I've recently fallen in love with going to Cheung Chau. I visited Cheung Chau twice in the last month, both visits were mainly for food but Cheung Chau also offers some fun activities like hiking and cycling.
For those that don't know Cheung Chau is approximately a 1 hr ferry ride from Hong Kong. It's very convenient to go to Cheung Chau, you board a ferry at Hong Kong's Central Pier No.5 and you'll be there within an hour. There are two types of ferries you can catch, a fast ferry that gets you to Cheung Chau in about 40 minutes and a normal speed ferry that gets you there in about 60 minutes.
Cheung Chau is known for their seafood, giant fishballs and mango desserts! I'll go through each of the goodies along with other findings.
A lot of fisherman live around Cheung Chau so Cheung Chau is known for their fresh and dried seafood. When you first reach Cheung Chau, you'll notice that there are a lot of crowds, on all the occasions that I went was during weekends and it was filled with people everywhere!
Let's start with the main followed by the snacks and desserts!
Once you get off the ferry, walk towards your left and you'll see many restaurants with tables outside all of which are next to each other. These restaurants are known for their seafood for reasonable prices. We ate the New Baccarat Seafood Restaurant, the one with yellow table cloths next to the basketball court.
New Baccarat Seafood Restaurant
9A G/F Pak She Praya Road, Cheung Chau
We ordered 椒鹽瀨尿蝦 (Salt and Pepper Prawns), 辣酒煮花螺 (Spicy Sea Snails), 豉椒炒聖子 (Black Beans Stir Fried Solenidae) 椒鹽九肚魚 (Salt and Pepper fried fish) and 蒜茸粉絲蒸扇貝 (Garlic 按and Vermicelli Steamed Scallops (no photo)). All the seafood dishes we ordered goes well with beer so we also ordered beer! Between the 3 other people I ate with, this meal was approximately HKD450 which is not expensive at all compared to having seafood in Hong Kong!
I tasted my favourite dish first, the Salt and Pepper Prawns! It's a bit salty and a bit spicy but very nice, it can however get a bit messy and also quite hard getting the shell off the prawns but I would definitely recommend you trying this dish, it's a must have dish!
The Spicy Sea Snails were also my favourite because I love spicy food! Be very careful when you take the snail out from the shell with the toothpick, you might get soup everywhere! The snail is quite chewy, small and the flavour was just right, not too spicy.
The Salt and Pepper Fish was really crispy and tasted similar to the prawns, the serving of the fish was also quite big, you can tell that the fish has been freshly fried because it was served hot! The Black Beans Stir Fried Solenidae were also very nice and fresh however the Solenidae itself was quite small because you can usually get bigger ones in Hong Kong however the sauce was addictive, salty, sweet and spicy.
From experience this restaurant is cheaper during lunch times compared to dinner times and it's also easier to get a table during lunchtimes.
After lunch we proceeded to find the famous big fish balls of Cheung Chau! There are a lot of stores in Cheung Chau with signs that says "Cheung Chau Big Fish Balls" but the famous one is: 甘永泰魚蛋 (Gum Wing Tai Fish Balls).
甘永泰魚蛋 (Gum Wing Tai Fish Balls)
G/F, 106 San Hing Street, Cheung Chau
Gum Wing Tai also sells other fish products other than fish balls, we chose to have the big fish falls and big fish cakes.
Both the fish balls and fish cakes was cold when we bought them and didn't have much flavour. The good thing about the fish balls and fish cake however was they were both really bouncy when you bite in to them and contained a lot of fish. Sometimes you might get fish balls where there's more flour than fish but Gum Wing Tai's fish balls contains a lot of actual fish!
Once we were done with Gum Wing Tai's fish ball we proceeded across the street to have some other fish balls which had more flavours!
Across the road from Gum Wing Tai's fish balls and situated near the beginning (if you're walking from the pier) of Tung Wan Road there's another fish ball store that sells different flavour big fish balls. The flavours range from spicy mala, plum sauce, curry flavour, chilli flavour and original no flavour. I've tried the majority of the flavours before and my favourite is the spicy mala flavour.
