Drinking Whisky at Ginger (Hong Kong, December 2018)


Here finally is my last report from my Hong Kong trip. Don’t worry, whisky people, it’s not another restaurant report; instead, it’s a brief account of a whisky bar I spent a bit of time in on my first night in Hong Kong: Ginger. I found it by asking for whisky bar recommendations on the Malt Maniacs and Friends Facebook page. It was one of a few that were recommended. I didn’t choose it for any particular reason other than it was all but right next to Kau Kee, where I had dinner that first night, and a quick walk from my hotel on Wellington in Central. Accordingly, after my bowl of tendon and noodles in curry soup I repaired to Ginger. Continue reading

Dim Sum at Tim Ho Wan (Hong Kong, December 2018)


Here finally is my last food report from my Hong Kong trip in December. As on our previous visit in 2016, I inaugurated my eating at Crystal Jade at the airport not too long after landing; but on this occasion I did not eat my last meal there as well. Instead, I took the opportunity offered by traveling alone to eat at Tim Ho Wan’s Hong Kong station outlet. We’d tried to do this on the last trip too but the line was very long on every occasion that we passed it and our kids were in no mood to stand in it. The line was quite long this time too but I stood in it and it moved fast enough to not be a trial. Was the food worth it? Yes, it was.  Continue reading

Dumplings etc. (Hong Kong, December 2018)


A quick roundup of small meals/bites that even I don’t have the energy to blow up into individual posts of their own. First, breakfast on arrival at Crystal Jade’s branch in the Hong Kong airport. This is where we had our first and last meals of our trip in 2016 and there was no way in hell I wasn’t going to eat there again right after landing. A bit of disappointment here as I was looking forward to a bowl of their excellent congee—what could be more restorative after a 15 hours flight?—but discovered they’d recently taken congee off their menu at the airport. It’s just a small selection of noodle dishes and dumplings now. Well, the dumplings themselves were not disappointing at all. I got an order of the pan-friend dumplings and an order of their XLB. A pretty good first meal in Hong Kong.  Continue reading

TeaWood (Hong Kong, December 2018)


I’d said I had only two food reports left to come from my Hong Kong trip but I lied. I’d planned to post a single compendium of my smaller meals and quick bites but there were just too many pictures to resize. And so I’ve split them into two posts. This one will give you a brief look at TeaWood, a Taiwanese restaurant; the next will cover my random dumpling eating etc.

Like pretty much every successful restaurant in Hong Kong, TeaWood is a chain. The majority of their branches are in Kowloon. As it happens, I had spent the entire morning in Kowloon that day but the branch I ate at is in Central, very close to my hotel. I’d had a very large breakfast—or rather three of them, beginning at Law Fu Kee, going on to the dumpling restaurant next to them and then finishing with an egg tart across the street. This is why I did not eat lunch in Kowloon. But after walking for almost 8 miles I was ready for a bite when I got back to Central; and as that branch of TeaWood is right next to where I got off the Mid-Levels escalator at Wellington St. I felt it was futile to resist.  Continue reading

Chilli Club (Hong Kong, December 2018)


Back to Hong Kong but not to Cantonese food. After four Cantonese meals in a row after arrival, I had Thai food for dinner on my second day. Lunch had been a dim sum blowout at Maxim’s Palace and my friend wanted to take me to one of her favourite Thai places for dinner. Though I put up knee-jerk resistance (“I want to eat Cantonese”, I whined), I was secretly curious to see what Thai food in Hong Kong would be like. On our previous trip we’d eaten at a well-regarded Sichuan restaurant and had not been terribly impressed. Would Hong Kong do better by a non-Chinese cuisine renowned for its heat? Read on. Continue reading

Lung King Heen, Executive Set Lunch (Hong Kong, December 2018)


Other than Crystal Jade at the airport, Lung King Heen was the only restaurant I ate at on this trip to Hong Kong that I’d eaten at before. That was during our short family sojourn in the city in early 2016. We’d gone there with every intention of eating their Executive Set Lunch but on arrival got seduced by their a la carte menu. That was a very expensive lunch but also a very delicious one. I did nonetheless harbour a bit of a sense of unfinished business re their Executive Lunch; and so when I had a meeting on this trip at the IFC, I couldn’t resist walking over to the Four Seasons and inquiring about the possibility of a lunch seating later in the week. Once again, I managed to get a table with only a few days notice; once again it was in a corner of their dining room, far away from their fabled view of Victoria Harbour. But I was not complaining.  Continue reading

65 Peel (Hong Kong, December 2018)


Going into my trip to Hong Kong I was pretty much set on eating all hardcore Cantonese food all the time. When somebody I was meeting for dinner early in the trip suggested going to 65 Peel, a relatively new beer bar and small plates place in Soho, I resisted mightily. I talked him into a roast goose outing instead. But then lunch that day was somewhat heavy and the thought of crispy and melty goose skin and fat was not as appealing as it normally is. I began immediately to think of other Cantonese places we could go to but then remembered how much I’d enjoyed Chôm Chôm‘s food the night before and stopped being a resistant asshole. And what do you know, the food at 65 Peel was excellent. I liked it so much in fact that I went back for dinner a couple of nights later—making this the only place other than Law Fu Kee where I ate more than once. Herewith the report.  Continue reading

Seafood and More at Sai Ying Pun Market (Hong Kong, 2018)


