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Hong Kong Restaurant Recommendations

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SIN and HKG are both modern and very convenient airports  :biggrin: 

I come from Singapore and live in Hong Kong and frequent both airports both often and I have to say the food in both are terrible............The Hawker Centre in the Singapore Terminal 2 airport is acceptable (although I have not been there in quite a while). I suggest eat before going to either airport.

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I am currently doing a spell in HK and foodwise, it's always fun as I'm sure you'll all agree, well, most of you anyway.

The usual suspects have been fantastic, such as Mak's Noodles (wonton's, sui kau, etc). But what's been tweaking the radar has been the quality of some recent Continental + North American places.

Isola, an Italian restaurant at IFC Mall 2, opposite the Hong Kong airport express station was a revelation. Managed by the chap who used to run Grissini's over at the Hyatt Harbour View, the Chef hails from Calabria, but let's not hold that against him! We did not consult a menu, opting to confer with Carlo the manager. To start, a spaghetti with black truffles and bottarga. Simple and fulfilling. Secondo for me was a whole baked farmed sea bass, flown in from Italy I was told. I'll need to check on recent Italian marine agricultural activities. For my tastes, the food came as close to what I used to eat while living in Italy.

Then last night, I ate at The Steakhouse, at the Intercontinental in Tsim Tsa Tsui, now occupying what was the Regent/Four Seasons with the dynamite view across Victoria Harbour from every F&B outlet. An old school salad bar experience to start with, with plates filled with fresh lettuces and garnishes ranging from the whole Caesar works to exotic items like grilled pineapple, shavings of black truffle, and even beetroot for us ex-pat Aussies. The steaks? Superlative. Tender slabs of prime beef from the US, and for an Aussie, it's high praise indeed to say such things about US beef. But it was good. No need to describe them.

The cost was high, but then again, most good experiences in HK are, foodwise anyway.

There are threads here talking about HK food, especially the pinned thread above, but I just thought I'd try to move talk away from food courts and chain restaurants and try to ellicit whether people have been doing the fine dining scene in the little tenacious territory. Any takers?


"Coffee and cigarettes... the breakfast of champions!"

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I've eaten at both places several times. I like the food at Isola, and I like the open kitchen, but I find the vibe to be a little pretentious. And damn, is that some expensive pasta. Isobar, their lounge upstairs, is very nice and draws from the same kitchen. Disclosure: I'm friends with staff here.

The Steak House at the Intercon (formerly Regent) was a fave for a while - I live 3 blocks away - but I got tired of the captain there always assuming I was a gweilo tourist and trying to seat me at shitty tables all the time. The steaks are good, as they should be when they cost as much as a small car. Their sides are hit and miss. The mac and cheese was in a cream sauce, no cheese detected. I think they've renovated since my last visit and I haven't seen the new salad bar. To their credit, they kick the ass of their nearest 'expensive steak' competitor. That's Morton's, in the Sheraton, which is an embarrasment and should be avoided.

If you're after fine dining Italian, check out Toscana at the Ritz Carleton. That's the best, IMHO.


Hong Kong Dave

O que nao mata engorda.

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Dave, you and I must have the same friends!! I ended up at Grappa's at Jardine House for the Italy v Croatia game with the chef, Gianni and Carlo from Isola.

Yes, The Steakhouse definitely kicks Mortons. I snuck in there last night for a 'smaller' steak, and man, the prices are similar and for the repeat performance, I should have trundled over back to the Intercon.

Now, IMHO, the Mak's Noodles in Causeway Bay has definitely lowered it's standards.

Another nice find has been the Super Star Seafood restaurant in TST, near Prat Avenue. Ever been there? I had yum cha there on Friday, and had their signature pan fried scallop. Humongous critters, from god knows where, should have asked, but didn't. Quality yum cha, good service, in fact, very good service, must go back for dinner.


"Coffee and cigarettes... the breakfast of champions!"

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If you like good "modern Thai" (cooked by an Australian chef) you should try Lotus on Pottinger Street. I highly recommend it; we went there when it first opened (about two months ago) and it was excellent. My boyfriend looked at the menu and asked "why are we having Thai food when we can have it at home?" (he has a Thai maid who's a good cook) but the food was much better than hers. There were six of us and we probably tried at least half the menu (it's not big) and we loved almost everything we ate. The cocktails are also innovative and delicious.

