Local Cooking Experience Hong Kong
Looking to do something a little off the beaten path in Hong Kong? How about a cooking class in a fairly unexplored part of Hong Kong? We decided to go with Edith from Local Cooking Experience Hong Kong to see what a cooking class in Hong Kong entailed. I’ve been to a cooking class in Thailand, loved it, and this time was no different!
What is Local Cooking Experience Hong Kong?
It’s a company run by Edith, a Hong Kong (HK) local who spent some of her formative years in Canada before returning back to HK for good. Cooking has also been her passion and now she’s sharing her passion with others as well. This isn’t her full time gig but a way for her to share her passion of Chinese home styled cooking. She’s super personable and lovely and invited us straight into her own cozy home in Ap Lei Chau for the cooking class. She’s not a professional cook, but rather, she had to learn how to cook through the necessity of being the eldest and having to feed her siblings whilst her mom was hard at work working long hours at a factory. When she grew older and started her own family, cooking became a necessity again, but to her, it was her passion and something she enjoyed at the same time. Gradually, Edith started teaching kids how to cook in her 30’s and finally realized in her 40’s that teaching cooking to adults was even more rewarding in the sense that they would use her recipes over and over again. She’s got great stories to tell about HK and she was very open and forthright in chatting – literally like meeting an old friend.
Half Day Market Tour & Cooking Class
We took her standard half-day private wet market and cooking class which begins at Lei Tung MTR station, which is literally only 10 minutes of a MTR ride from the Admiralty MTR station. I immediately knew it was going to be a great day because literally one of the first things we did was try a famous shop for their char siu (BBQ pork) & Edith got us the half fat/half skinny char siu, which all locals will tell you, is the best cut for char siu. Delicious!
And then off we went to explore Ap Lei Chau, which as Edith would tell you is the world’s second most densely populated island in the world, right behind Santa Cruz del Islote in Colombia. So how is the world’s second most densely populated island in the world? I’ll let the this photo do justice.
Not only did we see the Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter, but also we explored the many wet markets of Aberdeen, taking in the sights and sounds of the locals cutting up a whole pig in front of us or scraping the scales off the fish – if you’re interested to see the local way of life in HK, a wet market is one of the best places to be. After the explorations of the wet markets in HK, a coffee, a boat ride, and a quick bus ride, we arrived to Edith’s cozy abode. You will need to take off your shoes upon entry, so if you’re wearing sandals, it may be worthwhile to bring a pair of socks or something if you’re not the type to walk barefoot around the house.
And this is where the cooking class begins. Edith quickly got us to work – each with a task – from chopping, to slicing, to dicing, to even grating. What I really liked in this environment was because we were all seated around a table so we got to connect with the other guests in her cooking class, each telling their own travel stories and why they chose to do something that was a little more off-the-beaten path in HK. After all the preparation for the ingredients were done, Edith quickly tossed the ingredients together and we started to learn how to make dumplings. Let’s just say that my first dumpling wasn’t pretty looking but you quickly will get the hang of it. So much so in fact, that we started a contest to see who could finish their stack of pot sticker wrappers first. Let’s just say I pawned off some of my pot sticker wrappers because I was very slow… I digress… Edith got started on the other two dishes, which was a steamed tofu with scallops with black bean sauce and an eggplant with shitake mushrooms in a dark Indonesian soy sauce (I think she said it was Kecap – everybody needs some Kecap in their life). She expertly cooked both of the dishes whilst giving us handy cooking tips for when we want to try the dishes ourselves at home. By the time she finished stir frying the eggplant dish, the pot stickers were done as well. Time to eat! The pot stickers were cooked to perfection, with the bottom being golden brown and with just the perfect amount of crispness and then dipped in a spicy and vinegary concoction, which also happens to my favourite dipping sauce of all time.
It was such a pleasant way to spend a morning and it was also wonderful to see the local sights and sounds of the wet market. I think this cooking class is perfect for novice cookers – you can participate as much or as little as you want. Due to the fact that this is her actual residence and not an cooking school, you don’t get your own cooking station but Edith demonstrates the cooking step by step so you can easily replicate the dishes back home as she will give you the recipes to all the dishes which were made in class. The dishes that you are introduced to are great because they’re beginner dishes that are super tasty, easy and healthy. One of the things I realized about my Thailand cooking class is that whilst it was a wonderful experience – I still haven’t replicated the recipes at home because some of them took too much preparation, especially the ones that require you to have a mortar and pestle to grind up the spices to make your own spicy paste. On the other hand, the dishes that Edith showed us were very simple with readily available ingredients and seemed fail proof – I’ve already made the steamed tofu with scallop and the eggplant with a slight variation at home to great success. Here’s the photo as proof that I’m not an absolute klutz in the kitchen.
I wouldn’t recommend this class for professional or advanced chefs who are looking for very complex, difficult and professional recipes that require a high level of skill. I would; however, recommend this to all those looking to learn some easy Cantonese home-styled dishes in a very inviting and friendly environment and if you’re curious to see how a local Hongkee would live and cook in HK.
If you’re in HK, and you’re interested in one of the cooking classes that Edith has to offer, you can check out her website here. Please note I was invited by Edith to join her cooking class, but all opinions are my own. If you’re interested in eating 5+ courses of seafood, including the infamous Typhoon Shelter Crab on a sampan boat in the middle of a Typhoon Shelter, then you can join us on our Eat Typhoon Shelter Crab on a Sampan Boat Dinner. Even Anthony Bourdain raved about typhoon shelter crab so don’t miss out =)