Hong Kong has a serious food culture; a popular greeting is "Sik tzo fan may?" which translates as, "Have you eaten?" Hong Kong's food stalls and street markets are a true food experience. Visitors can sample all the regional Chinese cuisines, from Sichuan, Hunan and Chiu Chow, at the stalls and street markets.
Naturally the cuisine has been influenced by mainland Chinese cooking styles, particularly Cantonese, however nearby countries such as Thailand, India and Malaysia have all contributed to the evolution of local dishes.
Due to the freshness of ingredients, not as many spices are necessary for flavoring dishes as in some countries. Local chefs often prefer preparing food using steaming methods over cooking with oil. Fittingly, seafood dishes are particularly good because of Hong Kong's water access. Many restaurants will have tanks where diners may select their own seafood. Abalone is a popular seafood choice of the Hong Kong locals.
Dim sum restaurants bustle with diners who take their food seriously. Diners simply point at what they want as trolleys loaded with steaming food circle the restaurant. Roast pork, roast pork buns and rice clay pots are some of the most common dishes of Hong Kong.
Hong Kong desserts tend to be lighter and less sweet than desserts in the United States and many are based on fruit as a prime ingredient. Egg tarts, consisting of a pastry crust filled with egg custard, are a particular favorite of locals and are thought to be an adaptation of English custard tarts, though the Hong Kong egg tarts are served hot rather than at room temperature. Another popular pastry is called sweetheart cake, or wife cake, and contains five spice powder. Visitors to the country should ask locals about the different legends surrounding this tasty treat.
Tea is a popular beverage in Hong Kong just like it is on the Chinese mainland. However, in addition to standard tea, many drink Hong Kong style 'milk tea', a black tea made with condensed or evaporated milk which originated from the time of British colonial rule over Hong Kong. Milk tea combined with coffee is called 'yuan yang.'