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Jul 5, 2007 03:42 PM

Lady Dining Solo in HKG

My husband has business in Hong Kong next week, so I'm going along for the ride. I'll be spending my days and meals solo, for the most part, and was wondering if this would be comfortable in some of the higher end restauants? I love to take myself to a nice place in NYC or SF and sit at the bar and have a fantastic meal, but would this be strange in HKG? Also, are there any more high-end places that you would recommend? I want to eat as much Chinese cuisine while I'm there. Is Chinese cuisine more of a low-brow cuisine or are there nicer restauarants? I have no idea what to expect but am looking forward to the adventure!

Also - I assume it will be just fine to dine on my own in more low-end places (noodle shops, dim sum, etc) - as I would be in and out quickly and likely wouldn't be the only person eating by him/her self. Is this accurate?


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  1. I think you will find yourself quite at home dining alone in Hong Kong, especially the high end places. The few occassions that I have to dine alone in HK, I always pick a restaurant with a great view of the harbour or the skyline. Currently, my favourite top two 'in' places that feature good food with a view are window tables at the 'Pierre' - top floor of the Mandarin Hotel or 'Caprice' - Four Seasons Hotel. Past favourites include Grassini, Grand Hyatt and the Italian restaurant ( forgot its name ) in the Conrad Hotel. 'Aqua' - 1 Peking Road, TST, Kowloon. though a little touristy, offers more than decent Italian and Japanese food. However, the unobstructive view of HK island and the harbour is out of this world. If quality of food is your main criteria, then I would give 'Boinnovation' - Ice House street, Central a try. They offer multi courses 'nouveau' Chinese tasting menu (.with wine pairing if so desired). ( ). For more traditional Chinese fare, do give 'Tang Court' - Langham Hotel, Peking Road, TST, Kowloon a try. The restaurant was voted top ten hotel restaurant in the world by Gourmet, Food & Wine and Hotels magazines. The food indeed is exceptional. So much for high end dining. As for lower end places, all I can say is ' the sky is the limit'!!! However, a good place to start is the 'food' building adjacent to Time Square in Causeway bay. All 11 floors of eating establishments for you to try and discover. Afterwards, you can shop next door, another 11 floors of shops, shops and more shops!!. City Super at the basement of Time Square is a 'Japanese' style super market that houses an incredible array of fine foods from around the world. ( a small combo of Paris Fouchon and London's Harrod food court ?! ). For Italian Parma and Spanish Serranno Ham alone, they offer at least half a dozen variations!! And the meat and seafood departments, Wow!! You'll find Prime steak from Alberta, Kansas, Australia, Argentina as well as Angus from Scotland and Wagyu from Japan. Then, there are oysters from Australia, France, Ireland, East and West coast of North America.....What choices!!
    Enjoy! Be amazed and have a great time!

    5 Replies
    1. re: Charles Yu

      As always Charles, a great post!

      The Italian restaurant at Conrad Hotel I believe you are refering to is called Nicholinis. Best Sunday brunch in HK hands down!

      1. re: s0memale

        Yup! I think you are right! The Buffet Brunch of Island Shangri-La is not too bad either.

        1. re: Charles Yu

          Thank you, Charles! A wonderful list of suggestions. We got here last night and my husband and I had dim sum at Maxims and then to the Peak for a walk and the view. I had read great things about it -- I do agree that the food is incredibly fresh and it was very good, tho I don't think the quality or selection was miles above what I eat in Chinatown in NYC (basically, I wasn't nearly as blown away as I had hoped to be). Am thinking of trying the dim sum place in Four Seasons tomorrow, but 11 floors of food in Times Square may trump that idea! Tonight am thinking of going to the outdoor market in Kowloon and then will have dinner somewhere nice - maybe Tang Court - tho I'm still full from dim sum!

          Any suggestions for Macau? Am thinking of going there on Wednesday for the day.

          1. re: Stickies

            Definitely try having lunch at ' Galera a Robouchon' at the Lisboa Hotel. The closest to a Michelin 2 stars experience in asia. The HK$388, 4 course business lunch is a steal.
            Ask thr hotel concierge for recommendation of a place where you can try out Macau's famous Crab dishes. With only a day at your dis[osal, I would stay away from the so-called Portuguese cuisine which I found fairly mediocre. Happy Chowing!