Lotus

37-43 Pottinger Street

Tel: 2543 6290

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How about Farm House in Causeway Bay? Their deep fried stuffed chicken wings are amazing! Make sure to reserve them in advance.

Farm House

1-2/F AIA Plaza

18 Hysan Avenue

Causeway Bay

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Another nice find has been the Super Star Seafood restaurant in TST, near Prat Avenue. Ever been there? I had yum cha there on Friday, and had their signature pan fried scallop. Humongous critters, from god knows where, should have asked, but didn't. Quality yum cha, good service, in fact, very good service, must go back for dinner.

There's a SuperStar on Prat Ave? I didn't know that... or do you mean the branch in TST Mansion, on Nathan Road near the mosque? I've been there a couple of times for both yum cha and dinner, but I'm not a regular. Nothing wrong with the place, it's a well-established Hong Kong chain, but I wasn't blown away.


Hong Kong Dave

O que nao mata engorda.

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Dave, just checked my name card collection... it's TST Mansion, which is pretty close to Prat!! I just thought things were fresh and well done, kind of a rarity in most chain yum cha places and the quality of the seafood was above average. It does seem the kind of place where you need to know someone to get to the good stuff though, and if you're there, ask for Ricky Lam, he's a manager and knows his stuff.


"Coffee and cigarettes... the breakfast of champions!"

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My favourite place to yum cha is Victoria City in Sun Hung Kai, Wan Chai. Excellent stuff... I bring lots of people there and they've always loved it. They have Cantonese items on the menu but their speciality is Shanghainese. Try the XO cheung fun (the best version I've ever tasted), xiao long bao with hairy crab roe, pan-fried Shanghainese meat dumplings, char siu soh (they don't always have them), steamed blood with leeks (I believe it's only available on Sundays), shark's fin dumplings, egg tarts... actually everything I've eaten there is good.

It's one of the few restaurants I have on my mobile phone: 2827 9938.

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Thanks april!! I walked past there on Saturday and thought, yeah, looks good. Next time I'm around, will bring a group along and gorge on XO Cheung Fun... it's a favourite of mine.


"Coffee and cigarettes... the breakfast of champions!"

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Another good place is Xiao Nan Guo for Shanghainese food. There are several branches but I've only been to the ones in Central and Causeway Bay. The menus are slightly different - CWB has more dishes, including a mapo doufu with rice in clay pot. I like these restaurants for dinner and yumcha (although the yumcha selection isn't as extensive as at Victoria).

Central: 2259 9393

CWB: 2894 8899.

I should add that the Central branch is a little fancier and on several occasions I've spotted several local "celebrities" (famous and infamous) including Tung Chee-hwa, Hong Kong's ex-chief executive. He's Shanghainese which sort of says something of the quality of the food.

The CWB branch is quieter and smaller.


Edited by aprilmei (log)

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My mouth is watering already. Hopefully I'll be in HK again before too long, in about 5 weeks or so. Care to lead up an eating expedition or two april?? HKDave??


"Coffee and cigarettes... the breakfast of champions!"

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I think Ole Spanish restaurant is worth a mention (just down from the Foreign Correspondents' Club and the Fringe Club). It's not cheap, but it's nice to get European food simply done, instead of the fussy presentations that are such an obsession in Hong Kong. Their desserts, however, lean towards the sculptural end of things. I liked a place called Plats too, which always seems be too busy to book on the same day. It's above the Greenlands Curry Club in Central, and is one of those private dining clubs that became popular in Hong Kong recently. Very unfussy. Hong Kong could really use a lot more places like that. European food can so often be disappointing, overrated and overpriced.

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My favourite place to yum cha is Victoria City in Sun Hung Kai, Wan Chai. Excellent stuff... I bring lots of people there and they've always loved it. They have Cantonese items on the menu but their speciality is Shanghainese. Try the XO cheung fun (the best version I've ever tasted), xiao long bao with hairy crab roe, pan-fried Shanghainese meat dumplings, char siu soh (they don't always have them), steamed blood with leeks (I believe it's only available on Sundays), shark's fin dumplings, egg tarts... actually everything I've eaten there is good.

