Monday, 21 June 2010

Foraging in Hong Kong?

What Can We Eat?????
Foraging - the “act of looking or searching for food or provisions" – is a concept that I’m more and more drawn to. Foraging is how our original ancestors acquired food as hunter gatherers. When practised sustainably it is a way to eat that links the food with the consumer; man with nature. Even in Australia’s harsh environment fishing, shooting roos, diving for scallops and abalone and harvesting wild nuts and herbs is pretty accessible. Yet here in Hong Kong I read blogs about foraging, I think about foraging, yet I do very little of it. Why?
What can I hunt and gather within our SAR? I do a bit of fishing and eat the occasional salt water species, though I’m too concerned about water quality to try freshwater fish. The odd papaya and mulberry finds itself into my possession. I use banana leaves for cooking, buffalo poo for compost and bamboo for gardening stakes and that folks is the extent of my Hong Kong foraging. I've seriously considered munching on the massive snails that reside here, but was scarred off by rat lungworm and have seen people gather medical herbs around my village. I’ve searched the net extensively but can’t find anything in English. Is it a language barrier and a lack of information holding me back or is the Hong Kong environment so corrupted that people have stopped bothering? Surely there must be older residents still foraging amongst villages of the New Territory? If anyone has any information please help.

Read foraging adventures here, here and here.


Edward said...


I'm impressed that you have even thought about this in the context of HK. But why not - surely in the lush greeness of the New Territory (as you suggest) there must be produce waiting to be found.

Andrew said...

Hey Edward

I agree there should be plenty of edible vegetation out here in the New Territories. Though about all I've been able to discover is that there's tea growing on some of the higher slopes (an early introduction by the British to try and compete with China, before realising India was more suitable). I've seen people gather plants around my village, but I'm sure it's for medical rather than culinary purposes. The think the trick will be to searching in Chinese rather than English.


antoniahk said...

How about digging for clams on sandy beaches? There are lots to be found - small but still tasty.

T said...

searching fish or shellfish as foods from sea is reasonable in Hong Kong.

Harbourfront Hung Hom Hotel, nice place to foraging. (catch 鱸魚)
(I recommend book boat to fishing, $500up/day. catch 石斑,青衣,紅衫...)

This book is good: Hong Kong fruits & seeds / text and illustrations by T. Crawford Godfrey.

(lots of plants in Hong Kong are poison, be careful)

Unknown said...

I'm a video journalist and am looking for a forager in Hong Kong for my next story. Can you guys help?

Anton said...

Plenty foragers from what I see. Many people climb up our mountain with bags collecting leaves and things. I always wanted to learn what they were collecting. An illustrated book or web site would be fantastic.