. In contrast to the polished shelves and cases protecting sandwiches, cakes and various fancy bites in trendy gourmet fast-casual restaurants and markets near the Landmark Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong Central, humble dim sum, pastries, meats and vegetables are out in the open and within easy reach. Lines perpetually form behind steaming kettles and tureens of cooking soups and noodles.


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With Fiona taking the lead, we zigzag through the commercial streets of Kowloon. The tour’s four hours fly by, thanks to her detailed but breezy discourse. The tour is a revelation, as it doesn’t just deliver on the promise of superb examples of milk tea, pineapple buns, braised goose, tofu desserts, almond cookies and ju cheung fun (rice rolls). There’s also a generous helping of the area’s history, foodstuffs and cooking supply shops, as well as observations of the day-to-day customs specific to Kowloon.

“All our Foodie guides are Hong Kong locals who are passionate about food and Hong Kong, whether they are lifelong residents or expats who have taken the initiative to learn about Hong Kong’s unique food culture from top to bottom,” founder Cecilia Leung explains. “While the focus is on food, the tours are not just about going to restaurant after restaurant, but knowing the stories and context behind what’s served.”


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Leung enjoyed a successful corporate career that had her living and working in the U.S., Japan and Singapore, and traveling to 34 countries. “When I visited a new city or town, I always went to different neighborhoods to explore where locals eat,” she says. “I truly believe that you are what you eat, and by learning about local cuisine, I also believe one can learn a lot about a city’s culture and its people.”

She soon recognized the business opportunity in her own hometown of Hong Kong. “There’s no question that Hong Kong is a foodie haven, and I firmly believe that by sharing our local cuisine, we can help visitors better understand Hong Kong. As there were no other walking food tours in Hong Kong, we took the plunge.” Partnering up with sister Silvana, Leung applied her extensive experience in everything from marketing to e-commerce to launch the company in 2011.

The only licensed food tour operator in town, Hong Kong Foodie Tours does not publish the names of featured restaurants. According to Leung, this ensures the pocket-sized eateries will not be overwhelmed by crowds and can maintain their authenticity and integrity. The sisters’ business savvy and knowledge of Hong Kong and Kowloon, meanwhile, have ensured that the best form of advertising remains word-of- mouth among locals and travelers who rely on social media to suss out the best food and travel experiences.

So what’s next for Foodie Tours? “We are going to be launching a new tour in 2015,” says Leung, “but you’ll have to stay tuned and go online to find out!”

For more information, visit hongkongfoodietours.com.


This story was originally published in our Spring 2015 issue. Get your copy here