Category Archives: Hong Kong

Shan shui beancurd

We went to Lantau Island where there is a huge Buddha statue sitting on top of the hill. However, the first thing we did when we arrive in Lan Tao Island, was to look for this amazing bean curd which A remembered having the last time she was here. We got there quite quickly, since it was on the way from the cable car station to the Buddha statue. It was slightly hidden from view by the construction barriers, but A’s fantastic memory meant that we found it without much trouble.

 

The bean curd is hand made, and it comes served either hot or cold. We went for the cold version, since it was a swelteringly hot summer’s day. We sprinkled some of this curious orange powder on our bean curd, and the result was a truly amazing bean curd dessert, probably the best I’ve ever had.

 

The bean curd was so soft and silky that it was hard to keep it on the spoon. A slight wobble and it would fall straight off. The orange powder was sweet and gave the bean curd a very unexpected texture. The contrast between the rough powder (probably sugar, though we’re not sure) and the smooth bean curd was genius. This was the perfect thing to have on such a hot day.

Food: 8/10

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Wing Hop Sing

113-115 Jervois Street
Sheung Wan
2850-5723 or 2850-5726

We went to Wing Hop Sing Restaurant with quite high expectations. Their beef claypot rice was supposedly very good, and their milk tea was also highly recommended. We also read a review saying that their egg tarts are also one of the best around.

 

Those were the 3 things we ordered when we went to Wing Hop Sing Restaurant. This was more of a traditional HK tea house than a restaurant, and the interior was very simple and probably unchanged since the 1950s.

 

The egg tart was very good indeed. The pastry was simple and flaky and the egg custard was rich yet soft. We tried to ignore the fact that lard was used in the making of this fantastic egg tart. Things like that make you feel more health conscious than you would normally be, and ruin the meal. The milk tea was also nice, but quite average.

 

 

The long awaited beef claypot rice finally arrived after quite a long wait, and it came topped with a raw egg yolk. It looked pretty good, and while mixing it together the egg yolk slowly cooked with the heat of the rice.

However, it tasted completely plain and ordinary. This was completely undeserving of the high praises we’ve read from other reviews. The beef was nicely marinated for sure, but the rice was so ordinary that we were sure that it was cooked separately and just put in the claypot at the last minute. Claypot rice should be cooked in a claypot from start to finish, but this was clearly one where each component was cooked separately and assembled in a claypot in the end. It was very disappointing.

Service: 6/10
Food: 6/10

Hong Kong adventures II

HK street food is not as exciting as that in Taiwan. There was a row of food stalls in every one of the night markets we went to in HK, but there was definitely less of a variety as compared to the exciting array we found in Taiwan. We tried a couple of the street food available, and were quite disappointed.

There is a rather popular curry fish ball sold near Times Square in central HK. Now, in Singapore, we have excellent fish ball. However, as A commented, with all the fantastically fresh seafood available, HK’s fishballs are appalling.

Indeed, the curry fish balls we had were tough and dense, completely unlike the springy fresh fish balls we get from any hawker centre in Singapore. In fact, A insisted that I try the fish balls in HK to prove to me that Hong Kongers are hopeless at making fish balls.

We also tried Ji Dan Zai, which is essentially an egg batter mix, poured into a waffle machine that creates little waffle balls. This is a favourite snack for HK children. We tried a couple of ji dan zais from various stalls, but none of them were even close to being good. We hence concluded that in HK, we would be better off sticking to eating in restaurants, where the chef can fully display his culinary skills, while in Taiwan, we would be better off eating from street stalls and enjoying all their junk food.

 

 

Another of our touristy adventures brought us to the famous wishing tree in Hong Kong. It was quite a sight seeing this majestic tree being propped by with many poles, since the branches were weighed down by the many ‘wishes’ thrown upon them.

In fact, there was a recent case where the weight of the paper wishes were too much for a particular branch to carry that the branch broke and injured a couple of people. Today, the wishing tree is still standing, but no one is allowed to throw any more wishes on the tree. What people do now is to hang their wishes on one of many boards around the tree.

