If you read this blog regularly, it should come as no surprise that I ate very well on my most recent adventure to Hong Kong. Although this was a solo trip for me, I didn’t always have to dine alone. In one happy coincidence, a friend’s holiday overlapped with my own and we met up for traditional dim sum brunch. We chose Jade Garden restaurant, found in a Mongkok shopping mall, one of the few spots in town where dim sum is still served from pushcarts.
As women wheel carts laden with steamer baskets and small plates through the crowded and opulent dining room, patrons signal when they want something, and a cart would pause in its slow orbit around the room. Following their example, we quickly found our table overflowing with dishes. The high points included delicate shrimp dumplings with wrappers so thin they were practically translucent, fluffy barbecue pork buns as large as my fist and deep-fried yams stuffed with roast pork. This is definitely not a meal to attempt alone.
On another fortuitous occasion, I tracked down a restaurant in my guidebook only to find it had recently closed. I asked a friendly couple if they could suggest another local option and ended up joining them for dinner at an Indian/Nepalese restaurant called Himalaya. There is a large Indian presence in Hong Kong, the residual influence of British rule, and curry joints abound.
Himalaya’s chicken tikka, eggplant masala, lamb curry and saffron rice were strong renditions, though I was most impressed with the Nepalese chili chicken. Tender, crunchy chunks of boneless chicken were deep-fried and drenched with a slightly sweet, fiery sauce the likes of which I had never experienced. As much as I enjoyed the food, sharing the meal with new friends is what made this evening so memorable.
One dish I didn’t get nearly enough of in Singapore last year was Hainanese chicken rice so I was delighted to find a Kowloon restaurant specializing in this regional delicacy. The dish generally consists of a boneless chicken breast poached in chicken stock and served cold with the skin on but separated from the meat. In this instance, the accompanying sauce was made from soy sauce and ginger.
My set meal came with sides of sauteed greens in oyster sauce, a rich soup with beef brisket and cubes of fried tofu and “oily rice,” which is wonderfully fragrant white rice cooked in chicken stock. I highly recommend this delicious meal!
I couldn’t leave Hong Kong without enjoying a plate of fish and chips. During my explorations of Kowloon, I stumbled on the Bricklane Restaurant & Bar which featured a British-inspired menu. I made the tourist mistake of showing up on a Friday night without a reservation, but since I was alone, the staff were very accommodating. I convinced them to let me eat outside on the sidewalk cocktail table normally used by those waiting for seats inside.
I wasn’t quite prepared for the gigantic platter of fish and chips that soon arrived, but did my best to devour it. Some diners watching me through the window were clearly amused, but I enjoyed myself immensely! The massive fish was a worthy dining companion and I left stuffed to the gills.