Tiny Kitchen Cooking in Hong Kong

Right now, we are traveling. But this is still a food blog. A cooking blog, to be exact. So I’m happy this post is about our first home-cooked meal, made in a Hong Kong kitchen. Our first two homemade meals, actually—I couldn’t waste the leftovers.

At home in Seattle, I have a tiny kitchen. Or so I thought. At least compared to everyone else. But now I know, our kitchen is expansive compared to the tiny kitchen cooking that’s the norm for Hong Kong.

If you’ve heard anything about the city, it’s that the food is amazing (and cheap) and the apartments are tiny. Neither of these attributes suggest cooking as an activity while traveling there. In fact, our host, Michelle, told us only 1 in 10 guests ever use her kitchen. But while the dining scene is varied, cooking in Hong Kong has it’s own unique advantages.

Wet Market Shopping

On crowded Hong Kong Island, there are grocery stores at every corner. We used these for convenience at times. Far more exciting are the fruit stands and wet markets. I never pass up the opportunity to browse a food market while traveling. But I find more satisfaction in knowing I can buy anything I want because I have a kitchen to cook in. Cantonese prevails in Hong Kong wet markets. Still, with everything laid out before you, language doesn’t matter much. Prices are marked and so low you rarely worry about overspending. If you do get overwhelmed, simply buy exotic fruit.

Fresh Fruit Board With Tangerines, Mangoes and Dragonfruits
Inexpensive, fresh and delicious—fresh fruit from Hong Kong’s wet markets.
We bought a bag of tangerines, mangoes and dragonfruits for about $5 US.

Simple Cooking in a Tiny Hong Kong Kitchen

Stir-fry. Simple to make and loved by everyone. We made ours with quinoa instead of rice because Michelle had extra in her pantry. I bought tofu puffs at the Shau Kei Wan wet market to eat with organic greens bought from a store the night before.

Stir-fry Ingredients: Choy Sum and Fried Tofu
Fresh choy sum (also called Chinese flowering cabbage) and fried tofu purchased from a Hong Kong wet market, prepped and ready for making stir-fry.

Ten minutes after the quinoa had cooked, our stir-fry was ready. Only a few seasonings were needed to finish this simple home-cooked dish. I had already added sliced garlic with the greens. At home, I would have used soy sauce. Liquid aminos was a fine alternative to add both saltiness and savoriness. I did not know about black sesame oil—it will be one of the first things I look for when I get home. The oft-forgotten acid from vinegar always brings a nice balance to vegetarian dishes. In this case, apple cider vinegar, but any will work. Salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes to finish. Lucky us Michelle has sea salt and peppercorns, luxuries for the cooking traveler.

Stir-fry With Quinoa, Choy Sum and Fried Tofu
Choy sum and fried tofu stir-fry served on white quinoa.

Leftovers for Breakfast

Easy and protein-packed to start the day: fried “rice” made with leftover quinoa and stir-fry. This is our leftovers from dinner with the addition of cooked eggs. We enjoyed it with more fruit from the wet market.

Fried Quinoa With Eggs and Leftover Stir-Fry
Leftover stir-fried choy sum and tofu make a quick fried quinoa breakfast with eggs.

The Reality of Tiny Kitchen Cooking

To my surprise, cooking in a tiny Hong Kong kitchen was more fun than frustrating. I can’t speak for the long-term (yet!). But the constraints of one burner, limited supplies and hand washing forced us to simplify every step. And by us, I mean me, or I mean Matt—but I don’t mean both of us at the same time. It’s definitely a one-person kitchen.

Cooking in a Tiny Hong Kong Kitchen
One of the perks of travel: making dinner in a Hong Kong kitchen.

Eating out in a new city is fun. We love to try new foods. Yet I crave more fruits and vegetables than restaurants serve. I knew from previous trips that cooking would not just be fun. Rather, it’s an essential activity to sustaining long-term travel. So I would add preparing a simple and healthy meal in a tiny Hong Kong kitchen as an experience not to be missed.

10 Replies

  • I am already looking forward to home-cooked meals in Taiwan.
    As always, your meals look interesting and healthy and, as Cline used to say about your cooking, tasty!

    • Okay, pressure is on. I’ll try to come up with something good. Although we may be too busy trying all the great food I hear Taiwan has to offer!

  • Thot I would stop in to see if you had more adventures to share, and was not disappointed. It looks like a truly great market (dragon fruits!?) and (tiny kitchen) cooking adventure so far! Looking forward to further adventures….

    • Now that we’re a little further into the trip, I know you don’t always get such great kitchens to cook in. Fortunately, the awesome markets and corner stores continue regardless of what neighborhood we’re in.

  • Tiny Hong Kong kitchen is still about twice the size of our small motor home kitchen! I had been wondering how much cooking you would get to do on this trip. Lucky you to have such a nice hostess to help make it happen.

    • Hi Janice! Thanks for stopping by the blog. Who knows, maybe I’ll find an even smaller kitchen to cook in before the trip is up. We did luck out with Michelle’s place.

  • well, not sure exactly what these foods taste like, but I am sure I will be eating some of this stuff when I see you in April. small kitchen makes for a fast clean up though…………..

    • We’ll make sure to stock up on extra vegetables for your trip! And yes, the clean-up is easy. Good thing since there are no dishwashers.

  • That dragon fruit looked yummy! Could you mention to Matt that I have tried several times…apparently unsuccessfully to sign up for his blog. I’m loving the drawings, but the first secret word won’t get me in to the others. I see your mama this week. Who knows what trouble we will get into!

    • Somehow those were the first dragonfruits I had ever bought. They were good, but the mangoes were our favorite. They were so much more flavorful than the ones I’ve had at home. Also, Matt is adding you to his email list. You should be able to use the new code words on his site: http://www.mattqueen.com

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