Top 13 Hong Kong Culture Facts Travelers Should Know

Understanding Hong Kong culture facts helps tourists explore the beauty of the city.

Are you ready for a virtual trip to the fantastic city of Hong Kong? Its unique blend of tradition and modernity, shaped by centuries of history and cultural diversity, has made it one of the most loved tourist destinations in the world. And today, we’ll explore some incredible things about its culture. So buckle up and get ready to join me on a cultural journey of discovery in the heart of Asia. We’ll explore the vibrant and fascinating Hong Kong culture facts and some Cantonese expressions. Let’s go!

Must-Know Hong Kong Culture Facts

1. The Dim Sum Culture In Hong Kong

Let’s kick off with something delicious – the food! Cantonese cuisine is the show’s star, and dim sum is the superstar. It’s a style of Hong Kong cuisine that features small portions of food served in small steamer baskets or on small plates. Some popular dim sum dishes include siu mai, har gow, cha siu bao, and egg tarts. Think of it like a Cantonese version of tapas. It’s traditionally served for breakfast or brunch and accompanied by a piping hot cup of tea.

2. Hong Kong’s Tea Culture

In addition to dim sum, Hong Kong is also famous for its tea culture. Tea is a big deal in Hong Kong’s food culture and is often associated with relaxation and socialization. You’ll notice that tea is served with almost every meal. For the locals, it’s a great way to sit back, relax, and chat with their friends and family.

It’s a common practice for people in Hong Kong to meet over a cup of tea and catch up on things. Did you know that in Cantonese, the word for tea is “cha”? So next time you’re in a restaurant and want to order tea, say “Yum cha sik cha,” which means “Let’s drink tea together!” and impress your friends with your newfound language skills.

The Hong Kong society believes in the power of Feng Shui.

3. Feng Shui Is A Part Of Hong Kong Culture

In Hong Kong, you’ll see that the placement of objects is taken seriously. That’s because Feng Shui is a big deal in this bustling city! Feng Shui practitioners believe that the arrangement of furniture and decorations can affect the flow of energy in a space, which can impact a person’s luck and fortune. This is why many Hong Kong residents consult with Feng Shui experts to ensure that their homes and offices are arranged to promote good vibes and positive energy.

Fun fact: In Cantonese, Feng Shui is pronounced as “fung shway” and means “wind-water.”

4. Cantonese Is Widely Spoken In Hong Kong

Did you know that Cantonese is the most widely spoken language in Hong Kong?

Cantonese is a dialect of Chinese that’s also spoken in other parts of China, as well as in Macau and other overseas Chinese communities. One thing that makes Cantonese so unique is its rich and expressive tones. Try picking up some basic Cantonese phrases when you’re in Hong Kong. For example, you can say “nei hou” to greet someone, which means “hello” in Cantonese.

5. Mahjong Is Cantonese People Favorite Pastime

Ah, Mahjong, the game known to bring families and friends together! This traditional Chinese game has become popular worldwide but is especially beloved in Hong Kong. 

The game is played with tiles decorated with Chinese characters and symbols. Players use a combination of skill, strategy, and luck to create sets of tiles to win. While strolling around Hong Kong, you’ll see Mahjong parlors in different neighborhoods. But don’t worry! You don’t have to be an expert to join in on the fun! Just learning a few basic Cantonese phrases, like “ngo bat jan” (I don’t want that tile) or “ho lok” (good luck), can help you get started.

Hong Kong people believe that the Lion Dance brings good luck.

6. The Lion Dance Cultural Heritage

This traditional Chinese performance art is a must-see experience that will leave you in awe. Skilled dancers dressed as lions will mesmerize you as they move to the beat of drums and cymbals. It’s truly a treat for the senses, with the vibrant colors and lively movements of the lions. The Lion Dance is a cherished part of Hong Kong’s cultural heritage. It is believed to bring good luck and fortune, typically performed during Chinese New Year and other festive occasions. 

To get into the spirit, try saying “hei3 baa3 si6 fu2” (喜迎四福), which means “welcoming four blessings with joy” in Cantonese.

7. Hong Kong Is Home To A Vibrant Arts Scene

If you’re a culture vulture, Hong Kong won’t disappoint! This vibrant city is brimming with world-class cultural institutions that showcase the best of the arts. The Hong Kong Arts Festival is a highlight of the calendar, with an exciting line-up of music, theater, dance, and other performances by top artists from around the globe.

So the next time you visit Hong Kong, catch the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra or Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra in action for a truly unforgettable musical experience. And if contemporary art is your thing, head to the Hong Kong Arts Centre for cutting-edge exhibitions and cultural exchange.

