Tuesday, October 23, 2012

HK cheap eats. And the not so cheap but good eats.

This one is for @lili_pie on twitter: the promised list of food to try in HK.

The cheap, and cheap-ish
1. Tim Ho Wan, IFC/Hong Kong MTR Station
So it's not the original hole-in-the-wall 1 Michelin star. So what? This one is cleaner, on the Island line, and there's always shopping or window shopping at IFC afterwards. Most dim sums are around the 15HKD (that's less than 2 AUD each) mark, so with a small group you can easily get every item on the menu.
Podium Level 1, IFC Mall, Central (above Hong Kong Station).

2. Sang Kee congee, Sheung Wan
If you don't mind a bit of dirt and aren't claustrophobic, this is the place to try out some of the best congee in the world. If you don't mind eating fish with bone, then try the fish bone and beef congee (Gwut ngau, abbreviated). The congee is cooked down so much it's more of a rice soup; flavoursome, wholesome, nothing can compare. Their clear broth items are also very, very good. Try the turnip and beef brisket, no noodles necessary.
7-9 Burd Street, Sheung Wan.

3. Kau Kee beef noodles, Sheung Wan
So famous the place even has its own Wikipedia page, in English: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kau_Kee_Restaurant ! Definitely go for the noodles, especially the thick kind. If you have company, get something different so you can all share and try. This place gets some huge lines, so beware!
21 Gough Street, Sheung Wan.

4. Lan Fong Yuen, Central
For an authentic cha-chaan tang (HK Style westernised tea shop) experience you really can't go past this place. An institution and an innovator, their HK style milk tea is truly one of the best. If you want something stronger than your usual coffee, try the Yuen Yeung - the HK original blend of milk tea and milk coffee. French toast and their dry "yiding" instant noodles are also must tries.
2 Gage Street, Central.

5. Gai Daan Jai (egg waffles), Fung Kee Tsim Sha Tsui
Sadly, I missed out on this during my last HK trip. Their egg waffles are some of the best in HK - eggy, soft and fluffy inside, crispy outside. At $12 a pop they're double the price of their main competition across the road, but well worth it, I think. Catching them during a break in the queue might also get you better quality, too.
Granville Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, opposite Tai Ping Koon (I think).

The not so cheap:

1. Tai Ping Koon
One of the oldest "fusion" restaurants in Hong Kong, they do "soy sauce" Western food - and they do it well. Service and quality at Tsim Sha Tsui and Central can be a bit inconsistent at times - last time things were better at Central than at Tsim Sha Tsui (TST), but TST used to be the better one... hard to tell. Their stir fried beef noodles (dry, not the Swiss sauce type), Swiss sauce chicken wings, smoked pomfret and roast pigeon are musts. If there are more than 3 of you, definitely get a souffle too - they are unique.
Check website for branch addresses.

2. agnes. b le pain grille
Don't cringe, and don't judge please. I've had some great food and great service there! Sure, it's not cheap, at about 300HKD or more per person for lunch, but it's still better than most 50pp restaurants in Sydney. Their minute steaks are great, and their desserts are always top notch. The agnes. b LPG cafes are around everywhere, if you're just after desserts.
15/F Cubus, 1 Hoi Ping Road, Causeway Bay. Other LPG cafes addresses available on the website: http://www.agnesb-lepaingrille.com/

3. Pak Lok Chiu Chow, Elements
Yum Cha is a definite must in Hong Kong. I know there is a post on this blog previously about cuisine cuisine, but Pak Lok does it so much better. Cheaper, too. At around 30 AUD per person, you sit in comfort, enjoying your tea and dim sum off fine bone china. Book in advance for weekend yum cha if you can, or get in early, which is around 10am. The classics like har gow, siu mai and char siu buns are done fantastically, and the chiu chow dumplings are some of the best in the city. Believe me, I've been to plenty of other places, including the renowned Fook Lam Moon, and they're not as good. Try the abalone noodles as well, really interesting textures and balance of flavours.
Shop 1028D, 1/F, Elements, Kowloon Station

Sadly, I don't have a recommendation for other HK classics like fish ball rice noodle soup, wonton noodle soup and so on. I am still on the quest for decent ones, because nothing I've tried lately can compare to some of the stuff that I grew up eating as a kid. Hope you have a great time in HK, lili_pie!

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