            1. re: Stickies

              Also if you want great dim sum, also at the Lisboa Hotel is an amazing restaurant with excellent service. Can't remember the name sorry. Although i'd still recommend dim sum in hk, as there are some amazing places to experience.

      2. Just to reply to myself with a little update on travels and cuisine. Last night I decided I wanted some tasty super spicy schezuan cuisine, so I asked our concierge for a rec in Kowloon. Crystal Palace is where she sent me - terrible, horrible! I should have walked out when i sat down and saw a small bug crawlign across the table! The horror of it all! It was fast fried chinese food and it wasn't spicy at all, which was the point of my going in the first place. Awful! I didn't eat very much and paid my $20 US bill and walked out the door. I went to the place Charles recommended in Langham Hotel to sit at the bar, have a beer and order something small to eat -- but they had no bar and it was fairly late (like 10:30) and the hostesses directed me to the City Deli Cafe (or soemthing like that) in the lobby. No thanks - I went home to bed, totally dissatisfied by Chinese food in Hong Kong after two days of just OK cuisine - It shouldn't be this hard.
        Today I went to Lung Kin Heen in Four Seasons in Central in Hong Kong to make up for my follies yesterday. One word - YUM! Wow. OK - so two words. I had the "executive lunch" for around $55 US and ate 10 dishes - all spectacular. I had a wonderful six person table all to myself on a clear day overlooking the harbor. Service was excellent. Food was all excellent (probably the best chinese food I've had). A total of ten courses - everything from two kinds of seafood dumplings steamed, to lacquered goose with sweet & sour sauce to fried short ribs w wasabi sauce. YUM. Oh - and desert was this incredible thing - warm almond milk with egg whites! Wow - It was lovely. Strange, but lovely. A big bowl of hot, slightly sweet almond milk, with litterally egg white pieces floating in it - the egg whites retained heat and were quite hot in my mouth with the warm broth - very odd, but very nice. It was really tasty.
        I went to Felix tonight in Peninsula in Kowloon.I was going to go BACK to Four Seasons to Caprice, but figure I'll save that for another night. It was nice - fine, really, nothing too outstanding all around. It is odd dining alone - they sat me right behind the row of tables that face the harbor -- at a table by myself, but the table partially faced a curtain that separated the table from the rest of the dining room (including a wait station). I would have liked to have not had the curtain, which obstrcuted my view partly.
        Dinner was nothing special - really, just fine. I ate a salad to start, sweet w pears and candied pecans and blue cheese and some really fresh, crisp greens. Something I would order at home, but not too much else looked really fun to order. Then I had mushroom risotto w/ parmesean. Again, something I would have at home. It was good - very good - but I certainly wasn't blown away. I think my standards may be getting to high when I travel - I'm somewhat spoiled in NYC and, therefore, any type of international cuisine rarely impresses me. The lunch I had today was wholly impressive - I couldn't eat that in NYC (I don't think -- tell me chowhounds).
        Ah....yes. Tomorrow is another eating day.
        Going to CRU in SoHo to meet a friend of a friend for lunch tomorrow and then to China Club for dinner with my husband and his work people. Anything special I should order?
        Oh - and today I was in the mall adjacent to the train station where you stop to go to Ten Thousand Budah's Monastery - there was a little shop of a Singapore jerkey place called Bee Chiang Hiang - Super tasty. I had two orders of the pork and two orders of the spicy pork - MMMMMMMM. The bag they gave me says Singapore since 1933 - so I assume this is an outpost of some place going strong. I know there are a couple of jerkey places in NYC - is this the name of one? Maybe on Elizabeth? I've never tasted anythign so sweet and yummy - so I doubt it's the same - but thought I'd ask!
        Til tomorrow...

        13 Replies
        1. re: Stickies

          Nice trip report, Stickies! Looking forward to reading part 2 and 3 and....! Really glad to hear that you had a nice lunch at Lung Kin Heen. Its also one of my favourite spot for 'nouveau' dim sum. The ambience and the harbour view really completes the whole dining experience. Are you planning to give Boinnovation a try? Good luck with your continuous culinary quest!

          1. re: Charles Yu

            I have BoInnovation scheduled for Thursday dinner with my husband before we head to Dubai and I have a lunch at Rubauchon's place in Macau scheduled for tomorrow (Wed)! Thank you for the recs! Will report back soon....

            1. re: Stickies

              Fantastic! Hope you both have a memorable time. Bon appetite!!

              1. re: Charles Yu

                Another update!

