37 Easy Cantonese recipes (Hong Kong) 2024 - Greedy Girl Gourmet (2024)

Published: by Zen · This post may contain affiliate links.

A list of the best easy Cantonese recipes that you can cook at home, and are better than takeout! From Congee, fried rice, Dim Sum and Char Siu to Wonton Soup, Sweet and Sour Pork, Egg Tarts, Pineapple Buns and even drinks such as Yuan Yang Milk Tea, I have the Hong Kong recipes for you!

37 Easy Cantonese recipes (Hong Kong) 2024 - Greedy Girl Gourmet (1)
Jump to:
  • What is Cantonese Cuisine?
  • Soups
  • Congee (Jook)
  • Seafood
  • Meat
  • Carbs
  • Dim Sum
  • Home cooking
  • Desserts
  • Delicacies
  • Drinks
  • 💬 Comments

What is Cantonese Cuisine?

Cantonese cuisine, also known as Yue cuisine (粤菜 yuè cài), is 1 of the cuisines of China's Guangdong province in Southern China. It is specific to the Cantonese speaking parts along the Pearl Delta River: Guangzhou (its capital), Hong Kong and Macau. (Guangdong has 2 other groups- Hakka and Chao Zhou- which have their own cuisines, but Cantonese cuisine is the most famous of the 3.)

Fun fact: If you've ever eaten in a Chinese restaurant in America, Canada or UK, it's 99.9% likely that you're eating Cantonese food. (The majority of Chinese restaurants outside Asia are Cantonese.)

Chinese culture is big on food and Cantonese cuisine is considered 1 of its 4 great traditions of Chinese Food (in addition to Chuan, Lu, and Huaiyang i.e. the cuisines of West, North, South & East China.)

It is also 1 of its 8 modern culinary treasures:

  • Anhui (徽菜;Huīcài)
  • Guang Dong/ Cantonese (粤菜;Yuècài)
  • Fujian(闽菜;Mǐncài)- where my family is from!
  • Hunan (湘菜;Xiāngcài)
  • Jiangsu (苏菜;Sūcài)
  • Shandong(鲁菜;Lǔcài)
  • Sichuan (川菜;Chuāncài)
  • Zhejiang(浙菜;Zhècài).

Note: if you're wondering why I'm sharing a post on Cantonese recipes when my ancestors are from Fujian, that's because the dominant Chinese cuisine in Singapore is Cantonese!

Characteristics

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How do you tell if the food is Cantonese?

  • Scallion, ginger and garlic are considered the Holy Trinity of Cantonese recipes, similar to mirepoix (onions, carrots and celery) in French food
  • Emphasis on preserving the taste of the ingredients (a little like Italian cooking): the flavor is from the freshness and quality of the food used, so there is little application of spices
  • It's all about the "wok hei" or breath of the wok- a somewhat smoky flavor that the best Cantonese dishes have thanks to the super hot fire
    • This is why it can be hard to cook restaurant quality Cantonese food at home- our fires just aren't hot enough!
  • Herbs are used in moderation, mostly as garnishes
  • Preserved ingredients are used to add flavour. Some examples are:
    • salted egg
    • dried shrimps
    • dried scallops
    • dried shiitake mushrooms
    • Mei cai (pickled cabbage)
    • La Chang (dried sausage)
  • The Cantonese are known for its soups, such as old fire soup/ lao huo tang, silky congee and dim sum.
  • As Guangdong has a coastal location, seafood is another key ingredient of Cantonese recipes
    • ordering steamed fish is a great way to tell if the restaurant is worth its salt!
  • You sometime see "weird" ingredients, such as chicken feet, entrails, frogs and snakes, in Cantonese recipes
    • Frogs meat is delicious! It's like a really tender chicken
    • Lamb and goat are uncommon though

Sauces

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Savory sauce is often used in Cantonese food recipes, including:

Soups

Cantonese soup is so good, I can have 2-3 bowls (of different soups) when I go to a restaurant. They're particularly good at slow-cooked soups and double-boiled soups, but I've focused on easier soup recipes below.

Vegan Wonton Soup

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To make it a complete meal, you can add some wonton noodles. Don't forget the spring onion garnish!

Easy Vegan Wonton Soup for Colds

Done in 20 minute vegan Chinese wonton soup that tastes as good as the traditional version. Gluten-free and made without commercially bought stock/ bouillon cube OR hours of making homemade stock! A great flu fighter thanks to the ginger and garlic!

