Monday, December 18

King’s Palace Congee and Noodle Place, Hong Kong

King’s Palace Congee and Noodle Place
Hong Kong Airport

This is great for folks on the run, wanting to savour one last taste of the famous Hong Kong roasts before jumping onto a flight – a food court right after the immigration area that serves roast goose with noodle soup. It’s not the best that I have tried, but if you are short on time, it’s not a bad alternative.

Breakfast in Hong Kong

I was craving porridge one morning and found this hole in the wall – fab! – I picked something that I have not had in ages – liver porridge. Yums. What surprised me was when they asked what else I wanted with it. I was given the option of either fried bee hoon (rice noodles) or cheong fun (steamed rice rolls). Wow, the Hong Kongers sure eat a lot. I didn’t finish breakfast of course. But the food was delish.

Tau Fu Fa (Soy Beancurd), Hong Kong

Tau Fu Fa (Soy Beancurd)
Along the escalator

Soy beancurd is just so divine in Hong Kong. It never ceases to amaze me how smooth it can be. Add to that a light ginger syrup and a sprinkling of the brown sugar on top… What can I say!

Thursday, December 14

Mak’s Noodle, Hong Kong

Mak’s Noodle, Hong Kong
77 Wellington Street
T. 2854 3810

The bowl was just soooooo tiny. Barely larger than the soup bowl here, it was filled to the brim with an incredibly springy egg noodle similar to the ones used in won ton noodles but much better. And topped with two wontons and two shui kows (prawn dumplings). The broth was also incredibly flavoursome, especially with some of the chilli oil added to it. It's pricey though, each bowl costs S$7 / US$4.

Lan Fong Yuen, Hong Kong

Lan Fong Yuen
G/F Gage Street, Central (near the escalator)
T. 2545 3895

This is supposed to be “the place” to go to for typical Hong Kong breakfast of thick toast and instant noodles with whatever your heart desires. Even Bourdain ate here.

I tried the peanut butter toast with condensed milk. Delicious and light, not like the heavier ones available here. My sister went for the French toast with kaya (coconut jam) in the middle. They use the brown coloured version here that had an overwhelming coconut taste that she likes.

Pity it was just a breakfast stop. They had a very interesting looking chicken chop with instant noodle dish that looked fantastic. But it was just too early for me to tuck into something so heavy.

This café is hard to find since its tucked behind several make shift stands. So look hard.

Perfect Roasted Goose Seafood Restaurant, Hong Kong

Perfect Roasted Goose Seafood Restaurant
Kennedy Town
T. 2818 9168

We decided to act on a cab driver’s recommendation of a great roast goose place and headed for Kennedy Town, a 10-minute cab ride from Central. What we found was a neighbourhood restaurant, filled with folks eating a mutton stew out of claypots.

We ordered what we came for – found it very lean and excessively chewy. It was missing the crunch and the flavours I typically would associate with roast goose. We also had that abalone soup which was ok, and a very woody vegetable stir-fried in pumpkin sauce that was interesting.

I am convinced that is all in the fat – where roast goose is concerned. Meal worked out to be about S$20 / US$12.50 per person.

City Hall Maxim’s Palace, Hong Kong

City Hall Maxim’s Palace
Low Block, City Hall
T. 2521 1303

One of my dining companions skipped for joy on seeing the empty reception area when we arrived at about 10 that morning. Apparently, a massive crowd and a wait is more of the norm for a seating here.

City Hall Maxim boasts of a huge hall, well lit from the light outside and a fabulous view of the harbour. We worked our way through cheong fun (steamed rice rolls) stuffed with prawn and char siew (roast pork), char siew pao (steamed buns stuffed with roast pork), har gow, siew mai (different steamed dumplings), char siew sor (flaky pasty), soy bean curd …. All were good. And the service superbly efficient.

Not surprising, when we eventually left the restaurant, we had to wade through a crowd anxiously waiting for their turn.

Xi Yan Sweets, Hong Kong

Xi Yan Sweets
1 G/F 8 Wing Fung Street
Wan Chai
T. 2833 6299

I left this place very statisfied on my first visit in July, shortly after it opened. This time around, with its spotty service, and blah food, its likely to be my last visit as well.

We ordered the lychee ice-cream that left such a huge impression on me the last time, but found it bland and ordinary. The tang yuan (dumplings) in ginger syrup also had a strange taste to it that we could not quite place. The bill for the strange flavours, S$25 / US$15, for both desserts.

Thursday, December 7

SiJie Sichuan Dishes, Hong Kong

SiJie Sichuan Dishes
Unit 289, 2/f Kowa Building
285-291 Lockhart Building
Wan Chai
T. 2802 2250

This is one odd private kitchen. Located in this nondescript office building in Wan Chai, we actually had to buzz to get in. The pricing is per head, and depending on the number of people in your party, you get to pick from a selection of cold and hot dishes.

As it was just the two of us, our choices were limited to two cold dishes and four hot items from the menu. Sounds organised, except mid-way through ordering, we received a call at the dining place, from SiJie (Fourth Sister) asking when we were due to arrive?!

We tried the chilled cucumber and marinated spicy cold chicken which were superb for getting the appetite going. We then proceeded onto the fish and noodle cooked in a giant dish of oil and chilli, stir-fried frog legs, long beans with mince and a ma po tofu (a spicy tofu stew). Being Sichuan, all dishes were spicy and set the tongue on fire. This was especially nice since the weather was cooling down here.

They serve a mala (tongue numbing) hotpot as well, but we were told you have to order ahead. The meal cost about S$30/US$19 per person. Reservations are strongly recommended.

HoneyMoon Dessert, Hong Kong

HoneyMoon Dessert
Level 4A, Langham Place
T. 2191 6693

I was told that this chain has its roots in this traditional dessert spot in Sheung Wan that I frequent. I remember the many frustrating trips to this place, craving for the desserts but only to find it closed as it didn’t have fixed opening hours and the senior waiters with an attitude. It has since gone contemporary with multiple branches throughout Hong Kong to boot.

Best known for its steamed egg custard dishes, my preference here is usually for their smooth almond cream with sesame filled dumplings (below) and the rich walnut soup. Terribly heavy, the walnut that is, but totally absolutely divine!

Qi Ji, Hong Kong

Qi Ji
Level 4A, Langham Place
T. 3514 4000

We were attracted by this huge picture, showing rice porridge tinged in orange from crab roe, topped with a crab and served in a lovely wooden urn. The dish just had to be sweet from all that lovely crab.

Well, it was not bad. Quite tasty and light for a tea-time snack. Fragrant even. But this being a chain restaurant in a mall, and with its more than reasonable price, it clearly didn’t use the best or the freshest of crabs. The meat was tasteless. And after working on the tiny thing (it looked like the flower crab) after a while, we just gave up and stuck to the porridge.

Fish Dumplings with Noodles, Hong Kong

This is one of my favourite noodles when in Hong Kong (ok, ok, I do have very many favs) - rice noodles served with fish dumplings that are wrapped in a skin also made from fish. It’s simply delish, especially when dipped in the chilli and vinegar dip. The best that I’ve had is at this hole-in-wall in Wan Chai. Pity I didn’t have time to make it there this visit.