As I’ve mentioned before, I really enjoy walking around food markets in cities I’m visiting. Whether in Montreal, London or even St. Paul, if there’s a big produce market and I have time to visit it, I am there. Of course, Hong Kong is the ideal city for one with such preferences. I’ve already posted a couple of reports from the Graham Street wet market, located fortuitously right next to my hotel. Today I have a report from a covered market (well, two actually) about a 20 minute walk away: mostly from the Sai Ying Pun Market and a bit from the Centre Street Market. My interest in the former stemmed from having read about its seafood section and that is what this report is heavy on. The vegetarians should console themselves with the pictures of vegetables that start the slideshow and those of tofu etc. from Centre Street Market. Or just go back and look at the post on roadside fruit and vegContinue reading

Kwan Kee Claypot Rice (Hong Kong, December 2018)


For my first dinner in Hong Kong I had lined up at Kau Kee for brisket/tendon curry noodle soup. My next three dinners were far away from traditional Cantonese: Thai on the second night (review coming soon), mod-Vietnamese on the third night, and fusion’ish on the fourth night (review coming soon). On the fifth night, however, my friends and I went out for a very hardcore Cantonese meal of claypot rice at a place so known for claypot rice that it has it in its name: Kwan Kee Claypot Rice (at least I assume that’s the restaurant’s full name—it shows up that way on English language sites; of course, I do not read Chinese).  Continue reading

Mak An Kee + Samdor (Hong Kong, December 2018)


What could be more Christmas than an account of eating wonton-noodle soup in Hong Kong? You’re welcome!

We come down from the hipstery heights of Soho to the small noodle shops that feed hungry office goers from the skyscrapers in the IFC area. On my first day in Hong Kong I had back to back bowls of wonton-noodle soup at Tsim Chai Kee and Mak’s Noodle, and a few days later I had back to back bowls of wonton-noodle soup at two other restaurants in the area: Mak An Kee and Samdor. Mak An Kee is, I believe, an offshoot from the original Mak’s family operation. Samdor is unrelated and I came across it while looking on Open Rice for other noodle soup places in the vicinity. Here’s a quick look at both.  Continue reading

Chôm Chôm (Hong Kong, December 2018)


The friend with whom I’d eaten at Maxim’s Palace had also taken me to a Thai restaurant that night. It was a nice meal but not at the level of the best places in Los Angeles (I’ll write it up soon). The next night she wanted to take me to her favourite Vietnamese restaurant. I resisted, saying I wanted to eat as much Cantonese food as I could while I was there. Because you want to eat like a local? she asked. Yes, I said. Well then, she said, you should also see the city a bit through the eyes of the locals you know, and we want to take you to the places we go to a lot. This is how we ended up at Chôm Chôm in Soho, just the kind of restaurant I would never have gone to on my own—a trendy, small-plates place with no reservations and long waits that looks like it could be in any major world city. And it was a very good meal.  Continue reading

Congee at Law Fu Kee (Hong Kong, December 2018)


In the write-up of my quick dinner at Kau Kee I mentioned the genre of foodie recommendations for places like Hong Kong that is often seemingly predicated on running down any place that is too well-known or too often recommended to visitors. This is especially true of casual, down-market restaurants and stalls. Theoretically, there is nothing wrong with this per se: many places that show up on lists show up on lists because they show up on lists, and it can be useful to receive—if difficult to parse—counter-narratives. But when these counter-narratives are presented by people who are not residents of those places but themselves visitors, something else sometimes/often comes into play: the fantasy that one is not a tourist but a traveler—altogether more cosmopolitan, almost local.  Continue reading

Kau Kee (Hong Kong, December 2018)


On this trip to Hong Kong I did on multiple occasions something I hate to do at restaurants: I stood in line. I hate to do it not because I am too good to stand in line (though that’s true as well) but because I am too impatient to stand in line; plus when you’re in a foreign city for a limited number of days, spending a good chunk of your time in line for food doesn’t seem like the best use of it. (I don’t count waiting for a table at dim sum in this context as that’s a given unless you’re at the rare place that takes reservations.) But if you’re in Hong Kong and you like Cantonese food you’d be silly not to eat a lot of noodles in soup, and at a lot of the places that sling it you’re going to have no option but to stand in line. Thankfully, at none of those places will you have to stand in line very long. As I noted in my review of my lunches on my first day at Tsim Chai Kee and Mak’s Noodle, when you make it in you’ll be seated at a small table with many strangers and you’ll expected to order quickly, eat quickly, pay quickly and fuck off quickly so that they can keep the line moving. And so it was at Kau Kee. It was the longest of the lines I stood in (well, until Tim Ho Wan on my way to the airport a week later) but it moved rapidly*. And when I got inside and got my bowl of noodle soup, I was very happy.  Continue reading

Dim Sum at Maxim’s Palace (Hong Kong, December 2018)


On my previous visit to Hong Kong, I ate the best dim sum I have ever eaten. That was at the Michelin-starred Lei Garden in the IFC mall. On this occasion my friends in Hong Kong—well, one of them was out of town that weekend—insisted I go instead to an older-school place, and we hit on Maxim’s Palace in City Hall in the Central area. Maxim’s Palace is one of the few remaining cavernous banquet halls in Hong Kong, still serving dim sum on carts. Over the last decade or so, I’ve become un-enamoured of dim sum on carts—all the best places in the San Gabriel Valley switched to a la carte ordering over that period, following the lead of the better Hong Kong places. But my friend insisted and since I was curious to see what cart dim sum at a high-end place in Hong Kong would be like I did not resist.  Continue reading