Click here for the meatless wonton soup recipe.

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Macaroni Soup

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This simple dish is very popular in Hong Kong's coffee shops, but super quick and easy to recreate in your own kitchen.

Hong Kong Macaroni Soup

Hong Kong Macaroni Soup is an easy and delicious comfort food found in the country'sCha Chaan Tengs (local cafes or diners), but it's really not difficult to make at home. And you can make it just as delicious but more healthy than the 1 in the cafe!

Click here for the Hong Kong pasta soup recipe.

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Ginseng Soup

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Chinese Ginseng Chicken Soup (4-ingredients)

This Chinese Ginseng Chicken Soup is really easy to make but so delicious that you can't tell it only uses 4 ingredients! Plus, it's made in 1 pot and mostly passive cooking.

Click here for the easy ginseng chicken soup recipe.

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Egg Drop Soup

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This is a very popular dish at Chinese restaurants, but you can make a better version, using my family recipe, if you have chicken stock at home!

Corn Egg Drop Soup (10-min)

Corn Egg Drop Soup is an easy but delicious Chinese soup that only takes 10 minutes to cook! Made with only simple ingredients that you can find in a regular grocery store, but so much better than takeout!

Click here for the Chinese sweetocrn soup.

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Silkie Chicken Soup

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Easy Chinese Black Chicken Soup (Silkie Chicken)

This easy Chinese Black Chicken Soup, also known as Silkie Chicken, is a traditional Chinese soup recipe that is delicious, nutritious AND only calls for 5 ingredients! I've made this Black Chicken soup recipe non-herbal, as many younger Asians find it hard to accept the strong flavours of herbal soup, but it's still very good for you!

Click here for the black chicken soup recipe.

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Congee (Jook)

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Jook or congee is the ultimate Cantonese comfort food, especially when you're under the weather- if you grew up in a Chinese home, you've definitely had this one time or another!

It can be eaten plain- and spiced up with toppings and small plates sich as century egg- or flavoured with seafood, chicken etc

Scallop Congee

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Dried scallop congee recipe

Click here for the seafood scallop congee recipe.

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Minced Pork Congee

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Chinese Ground Pork Congee Rice Porridge Recipe

This Chinese Ground Pork Congee Porridge Recipe is full of flavor and the perfect Asian comfort food for cold weather. This nourishing, one pot meal is a hug in a bowl, and will take you right back to your childhood! (Cantonese congee takes at least an hour to cook to cook till thick and creamy, so I also share 4 hacks to reduce the cooking time from 70-90 minutes to 25 minutes!)

Click here for the easy pork congee recipe.

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Fish Congee

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Chinese Fish Congee Recipe 魚片粥

This Chinese Fish Congee Recipe 魚片粥 is a delicious and easy Asian comfort food that will take you back to your childhood. It take at minimum an hour to make the traditional way and so I share 4 hacks to reduce the cooking time to 20 minutes!

Click here for the white fish porridge recipe.

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Abalone Congee

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Abalone is considered a premium and auspicious ingredient in Chinese cooking.

For more canned abalone recipes, click here.

Easy Chinese Canned Abalone Porridge

A no-fuss, easy Chinese Canned Abalone Porridge recipe, also known as jook or congee, which can be made using store cupboard ingredients. So easy there's only 1 photo for the step-by-step instructions, it's the perfect comfort food and a delicious recipe for a weekday dinner.

Click here for the abalone congee recipe.

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Shrimp Congee

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Easy Chinese Seafood congee with shrimp/ prawn

This Easy Chinese Seafood congee with shrimps or prawns is a delicious seafood rice porridge that is easy to cook but still silky and rich. Chicken stock/ broth optional!

Click here for the easy shrimp congee recipe.

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Some less traditional jook recipes include this Chicken Rice-inspired recipe and this leftover rotisserie chicken congee.

Seafood

Steamed fish

If you've ever eaten in a Cantonese restaurant, you'll know that a steamed whole fish is a can't-be-missed item on the menu. In fact, good Cantonese restaurants are so big on their fish, they cook live ones (and not frozen/ dead fish.)

Fun fact: if you know how to eat it, the fish head is considered a delicacy- the meat in the cheek is super tender! If you eat the head, you need to take responsibility for the tail too as, for every beginning (head), there's an end (tail.) In Chinese, this translates to "有头有尾 you tou you wei."

Eggs & Shrimp

Eggs are often scrambled with shrimp for an easy weeknight dish- click here for a 5-star recipe from Omnivore's Cookbook!