                Yesterday I walked north into Kowloon and went to a wet market on reclamation street. I found a shop along the way where you pick your live chicken and the butcher prepares it for you while you wait. I bit horrific, but, as I eat chicken, it's good to know where/how my food arrives on my table.

                Met a friend for lunch at Cru in SoHo - the street (Staunton) was lined with cute western restaurants - all cuisines, really, but dthey were westernize places. Cru was fine - a great place for a big salad, if you are tired of chinese foods, which is what I had. Afterwards I went to Causway Bay to find the 11 story food building that Charles referenced -- I couldn't find it. Was I blind? did you mean the four floors of restaurants (10 to 14) on top of the 11 floors of shopping? They were real restaurants, not stands or small shops. Maybe this is what you meant - not sure, but don't think so. I walked all around the Times Square building and on the side streets and just couldn't find the place. I did, however, find Yee Shun Milk Company and had cold milk with two films! YUM - Loved it. Almost like panna cotta but so much lighter and very flavorful. Milky love -- Tasty! I got a card but there are two addresses in Causway Bay: 85 Percival St and 506 Lockhart Rd - not sure which one I went to. Also in Kowloon at 63 Piklem St, 513 nathan Rd Yanmati and 246-248Percival St.

                At night, I met my husband and his work people at the China Club. What a goegeous building and interior. We had cocktails on the roof deck and then settled into the mail dining room for a meal. The art collection inside is spectacular - it was really incredible. The cuisine that was ordered for us was delicious, but incredibly american -- I'm talking kung pao chicken and sweet and sour pork. Probably the best versions of the two dishes that I've ever eaten - but not what I was expecting. The people that were hosting us were american from the south - they explained that the only chinese they grew up eating were these americanized verions of the cuisine and that China Club is the only place in HKG where they can find it. They say when they go back stateside, americanized chinese is the cuisine that they crave. Funny to me, but makes sense. Maybe China Club also offers real chinese food, but I didn't get to see a menu as our hosts ordered for the table. There was a band playing and a noodle cutting display, but we didn't order an noodles! We went to the cigar bar in the Mandarin for after dinner drinks and cigars. It was packed!
                Off to Macau today. One of the men that I dined with last night said that Macau is like the Hamptons for him and his family. They go there to relax on weekends and go to the beach. He (this is the guy that craves Kung Pao chicken) said he loves Fernando's for the crab. I'll talk to the concierge at the Lisboa when I arrive to see if there are better places, but I may just have to try Fernandos bc so many people tell me it is where they go. Will also eat nata at Lord Stowe. A lot of food in a few short hours - but I will power through!

                More later!

                1. re: Stickies

                  I'm sorry to hear that you couldn't find the 11 storeys ' Eat - through - the - roof ' building adjacent to Time square. The entrance is directly under the big TV picture screen. Oh Well!
                  I'm so surprised to hear that you actually manage to savour ' Double film milk ' and at Yee Shun as well! Its my wife's favourite dessert. Suppose to have magical therapeutical effect on woman's complexion!! Ha!
                  Wow! From what I've read so far, looks like you are turning into a local mighty fast!
                  Have fun in Macau!!

                  1. re: Charles Yu

                    I was a bit confused about the 11 stories of eating at Times Square. I was also under the impression that Time Square was shopping with restaurants on the top few floors.

                    1. re: WHills

                      Noop! There are MORE to Time Square.This seperate eating haven do exist!
                      The entrance to this ' eat-through-the-roof' part of the Time Square complex is not at street level but only accessible after going up a flight of escalator under the hugh TV screen. At the top, you should see long lines of people waiting for the ' glass bubble ' elevators to take them to their choice of eating establishments. Good Luck!!!

