I don’t generally like Asian desserts – the beans and the soupy things don’t do it for me. But, I do have a soft spot for glutinous rice and mochi desserts so everytime I’m in Hong Kong, I head to Honeymoon Dessert for a sugar hit.
We arrive around 11pm on a Friday night and it is packed… so packed that there are people spilling out of the shopfront waiting for a table. The branch that we go to has limited seating (as with most of the other ones that I’ve been to) but the turnover is fast so it’s not too long before we have a table.
Shopping all day can work up an appetite, but luckily in Hong Kong there are places to eat around every corner. Here are just some of the snacks that I ate along the way…
You can’t go to Hong Kong without trying egg waffles, or gai daan jai (鷄蛋仔). Every time I go to Hong Kong, I try to eat as many of these as possible because they’re so good! They are made by pouring a batter made from eggs, flour, sugar and evaporated milk onto a hot waffle iron with round indentations. Each egg-shaped bubble is filled with a soft cakey centre but the rest of the waffle is wonderfully crispy. They come in a range of different flavours nowadays, but I almost always get the original “egg” flavour. My favourite vendor is North Point Egg Waffle which has several locations around Hong Kong.
After a long day of shopping in Hong Kong, there’s nothing I want more than to sit down and rest my feet because they’re usually absolutely killing me! I knew that there was a Joel Robuchon restaurant in the Landmark building so we made that our shopping rest point for some afternoon tea one day. Though the actual restaurant is up one level, there is a Salon de Thé (or tea room) on the third level which is a more casual dining area.
We shared a high tea set for two, which was HKD$315 (approx AUD$40 at the time). This included two pots of tea of our choice, which came in delightful coloured cast iron teapots. One pot was filled with a fragrant peach tea, while the other was classic English Breakfast. Charm was also won over by a special iced tea which included fresh berries, cubes of mango and a scoop of strawberry sorbet.
We start with the savouries and the scones with a wooden plank of assorted sandwiches and scones arriving on the table.
I had seriously been looking forward to our meal at Bo Innovation in Hong Kong. Apart from its numerous accolades like 2 Michelin stars and being ranked as the 52nd best restaurant in the world, I was particularly intrigued by chef Alvin Leung’s “X-treme Chinese” cuisine. The “X-treme” cuisine label is enough to make me sceptical, but I was surprised by how traditional Chinese dishes were given a modern twist with molecular gastronomy techniques to create a unique and innovative dish.
The elevator that takes us up to the dining area opens up to a small balcony garden where diners can sit and enjoy the sunshine. We’re taken to a table in the inside dining room, which features white tablecloths, sheer satin drapes and an open kitchen where you can see the chefs at work. For lunch, there are two menus on offer: the Lunch Chef Menu which is a degustation affair ($HKD780; around $AUD97 at the time) or the Bo Set Lunch which allows the diner to choose an entree and main, and includes a set starch and dessert ($HKD228; around $AUD28 at the time). We opt for the latter, and choose different dishes so we can sample as much of the menu as possible.
We are allowed to select 2 items per person from their list of Dim Sum or Classic “Bo” Dishes as an entree. We indicate that we are sharing the entrees and the waitstaff kindly bring out some small plates, chopsticks and a knife and fork for us to split the dishes. The cauliflower risotto is quite unexpected as the waitress explains that the risotto is actually little nubbins of cauliflower. Bits of black truffle are mixed throughout and the risotto sits in a pool of rich duck jus which provides most of the flavour of the dish.
So earlier this year I went on a little trip back to the motherland: Hong Kong! I was actually born in Sydney but the parentals are from Hong Kong and I do have some (limited) knowledge of Cantonese – enough for me to stumble my way through speaking to shop assistants and ordering food. The last time I visited Hong Kong was back in the pre-blogging days and so this was the first time I really went out of way to seek out great food in the city.
Of course the first place that made my list was the infamous Tim Ho Wan – one of the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurants. We went here with some of my Hong Kong-residing relatives and it seems they have found the trick of how to get a table at Tim Ho Wan without queueing! We visited the Sham Shui Po branch for dinner (the original is located in Mong Kok) and didn’t have to wait at all. Possibly because yum cha food is typically not eaten at dinnertime, but who’s fussed about that when you’ve just escaped 2 hour+ queues to eat at a Michelin-starred establishment?
It’s still quite busy when we get inside but we’re quickly ushered to our table and orders are taken by indicating the quantity of the items you want on a piece of paper. The food comes out quickly and before we know it, we’ve got a whole host of yum cha favourites on our table, waiting to be eaten.
You can’t go to Tim Ho Wan without ordering the baked BBQ pork bun. Different to your regular char siu bao, these ones have a sweet filling of char siu encased by a pastry exterior and are topped with a sweet baked crust on top. It was like eating an almond croissant with a filling of BBQ pork, with the buttery pastry tasting almost croissant-like.