When Hong Kongers are looking for a place to leave the stress of the skyscrapers behind, Sai Kung with its tranquil seafront promenade is an easy escape, especially with the legions of seafood restaurants along the waterfront that are teeming with freshly caught fish, straight off the sampans.
After a long hike through the Sai Kung hills or a relaxed stroll through its culturally rich villages, a hearty meal filled with fresh seafood can be the ultimate way to fuel up for the rest of the day or wind down at the end of it. But when faced with row after row of plentiful aquariums, it can be hard to recognise which types of seafood are good choices and which are detrimental to the health of the oceans from which they are plucked. Much of the seafood in the tanks along the seafront does not come from nearby waters, but this can be a good thing in terms of sustainability. By knowing the origins of the seafood you order and deciding on species that are in plentiful supply and sustainably sourced, you can indulge in a meal that makes you feel as good about your choices as they taste once they hit your tongue.
Here are some of the commonly found options in seaside seafood restaurants around Hong Kong and a manageable and condensed list of what to choose and what to avoid:
This includes giant grouper, orange-spotted grouper, areolate grouper, duskytail grouper, camouflage grouper and tiger grouper.
Seafood images credit: Cheddar Media
The best choices
Bivalves are generally good choices from seafront restaurants. Go for a steaming pot of clams, a fragrant dish of mussels, some braised oysters or a juicy plate of scallops with garlic and chilli.
Abalone from China or Australia is another good choice, so go ahead and order a big sharing portion of this shellfish, sautéed, seared or steamed just the way you like it.
Photo credit: Ken Wang
Good options from Canada that are often seen at Hong Kong seafood restaurants include lobster, sea cucumber, whelk and geoduck (their origins are even sometimes helpfully listed right on the tanks).
For a complete guide to sustainable seafood options, have a look at the WWF guide here or check out the Choose Right Today website and scroll through the Choose Right and Choose Wrong information to continue making informed choices in relation to your daily dining decisions.