No trip to Asia is complete without tasting the vast array of eclectic food options in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
"Hong Kong has more than 14,000 food outlets," says Michael Lim, Director of Canada, Central and South America for the Hong Kong Tourism Board, "ranging from street vendors to the highest Michelin Star restaurants. There is something for everyone here."
In Taiwan, just a short 95-minute flight away, food is an obvious priority. Walk three steps, according to an old saying, and you'll find a small bistro. Walk five steps and you'll come to a restaurant. With a diverse range of indigenous and other cultures, Taiwan offers its own twist on Chinese food in addition to its the local dishes.
"Taiwan is a culinary paradise," says Linda Lin, Director – San Francisco Office of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau. "It's a melting pot of fine food from all across the globe, from traditional Chinese cuisine to exotic delights."
Taiwan's unique dining trends also embrace a mixture of health and nature. There are many restaurants that serve a creative, menuless cuisine in the countryside or by creeks in the mountains.
"While you can experience different taste sensations in Hong Kong and Taiwan," Michael says, "our food is complementary. And both destinations can cater to different dietary considerations that are based on religion or lifestyle choices, such as halal or vegetarian dishes."
A popular place for dining in Hong Kong is the Hong Kong-style teahouse, or cha chaan teng, which offers a unique fusion of western fast food and Chinese delicacies along with the rich, creamy Stocking Milk Tea. Or visit some of the walled-villages to sample local poon-choi (big bowled feast). These villages were originally walled to keep out tigers and bandits. Happily these are no longer an issue, but the walled-villages and the tasty cooking styles of their residents still remain to add a touch of cultural history to a meal.
Because the two destinations are so close and easily reached, it's easy to have lunch in Hong Kong and pop over to Taiwan for dinner. Night food markets are a fixture in Taiwan, offering fresh Taiwanese delicacies alongside clothing and fun accessories.
"CNNGO rated Taiwan's 300 plus night markets as a top attraction," notes Linda. "Here you can try different types of food in smaller portions."
Both cities offer exquisite gourmet dining and, for the less adventurous, western food is readily available, albeit with a distinct Chinese twist. It's safe to say that whatever your take on food – East, West, or a fusion of the two – there's a restaurant, bistro, or food cart for you.
For more information on the local and international cuisine of Hong Kong and Taiwan, visit www.taiwanhongkong.com.