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My Favorites in Hong Kong (would like to hear yours too)

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Below are the must-haves when I go to HK. I just can't get this stuff in L.A. Let me know what are your favorites. Excuse my pin yin.

Tai Ping Koon (wonderful pigeon at a nice, clean restaurant; the one in Yau Mai Tai is the best!)

Kong Wao Tofu Factory (best tofu-fu ever, I go to the one in Kowloon City)

Dak Cheung Fish Balls (best fish ball noodle soup, for some reason there is just no HK-quality fish balls in L.A.)

Buffets at hotels (Marriott, Intercontinental, Waichai Convention Center) (super variety and quality and superb desserts; I can't find better quality buffets elsewhere)

Food stalls with porridge, fried donuts, rice noodles (these places are dirty and for locals, but I can't seem to find the same quality of porridge and especially not of the rice noodles and fried donuts)

Curry fish balls off a street vendor (wonderful stuff)

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  1. I'm in HK right now for the first time - had a Sichuan meal at

    Yellow Door
    6/F 37 Cochrane Street

    I think it's a Private Kitchen.

    We had fried eggplant with chilies, cod with mushrooms, and chicken with pickled chilies - the first two were exceptional and the chicken was good but bony.

    The other tables were having Boiled Beef with chilis (looked terrific - we're going back for that) and the green beans were very popular too.

    Very nice serving staff and prices are reasonable - The above 3 dishes (plus rice) and 3 beer was aboutt $60CAD.

    1. -- Whole pepper-salt crab at the temporary market off Temple street, served with a roll of toilet paper for napkins

      -- Dining al fresco at almost any saeafood place on Cheung Chau Island on a balmy evening

      -- Wu Kong Restaurant (on Peking street?) just off Nathan Road for good old-school Shanghainese at a reasonable price.

      -- Nanjing Restaurant on Sai Yong Choi Street (just off of Oil Street, I seem to recall), a great hole-in-the wall lunch place that I frequented when I worked in mid-Kowloon for a couple of months.

      I haven't been in HK since fall of 1997, so I don't know if the same pleasures would await me today.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Gary Soup

        Hi, was just in HK last Wednesday, am in Shanghai now after a very nice 3 days in Suzhou, more on which will be forthcoming (excellent food...).
        Wanted to let you know that Wu Kong is closed for renovations until next month - or later, judging from the state of the doorway...was a disappointment for us - assuaged by several days in Shanghai - will also report on experiences here.
        Cheers!

        1. re: buttertart

          I believe there are actually two branches of Wu Kong, though I'm only familiar with the Kowloon branch because that was where I was living. You can probably get a similar Old Shanghai taste and ambiance from Lao Banzhai, on Fuzhou Lu in Shanghai. Avoid Shanghai Old Restaurant (Lao Fan Dian) in the Old City at all costs, unless for a glimpse of the grandeur that once was.

        2. re: Gary Soup

          That is watercress not oil.

        3. the dai pai dong over in soho that only has desserts. YUM!
          a must for me!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Lynda Vuong

            you nerd!

            best meal I've had in hk so far is yellow door kitchen.

          2. Tai Ping Koon's roast pigeon has gone way down hill. The pigeon tasted too 'gamy' ( may be they use quick chilled and not fresh ones due to bird flu restrictions) and the price too expensive. Service was pretty lousy too when I visted them a month ago. The oxtail soup and smoked pomfret were also fairly mediocre!

            1. sweet dynasty on canton road
              http://www.sweetdynasty.com.hk/eng/ab...
              good dessert

              1 Reply
              1. re: bugaboo

                If I'm not mistaken, I think this place has closed down.

              2. i think that particular one has closed down but there is another one around. Best to search on www.openrice.com

                1. Visited a 'congee/noodle' eatery at the corner of Nathan Road and Austin Road in TST, Kowloon by the name of ' Heung Gong Shui Yuet ' ( Cantonese pronounciation ) a few weeks back. Had an AMAZING dish of '"Fried Ho-Fun - rice noodle with frog legs in black bean sauce". I have had black bean sauce dishes for over 30 years. I'd never realize black bean sauce can taste THAT good!!! A must try!!

