Hong Kong is our new happy place for a short holiday – it’s less than 4 hours away, requires minimal planning, and there’s no shortage of good food. And shopping. And hiking!
On our trip in 2013, we made a point to only have Asian food but this time, we decided to diversify a little. Yardbird has been open for a few years but still seems to be a very hot place to be. They don’t take reservations, so we were there at about 6 and got a table quite easily. When we left at around 8 there were quite a few people milling around outside, waiting for a table.
Yardbird serves primarily yakitori, in its truest form – skewers of all parts of the chicken. They have a cursory pork belly skewer which was nothing to shout about – go for the tried and tested chicken ones here. What amazed me is, like in traditional Japanese yakitori joints, all parts of the chicken are available. Besides the typical wing, breast and thigh, they also have inner thigh, knee, tail and oyster (that little nugget of dark meat between each thigh and the back ribs). The oyster was great, but the star was the tail – basically chicken ass. It was grilled to such a perfect crisp that the outside was crispy, and it just melted to a delicious nugget of fat. Mindblowing.
The tsukune with a tare and egg yolk dip was also really good. That tare dip is like crack – we were scarpetta-ing it with everything we could. This is definitely top of our list when we come back to Hong Kong.
Many of the fine dining restaurants in Hong Kong offer very good value degustation lunches, one of them being Akrame. The flagship is in Paris, but they’ve recently opened a branch in Hong Kong. We’ve never been to the Paris one, but lunch at Akrame Hong Kong was very good.
The fish course, with a crisp skin, lardo and a rich sauce dotted with parsley oil, is worth a mention, as is one of the desserts, an inky black combination of charcoal ice cream and charcoal mousse, which looked evil but tasted so clean, simple and restrained.
Lan Fong Yuen
On our last trip, we missed out on Lan Fong Yuen by just a few minutes. This time we were there bright and early, but that too was our downfall. Before 11, they don't serve their signature “Lo Ting”, which is fried instant noodles, served with a green onion sauce *facepalm*. This means we need to make yet another trip, after 11, to try the Lo Ting…
Still, that’s definitely no hardship, since their chicken chop (which we tried with the instant noodle soup) is great, as is their pork chop bun and the milk tea.
To somewhat incredulous stares from both the guy who took our order and the other diners with whom we shared a table, we ordered, between the 2 of us, 2 bowls of the regular beef brisket yee mien, and one curry brisket yee mien. In my defence, the bowls are pretty small, and I really wanted to try the curry this time, and still wanted my fix of the regular.
Alas, I’m no closer to deciding which one I’ll order when we next return. The regular one has a clear, clean-tasting yet flavourful broth that you really can’t find anywhere else. The curry one, however, packs an amazing punch, with a ridiculously fragrant curry aroma, umami and stickiness from the beef tendon, and just the right level of spice. I just need to get A, who isn’t a big curry nor beef tendon fan, to somehow agree to half and half one bowl each with me…
We wouldn’t have given this place a second glance, but my friend raved about it and said we had to go, since it’s fairly close to our hotel. I’m so glad we went, because their signature pork rib rice here was heavenly.
It’s primarily a Shanghainese restaurant and the menu is pretty comprehensive, but we were there for the pork rib rice. A single serving comes with a bowl of plain rice with some diced vegetables mixed into it, and a rather sizeable amount of pork on top. The pork rib is lightly coated in a faintly sweet batter, fried to a perfect golden brown without any oiliness, and the pork is juicy, sweet and with just the right amount of fat. The double serving comes with an extra portion of pork, but I think that could be a bit overkill, so stick with the single serving.
Australia Dairy Company
No trip is complete without a trek to Kowloon to visit ADC – in our view the best cha chan teng in Hong Kong. This time I wised up and just ordered the open-face scrambled egg sandwich, and a hot steamed milk custard. Heaven. The scrambled egg is so good it’s scary. One of the most satisfying meals of the trip.
Milk pudding rawks! And the one at ADC is the best (though Yee Shun is a close second). This is pretty much a must-try on any Hong Kong trip.
Yardbird has great yakitori with the best weird chicken parts ever. The chicken ass tasted better than the oyster. Not cheap if you want the good stuff though, and the vibe is super poser. Go early to avoid the hipsters.
Akrame is a nice break from all the Asian food. Excellent food and amazing dessert. Expensive but you get great value for what you pay. Worth a vist but not really a must-try.
We also had the best Char Siew Bolo Bun and it's not at Tim Ho Wan. We have been sworn to secrecy as to where so it's not overrun. HA!