The equivalent of a beachside BBQ in the east would be “dai pai dong”, where the mood is just as boisterous and elevated and the food just as succulent, juicy, and mouth watering.
In HK, eating foods from street vendors that serve up plates of local Chinese dishes to hungry customers that sit themselves at wooden tables and plastic stools set up a few feet from where the food is frying is a very typical and common food culture. These food stands, known to the locals as “dai pai dong” could be found anywhere that people gather and mingle. These open air outdoors food eats in HK are praised for their tasty and delicious dishes at great and affordable prices. Most important of all, the “wok hei” found in every dish is highly praised and expected from hungry eaters. Roughly translated, “wok hei” refers to the artistry of the chef at mastering and handling the giant wok, enabling him to bring out the freshness and aroma of the dishes being fried up. With a few beers to go along with the dishes, these outdoor “dai pai dong” could become very boisterous as people start talking louder and “letting loose”, embracing the environment and other people around them.
The more famous dai pai dongs could be found on Graham Street in Central, Temple street in Yau Mai Tei, or Jardine’s Bazzar in Causeway Bay. These dai pai dongs are usually surrounded by stalls and vendors hawking goods such as t-shirts, ladies accessories, street jewellery, etc. The “dai pai dong” street I was at is located in Yuen Long, a suburban part of Hong Kong, and where people congregate, there will be food stands. I was at a pedestrian street that is famous in Yung Long for its “dai pai dong” and skewer stands, and there was a shop that is famous for marinated goose, and it was delicious! I arrived just as evening sets in and restaurants are starting to open up tables and set up chairs while customers are slowly rolling in. It is easy to imagine the vibrancy of this street and its diners as dinnertime is about to approach