Can you guess what this is? Answer will be revealed in later post.
As per usual, my holiday in Hong Kong involved eating. Lots of it. I was only there for 1.5 weeks, but here are reviews of some of my dining out experiences for February 2009 (13 restaurants: and this excludes snacks! which will be in a separate post). Okay, I’ve decided to separate this restaurant section into two posts, because I’m too lazy to write so many reviews in one go.
Café Royce- SOGO Causeway Bay
This is my second visit to this elegant little restaurant located on the bottom floor of the icoic SOGO department store. It is a little expensive (a meal with drink and dessert over $HK100), but the quality is well worth the value. From memory, there’s a selection from Japanese and Western cuisines, bento boxes, unagi fried rice and pastas. I ordered a spaghetti with salmon and roe in cream
sauce, which was a unique combination of Japanese and Western ingredients, and I love how the tangy, flavourful juices that squirt out the tiny roe mixes with the rich, equally flavourful cream. And unlike other many other HK Western restaurants, the sauce wasn’t forming a pool under the spaghetti. Their signature dessert dish is the bread and butter pudding, which has a crispy top with a moist interior with raisins.
Café de Coral 大家樂, Maxim’s MX 美心MX and Fairwood 大快活
I write all three rival stores because they are all popular ‘fast food’ chain restaurants that sell cheap, generic HK meals (and also because I forgot which one I went to :P). Fairwood used to have a clown logo and green design back when I was still living in HK, but they’ve redesigned it so it’s more aesthetically appealing, and I only just realised that they are the same stores while looking it up on Wikipedia!
The stores are dotted all along the commercially-dense areas in HK. The price range of the dishes are from $HK25-$40. The restaurants sell a variety of cuisines, Chinese being the main one and also Western and Japanese. I used to (and still am!) a little confused how the system of ordering works, but I think I’ve figured it out. You look at the menu board and choose a dish, go to the counter and order (hoping very badly you won’t say it wrong in Chinese!), where they will give you a receipt. Take the receipt to the other obscure counter inside the store (usually located adjacent to where the roast meats and meals are prepared), and then you wait with a bunch of fellow diners for the display screen to flash your number/waiters shouting the number on the receipt (note: there are many numbers on the receipt. See why I say it’s confusing for a non-HK local!!??). I think that if you order the Chinese roast meats, you have to line up separately in another queue. Then you pick up the dish on the counter that is much deserved after all that befuddlement.
The restaurants are good for the Chinese roast meats (duck, char siu, soy sauce chicken) with rice and boiled choy sum. Other dishes include ma po tofu, curry, spaghetti bolognaise (while searching for their menu, I found it amusing that the Cafe de Coral and Fairwood websites are filled with corporate and business-related topics rather than their food) etc. I was really craving Baked Pork Chop over Fried Rice, and that familiar taste did not disappoint, of crumbed deep-fried pork chop over a bed of egg fried rice with a sweet tomato sauce slightly charred in the oven.
A sophisticated chain of restaurants serving Japanese and French inspired fare. I fondly recall coming here often with my mother as a child, but I didn’t actually eat there this time round. They are located in the trendy and upmarket shopping precincts. Their windows always display enticing miniature plastic renditions of the dishes. I remember their cube toast dessert was very luscious and pretty (yes, even 8 years after, I have good long-term memory).
Café MED – Langham Place, Mong Kok
I only just noticed that HK Western cuisine restaurants really like to exploit the word “Café”. Anyway, I’m not even sure if this is the correct name of the restaurant, but it is located in the upper floors of the massive Langham Place. The food was really good with a modern atmosphere. I had squid ink spaghetti with grilled chicken breast fillet and tomato sauce (look how black it is!! Usually it’s grey-ish.. I wonder if it’s because of food colouring or generosity in putting in more ink?). The chicken was so nice and very smooth (smoothest chicken breast I’ve tasted), the tomato sauce complemented the chicken well, the spaghetti was coated in lots of oil and garlic. I don’t think ink spaghetti tastes much different to normal spaghetti, it just looks adorable, and a bit rich and creamy. My friend had a baked fish fillet in spinach cream sauce over rice, it looks really tasty and probably something that could be re-created at home.
四點金潮州料理 Four Golds Chiu Chow Cuisine Restaurant – Yau Ma Tei (Review)
My aunty’s husband’s relative owns this restaurant so we went here for lunch. I must say I absolutely loved everything, and it’s much cheaper than those Chiu Chow gold-class restaurants in HK. Call it bias, but because Chiu Chow is my heritage (on my mother’s side) and because we had so many delicious dishes, I want to reserve an individual post for this. 🙂
Australia Dairy Co. 澳洲牛奶公司 – Jordan
This is a very famous tourist spot of HK. Funny to say but I’ve never actually been there even having lived in HK for 11 years. What is even more funny to say is that I leave Australia to go to HK to eat at an “Australian” dairy place (whether it really is Australian dairy is another issue). After stuffing ourselves silly in the Chiu Chow restaurant, my aunty decided I need to stuff even more food into me during my short stay. My aunty and I waited outside in a long queue (which is, apparently, always present), but the amazingly efficient service of the pacing waiters meant we only had to be patient for a few minutes. We went to a small table which we shared with two other patrons. The place is positively bustling with hordes of customers and waiters whom probably get more of a workout in their shift than going to a gym. I hear that their scrambled eggs are amazing, but we had steamed egg custard instead. There are two varieties: the plain egg white pudding or the whole egg almond juice pudding. Even though I thought the whole egg one (with egg yolks included) would taste richer and therefore, nicer, I actually preferred the egg white pudding; the light texture is delicious and lets the subtle flavours of egg white and milk shine through, but the whole egg pudding is quite interesting too, with notes of almond essence and is very creamy. According to my aunty, the pudding has been watered (or milked) down a bit from the last time she came, but I couldn’t tell, and even though it is quite a ‘watery’ pudding, it’s good because it melts in your mouth and is super velvety. Australia Dairy Co. is cramped, their service is abrupt, but their food is wonderful. Oh, and according to my Aunty, a HK celebrity was eating there right next to us, I don’t know his name, but he’s a middle-aged TV actor, a little on the plump side… Pretty famous, for a celebrity to frequent.