Meat

Soy Sauce Chicken

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This is a famous Cantonese dish that is often served as a trio with "siu Mei" (roasted meats) such as "siu yuk" (roast pork belly) and "char siu" (BBQ pork.)

However, to get the meat super tender, it will take a few hours of poaching. (It's an easy recipe but takes a while to cook.) If you're in a rush, make the easy chicken thighs version below.

Best Poached One Pot Chinatown Soy Sauce Chicken Recipe

This Cantonese classic chicken is an easy-to-recreate-restaurant dish that can be made in 1 pot! It's also the gift that keeps giving as the leftover poaching liquid can be used for so many things (see post above). (Inspired by 4 recipes: Woks Of Life, SCMP, Burning Kitchen and Red House Spice)

Click here for the classic Cantonese chicken recipe.

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Note: Roasted goose is a little more difficult to make at home- not many supermarkets sell goose, for one!

However, if you're ever in Hong Kong, you should try the famous roasted goose- my family used to stop by Yung Kee every time we were in town to eat, but some people say the quality's gone down in recent years.

Easy Soy Chicken Thighs

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Easy Chinese Braised Soy Sauce Chicken Thighs

A simplified but still delicious version of the most popular recipe on my website (Chinatown soya sauce chicken): this easy Chinese braised soy sauce chicken thighs recipe is simple to make in one pot and done in ⅓ the time!

Click here for an easy weeknight version of Cantonese soy sauce chicken.

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Pork Ribs

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An easy version of "tang chu pai gu" (sweet vinegar pork ribs, literally but usually called "sweet and sour pork" in the West), once you've made these 12345 ribs you'll never look back!

12345 Chinese Spare Ribs (5-ingredients)

These Chinese Spare Ribs are delicious, finger-licking Asian-style pork spare ribs that are as simple to cook as 12345 (a mnemonic device that will also help you recall the recipe.) Using only the Asian pantry staples of wine, dark soy sauce, vinegar and sugar to braise the meat, with only a few minutes of active cooking, this is the best easy sticky Chinese Spare Ribs for a lazy food lover.

Click here for these life-changing braised pork ribs!

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Sweet and Sour Chicken

Sweet and sour chicken- traditionally pork- is another very popular Cantonese recipe.

Char Siu Pork

Never met a person (who eats meat) that doesn't like Chinese BBQ Pork!

Note: the cuts of meat are not interchangeable. You can't switch pork belly for pork tenderloin without changing the roasting time and temperature. (If not, the meat will become too dry!)

Pork Trotters

A classic Cantonese dish, often eaten during confinement (the period after a woman gives birth), is vinegar pig trotters as it's considered to be a very warming and nourishing food.

Veggies & Tofu

Salted Ducks' Egg Yolk Tofu

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P.S. The same ducks egg sauce is used to coat deep-fried prawns or chicken and pork too!

Salted Egg Tofu (Fried tofu & salted egg yolk sauce)

This salted egg tofu is an easy but delicious recipe- the fried tofu is crispy and smothered with a creamy and buttery salted egg yolk sauce that has hints of the citrusy curry leaf and the spice of the chilli. Yum!

Click here for the salted egg beancurd recipe.

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Stir-fried Vegetables

A classic veg would be Choy Sum in Oyster sauce (here's a 10-minutes, easy recipe from Ohmyfoodrecipes.)

Carbs

Noodles

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Lobster noodles is a classic Cantonese dish- my family used to eat it every time we visited Chinatown in London- but, for something easier to cook at home, try these stir-fried noodles by Woon Heng. (Use rice noodles, not egg noodles, as the flavor of the latter doesn't go.)

Fun fact: (uncut) long noodles are a must-have dish for a Chinese birthday or Cantonese New Year as they symbolise long life!

Singapore Noodles

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Despite the "Singapore" in the name, this is actually a dish invented by Cantonese chefs in the West!

Shrimp Mei Fun (Fried Rice Noodles)

Shrimp Mei Fun is an easy Stir Fried Thin Rice Noodles Dish. Packed with shrimp and vegetables, it's a complete meal with fibre and protein that cam be made in under 30 minutes!

Click here for the seafood mei fun recipe.

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Fried Rice

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Rice is a staple at any Chinese table. If you end up with too much, overnight white rice is the secret ingredient to a good plate of fried rice, such as this Cantonese salted fish fried rice by The Woks of Life. The rice grains aren't so wet and don't clump together as much.