It's one of the few restaurants I have on my mobile phone: 2827 9938.

I like the dim sum at Zen (Pacific Place) myself although I have been told the standards have dropped over the years. My favourite is the siu long pau.

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Dim sum at Zen was totally cool, good and fantastic... about 8 years or so ago... however, their outlet at Festival Walk, Mongkok is still going strong.


"Coffee and cigarettes... the breakfast of champions!"

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My mouth is watering already. Hopefully I'll be in HK again before too long, in about 5 weeks or so. Care to lead up an eating expedition or two april?? HKDave??

The more, the merrier. Send a PM closer to when you plan to arrive. I'm travelling at the moment but will be back in town around the 24th.

Dim sum at Zen was totally cool, good and fantastic... about 8 years or so ago... however, their outlet at Festival Walk, Mongkok is still going strong.

I'm not a fan of the dim sum or the service (or the prices) these days at the Zen in Pacific Place, although the decor is a step up from the norm. Never tried the Festival Walk location. That's in Kowloon Tong, not Mongkok.


Hong Kong Dave

O que nao mata engorda.

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I'm not a fan of the dim sum or the service (or the prices) these days at the Zen in Pacific Place, although the decor is a step up from the norm.  Never tried the Festival Walk location.  That's in Kowloon Tong, not Mongkok.

Sorry, don't know the Kowloon side very well... very much an Islander/TST boy here!

But most definitely... PM's it is then.


"Coffee and cigarettes... the breakfast of champions!"

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I definitely second the recommendations for Farmhouse (classic homestyle cantonese food) and Victoria City @ SHK Center.

Other Farmhouse dishes that I love are the steamed egg whites topped with salted egg yolks, veggies, and roasted duck - and if there is a large enough group of you - a clay pot rice. Ask that soup be added to the crusty bits of rice and served as another course - delicous. They have a steamed papaya with coconut milk (with or without bird's nest) that is superb.

If you visit Victoria City during crab season - try the flower crab steamed in fai dou wine. When you done with the crab - have yee mein tossed in the remaining sauce so that you get all that sweet winy crabby flavor.

For higher end dim sum - you may want to also consider Fook Lam Moon - which is a super old school restaurant. The TST branch is much nicer than the HK side.

Man - how I envy you.

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One absolutely definite "non-recommendation" for Hong Kong is Po Toi O. This is a little "fishing village" in HK, way out on the end of the Clearwater Bay peninsula, near the golf club. It is still picturesque in the 30 years ago HK kind of way, and they have a few fish farming ponds floating in the small bay, but its main business now is appearing to be a hidden gem sort of seafood destination for tourists - mostly scads of locals who are looking for a bit of nostalgia, and a bargain which is what the location would suggest.

The food goes from ordinary to bad. There is the usual shtick of choosing your seafood, but the selection is nowhere near what you get in Sai Kung or Lei Yue Mun, and most of the livewells look a little suspect, and not terribly clean or bubbly. There used to be an old routine in HK and elsewhere, that you would choose your beautiful, live crab (fish, lobster, or whatever) and they would duly take it into the kitchen, then drop it in a tank back there and cook you up something out of the freezer. After you left, they put your fish back in the tank in front. The old saying was that some of the prettier lobsters actually did this so many times they were trained to jump into the net. There's not much of this left - HK people are too prosperous and too busy to fool around with pennies now, and the competition is too great to risk it. Plus, you can actually be prosecuted, and in super honest HK these days it's a real deterrent (a good thing, BTW).

Anyway, you can guess what comes next - they pulled this one on us with the crab we chose. What we got was obviously not what we bought or paid for, and had clearly been frozen, then overcooked. The clams were the one bright spot, nice with black bean, garlic and chili, but the rest was very forgettable. The really memorable part was the bill - $600 HK (US$75) for 4 dishes, which is more than you would pay for a real quality meal in even the best places in Sai Kung or Lei Yue Mun.