                  1. thank you for the recommendation. black bean with frog legs? that's a new one for me. will try it next time i am in the neighbourhood

                    1. We were in HK for the Lunar New Year a week or so ago. A loca acquaintance took us to Perfect Roast Goose Seafood in Kennedy Town. The roast goose was, well, perfect.

                      Also, our concierge at the Kowloon Renaissance booked us a table at Peking Garden in Star House, Kowloon for Peking Duck. My chowspouse and I had the duck equivalent of a hangover.

                      1. During the first two weeks of Feb. my girlfriend and I took a two week trip to Shanghai where most of my family lives, and also managed to take a nice three night detour in Hong Kong. I grew up in HK, however it was my girlfriends first time so I needed to have a good balance of old favourites yet show her the variety that HK has to offer. Not an easy task, considering we only had 6-7 opportunities to eat out. I hope she enjoyed it as much as I did...
                        Tsui Wah [Causewaybay] - To me "cha can tang's" are the HK equivalent of american diners, where the menu is pretty much standard where ever you go. Fast and simple rice / noodle dishes at an affordable price, nothing is really outstanding here, yet nothing is sub par (except for maybe the cleanliness...). Great introduction for my girlfriend, she definitely enjoyed the food and atmosphere. Success!
                        Chuk Yuen / Bamboo Garden Seafood [Happy Valley] - Definitely a favourite of mine, the seafood here is always the best to me. The sharks fin soup was deliciously creamy and the main event; the lobster in cream and butter sauce is worth the trip to HK alone. My girlfriend is starting to like Hong Kong! (I hope the over 1000HKD she spent on cosmetics in 15 minutes had nothing to do with it...).
                        Victoria Harbour Seafood Restaurant [Admiralty] - I have to admit I'm getting a little sick of dim sum, maybe because we have Lai Wah Heen in Toronto but dim sum doesnt really apeal to me as much. Whilst growing up in HK I always thought that this was the best place for dimsum, and it didn't dissapoint this time back. Nothing amazing, but just good quality food. Unfortunately they didnt have the 30HKD crab meat xiao long bao this time.
                        Harakan [Causewaybay] - It was Saturday night in Hong Kong, and as most of you know, everywhere is packed. Managed to find this place that wasn't as crowded (hidden/expensive perhaps). A friend recommended here, but the thing that made me step through the door was the Matsuzaka beef. Sushi here tasted fresh of the boat to me! Incredibly high quality and definitely well cut. The Matsuzaka beef was one of the most extraordinary things i've ever tasted. I actually regret coming here because it ruined beef for me! How can I go back to non kobe/matsuzaka beef?
                        Brassarie/Nicolinis [Conard Hotel] - Sunday brunch here was always my favorite. To be honest the planning of my trip to HK this time was centered around this place. I had to make sure my girlfriend tried this place. She couldn't believe that after the amazing spread layed out, that you get to choose an entree as well. Impeccable service. Definitely the highlight of our trip, im glad I got to experience it with her.
                        Delicious Kitchen [Causewaybay] - Everytime I go back to HK this place gets more and more crowded, I always come here for the Pork Chop in Vegetable Rice (as do most others) and it always seems to taste just that good. Great light dinner after the buffet.
                        Cafe De Coral [Causewaybay] - Just had the minute steak here for breakfast, great place to show my girlfriend western style chinese food, she was definitely suprised.
                        Itamae Sushi [Causewaybay] - This was the most suprising restaurant on my trip, everytime you go here there are long long lines, my friend said he waited 2 hours once just to get in. They have various locations all over HK, or similar type places, basically higher end conveyer sushi. My girlfriend and I througoughly enjoyed this place, considering we have been on a sushi binge lately. There is an extensive menu with all kinds of imaginable sushi, the foie gras sushi was definitely interesting!

                        I had a great time showing my girlfriend around HK and where I grew up, she enjoyed it so much, that we are already planning our next trip!

                        Thanks for reading, feel free to ask any questions.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: s0memale

                          'My girlfriend is starting to like Hong Kong! (I hope the over 1000HKD she spent on cosmetics in 15 minutes had nothing to do with it...)'

                          You've got to go shopping with her more often. I've seen my wife spend that for 1 item at Macy's cosmetic counters for 1 item.