Click here for more Chinese fried rice recipes.

Claypot Rice

Claypot rice is another delicious Cantonese dish but it's not exactly for beginners- you need to buy a claypot for one and, if you don't know what you're doing, your claypot may crack!

Having said that, these days there are hacks such as using a rice cooker, but you don't get exactly the same flavor.

Dim Sum

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My favourites include:

  • char siu bao
    • Click here for a RasaMalaysia recipe (If you're wondering why I'm choosing a Malaysian recipe- there are lots of Cantonese in Malaysia. In fact, most Chinese people in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, speak Cantonese!)
    • For other bao fillings, click here.
  • lo bak gao (savoury carrot cake or turnip cakes)
    • Here's a RedHouseSpice recipe
    • It's not really made with carrot, but turnips are called white carrots in Chinese
  • sio mai
    • A RecipeTinEats recipe for you!
    • In Philippines, they eat their siomai with calamansi dipping sauce!
  • shrimp dumplings
    • If you're wondering what side dishes to serve at a dumpling party, click here

Home cooking

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There are some Cantonese foods that we make at home but you seldom see at fancy restaurants:

  • tomato omelette
  • ABC soup
  • Coca Cola wings
    • Here's a Noobcook recipe for beginners!
    • Make sure your soda doesn't contain aspartame as when aspartame is heated to above 86F/ 30C, the wood acid in it converts to formaldehyde and then formic acid which leads to metabolic acidosis (and mimics Multiple Sclerosis.) (Aspartame also loses its sweetness when heated.)

Desserts

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These are some popular tong sui (the Cantonese word for dessert- literally "sugar water."

Sea Coconut

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Sea Coconut dessert with longan sweet soup recipe

A Cooling Sea Coconut dessert with longan sweet soup, the perfect tong sui for hot days.

Click here for Asian sea coconut tong sui.

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Black Sesame Soup

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Extra black sesame seeds can be used in these recipes, such as sesame cookies. I also show you how to make your own black sesame paste.

Easy Black Sesame Soup Dessert

A sweet and creamy Chinese recipe, with nutty overtones giving this easy black sesame soup dessert a complex depth of flavour. Moreover, this 3-ingredient traditional Chinese Tong Sui is naturally vegan, gluten-free, delicious & very nutritious!

Click here for this nourishing and warming sesame dessert.

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Glutinous Rice Balls

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Tang Yuan (With Filling and Plain)

Tang yuan, or Chinese glutinous rice balls, are a 2 to 3-ingredient chewy snack that can be served in soup (sweet or savoury) or fried. Served at Chinese family gatherings, especially the Winter Solstice, they also come plain or with filling inside so, as you can see, this is a very versatile and easy dish!

Click here for the sweet rice dessert.

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Delicacies

There are several luxurious and sometimes controversial Cantonese dishes, such as bird's nest and shark's fin soup.

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Easy Swallow Nest Soup (Bird's Nest Dessert)

The easiest Chinese bird's nest dessert you could ever make!

Click here for a super easy Chinese birds' nest dessert recipe.

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Egg Tarts

Hong Kong Egg Tarts are quite different from Portugese ones. Try both and let me know which you prefer!

Drinks

Yuan Yang Tea

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Hong Kong Coffee milk tea recipe

Also known as Yuanyang, Yun Yeung or Yuenyueng tea, Hong Kong Coffee milk tea is a simple 4-ingredient, 3-step recipe that anyone can easily make at home. Tastes great both as a hot drink or cold- warming in winter and refreshing in summer!

Click here for the traditional cha chan teng drink recipe.

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What are your favourite easy traditional Cantonese recipes? If you've enjoyed this list, please pin it or share it on Twitter/ Facebook. Alternatively, if I've left out a must-try-Cantonese-dish, do let me know in the comments below!

I have other recipes you may like here! :)

  • 17 Easy Canned Lychee Recipes
  • 25 Best Red Chili Pepper Substitutes
  • 31 Side Dishes to Serve with Teriyaki Chicken
  • 15 Abalone Recipes for CNY 2024

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Angie says

    lo bak gao (savoury carrot cake). Do they call it carrot in Singapore? It's white turnips based upon my experience and other recipes.

    Reply

    • Zen says

      Yep we call it carrot cake in Singapore, Angie, but some people also call it turnip cake or radish cake. I just made some for lunch today actually! (My Mom's fave dish!)

      Reply

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