An important understanding these days is that practically none of the seafood in HK is caught by the local picturesque fishing boats. It's almost all imported and arrives on an airplane at Chek Lap Kok, or it comes over the China border in livewell trucks. Most of it ends up at the seafood wholesale market at Aberdeen (proximity to harbour a now unrelated historical consequence), where it is then redistributed all over HK. So, those fishing village dinners by various harborsides in HK are more or less romantic contrivances at this point. The crabs are from Sri Lanka, prawns from pens in China, lobsters from Thailand or Australia, and oysters from the USA. I guess what this suggests is that you are just as likely to have a good Chinese seafood meal right in Central as you are if you drive way out to the NT. Which is more or less the case, although it certainly is a good night out with a bunch of beer (or Sauvignon Blanc) and seafood at one of the local places in Sai Kung, in the Autumn when the weather can be beautiful.

So, give Po Toi O a miss. Kylie Kwong shot a bunch of footage there for her most recent TV season, and the implied recommendation is misleading. There are better places to be sure, but not hidden gems as HK has almost none of these anymore. Keep in mind also that there are no bargains - a good chinese seafood repast in HK will cost at least $60 US per head, regardless of how rough & ready the place appears.


Pantry Magic - the destination for cooking enthusiasts in Asia. Pro quality cooks tools at factory-direct prices, cookbooks, professional advice and service. Hong Kong * Taipei * Beijing * Shanghai * Singapore * Jakarta * Auckland - soon to be in every major Asian city. No Pantry Magic in your town? OPEN ONE! Franchise opportunities available: www.pantry-magic.com.

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[...]

An important understanding these days is that practically none of the seafood in HK is caught by the local picturesque fishing boats. It's almost all imported and arrives on an airplane at Chek Lap Kok, or it comes over the China border in livewell trucks.

[...]

This has been the case for a long time. The dwindling number of local fishermen cannot possibly keep up with the demand for fresh seafood from >7 million residence, plus of course millions of tourists each year.


W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

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One absolutely definite "non-recommendation" for Hong Kong is Po Toi O. This is a little "fishing village" in HK, way out on the end of the Clearwater Bay peninsula, near the golf club. It is still picturesque in the 30 years ago HK kind of way, and they have a few fish farming ponds floating in the small bay, but its main business now is appearing to be a hidden gem sort of seafood destination for tourists - mostly scads of locals who are looking for a bit of nostalgia, and a bargain which is what the location would suggest.

The food goes from ordinary to bad. There is the usual shtick of choosing your seafood, but the selection is nowhere near what you get in Sai Kung or Lei Yue Mun, and most of the livewells look a little suspect, and not terribly clean or bubbly. There used to be an old routine in HK and elsewhere, that you would choose your beautiful, live crab (fish, lobster, or whatever) and they would duly take it into the kitchen, then drop it in a tank back there and cook you up something out of the freezer. After you left, they put your fish back in the tank in front. The old saying was that some of the prettier lobsters actually did this so many times they were trained to jump into the net. There's not much of this left - HK people are too prosperous and too busy to fool around with pennies now, and the competition is too great to risk it. Plus, you can actually be prosecuted, and in super honest HK these days it's a real deterrent (a good thing, BTW).

Anyway, you can guess what comes next - they pulled this one on us with the crab we chose. What we got was obviously not what we bought or paid for, and had clearly been frozen, then overcooked. The clams were the one bright spot, nice with black bean, garlic and chili, but the rest was very forgettable. The really memorable part was the bill - $600 HK (US$75) for 4 dishes, which is more than you would pay for a real quality meal in even the best places in Sai Kung or Lei Yue Mun.

An important understanding these days is that practically none of the seafood in HK is caught by the local picturesque fishing boats. It's almost all imported and arrives on an airplane at Chek Lap Kok, or it comes over the China border in livewell trucks. Most of it ends up at the seafood wholesale market at Aberdeen (proximity to harbour a now unrelated historical consequence), where it is then redistributed all over HK. So, those fishing village dinners by various harborsides in HK are more or less romantic contrivances at this point. The crabs are from Sri Lanka, prawns from pens in China, lobsters from Thailand or Australia, and oysters from the USA. I guess what this suggests is that you are just as likely to have a good Chinese seafood meal right in Central as you are if you drive way out to the NT. Which is more or less the case, although it certainly is a good night out with a bunch of beer (or Sauvignon Blanc) and seafood at one of the local places in Sai Kung, in the Autumn when the weather can be beautiful.