University students in Hong Kong take their lessons seriously.

8. Hong Kong People Value Their Education

Hong Kong is home to some brilliant people! We’re talking about the top-ranked universities here, friends! The University of Hong Kong (#55), Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (#95), and Hong Kong Baptist University (#583) are all local institutions known to be among the best in the world. From science to the arts, these universities are hubs for academic excellence and innovative research.

And you know what they say, “siu hak, wut siu” (學學,玩足) or “study hard, play hard!” 

9. Hong Kong Dollar Is Its Own Currency

Did you know that the Hong Kong dollar is the official currency of Hong Kong? It’s been around since 1863, and it’s still going strong! It is pegged to the US dollar, so its value is tied to Uncle Sam’s currency. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority ensures everything is running smoothly and the currency stays stable.

So remember to bring some “ngan4 dim2” (money) with you, and get ready to explore the city’s museums, temples, and thriving markets!

10. Hong Kong Island Is Loved By Its People

Hong Kong’s relationship with mainland China is a fascinating part of its culture and history. In 1997, Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region of China with its legal system, economy, and lifestyle. 

This unique political situation has led to a blending of Chinese and Western cultures, with Hong Kong developing its own distinct identity. Despite this, there have been tensions between Hong Kong and mainland China, exacerbated by recent pro-democracy protests. As you can see, the Hong Kong people are proud of their city’s rich history and culture and are fiercely protective of their way of life.

The ongoing debate about the region’s future is a testament to the deep connection that Hong Kongers feel towards their home.

Horse racing is a part of Hong Kong's culture.

11. The Hong Kong Jockey Club Is A Major Part Of The Culture

The Hong Kong Jockey Club is a big deal in the city. As a nonprofit organization, they’re all about horse racing and other types of gambling in Hong Kong. And let me tell you, their racing events are a significant part of Hong Kong’s social and cultural scene! The club also has a big heart, with a solid philanthropic arm that supports a wide range of social and environmental causes in Hong Kong and beyond. 

In Cantonese, they might say, “ngo jau tai siu, ngoh sik tai maa,” which means, “I gamble big, I bet on horses big!”

12. Hong Kong Is Home To A Rich Dance Tradition

Dance is more than just busting a move at a club in Hong Kong. It’s a serious art form that’s been an essential part of the city’s cultural heritage for centuries! The Hong Kong Dance Company, City Contemporary Dance Company, and the Hong Kong Ballet are all homegrown dance troupes that blend contemporary styles with traditional Chinese influences. Their performances are a must-see for anyone who loves dance, art, and culture.

And you know what? These groups keep the local dance traditions alive and push the art form’s boundaries, making dance a vibrant part of Hong Kong’s cultural scene.

13. Hong Kongers Are A Diverse And Multicultural Group

Hong Kong island is like a giant pot of culture stew, with a bubbling mix of people from all over the world and a generous helping of local ethnic Chinese. It’s a global hub packed with people who can speak many different languages and follow other religions and cultural customs. 

And in Cantonese, there’s a saying: “hóu yùn gàai yauh hóu yùn chì” which means that “more clouds mean more raindrops.” In other words, the more diverse Hong Kong gets, the more its culture becomes more prosperous and interesting.

Useful Cantonese Phrases

Learning a few conversational Cantonese phrases is always a good idea if you plan a trip to Hong Kong. Not only will it make your experience more enjoyable, but it will also show the locals that you have a genuine interest in their culture.

Don’t worry about not getting the pronunciation right the first time! The locals will appreciate your effort.

Where is the MTR station?鐵路站喺邊度?tit-loh-jun hai bin dou?
How much does this cost?呢個要幾錢?ni goiu jik cin?
Can you recommend a good restaurant?你可以介紹一間好嘅餐廳嗎?nei ho yi gaai gaau hou ge chaan teng maa?
Do you speak English?你識唔識講英文?nei sik m sik gong ying man?
I’m lost. Can you help me find my way?我迷路啦,可以幫我揾路嗎?ngo mai lou la, ho yi bong ngo wan lou maa?
I don’t understand唔明白ngo5 m4 ming4 baak6
Learn Cantonese With the Ling app

Learn Cantonese With Ling

Looking to learn more about Hong Kong culture and language? Check out the Ling app!

With its interactive experience, fun quizzes, and games, the Ling pp is an excellent resource for anyone looking to learn Cantonese and discover interesting Hong Kong cultural facts. From learning popular Cantonese phrases to exploring the city’s rich traditions, the Ling app has everything you need to become an expert on all things Hong Kong.

Download from Google Play or App Store now!

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