Just realised that almost a month has passed since I was in Hong Kong – it feels like yesterday! Anyway, happy Chinese new year! The year of the dragon started on Monday and sadly, I have had no time to celebrate due to work. I’m sure I’ll do something later.
It was just past Christmas-time when I was in Hong Kong and one of my colleagues who calls Hong Kong home was back visiting friends and family; we arranged to meet up in Mongkok one afternoon. There’s nothing like being shown around by locals and they understood what I meant by wanting to try things that were particularly from Hong Kong. And yes, they too are serious about eating. Mongkok was exactly what I expected of Hong Kong: crowded and brightly lit with signs and with snack stands at every corner!
After walking about the pet market for a bit (and cooing at the cute little puppies), we started with the proper eating with my first egg waffle (also known as an eggette).
Oh, how beautiful it was. I loved the contrasts in the waffle – the light and pillowy puffs connected by a thin crisp sheet. The flavour was excellent too and no extra sauce was necessary. It amused me no end to eat them by hand, snapping off pieces as you go.
We went off wandering down the Ladies’ Market but that egg waffle wasn’t enough to fortify us and we found ourselves flagging by the end of it. We were brought over to China Cafe, a little cha chaan teng, a particularly Hong Kong style of tea cafe, hidden from the street by a food market. Nothing seem to have been touched in the cafe since the 60s and had retained every bit of charm for it. Watch out though if you don’t read Chinese – they don’t seem to have an English menu.
Hot milk tea was very strong and benefited from lots of sugar.
A couple of pineapple buns (bolo bau) were ordered with thick slices of butter stuffed in the middle. Ah, now I know where I was going wrong with pineapple buns – I always found them quite dull. They’re just plain buns with their only redeeming feature being the sweet cookie crust; despite their name, there’s no actual pineapple in them. Well, it’s much better with butter!
And another first for me – Hong Kong style French toast. I think they deep fry the entire thing, which is the only way I can think of for the egg to turn such a beautifully even brown. M poured syrup over the entire thing and we all tucked in – yes, I do love this kind of French toast.
1077A Canton Road
We wandered back past the station to see the lights of Mongkok. The sky may have been dark but down on street level, it could have been confused for day! It was crowded (Mongkok has the highest population density in the world) and bright and fun.
After again walking around for a bit, K and M led us to a street lined with restaurants. K wanted to introduce me to Chiu Chow cuisine. Also known as Teochew cuisine, Chiu Chow cuisine is very popular in Hong Kong and while I recognise many of the dishes on that Wikipedia page due to their popularity in Malaysia too, I had never had a purely Chiu Chow meal nor did I know what was popular in Hong Kong. (Oh, Teochew porridge I do know – I wrote about it a couple of months ago.) I was quite excited to try it with those in the know.
K started us off with a peppery soup of pork intestines and pickled vegetables. While the intestines weren’t for me, I loved the strong flavour of white pepper in the porky broth.
A combination of barbecued sweet sausage and squid appeared on almost every table there. An egg braised in spiced soy too was also ordered. It’s quite plain but in a soothing way.
A plain grilled fish came out with a variety of sauces – soy, chilli, soy bean. Actually, I started losing track of all the sauce dishes around me. If it’s one thing that struck me about Chiu Chow cuisine, it was the use of so many condiments at the table.
The Chiu Chow oyster omelette was totally different to the sticky, starchy Malaysian variety that I knew. This deep fried eggy fritter had oysters scattered throughout and was delicious dipped in chilli sauce.
Some brilliant salt and chilli pork ribs and stir fried pea shoots with garlic rounded up our meal. Oh, and white rice too, gotta have that. We stuffed ourselves well.
Biu Kee Lok Yeun Chiu Chau Restaurant
G/F 33-37, Fa Yuen Street
As always, there was still space in our dessert stomachs (though this time, we really were struggling) and K and M took us to Lucky Dessert nearby. We were there early in the night and so the place was half empty but they assured us that it gets much busier later as it’s quite popular with the younger crowd. I do like the fresh and fruity Hong Kong style desserts and the ones served here were quite modern in style.
Mango pancakes were thin crepes filled with cream and slices of fresh mango. This appears to be quite a popular dessert in Hong Kong and I have to admit, I’m still on the fence about this one. I think I prefer my mango without cream.
This was a whole banana and chocolate chips wrapped in filo pastry. Nice but my focus was really on the next dessert…
My favourite was this last one – durian in sticky rice rolls. Thin mochi-like skins were rolled around lots of fresh durian meat. I had no idea durian was so popular in Hong Kong!
G/F, 25-27 Soy Street
As you can imagine, we had to roll ourselves back home that night. Thank you so much for showing us around, K and M!