                      1. re: Charles Yu

                        OK - MORE! Macau was excellent! The ferry over was painful - didn't realize that they fill up and had to wait about an hour for one with space for me, then there were mad lines at customs and then more lines for the taxi. all in - it took me three plus hours from my hotel to Hotel Lisboa. Hotel Lisboa is a hole - I asked about four different staff working there to direct me to Rubichon a Galera (I think that is the proper name) and none of them knew where it is - I mean, the restaurant is IN the hotel! My patience was at a minimum! Finally, one nice porter walked me to an elevator and waited for me to get in and pushed the button for the third floor. The restaurant was a little haven amidst the insanity of Hotel Lisboa (I think I rode up in the elveator with a couple of prostitutes...). Lovely interior - if quite formal. The staff was wonderful and very kind to someone dinign alone. The sommelier was really a gem - he helped me pick a nice bottle of portugese wine and he is also the fromagier -- more on that later. There are three cheapie lunch price fix menus - all with a bunch of choises. The first is about 240 (like $30 US) and you get either soup or appetizer, entree (either meat or fish) and then either dessert or cheese. The next range is 380 (like 45 US) and you get appetizer, soup, meat or fish, cheese or dessert goes on up until you get app, soup, fish, meat, cheese and dessert. Very, very reasonable.
                        The bread cart came first - which was spectacular. After selecting breads, they remove the cart, warm the breads for me and then bring them in a basket to the table. I had something that looked like an epis, but with portugese sausage and mustard in it - YUM. Next amuse - some funny sweet granita that I found a bit odd. It was a sangria jelly with diced fruit and granita - felt more like a sorbet course. I had slightly smoked fois gras with haricort vert - very, very tasty. Then white asparagus soup poured over the most delicious crutons and salmon squares. Then I had a sea bass with vegetables. all very large portions and very, very classic french cooking. The cheese course was interesting in that the cheese cart had only maybe 12 cheeses on it - I'm used to more of a selection at really nice places. But, the cheeses were all really great. The BEST was a fourme d'ambert 'cake' -- there is a vintner in France that takes a wheel of the blue cheese and cuts off the rind. He then slices in into thin rounds and frosts each round with ground nuts, stweet rasins - then he assembles the layer cake. It was divine - great mix of flavors and textures. YUM. Also - the coffee was the best cup I've ever had - so rich and incredible. They served it with milk and with a pourer of liquid caramel - Wow. They forgot to give me mignardis, which was silly, bc they also asked me to fill out an evaluation card adn should have known I would point out any little thing. All is a great experience and a wonderful value. I felt much better after the horrific experience on the ferry ride (had a screaming baby next to the the whole time).
                        I then walked to the old part of town where you can see the portuguese tiled walkways and the old colonial buildings. They have stands and shops that sell these small (maybe the size of a silver dollar) cookies made of almonds that are to die for. They fall apart in your mouth. Also the egg custards - which I didn't have. And, jerkey stands - yum.
                        I then went to the south to Colonia to the beach - which was not the nicest beach I've ever seen (my husband's associate refered to the area as the 'Hamptons' for people living in HKG - I don't think so). There were small stands of people grilling octopus and poultry legs and i wanted one, but saved myself for Fernandos after a bit of swimming.
                        Fernandos is awesome! Outdoors and big with tons of tables. I sat by myself and ordered a bottle of vinho verde - I probably should have done beer (Super Bock) bc it was really bad - but after the first glass, it grew on me. Ordered a whole crab with chili and garlic and a salad. Salad was luttice, the biggest sliced redest tomato I've ever eaten and slivers of white onions. It it served with basic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Wow - the tomatos were sooo good. The crab was about the size of the platter that they brought it out to me on. Precracked. I think they stuff inside the crab with a chili garlic mix and then deep fry it. I sat for an hour or so and picked out all the crab meat - it was very, very good.

                        I took a taxi to Lord Stowes, but it was closed (probably around 8:30 PM) and I was sad to have missed the famous egg custards. I had to wiat for a bus for some time bc there were no taxis and took it to the ferry terminal. I had won some money gambling after lunch at Wynn (I needed AC and figured, let's play a little roulette). So, instead of subjecting myself to another horrible ferry ride, I took a helicopter back to HKG! It was so James Bond -- loved it landing smack in the middle of the harbor with all the lights! Definately the way to go if you go to Macau.

                        All in - a great eating day. I wish I'd had more space in my belly at Fernandos. I peeked in the kitchen and they had platters of suckling pigs wating to be eaten. Also - the clams looked incredible. Again - next time...

                        Today - not much eating yet. My husband should be done w/ meetings soon and we will go to the back side of Hong Kong island to visit a friend in Shek O and drive around. I had asked her what her favorite food in HKG is and she said wonton noodles from this whole in the wall. So - we'll go and then visit the sites. We have Bo Innovation tonight before departing for Dubai tonight. One more report to come...

                        1. re: Stickies

                          Glad to hear that you had a lovely and fun time eating at Macau.
                          I too am a won ton noodle fan, constantly searching for the ultimate perfect version. If you do find the noodle from this 'hole in the wall' place spectacular, please remember to post its whereabout so that I too can try it out during my next trip to HKG. Thanks!

