More food recommendations from Hong Kong – a place to find fabulous food experiences. The city offers everything, from simple fish dishes in the street market of Temple Street to luxury dining in one of the worlds best Chinese restaurants. The most enjoyable but odd moments, however, are when you understand nothing of what you´re eating or what the staff is doing.
Text & Photo by Olof Lundborg
The famous street market in Temple Street
Near Yua Ma Tei metro station in Kowloon, in the opposite of Hongkong Island, is Tempel Street where you´ll find one of the most famous street markets in south east Asia. In terms of shopping you might be disappointed since the market only consists of junk, specially made for tourists. During evening and early night the street is worth a visit just to try one or many of the Hongkong specialities when it comes street food, like roasted goose, fish balls, different types of skewers and a lot more.
We randomly chose a place where we could sit outside in the street. Everything is very simple, just like it should be in a street market. The table was dressed with newly washed plastic table ware (probably quickly washed off with a hose in the back yard) and we directly ordered fish balls, Chinese spinach and fried tofu to share. The fish balls were cooked in a strong curry sauce and their consistency reminded a little bit of soft rubber. I was the only one of us not appreciating these small rubber balls, but the sauce was tasty, so I was able to eat a few.
The same goes for the fried tofu – I could have a few pieces, but didn´t really think they tasted a lot. My two friends ate with good appetite, so I guess both the fish balls and the tofu were good. The Chinese spinach, fried in some sort of oyster sauce, garlic and chilli was a success. One of my friend said it was the best dish he´d had in Hongkong so far.
When we were finished and left the table I still felt some hunger. We strolled along the street market, looking at all the knick knacks and weird stuff that people obviously buys, heading towards Victoria harbour. A window at the end of Temple Street was filled with dead birds of different sizes, all with a hook through the head. I then decided that pigeon would serve as my late evening snack. We entered the small place and I simply got the whole pigeon in front of me at the table, defeathered and fried. The brutal man in the small kitchenette kindly chopped the bird into medium sized pieces, easier for me to handle. The flying rat went down along with some local beer, and I must say – it tasted good! The meat reminded of a mixture of rabbit and duck, not bad at all.
One of the best Chinese restaurants in the world
The last evening in Hongkong we decided to eat at one of the best places in the city. After a drink at the Peninsula roof top bar, we headed for the One Peking Road building and took the elevator to Hutong restaurant at the top floor. The view from our table was magnificent. The skyscrapers outside together with the dark wooden furniture and dimmed light inside made a perfect atmosphere. We immediately understood that the service was great, not pushy but always present. And it was easy to communicate in English which distinguishes this restaurant from all the other visited places.
We went for the Hutong tasting menu. The starter consisted of three small dishes served on a plate formed like a plank; scallops with pomelo, chilli bamboo calms and sliced lamb with sesame salad. All three dishes were excellent with perfect taste combinations.
All the food came in at the same time. We had obviously ordered a lot of food, maybe for five persons. They tried to explain something for us when we handed in the photocopy, but we didn´t understand what they said or wanted. Probably they told us that we were crazy ordering all that food. Anyhow, we really didn´t know exactly what we had ordered. But among other things we found sticky rice, stuffed with meat, some huge crab dumpling swimming in crab gruel (uneatable), marinated minced meat, other undefined dumplings, fried vegetables and different sauces.
We did our best to act correctly at the table, but that was obviously worth nothing. Three or four persons of the staff stood next to our table laughing, pointing finger, talking loudly about us (that we understood!) and just having a blast at our expense. Sometimes one of them “came to our assistance”, grabbed a pair of chopsticks and started picking in our food while mumbling something. For what use, one can ask? We still don´t know.