October 12, 2011

Hong Kong Late Night Snack 食宵夜

Hong Kong, 食宵夜, Late Night Snack
Published: 2011-10-12
In Hong Kong there are the usual standard three meals a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner; and then there is the special Hong Kong style forth meal: late night snack or 宵夜.  You don't have to 宵夜 but the opportunity and the luxury is always there.  

So there we were one late, late night, hungry as wolves for some reason and looking for some good hot satisfying food.  We ended up at our local late night Hong Kong style roasted meats eatery, or 燒味舖, which sells the classic Cantonese roasted meats atop of rice or noodles or a la carte.  This little eatery is open until 4 am every night, proving the 'Oh So Seriousness' of the Hong Kong people towards 宵夜.

Hong Kong, 食宵夜, Late Night Snack

We sat down at a rickety fold-out table placed illegally out onto the late night sidewalk, in-between other tables packed with local gangster types (or maybe even real gangsters!), late shift cabbies and other night owls. We placed our orders and soon the food came, two bowls of noodles in soup topped with choice cuts of marinated poached chicken, or 白切雞, and roasted goose, or 燒鵝.

I have to say at this point that I think that the Cantonese make the damn best chicken in the world.  Tender but not soft, just cooked to perfection, flavorful, juicy and with skin that is an absolute delight to eat.  And I usually don't like chicken skin unless it is nice and crispy but both the texture and taste of this skin is yummy.  Oh boy oh boy, there's nothing like a good bowl of 白切雞 noodles when you're really hungry!

Hong Kong Late Night Snack
白切雞 and noodles

Suffice to say that we ate fast and soon the last bits of noodles were being slurped up along with the tasty soup and the bones were being gnawed for any bits of meat left.  We slumped over the faded flower print table, sweating and relaxed, belly pleasantly full.  

Smoke rings from the gangster table wreathed our heads.  A black Mercedes drove up and parked at the curb next to us and the owner stepped in to order a take out noodles.  Afterward we walked home slowly down the mostly empty night street, the occasional empty taxi or minibus passing us by.  I love 食宵夜!

Hong Kong Late Night Snack
Late night Hong Kong street scene



  1. This post is getting me excited for my summer trip to HK. The highlight is the food of course.

    Also thanks for using Chinese characters in your posts. It is helping me learn food-related vocabulary to read menus.

    1. Hi Jeff - We're glad you liked our midnight snack post! We have a post on more delicious Hong Kong Noodle dishes (with chinese characters!) which you might like and also check out our blog Hong Kong View of the Day which showcases our photos of all aspects of Hong Kong life. I will put these links up above the comments section. I hope that you have a great (and hot, no doubt about it) summer trip to HK! ~ellen