The clear skies and crisp cool of Hong Kong’s autumn months make this the best time of year in the city, hands down. We’re hard-pressed to think of a better way to enjoy the current weather than with a Hong Kong-style barbecue.
Barbecue is an outdoor activity that everyone can enjoy (it involves food…and often booze), and pits can be found at most country parks, hiking trails, beaches and campsites. In case you aren’t familiar with the difference, here are the ways in which Hong Kongers like to grill.
- Fire, fuel and forks
Charcoal is the fuel of choice, and is usually placed in an open fire pit on the ground or in a standing metal barbecue. A grill is used only when cooking clams and other seafood and is arguably unnecessary. The metal barbecue fork is the weapon of choice for grilling and while it can be challenging to spear a whole chicken wing or pork chop onto a single fork, practice makes perfect.
- Everyone gets their hands dirty
At a Hong Kong-style barbecue, everyone is Chef. Each barbecutionist cooks their feast one piece at a time, eating as they go. Time spent together grilling next to the fire offers the perfect opportunity to catch up with friends and family.
- Favourite picks
Without fail, the first things to go are the fish, meatballs and sausages, which are quick to cook and perfect while the fire is still warming up. Meatballs can be made with fish, shrimp, pork and beef with various fillings such as herbs, fish roe and cheese. Sausages are usually of the pinkish “hot dog” variety, but can also contain cheese, chilli or garlic seasoning.
- Meats and marinades
The marinades provide the quintessential Hong Kong barbecue flavour. Fermented tofu wings, black pepper steaks, lemongrass or char siu sauce pork chops are all classic BBQ favourites with a twist. Bonus points if you remember to bring honey for glazing. It elevates anything it is applied to during the final stages of cooking. Return the glazed protein to the fire and caramelise for a smoky-sweet finish.
- More is more!
A table is piled high with food, mise-en-place-style, to allow for easy reach. Hong Kongers like to barbecue well into the night and spots like Deep Water Bay come alive with the sounds of music and chatter, sometimes into the early hours. Check out a few of our faves, in Tai Me Tuk, Shek O and Stanley.
Instagram photo by @carmenwong33