We also made a trip to Lantau Island, where a majestic Buddha statue sits right on top of a hill. Being huge gluttons, we couldn’t help ourselves from looking for food, even in Lan Tao Island. Our search brought us to the monastry behind all the hustle and bustle, where they serve vegetarian food.

It’s probably obvious that we’re not huge fans of vegetarian, but since the vegetarian food here has been highly regarded by many reviews and by the guide books we were carrying, we decided to try it for ourselves. There was quite a good selection of mock meats and vegetables to choose from, and a small selection of dessert. Surprisingly, the vegetarian meal was very good. We almost forgot that there was no meat.

Despite all the good food experiences in Hong Kong, there were times when we had food that was just substandard. One particular example is the claypot dishes we had in this restaurant we just stumbled into, very near the smelly beancurd stall earlier.

Well, we should have known better than to walk into a restaurant without having been given prior recommendations. We were attracted by the sight of this old man preparing the claypot dishes old-school style, on little stoves with the food actually cooking in the claypots. However, the food was just ordinary. A could definitely do a far better claypot rice. After this disappointing meal we decided to do our research properly and go back to HK in search for the perfect claypot rice.

Another major disappointment was to be found almost next to the claypot stall. K wanted to try a good Zhar Leong (fried dough fritters in Cheong Fun skin), so we just walked into a very random shop just a few doors down from the claypot stall.

The owner of the shop was probably very surprised that we only wanted the Zhar Leong since that was the only thing we ordered. When it came, K took a bite of it, and was so disgusted by it that he didn’t eat anymore of it. We paid and left. It was the most appalling thing we ate all trip. The dough fritters were completely soft and soggy, and the Cheong Fun was limp and stale. Even the sauce was dreadful. This was the ultimate disappointment, and once again, we were determined to return to HK to look for a Zhar Leong that would blow our minds away.

Hong Kong adventures I

Our time in Hong Kong was mostly spent on finding good food places and eating at those food places. We relied on a lot of reviews from prior research before embarking on our trip, and from the guide books and brochures we picked up at the airport and from our hotel reception. However, we also made sure we walked around, not only to burn those calories gained from all the good food, but also to do what tourists normally do, and see the sights in HK.

One of our walks brought us to a fish market, where we saw the freshest seafood being sold. It was about 3pm when we got to the fish market, yet it was still very busy, and the seafood was still being brought out.

The seafood was so fresh that most of them were still alive! Indeed, we saw prawns jumping out of their boxes and fishes struggling to breathe. Unfortunately, none of those poor things would ever get another day to live, and will probably end up in someone’s belly by the end of the day.

Indeed, some of those prawns did end up in our bellies that very night. We had dinner at a Da Pai Dang (like the cze char stalls we have in Singapore, where you order from a huge range of mouth watering dishes and it’s all cooked for you to order).

This was in one of the small streets at a night market near our hotel, and though the standard of hygiene was definitely questionable, the food was excellent. We had sweet and sour pork ribs, a favourite of A’s, which were very yummy, but had more bone than meat. Our crispy fried prawns were fantastic, and definitely very fresh. I could imagine the prawns still struggling as they were thrown into the wok.

Our oyster omelette was definitely better than the Taiwanese version, but not better than the Singaporean version we are used to. However, it was still a very tasty dish, with lovely crispy bits. Inspired by the fresh seafood we saw on display, we ordered another seafood dish: sautéed clams. These were very delicious and the spicy bean sauce they were cooked in was very good.

 

 

While walking around in the night markets we came across a stall selling smelly beancurd. We just came from Taiwan, where the smelly beancurd was truly smelly and strong. A remembered the smelly beancurd in HK to be much more pleasant and mild, and so we ordered a portion. She was right.

The smelly beancurd in HK is definitely still smelly, but not as pungent as the Taiwan version, and it’s fried wonderfully and served dry. You have a choice of sauces to add, but you do it to your discretion. We chose to put some chilli sauce over our beancurd, and it was fantastic. We both agreed that the smelly beancurd in HK was far better than the Taiwan version. That same stall sells tonnes of fried snacks as well, but we were far too stuffed from all the eating that day so we didn’t try any of them.

