Must Eat Treats in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is heaven for anyone with a sweet tooth! Everywhere you turn, you’ll find amazing treats to satisfy your cravings. And all made to perfection! These are some of my favourite must-eats from Hong Kong:

DSC_0226 copyKam Wah Cafe

Most of the good food finds in Hong Kong are from tiny and obscure venues. The famous Bo Lo Baos at this little cafe definitely lives up to its hype. They are, without a doubt, the BEST bo lo baos in town. The ratio of buttery, crunchy topping and soft, shreddable bread was out of this world! And for $6 (equivalent to 60p!), it was amazing value! They also serve the baos with different fillings such as a slab of butter, ham etc. The milk tea at this cafe is also renowned – it is a simple, good, strong cup of black, milky tea.

IMG_0541Via Tokyo
One of the most famous soft serves on social media in Hong Kong is from this little dessert store in Hong Kong. They specialise in Japanese tea flavours and we were hoping to try their famous green matcha but Wednesdays are “Reverse Tokyo” days, when they do not serve matcha, and focus on their special flavour of the day, which was Hojicha, another Japanese tea. BUT we were not disappointed! Hojicha has a distinct and strong tea flavour, which you often find lacking in matcha desserts, so we were pleasantly surprised. The 3 flavour waffle cup consisted of Royal Milk Tea, Hojicha and Hokkaido Milk soft serves with adzuki red bean, mochi and a chestnut. Shared between 2, this was a very satisfying ice cream treat!

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Mammy’s pancakes

This waffle store serves a variety of different flavours (sesame, matcha, chestnut, coffee…) as well as the original egg waffle. The queue at 8:30pm just shows the popularity of this tiny store. I had the matcha green tea with chocolate egg waffle, which had soft and crunchy textures, and the two flavours were a great combination.

DSC_0022 copy佳佳甜品

Puddings in Hong Kong are a popular treat, and this little venue is known for its tong yuan (glutinous rice balls) and thick puddings. We had the thick walnut pudding, which had a light flavour and the perfect sweetness. We also had the original black sesame tong yuan in ginger soup. The ginger was strong, spicy and refreshing, which balanced the sweetness of the black sesame filling.

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Tai Cheong bakery

This famous bakery chain serves the best egg tarts in Hong Kong. The filling was light, not-too-eggy and slightly sweet, and the hint of salt in the pastry accentuated the short, buttery flavour.

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McDonald’s

Don’t judge me for including McDonald’s! Hear me out first! McDonald’s in Asia is a treat – they serve food that actually looks and tastes like what it should be. We had a few sweet treats from the specials menu: purple sweet potato ice cream ($5.5 = 50p!!) and red bean pie ($7 = 70p). The ice cream tasted surprisingly earthy and true to the sweet potato flavour. The pie was super crunchy but the filling was overly sweet.

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Seemingly, at every street corner in Hong Kong, there is a small local bakery serving delicious, fluffy bread. This Bo Lo Bao with red bean was amazingly light. I mean, how do they get so much air in the bread?? I want the secret!

Let me know if you have any recommendations – I will definitely be back to Hong Kong!

*** Bo Innovation – Hong Kong

As testimony to my priorities in life, our first stop in Hong Kong was Bo Innovation. A 3-michelin star restaurant serving experimental Chinese food using molecular gastronomy. We saw Mr Bo (Alvin Leung) himself – a very casual man and a far cry from the refined surroundings of the restaurant. He’s a celebrity (as a judge on Masterchef Canada) and has opened restaurants around the world, including Bo London, which has one Michelin Star in London.

We treated ourselves to the set lunch menu, which was amazing value and I’m pretty sure is the cheapest 3 Michelin star meal in the world! 430HKD for 3 courses (not including drinks)!

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Appetiser: Scallion & sausage egg waffle – a complimentary snack to share – this was a savoury twist on the popular street food that is traditionally sweet. There was no filling in the waffle, but had a great, crisp texture, and was deliciously moreish. Even though there was seemingly little ingredients, the slight salty flavour from the sausage and the scallion was intense.
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Starter: Foie gras – the foie gras had a thin skin from being pan-fried, and the interior had an extremely rich and slightly salty flavour. The muy choi caramel ice-cream was a creative touch, and provided a contrast of temperature and texture, but the rich flavour added too much saltiness to the plate. This was slightly offset by the cucumber foam, which was very light, and the crunchy gingerbread.
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Main: Red mullet – the torched skin was amazingly crispy and created a captivating pattern. The fish itself was flaky, melt-in-the-mouth and fresh. The black bean sauce was, again, very salty, so a little went a long way. The sweet peppers were coated in a …that added texture and a powerful flavour, and the shitake mushrooms finished off the oriental theme of the dish.
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Dessert: Coconut – the entertaining touch to the meal was saved to the end as the waiter brought over a bowl of dried coconut ice and dropped it onto each plate from a height, creating a waft of smoke. This provided a crunchy texture and a strong coconut flavour, that was well balanced with the light caramel ice-cream, which was not too sweet. The vivid green pandan mousse complimented not only the tropical flavours, but also the colours on the plate. The only downside was the texture of the cherry jelly which was too hard and chewy for my liking.