                        2. theres a noodle dai pai dong in a roofed market in TST east.. its called 'duk fatt' and they specialize in beef balls. the soup is soooooooooo flavourful and the noodles just right. if i were to die right now, that would be the last thing i would request to eat!! but imagine eating there (a dai pai dong) in the summer time .. and with chili oil too, haha... i remember my mom and i would have sweat rolling down our foreheads and chins and still enjoying the noodle soup!

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: jennjen18

                            is it underneath the bridge?

                            1. re: s0memale

                              s0memale: I'm in Hong Kong right now and want to try your recs like Bamboo Garden Seafood in Happy Valley, Victoria Harbour Seafood Restaurant in Admiralty and Delicious Kitchen in Causeway Bay. I tried to to a search online and cannot find the addresses of these restaurants. Yesterday I went to a noodle place in Jardine's Lookout for some fish ball noodle soup and it was delicious!

                              1. re: honu

                                honu, great to hear your are enjoying food in HK!
                                Sorry but I don't remember the name of the roads in english, perhaps someone else can help out?
                                Bamboo Garden - 跑馬地黃泥涌道7-9號地下 (Chuk Yuen in Cantonese) is in happy valley, right opposite the race course and tram station. Its basically at the bottom of the hill before the residential area. Close to a 7-11. Most Taxi Drivers will know where to go if you say Happy Valley Tram station. MAKE SURE you order the cheese lobster.
                                Victoria Harbour Seafood has 2 locations, the one in Admirarly is in Citic Tower 金鐘中信大廈五樓 (most people should know this building) and the one in Wan Chai is at the Sun Hung Kai Centre.
                                Delicious Kitchen - 銅鑼灣加寧街9-11號B地下, I dont really know how to describe where it is, it is opposite the old Daimaru Store. If you show people that address they should be able to help you out. Remember get the Pai Gu Cai Fan, pork chop vegetable rice.
                                Hope you manage to visit one of the restaurants (if not all!) Enjoy!

                                1. re: s0memale

                                  Thanks for the directions, I will print it out and have someone point me there. I can't wait to try everything out :)

                                  1. re: honu

                                    I recently celebrated my birthday at INCONTRO in Tsim Sha Tsui. It's an Italian place with great food. We skipped the wine (but later discovered the wine list is a good one). Calamari, Orecchiette (with anchovies) and risotto are great.

                                    Fu Ji Fan Dian offers a twist in Chinese cuisine. Golden prawns are butterflied, deep fried and tossed in the wok with mashed salted duck egg yolks. The golden morsels spell "cholestrol" but they are worth every bite. Steamed crab on glutinous rice and ice chilled eels are also great dishes.

                              2. re: s0memale

                                to s0memale:

                                YES! It IS underneath the bridge. I remember if you get out the other way (not the way you come in), you can see Tsim East buildings, ... like the Hoi Wun building (I forget the English name) is really close, as well as an HMV... does that ring a bell to you?

                                1. re: jennjen18

                                  s0memale: I went to Delicious Kitchen today and had your rec of the Pork Chop with vegetables and rice. It was really good! The pork chop was crispy and the rice was really flavorful with the steamed bak choy. I had the set lunch where they offered the pork chop with vegetables and rice and also the vegetarian white chicken which was I think was made out of soybean? My dad had the beef tendon noodle soup which he liked a lot. I also ordered a dish of fried eggplant with chili and garlic and the eggplant was crispy...however I found the sauce a little on the salty side.

                            2. Yung Kee for the roasted meats (especially the goose)
                              Jimmy's Kitchen for Chinglish (especially the beef stroganoff)
                              Gaddi's and Pierre for the best haute cuisine
                              Mandarin Grill or Amber for business
                              China Club for dim sum and atmosphere (none better in HK for either)
                              Fook Lam Moon when I'm not paying
                              M on the Fringe for comfort food (the crispy suckling pig)
                              Gaia for Italian
                              Olala in Wanchai for charcuterie (amazing!)

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: pinpei

                                I can definitely second the crispy suckling pig at M, their pavlova is pretty spectacular too.

                                alexthepink
                                http://www.princessandrecipe.blogspot...

                                1. re: alexthepink

                                  And I second the pavlova. My wife is a petite woman (5'4" and 105lbs), and she once ate two in one sitting!!!

                                2. re: pinpei

                                  Great recs!! I live in Hong Kong and of those on your list that I've been to, I totally agree. I'd add Aqua for the pizza + sushi + view.

