The One With Ten Unusual (And Delicious) Hong Kong Hotpot Ingredients

Whenever my Singapore friends come to visit, a Hong Kong hotpot is never far from their list of things to do. I have to say, before I moved to Hong Kong, my knowledge about what makes a good hotpot dinner was woefully inadequate. And then I went to say that New Star Hotpot is the best place to have hotpot in Hong Kong.

Oh, the atrocity!

I have misled you, my dear readers. But since then, I have been to many, many more hotpot places and if you are to ask me now where to get a good Hong Kong hotpot, I can tick them off with my fingers.

But the point of this blog post isn’t as much to tell you where to find good Hong Kong hotpot (there are simply too many of them). I would like to share with you some of the most unusual ingredients I have came across that were used in hotpots here. This is, of course, relative. If you come from a city like Taipei with a strong hotpot culture, this list shouldn’t come as a surprise to you. Yet if you are a Westerner visiting Hong Kong, then let’s just say what I am about to tell you can be quite an acquired taste.

#1 Geoduck

10 Unusual Hong Kong Hotpot Ingredients

That’s quite a strange name for a shellfish. Geoduck is a species of very large, edible, saltwater clam originated from North America. It’s can taste rubbery and chewy, yet surprisingly exotic especially when dipped in the Hong Kong hotpot sauces.

(Photo Credit)

#2 Omasum or Beef Tripe

10 Unusual Hong Kong Hotpot Ingredients

Beef tripe is a type of food derived from the lining of one of a cow’s four stomach chambers. Just by looking at it it’s had to tell that this plate of innocent looking, almost beancurd sheet-like dish is actually cow’s intestine!

(Photo Credit)

#3 Deep Fried Fish Skins

10 Unusual Hong Kong Hotpot Ingredients

Before I moved to Hong Kong, I had never tried fried fish skin before. I found the idea both intriguing yet repulsive. I am now a fan of this, though you got your appetite worked out to find a restaurant which offers crispy and fresh deep fried fish skins. Yes, you can also get them ready packed at supermarket but they are just not the same.

(Photo Credit)

#4 Fish Jowls

10 Unusual Hong Kong Hotpot Ingredients

For those who like their fish with bones, fish jowls – a cut of fish consisting of the head and usually adjacent parts – can be quite a treat. Those cheekbone aside, fish jowl meat can be surprisingly tender.

(Photo Credit)

#5 Sea Cucumber Intestine

10 Unusual Hong Kong Hotpot Ingredients

Known locally as 珊瑚蚌, sea cucumber intestine looks interesting and quite a delicious treat… that is, until you know they are actually the intestine of sea cucumbers. While doing this post, I did some research and found some rather unsettling fact about them. And now it tops my list of the most unusual ingredient for Hong Kong hotpot.

#6 Pork Liver

10 Unusual Hong Kong Hotpot Ingredients

Not exactly unusual, but if you are from the west, the idea of cooking and eating pork liver can be quite – for the lack of a better word – nauseating. But it’s one of those thing in life that you gotta try at least once in your life.

#7 Fish Maws

10 Unusual Hong Kong Hotpot Ingredients

Again one of those Hong Kong hotpot ingredients I only started to eat and enjoy here, fish maw is the air bladder (or swim bladder) of a fish. There are many varieties of this, and some which can fetch thousands of dollars per kg, so it’s quite a local delicacy.

#8 Deep Fried Beancurd Roll

10 Unusual Hong Kong Hotpot Ingredients

A personal favorite! I love these rolls to death. The idea is simple – just dunk these golden perfection for three seconds in the hotpot broth, and then tuck it.

#9 Abalone

10 Unusual Hong Kong Hotpot Ingredients

Abalone is a typical Chinese delicacy, but one seldom find it cooked at a Hong Kong hotpot (at least, not in my case). The interesting part about eating abalone at hotpot is the way you need to cut the abalone so that it cooks nicely.

#10 Chicken Testicles

10 Unusual Hong Kong Hotpot Ingredients

This dish is such an acquired taste that even I have difficulties to stomach it. The one pictured here is even soaked in Chinese wine, making it even juicier to eat. The only thing I think I enjoy from my experiences eating chicken testicles is to learn that cocks do have big balls.

(Photo Credit)

All these unusual Hong Kong hotpot ingredients I have listed here can be found at (now) my favorite Hong Kong hotpot restaurant, 高流灣海鮮火鍋酒家 (there isn’t an English name).

Happy exploring!

EAT: 高流灣海鮮火鍋酒家 | 1/F, 21-23 Hillwood Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | 3520 3800

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