                          1. re: Charles Yu

                            OK - Last one on the Hong Kong board:
                            Took a subway out to near Shek-O. Went to a whole in the wall noodles place and had wonton noodle soup - it was very tasty! clear simple broth with nice noodles and big fat shrimp wontons. This is only the second one I've ever had - so not sure how it stacks up on the rank of things. We had three big bowls and two waters for like $5 US. Amazing.
                            Then we went out to Shek O on the bus - beautiful drive. And, Shek-O! What a quaint little beach village! Our friend lives there and took us first to the beach and then to a little Thai place right in town. I got their card, but can't seem to find it now. I had lime sodas - with fresh lime juice and cold soda poured in. And, big Tsing Taos. And, chili garlic crabs and prawns the size of my head. I must admit - this crab was better than the one yesterday - maybe a bit more oily - but also much more spicy and flavorful. With onion, chilis and garlic. Really, really tasty. Completely unnecessary, too - as we finished our crustaceon snacks around 5 and had dinner at Bo Innovation at 7.
                            So - Bo Innovation (Upper Ground Floor - 32-38 Ice House Street, Central, Hong Kong) was interesting. We got there quite early, bc we are now waiting for our midnight flight to Dubai. We were the only ones there until a Brit couple came in just before nine. Always makes me nervous when a place isn't busy. The interior is nicely decorated, but the lights were quite brite and the music was eclectic. The waiter was also overly chatty and kept interputing my husband and I when we were tryign to chat. The food was very inventive -- we did a tasting menu with 5 small appetizers (one or two bites each), followed by main course, followed by desert for about 600 HK dollars - which ends up being about 85 US, I think. The courses were interesting - the first was an amuse (which was the same size as each of the appetizers) was oyster flavored tofu with salmon roe - it was quite good - salty and creamy with pops of roe. One of the aps that stood out was crab souffle. Some were successful, others less so - there was a fois gras course and the fois wasn't prepared well and was almost stringy. Others - the flavors were just odd - like Chinese wine and sausage ice cream (yes - wine and sausage flavored ice cream) sitting on top of crispy rice. This was inventive for sure, but successful, not so sure....Also - there was some repeat in dishes -- two were little squares of gelatinized liquid (I don't need two courses of aspic-type dishes in 5 apps) and two courses contained savory ice cream (which is interesting in small doses, methinks). The main courses were the highlight - Philip had pig three ways - all with crispy skin that I love. And I had duck which had a lovely and piquant mandarin sauce. Very tasty and well portioned and presented. Desert was also just OK - or maybe less than OK - it was a plate with three things: an apple dumpling (I can make this myself easily), a green tea creme brule (I can make this, too) and sour salty pickled plum ice cream (the second salty ice cream of the meal).
                            All in - with one martini and a 380 HK Dollar bottle of wine, our bill was close to $300 US. Was it inventive? Yes, absolutely. I really appreciated the interesting use of Chinese ingredients. Successful? At times. Worth it? No. Would I go again or recommend? No and no.
                            Now we are at the airport - waitng to go to Dubai. Really, waiting to get on the plane to drink some Dom Perignon, maybe have a little iranian cavier and then pass out...

                            1. re: Stickies

                              Hello and Au Revoir Stickies!
                              I'm sorry to hear that your 'Boinnovation Experience' was an anticlimax and your HKG trip ended on a down note. Oh well?! The chef's creativity must be a bit off on that night. Depending on one's luck, I guess even a Michelin 3 star restaurant can have its weird and off night. I remember a few years back, whilst dining at the Parisian 3 stars 'Lucas Carton', I got served a ' Border-line rare pig's liver in a dark chocolate sauce'!! Most interesting!!
                              How long are you planning to spend in Dubai?! If you are not afraid of 'heights', try having dinner at the 'Al Martaha' at the Burj Al Arab Hotel. The sunset from that vantage point was fantastic. Seafood at their other restaurant ' Al Mahara ' was also very very good. The aquarium tunnel leading to the restaurant was a sight to behold. Enjoy your stay!

                              1. re: Charles Yu

                                Thanks, Charles. And, thank you especially for all the great advice!


                                1. re: Stickies

                                  You are most welcome! Till we chat again on our next gastronomic adventure! FYI, I'll be visiting HKG next February. Will post interesting and yummy encounters. I hope?!