The street markets in HK are great fun. It also helps that A is quite fluent in Cantonese, so she managed to snag lots of bargains among the countless stalls available. She was very good at getting the owners to slash their prices for us. It was quite interesting watching her bargain with the owners.

Bai bao tang

The high level of fried food consumption in Taiwan and HK, plus the lardy dim sum and tarts we ate continuously during our holiday, warranted a detoxification program. But since we were on foreign land, we decided to do it the local way.

 

Beside the famous Temple street night market, we found Bai bao tang, which is a traditional herbal soup and drink stall. It has a rather modern décor, which is the exact opposite of what they are selling. Without further ado, we ordered their traditional cold gui ling gao (herbal jelly), and a bowl of herbal soup called er shi si wei (24 flavors).

 

The cold gui ling gao was really good, especially in the hot weather. We could definitely taste the herbal content inside. We were given a pot of honey to mix into the gui ling gao to distract from the bitter jelly. There is an old Chinese saying “good medicines are bitter to the taste”. Gui ling gao must be pretty good medicine then. Thank goodness for the honey, this made it very pleasant indeed. It was almost like dessert!

 

The er shi si wei literally means 24 flavours. We guessed that it means that 24 different herbs were used to brew this drink. It wasn’t very pleasant tasting, but we were told that this drink is perfect to detoxify with. It supposedly cures every ailment, from fevers to sore throats. Well, it sure didn’t cause us any harm, and it did give us some peace of mind, knowing that we had some form of detoxification, before embarking on our next major pig-out session.

Bei jiao ji dan zai

At the Hong Kong international airport, there are many brochures and food guides which are free for anyone to pick up. In one of the guides, we read that there is a famous ji dan zai stall which was a short walking distance from our hotel. So we decided to look for it on our way to the avenue of stars to watch the night show.

Bei jiao ji dan zai is a very small stall along the main street. With all the distracting posters hung and stuck on its signboard, it is really easy to miss it. However, the long queue in front it makes people stop to check this place out.

Since this was reported to be the stall with the best ji dan zai in HK, we waited for ours with great anticipation. However, it fell terribly short of our expectations. It tasted no different from any other ji dan zai we have had in HK. A happens to like her ji dan zai thin and crispy, which was the exact opposite of what Bei jiao ji dan zai offered.

However, to be fair, ji dan zai is not something that has a major wow factor for us. It’s something very traditional that children in HK love, so it could be that Bei jiao’s ji dan zai is done in a way that the locals appreciate and reminisce their childhood with. However, since we have little experiences with ji dan zai, it is hard for it for strike a chord within us, and we can only count on what we taste. Unfortunately, this didn’t taste very good at all. The flavour was too subtle and it was disappointingly dry.

Mak’s Noodles

77 Wellington St
Central

Mak’s noodles is a very small restaurant situated along Wellington Street. This shop specializes in wonton noodles, but sells also noodles with ingredients such as sliced beef, beef brisket etc. Despite the variety, there is one thing that is common to all of them – they are served in very small bowls.

 

Wellington Street is filled with restaurants. In fact, it is very well known for having some of the best food available in Hong Kong. Hence it’s imperative that restaurants there maintain a very high standard or they’ll go bust. Mak’s noodles is a very small restaurant doing a brisk business selling nothing but noodles. However, they do it very well.

 

Priced at HKD 25 per bowl, Mak’s famous wanton noodles is not cheap. However, it is indeed one of the tastiest wanton noodles I’ve ever had in my life. It is worth every single cent you pay for it. The noodles are springy and fresh, and the broth is clear, yet amazingly flavourful. This was one of the moments when we gave each other the “OMG” look after eating something.

It is very easy to gobble down many bowls at one go. Restraint is the key. In our very short trip in HK we wanted to try as much variety as possible, so we didn’t want to revisit any restaurants lest we miss out on going to another great one. However, we couldn’t help but go back for more Mak’s noodles. We didn’t even bother trying the other things on their menu. Their wonton noodles were that good.

Service: 6.5/10
Food: 8/10