If there is one thing Hong Kong is deservedly famous for it’s food. There far are too many delicious culinary options to go into here. One for the carnivores visiting in Hong Kong is the Tai Po BBQs located Tai Mei Tuk north or Kowloon. Tai Po itself is not an area particularly visited by western faces. However that’s not for any particular reason more than it hasn’t been discovered!
A Tai Po BBQ is an all you can eat kind of affair. The food is plentiful and unsurprisingly for Hong Kong, good quality. Most Tai Po BBQ venue’s have a freezer room full of meat and the same for veg. You’re given a large plate when you arrive, and you fill the plate as high as you like with food. Once that’s gone you can keep going back, the food never ends!
There is always a host of food on offer. If beef tongue and fish balls aren’t your thing, then there’s chicken, marinaded beef, pork chops, and much much more. Halfway through your meal you’ll be given a giant prawn, a ceramic bowl full of cockles and some Chinese mushrooms. Once all the cockles are gone the bowl doubles up as a steamer for the veg! There’s normally honey, chilli and soy sauce provided so you can season your meat however you like.
A Tai Po BBQ consists of an open air courtyard full of diners, however the restaurants are well used to Hong Kong’s downpours and have covered areas if it’s raining. The one thing I’ve learnt, is that the weather never gets between a Hong Konger and their food!
Drinks are extra, but not expensive. A 660 ml beer is around HDK25 (about 3USD), and a bottle of water is around 8 or 9 HKD (USD 0.70). Most Hong Konger’s seem to bring their own anyway. Price for the BBQ varies depending on the season and the day, but you’ll be looking at around HDK150 (Approx 20 USD) per head.
The location itself is fantastic, right on the sea front, so you can look across the bay at Plover Cove as you’re enjoying your feast! Tai Mei Tuk is a destination in it’s own right. There’s a YHA here, and many Hong Kongers use the area to cycle, hike and generally just chill out. There are also several hikes that start from here such as the Plover Cove Country Trail or the Tai Mei Tuk family walk. What the beach lacks in beauty, it makes up for in intrigue. When the tide’s out in spring, it’s a great place to see mating starfish!
This is one of my favourite dining experiences in Hong Kong (although I am a big meat eater). It’s mostly frequented by young Hong Kongers. You’ll be hard pushed to see any other western faces here, however the BBQ owners are, like most Hong Kongers, a very friendly and accommodating bunch. If you’re looking to experience a truly authentic subculture of Hong Kong then I really recommend you come and try it out!
Tai Mei Tuk itself is easy enough to get to, Get the MTR East Line to Tai Po Market. Jump off head down the escalators and exit the barriers. Head straight on down the ramp to the bus park, turning left at the bottom to reach the Mini Bus stop. There you’ll need to look for the stop for bus 20C. Minibuses run every 10-15 minutes and cost HK$7.30 (approx 1 USD). The journey takes 10 minutes maximum, when you see Plover Cove on your right, you’re in the right place. If you want to make a day of it it’s possible to rent bikes just outside Tai Po Market station and cycle the 9km to Tai Mei Tuk along a dedicated cycle path (you can’t get lost).