My parents had the following:

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Appetiser: Molecular char siu bao (90HKD) – a thin layer of pastry encasing a juice with the flavours of char siu bao – we were told to close our eyes and imagine the real char siu bao!
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Starter: Scallop ceviche with Shanghainese “jolo”, woba, sugar snap peas, avocado, lemon
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Starter: Langoustine with black truffle, cauliflower risotto, salty duck egg sauce, pickled cauliflower, english mustard foam, duck jus
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Main: Suckling Pig with roasted sichuan pineapple, pork jus

IMG_0525Main: Pigeon with shiitake mushroom cake, black carrot, sour plum pigeon jus

In my honest opinion, the Michelin quality in Hong Kong is not as refined as in the UK. Even though this was my first 3 star experience, I had expected more. Maybe I set my standards too high, but the food and the whole experience did not wow me. I expected more surprises, more bursts of flavour, more artistic presentation, and a more unique experience.

Price: Set Lunch 450HKD for 3 courses, $70 for a bottle of still water

Rating: 4.5/5

Bo Innovation: Shop 13,2/f,J Residence, 60 Johnston Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong (Private lift entrance on 18 Ship Street)

Apologies for my lack of posts! I’ve started training for my new job and been in New York for 5 weeks. It’s time for a food update! 😀  This city is food heaven! There’s so much choice here – it is so concentrated! There have been good and disappointing experiences.

Smorgasburg market on a Sunday:

2014-08-31 Smorgasburg Beef cucumber roti canai

Outer Borough ($8) for two beef wraps. The pastry was sooo good: flaky and soft, similar to roti canai. The beef was tender, and was garnished with a sweet hoisin-type sauce, and cilantro (note: not coriander here!).

2014-08-31 SmorgasburgMimi & Coco shrimp takoyaki 6 balls for $10. This was the first time I tried a takoyaki, so not sure how it’s supposed to taste. Personally, I found the batter too raw/soft. It was liberally doused in mayo (not very authentic), bonito flakes and takoyaki sauce.

Chinatown:

2014-08-30 Sheng Wang-Wonton peel noodlesChinatown is the place to be for homecooked CHEAP eats! Where else can you get a filling bowl of noodles for only $5?! And they don’t add tax or expect a tip! However, you have to know what to order, otherwise it can be pretty disappointing. Like my Fuijanese wonton soup peel noodles from Sheng Wang. They had some good reviews for good noodles, but the peel noodles were undercooked and slightly hard, and there were only about 6 TINY wontons. They were literally marble sized, and who knows what kind of meat were in them…But I do want to go back to try their handpulled noodles.

Madison Square Eats:

2014-09-09 Asiadog, Red Hook Lobster Pound Maine lobster rollAt Madison Square Park, they have a food market on until October called Madison Square Eats, with around 10-15 vendors. We had a late night venture there after work. I love markets for their variety of offerings but the portions are pretty small. We tried two hotdogs from Asia Dog, which offer asian-fied hotdogs. We had one with mango pickle, peanuts and a chilidog (2 hotdogs for $9). The sausages were so thin, so it wasn’t very satisfying, and the mango pickle was a strange combination with the savoury sausage.

We also had a Red Hook Lobster Pound Maine lobster roll ($16), which was so good! Lobster is always expensive, but there was a generous amount of lobster in the roll. Again, one roll was not satisfying enough though! Maybe that’s just me and my big stomach…

Great Burrito (…not that great):

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2014-09-05 Best BurritoAfter a long day of training, nothing is more appealing than hearty Mexican food. We ordered a beef burrito ($10) and a mixed beef and pork enchilada ($11). I thought this was expensive for a tiny, basic shop on 23rd street, especially since the food was nothing to rave about. The burrito was packed with yellow rice, beef and beans, and covered in white sauce (which I still don’t understand…is it mayo?). The beef was dry, but the rice was cooked well and the chilli sauce was tasty. The enchilada was hearty, but again, the meat was dry and the taste was covered by the white sauce and beans. All in all, there are better and cheaper places for good Mexican food in NYC.