So, give Po Toi O a miss. Kylie Kwong shot a bunch of footage there for her most recent TV season, and the implied recommendation is misleading. There are better places to be sure, but not hidden gems as HK has almost none of these anymore. Keep in mind also that there are no bargains - a good chinese seafood repast in HK will cost at least $60 US per head, regardless of how rough & ready the place appears.


Pantry Magic - the destination for cooking enthusiasts in Asia. Pro quality cooks tools at factory-direct prices, cookbooks, professional advice and service. Hong Kong * Taipei * Beijing * Shanghai * Singapore * Jakarta * Auckland - soon to be in every major Asian city. No Pantry Magic in your town? OPEN ONE! Franchise opportunities available: www.pantry-magic.com.

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Back to report pictures and impressions.

Thanks everybody for the suggestions.

We went to Victoria City

img0858rb3.jpg

My husband, for some reason, decided that on this vacation we were on the "moderation" rule, so we tried to order the right amount of food the most of the time.

For this place I feel we didn't order enogh or the appropriate things to give a judgement

Scallion pancake, I din't like this one

img0861sp0.jpg

Shrimp dumplings

img0862ur2.jpg

The xiao long bao with crab roe, which is not for me

img0863gx3.jpg

the glutinous rice cakes with black sesame seeds, very good

img0865pd2.jpg

Yes, I know, it was more a snack than a proper meal :wub:

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Someone was talking about the Modern China Restaurant in Time Square Food Court.

We had the endurance to stand the line for almost two hours the night before leaving :laugh:

img1274iz0.jpg

At the end we were so hungry that we over ordered.

Tofu salad by the house

img1276cn6.jpg

Brown braised gluten, it was too mushy for me, I did like so much more the one upstairs at Xiao Nan Guo

img1278ow0.jpg

Zucchini, abalone and conch salad. The dish I liked better

img1282zj2.jpg

Prawns

img1286cv1.jpg

Fried pork

img1287bs9.jpg

and the winter melon soup

img1284il0.jpg

After eating all this we had problem sleeping :biggrin:

Well, the impression we got from this place was that we had, once again, the wrong ordering stategy. We guessed people come here to have a nice cheap meal; most of the people ordered dumplings, noodles, more this kind of cheap stuff where 2 people can eat pleanty for 100 HKD.

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By chance we found this restaurant

img1263st8.jpg

My husband, beeing Shanghainese, was very happy to eat again, after many years, some of these dishes

glutinous dumplings in sweet wine syrup

img1265dz3.jpg

rice cakes with syrup

img1266bv8.jpg

And again rice cakes with shanghainese cabbage

img1268ep1.jpg

This meal was a little repetitive but still were all dishes my husband was craving for.

Both the food and the service was very good, it is a perfect place for lunch.

The restaurant I liked better was anyway shanghainese, maybe I am just more accostumed to the food. I did really enjoyed Xiao Nan Guo.

We also went to Lotus reccomanded by Aprilmei where -I couldn't belive my eyes- I met a school friend of mine from elementary school!!!

With my friend we went out another time before leaving and we have been at Soho Spice in Soho, it's a Thai/Vietnamese place, I didn't particularly liked it.

I find it odd the difference in "expats" restaurants and chinese restaurants. In Soho, my husband was quite frustrated because he could not use mandarin.

Overall we tought Hong Kong gives very good choices of eating out but it still requires to know were to go and what to order to make the most out of the experience.


Edited by Franci (log)

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We went to Victoria City

img0858rb3.jpg

Thanks for posting your pictures, Franci!

Where is this Victoria City restaurant? (Which building?). From the buildings outside, my guess is it is in Wanchai? Near or inside the Hong Kong Convention Centre?


Edited by hzrt8w (log)

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

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