Reporting by Elizabeth Jerabek
Photos by Jesse Pyeatt
As one of the city’s most popular day-trip destinations, Tai O is as big on street food as it is on scenic views. You don’t have to venture far from the main village, near the ferry pier and bus terminus, to find hawker stalls aplenty. In the mood for fish balls? Head to Fuk Hing Hong on Wing On Street. Fancy a charcoal-grilled seafood skewer? They’re a speciality (oyster, scallop, squid or shrimp) at Tai O Store just a few stalls down.
Tai O is, of course, famed for its shrimp paste, traditionally made from nocturnally caught silver shrimp, which is salted, fermented and dried in the sun. To get your head around shrimp paste’s distinctive umami flavour, make your way to Cheung Choi Kee on Kat Hing Street and pick up a roti-wrapped ‘husband roll’ – the minced pork inside is packed with it.
To indulge your sweet tooth, look no further than Tai O Egg Waffle Uncle on Tai O Market Street. ‘Uncle’ churns out eggpuff waffles over an ancient charcoal stove, and he knows exactly when to spin the griddle to produce an evenly cooked waffle with a subtle vanilla flavour – similar to that of an ice cream cone but with a softer, chewier texture.
While in Tai O, you’ll also want to follow your nose – and the aroma of freshly fried doughnuts – to Tai O Bakery on Kat Hing Street. In business for over 30 years, this stall is famous for its sa yong – deep-fried puffs of sweet dough that are rolled in sugar while still piping hot. Hou sik!
GO-TO HAWKER STALLS
Fuk Hing Hong for fish balls;
Cheung Choi K ee’s shrimp paste-flavoured husband rolls;
Tai O Egg Waffle Uncle;
Tai O Ba kery’s hot sugar doughnuts