Posted by: jyunbugspeaks | July 15, 2012

Jyunbugspeaks in Hong Kong:Good foods at even greater convenience pt.1


As my travels have taken me to many places around the world I find Hong Kong to be one of the greatest places to eat. Not only do they come out with fun and inexpensive restaurants like Tsui Wan with their signature fish ball and noodle soup but the diversity of their foods are exceptional.  They are also known for their simple street foods and unique one of a kind shops like Butao and very time I go there is always something new to try. I was very fortunate to be able to try some of these treats and hopefully you will be able to experience them one day on your travels. One important online food guide that was introduced to me was called Open Rice (www.openrice.com). This gastro bible of Hong Kong eateries was very useful in determining what was good to eat locally (bonus there is an English online version available) but wandering and taking a chance on a restaurant was also just as exciting and wonderful too. Take for example a place I stumbled upon when I

20120624-021244.jpgnoticed a large group of school kids coming out of a mini mall carrying what looked like tiny bags of noodles!? Curious, I entered the mall and encountered a small noodle shop that would make these quick and easy noodles-in-a-bag gems!

The concept was so simple: you pick a type of noodle, egg, ramen, udon or vermicelli and then pick a sauce, soya, oyster, satay or spicy Thai. Next comes the choice of ingredients on skewers, everything from chicken to offal to all kinds of vegetables. I picked mushrooms and shredded tofu with ramen noodles and satay sauce. Then they combine everything for you with the skewers that the tasty morsels came on and voila! Noodles in a bag. Amazingly tasty, light and fresh. What more can you ask for? How about it’ll cost you just little over a dollar!! Now a lot of you are probably having red flags pop up when you think of small stalls or open vendors that probably don’t have regulatory food inspections but for me…life is way too short and if you can’t enjoy the small tasty things in life then what’s the point, right? Yeah it’s safer to eat at those giant touristy food chains that pop up everywhere like those ugly weeds you find in your garden but it lacks culture and more importantly it lacks those unique flavours and tastes that you can only capture at that moment or in that season. To me a hamburger at a certain chain tastes EXACTLY the same whether in Toronto, Canada or 12500 km in Hong Kong. Trust me I’ve tried it and all I can say is don’t waste your money.

Shortly after arriving in Hong Kong we were famished and needed a quick bite to eat…where to go? Since our hotel was on one of Hong Kong most famous streets, Nathan Road, we just walked a block and found a great pasta joint called Spaghetti House. For a chain restaurant it was really great, good al dente pasta, flavourful, rich and creamy for me and my shrimp pasta and my gf’s baked smoked salmon risotto was excellent too. She always orders the same dish at this joint every time we come here and the dish does not disappoint! Slightly salty from the smoked salmon and so creamy from the white wine sauce.  The drinks, we ordered ice tea and a lemon honey cooler, came in mason jars was also refreshing and surprising not made from instant powder.

When we travel we often find places that expats recommend. For some strange reason we were craving some fish and chips. Probably because we downloaded a TV show called An Idiot Abroad staring an english bloke who they send around the world and chaos and hilarity ensues. Anyways my girlfriend has a friend who’s from Canada but was living here in Hong Kong and he told us to check out a place called The Chippy in Central. Well Hong Kong was ruled by the British for many years so we thought there must be thousands of english places to eat…well there was, if you like pubs and stuff but luckily we were led to this fish and chips joint. The place had their menu on chalk boards and the smell and sounds of oil bubbling in the open kitchen had my mouth-watering.  I ordered their famous fish and chips with mushy peas and my gf got a salmon butty but with a curry sauce for her fries, sorry chips. 

Which is a sandwich containing smoked salmon, eggs scrambled on a soft bun. Both were delicious. I loved that they did the small things to make the dish taste like I was in England, the proper double frying of the chips, great curry sauce and the batter had this great crunch to it!  All it was missing was the newspaper cone to contain all of its greasy goodness!  The place also had home-made pies and traditional breakfasts like bangers and mash!  I’m so coming back to this place!

One hot afternoon we went wandering around our hotel and neighbourhood and we stumbled upon a Vietnamese restaurant. We thought this would be a great spot for lunch. It looked busy inside (a good sign) but the owner lady had Triad tattoos (a bad sign) but what the hell, she was nice to us and happily sat us and proceeded to take our order.I ordered their signature dish, pho with raw and well done beef and my gf ordered plain noodles with vegetables and broth. Again the place looked dodgy but man the food and service was excellent!  I also ordered Vietnamese spring rolls which I found out came with several leafy pieces of lettuce. Confused I asked why the lettuce and the host told us to wrap the lettuce around the spring roll and dip it in the spicy fish sauce. Ingenious and super tasty too! That added crunch made that spring roll jump in my mouth and also cut the grease with the freshness of the lettuce.  I was glad I took a chance with this place as it goes to show you shouldn’t  judge a restaurant by its entrance or for that matter…its owner. Unfortunately I was a bad food reviewer that day and I forgot to take a business card so I have no idea where this place is…it sucks cause I really want to go back but hopefully my girlfriend’s photographic memory will help me find it again.

Where would we end up going next?….thanks to my girlfriend experienced knowledge of Hong Kong (she’s been coming here 6 times now!) she led me to this famous Hong Kong style diner called Cafe De Coral.  This cafeteria style restaurant has many locations and is very popular with the locals. Anything the locals like is usually a good thing and I would not pass it up. The place is very clean and you start by ordering at the front entrance area, once you have decided from a large selection of meats with rice or noodles, there are daily combos offered at different times of the day as well. You then proceed to the back of the restaurant and wait for your order number to be called out. After a few minutes your dish is assembled via a conveyor style lineup with each part of your order placed on a tray and quickly moved along. It’s fast and delicious and perfect for the Hong Kong lifestyle. Most of these business suits are done in 20 minutes and are off running to their work stations like crazy lab rats in a maze!  Amazingly no one chokes or crashes into each other but for us tourists its just fun to watch the mayhem unfold.

This is the first part of my exploration of the many diverse foods of Hong Kong and I hope you enjoyed reading it so far…please stay tuned to this blog and I’ll be posting more interesting eats of Hong Kong in the coming weeks. Eat, enjoy and savour every moment! Cheers!

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