Race for Rice Dumplings!
Summer is an active season with tons of outdoor activities to do, but we have it extra lively here in Hong Kong because we’ve got Dragon Boat Festival on the calendar. Every year on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month (7 June this year), thousands gather on the beach with a paddle in one hand and a beer in another to celebrate. Legend has it, Dragon Boat Festival came to be when Qu Yuan, a poet and a patriot who dedicated his life to reforming his hometown around 300 B.C., ended his life by jumping into the river upon learning that his hometown had been conquered, and local fishermen, who were supporters of him, used boats, thumping of the drums, and rice dumplings (Zongzi) to deter fishes from getting to his body while they attempted to save him. Although we still stick to this thousand-year-old tradition, the festival is vastly different now; dragon boats are used as a sport and rice dumplings have become a delicious meal perfect for energy replenishing after the races. If you plan to immerse yourself in dragon boat culture this year and would like to fill up on aromatic sticky rice, salty egg yolk and creamy pork belly that are rice dumplings, do read on for our five recommendations on where to get them near our hotel.
Nathan Congee and Noodle – 彌敦粥麵家
A long-standing gem in the Jordan neighbourhood, Nathan Congee and Noodle specializes in, you guessed it, congee and noodles for over 50 years! While most people go and enjoy a hearty bowl of congee, many would get their equally tasty rice dumplings made with sticky rice, green beans, fatty pork, and salty egg yolk as a side dish.
Getting there (2-minute walking distance): 11 Saigon Street, Jordan, Kowloon
Turn right as you exit Hotel Stage and walk along Chi Wo Street until you reach Saigon Street. Turn into Saigon Street and look for Nathan Congee and Noodle in the middle part of the street on the left side.
Ocean Empire Food Shop – 海皇粥店
A childhood memory for many, Ocean Empire Food Shop is a restaurant chain that serves your favourite traditional Cantonese congees and all the side dishes that come with it. A popular breakfast combination would include a bowl of congee, usually a Sam Pan Congee (made with squid, pork skin and fried peanuts), steamed Cheung Fun (rice sheets), and a rice dumpling with soy sauce.
Getting there (8-minute walking distance): 497A Nathan Road, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon
From Hotel Stage, walk along Gascoigne Road until you merge with Nathan Road. Cross over to the other side and continue to walk up Nathan Road until you reach Man Ming Lane. Walk pass Man Ming Lane and you will see Ocean Empire Food Shop on your left.
Tai Hing- 太興
Recognized as the “King of Roast”, Tai Hing is a restaurant group that does the most succulent Cantonese-style roast meat. Like most Hong Kong diner chains, Tai Hing is also bringing out the rice dumplings for Dragon Boat Festival, only their version of it boasts an extra creamy ratio of seven-part green beans and three-part sticky rice!
Getting there (5-minute walking distance): Tai Hing, 66 Parkes Street, Jordan, Kowloon
Walk down Chi Wo Street and make a right turn on Jordan Road. Walk towards Nathan Road and cross over to the other side. Continue walking and turn right into Parkes Street. Tai Hing will be located on your right shortly after you turned.
Yuen Fong Dumplings – 圓方餃子
Known best for their freshly made dumplings with very generous filling, Yuen Fong Dumplings is a famous little store located in Sham Shui Po. While most customers really just go for their regular dumplings, their rice dumplings are also worth mentioning as the shop owners make them from scratch following a traditional recipe which yields a nostalgic taste.
Getting there (20 minutes by MTR) 104 Fuk Wa St, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
Make your way to the Jordan MTR and take the red Tsuen Wan Line towards Tsuen Wan. After 4 stops, get off at Sham Shui Po Station and exit at B2. Walk towards Fuk Wa Street and Yuen Fong Dumplings will be on your right.
Three Virtues Vegetarian Restaurant – 三德素食館
Rice dumplings can totally be vegetarian friendly. Three Virtues Vegetarian Restaurant in Jordan offers ones that are made with chestnuts, shitake mushrooms, peanuts, vegetarian ham, wild rice and sticky rice. Along with other famous vegetarian dishes like the crispy vegetarian duck, try out their rice dumplings on Dragon Boat Festival.
Getting there (6-minute walking distance): G/F & 4/F, JD Mall, 233-239 Nathan Road, Jordan, Kowloon
Walk down Chi Wo Street and make a right turn on Jordan Road. Walk towards Nathan Road and cross over to the other side. Cross over Jordan Road this time and enter JD Mall. Three Virtues Vegetarian Restaurant is on the ground floor and 4th floor.