Memories of Hong Kong

Here are some short reviews of good mid-range restaurants I went to in November 2006.

Some will still be valid but I can’t guarantee they are all still open.

Spring Deer, (B), 1st Floor, 42 Mody Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui metro, Open 12-3pm and 6-11pm, Tel. 2366 4012

Perhaps the most famous Peking duck restaurant in town, you have to reserve well in advance but may still have to wait a while, 30 mins in our case. The service is offhand, verging on the downright rude, in classic Chinese restaurant style (think Wong Kei, Soho) but the duck is very crispy.

Yung Kee (C), 32-40 Wellington St, Central metro, Open 11am-11.30pm, Tel. 2522 0631

A famous Cantonese institution known since 1942 for its roast goose (they farm their own) and dim sum (served 2-5pm). We found it difficult to get in and had to wait a while, maybe reserve if you can. Sadly our choices were ill-informed and we didn’t enjoy it very much, but that’s not to say it can’t be good. Next time I will get the goose rather than the thousand-year-eggs!

Leung Hing Restaurant (B), 32 Bonham Strand West, Sheung Wan, Sheung Wan metro, Open 7.30am-11pm, Tel. 2850 6666

A very local back street place specialising in Chiu Chow (or Teochew) food, a regional cuisine from the north east of China, known for its shellfish and vegetarian food, and with a reputation for being very healthy. I had the seafood noodles which were excellent and very reasonable. Just wish I’d been hungrier so I could have tried more dishes.

Kyozasa (A), 20 Ashley Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui metro, Open 12-2.30pm and 6-12pm, Tel. 2376 1888.

This is a very authentic Izakaya, the nearest equivalent to a pub in Japan, except that it serves a very wide variety of dishes. I lived in the Tokyo area for three years and this was just like going back; all the food was excellent and absolutely the real thing. We started with edamame (steamed soya beans) followed by sukiyaki (beef simmered in sweet sauce and dipped in raw egg), grilled fish, miso soup, sushi and sashimi and finishing with sake onigiri (salmon in balls of warm rice). Absolute heaven.

Good Hope Noodle (C), Sai Yeung Choi St Sth, Mong Kok metro, 11am-3am, Tel. 2394 5967

A popular noodle bar, very famous locally for its wonton soups and shredded pork noodles with spicy bean sauce. Can’t say the food blew me away but then not all authentic Chinese food does. It was worth trying though as it was very cheap and near my work hotel in Mong Kok.

The Temple St Night Market (6pm-12am) has lots of small noodle bars and food stands in its northern section (toward Man Ming Lane) where you sit on plastic furniture at the kerbside and watch the crowds go by. Good authentic food in a great atmosphere.

My best foodie experience was on the island of Cheung Chau which I understand to be the last actual working fishing village in HK (most seafood is imported). You can get there on a fast ferry in about an hour I think.

After work the expat school owner (married to a local, so he knew his stuff) directed me to one of a row of seafood restaurants on Cheung Chau Family Walk (I think Hang Lok at 13 Pak She Praya Road) where I had two amazing fish dishes, the steamed fish with black beans, spring onion and ginger sticking in my mind most of all (A+). Fantastic food in a blissful setting. HK is not all city.

The final memory I’ll leave you with is that the Starck designed loos in the Felix restaurant in the Peninsula Hotel have fantastic views of the downtown cityscape! I just went for a drink at the bar (which also has great views) and didn’t having anything to eat. It’s the place to watch fireworks on NYE in HK (the bar that is, not the loo).

I think both the ladies and the gents have the same view but vary by having a dressing table and mirror as opposed to a urinal. No shy bladder problems for blokes up here!

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