                                  1. re: ciaoeater

                                    My wife is from HK, and we're there about three or four times a year. IMO it's the best dining city on Earth. That said, I haven't been to Aqua. Where is it? We're going in mid-December, and I'd love to try it. Also, I really miss Wyndham Thai.

                                    1. re: pinpei

                                      The bar part of Aqua serves overpriced Italian and Japanese snacks for tourists...and based on the rude reception i got when i checked out Hutong and the negative comments here, i'd recommend giving the whole enterprise a miss...

                                3. "Curry fish balls off a street vendor?"

                                  I guess it's true that the Cantonese will eat anything.

                                  1. Here's a suggestion for finding great restaurants. Every year, many of HK's best restaurants compete in a culinary competition. You can find the winning dishes here, along with pictures that are making me drool:
                                    http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/b...
                                    Any one of those restaurants should serve incredible meals.

                                    This years winners in the Steamed category were "Steamed fish paste in rolls and fish meet stuffed in loofah" and "steamed eel of two tastes served with crispy rice" and "Steamed Crab Claws Wrapped with Sliced Water Melon and Egg White" and also the somewhat similar "Braised Snow Crab Wrapped with Sliced Winter Melon Served on a Bed of Asparagus" and they all look SO GOOD!

                                    1. I haven't been back in 5 years+, but what I miss is:

                                      Wing Lai Yuen - this restaurant used to be in Diamond Hill (15 min walk up the hill from the MTR station). Now they've re-opened in the Whampoa Gourmet building where Din Tai Fung is. Hands down the best Dan Dan Meen ever. Their steamed thin pork belly slice (wun nam bak yuk) is out of this world and interestingly not on the menu. Also great are the boneless ginger and vinegar chicken feet, and I hear their sa wor won ton chicken soup, minimum 4 people to order this, is superb.

                                      Lan Fong Yuen - is this still around? I've never been but I always wanted to try their original HK milk tea (pantyhose milk tea)

                                      Tai Pin Koon - I don't go here for the squab but there are other non specialties that I grew up liking. They're still around.

                                      Lor Fu Gei - One location in Seung Wan. Cooked to order congee and won ton noodle. Also superb beef brisket noodle or ho fun but I hear Gau Gei (Nine's place) is better for that.

                                      And numerous cha chaan teng's that I don't remember their name. Cheap nitty gritty tasty quick food. And of course the old chain Hui Lau Shan for any seasonal mango desserts and the ilk.

                                      Curry fish ball skewers off a street vendor are great sans the anal seepage, but that's impossible because the borax is a key ingredient to make that shizzle soft and tender.

                                      1. Have you tried pigeons at Long Wah, ShaTin? Yummy, about HKD50 each. I've never tried Tai Ping Koon, I will on my next trip.

                                        1. My wife and I probably need to get a bit more adventurous (difficult since the only thing that she'll eat with legs is lobster, crab, and shrimp, plus she's not big on street food and stalls), but places we've repeated on our trips include Thai Basil in Pacific Place, Song Vietnamese off of Hollywood, the Mandarin Oriental pastry shop, any of the various Mango shops for mango sago (usually the one by Star Ferry Kowloon side), and egg tarts in the TST neighborhood.

                                          My favorite high end has been Aqua. Her favorite high end is Gaddi's.

                                          We've got a trip coming up in October. So far, we've reserved for two places new to us - Sunday Brunch at the Veranda and Nobu in the Inter-Continental.

                                          Reading through the thread, have to check out the Tofu Factory, the Conrad brunch for our second Sunday, Itamae Sushi, and find a dim sum place that is more English friendly than the ones that friends have taken us to.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: fpatrick

                                            the big mango dessert chain in hk is 許留山, very good quality and you can find them literally everywhere.

                                            http://www.hkhls.com/

                                            1. re: aser

                                              I can never get tired of this place, Hui Lau Shan...

                                              I love their drinks too, the take out is a great price, especially when you get two. They make it with real fruit and they always seem to get the sweetest, softest and smoothest mango. Healthy, delicious...

                                              They have a few stores in US also - in New York, San Francisco and LA.

                                          2. aside from the tofu desserts, I gotta give a thumbs up to the street food in CWB
                                            prices are kinda expensive compared to Thailand streetfood tho....(I guess the one in CWB has to pay for rent..)