The spicy mala flavour is strong and for me the level of spiciness was just perfect! The curry flavour is also quite nice, so if you can't handle spiciness very well, instead of the spicy mala flavour you can try the curry flavour. These fish balls are HKD10 for two which is very cheap!
If you walk towards the beach and towards Cheung Po Tsai's Cave you'll see a lot of other food stores. Some of these stores sells, red bean cakes, fried potatoes on a skewer, waffles, frozen fruits, baked cheese oysters and of course Cheung Chau's well known dried seafood. The fried potatoes on a skewer (bottom left photo above) didn't taste as good as it looked, the potatoes weren't crispy but rather cold and hard so you might want to skip this! There's also a place for couples to hang locks to seal their love which is similar to Seoul's Namsan Tower!
There are a few more goodies I want to introduce you to, grilled squid, mango desserts and fried ice cream!
Tin Yin Dessert is popular dessert place in Cheung Chau that's always full and have a lot of people queuing outside. It's definitely a place not to be missed when visiting Cheung Chau.
天然甜品Tin Yin Dessert
G/F., 9 Tai Hing Tai Road, Cheung Chau
Tin Yin Dessert sells local Hong Kong desserts where most of their options on the menue include mangoes. The most popular dessert is their mango mochies. We ordered tofu dessert with mango dumplings and mangoes on top as well as 桂花芒果卷 (Sweet osmanthus mango rolls) and mango mochies.
Some of their desserts are served in little plastic containers which is not very appealing but don't judge a book by it's cover! The tofu in the tofu dessert was smooth and light whilst the mango was very sweet and fresh, the mango dumplings tasted like jelly with mango bits inside which was very interesting! The sweet osmanthus mango roll in my opinion wasn't that nice mainly because the skin that wrapped the mango wasn't very chewy and had not much flavour, I prefer the skin to be chewy.
Lastly the mango mochi was the highlight of this dessert meal. The mango mochi's skin was chewy and inside they serve a huge slice of sweet, juicy and fresh mango! The mochi is so popular that their batches are usually sold out quite quickly and you'll have to wait for the next batch if you want to try it! On all occasions I've had to wait 5-10 minutes for a seat but if you just want to try the mango mochies or the sweet osmanthus mango roll you can just order takeaway so you can save some time and continue exploring!
Around the corner from Tin Yin Dessert there's a mini store that sells dried seafood and in particular dried squid.
You can pick the squid you like and then they'll grill it over the coal for you. The squid is not exactly cheap though, approximately HKD16 for a small serving. When they grill it for you they'll ask if you'd like to have it spicy or not. I decided to have mine spicy (of course!) so they sprinkled some spicy seasoning over the squid whilst grilling it. They grill the squid for a few minutes then they cut it into little strips and put it in a paper bag for you.
This grilled squid is really nice! It's nice and hot as it's grilled fresh and you can smell the coal that it was grilled on top of. The squid's a bit salty and the spicy seasoning that was sprinkled on the top wasn't too spicy. This snack is addictive but the serving is small, I was so tempted to go back to buy more!
Lastly fried ice cream! Right outside of the pier and at the entrance of Tung Wan Road there's a store that sells Cheung Chau snacks and in particular fried ice cream.
There's a few flavours of ice cream you can choose from, lychee, taro, matcha, vanilla and mango. I've tried both lychee and mango before in which both flavours were really good. This store fries the ice cream when you order it so it's fresh!
This store serves bite size fried ice cream, other stores serve bigger ones which is why I like going to this store because it's easier to eat. On all occasions that I've been to this store, the owner always says to be when he hands the ice cream over "Quick eat it now it's not hot".
The fried ice cream looks rather hot and intimidating to put in your mouth since you know it just came out of hot oil but the owner is right, you have to eat it as soon as you get it! The outer batter is crispy and actually not that hot and when you bite into it you can feel the cold ice cream melt in your mouth! The ice cream is nicely fried so that the ice cream still remains nice and cool while the outer batter is crispy. The temperatures of the outer batter and the inner ice cream makes it very interesting and easy to eat. You definitely need to try this store, in my opinion they serve one of the best fried ice creams in Cheung Chau!