                                            1. Can I add a least favorite (as of last night)?

                                              Hutong at 1 Peing Place has a stunning view. I'll give it that. It was mentioned in the NYT '36 Hours in Hong Kong' article I clipped and saved in April. Alongside such obvious reccomendations as 'Take the Star Ferry' and 'Visit the Peak', there was a shout out to Hutong.

                                              Specifically, it was written that 'the restaurant Hutong bears no resemblance to those old, smelly Beijing alleys of the same name'. Hmm - Now I've never eaten in a smelly alley in Beijing, but I'd have to now assume that the cuisine is inventive and well executed and the service attentive. In fact, I'm going to go out on a limb and recommend the smelly alley.

                                              The smelly alley probably doesn't give you a $600HKD min and a 60 minute turn-time warning after pointing out your lack of a reservation. Smelly alley proprietors might not tell you how spicy the crabs were, but they certainly would be back to take a drink order to help quench the fire. And those smelly alley prices - You come away fat and happy and wallet-intact.

                                              In Hutongs defense, the crabs were OK and really beautiful. But with no beer to wash them down, I could only do about 3. The pigeon was OK, nothing I would repeat. The spring rolls may well have come out of a box. And although I've heard raves about the lamb, I found it to be so-so. Sure, plenty of fat and nice and crispy, but none of the accompanying sauces made the dish snap into place (although the minced garlic paired well). The best part of the meal was my lychee drink.

                                              I guess my problem was twofold:

                                              There were no dishes that I would order again if I were ever to visit Hutong a second time. We ordered 5 things, and not one would I run to for comfort, knowing that we could count on it. All of this after a 12 hour flight, during which the "beef bulgogi" (think air quotes when you read that) was my dinner (UAL - Worst airline food ever?).

                                              Second, I only have 2 nights in Hong Kong during this 2 week trip to China, and one of them was blown on a really dissapointing restaurant experience. If I die right now, I'm pretty sure this meal would be my greatest regret. I need to eat something else soon... :)

                                              So, NYT, I guess these 36-hour columns are just a reporting of what someone DID in 36 hours, and then you guys present it as a highlight no matter the actual experience.

                                              I will try one of the Chowhound-reccomended spots on my way back through Hong Kong. I hope I fare better, because it is a long flight home...

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: Nibbs

                                                I thought it was me, or my inability to put together a set of dishes that complemented each other. My Hutong visit last year was OK, but just OK. I'm not running back. Rather return upstairs to Aqua for the (not cheap) sushi selection, including beef tartare and foie gras.

                                                1. re: fpatrick

                                                  i tried to go there tonight: i'm staying at the Langham across the street...i walked in at 10:20 (Friday)...it was 3/4 full, but plenty of empty tables...but after some discussion amongst the hostesses in Cantonese, i was told that the kitchen had just closed...i pressed the issue a bit because i was starving and the view/decor looked lovely, but they absolutely insisted there was no food to be had...i found it both odd (because i was dressed nicely and there was no reason not to serve me, and because the website states that it is open til 11) and rude (no apology for the discrepancy between the website closing time)...i won't return there...

                                              2. Arrived home from Hong Kong today and wanted to post about Aqua and Hutong. Four of us went for drinks at Aqua and dinner at Hutong Thursday evening. We couldn't have been happier with the whole experience. The views from Aqua are spectacular and we sipped our Pouilly Fuisse and watched the light show put on by those gorgeous buildings on Hong Konk Island. I believe they put on the light show for three months at this time of year. They started around 8:30 p.m.

                                                Our dinner was an experience of Northern Chinese Cuisine, which is spicy, and we loved it. Especially the spicy crab. Our mouths were burning, but so delicious. It is a unique experience to have this style of Chinese food for most visitors, I think. My son-in-law did the ordering (he and my daughter live in HK), so I can't name all the different dishes.

                                                I was impressed with the wine list and we managed to drink three bottles during our leisurely dinner. Our waiter was very informative about the food and wine and the service couldn't have been better. The total bill was around $4000.00 Hong Kong dollars.

                                                The other comment I want to make is I loved the decor. I want a house just like that restaurant. Beautiful!

                                                Here's to good eating!

                                                Cerise

                                                1. I realize that I did not make clear, that the bill for Hutong, also included the bar tab for Acqua.

                                                  Cerise