Features

Taste Hong Kong: A mouthful of everything

27 Nov 2016 by Business Traveller India
Hong Kong Harbour with Kowloon in background

Hong Kong with it’s skyscraping glass buildings against a backdrop of even taller mountains, on 1,104 square kilometers of land that holds over six million people, is a bustling realm of wondrousness. It has been one of my favourite destinations
ever since I can remember. Everything about it is fascinating: its red taxis and their ability to have the driver courteously open the rear door for you with the push of a button; charming architecture where the old designs are surrounded by futuristic facades; the 800-metre-long outdoor escalator that links the central and western districts of Hong Kong; it is home to pretty much world-class-everything from fashion to food.

There is a beautiful energy there and if you love drinks and food, this is the sort of place that has almost every variety you can imagine, and does
it incredibly well too. Its eclectic population, both local and from the world over, creates a wonderful amalgamation of different cultures and cuisines.

CHOMCHOM

It is a small Vietnamese eatery in So Ho (short for South of Hollywood) that is conceptualised after the Bia Hoi tradition “of sipping fresh beer on busy buildings against a backdrop of even street corners”. And so, it is at the bend of Peel taller mountains, on 1,104 square Street, offering its porch to enjoy a casual drink. kilometres of land that holds over six Alternatively, you can lap up a good meal at one of its few, small tables inside or at the bar/kitchen shelf itself. I would choose the latter because you get to see the chefs in action, whilst taking in the intoxicating aromas.

Once ready, the food is effortlessly tossed from the cooking pan to serving dishes. The presentation is not elaborate, except with a few greens for garnishing. The menu is delicious, ingredients are fresh and the flavours are powerful. ChomChom serves a limited mix of salads, Vietnamese rolls, and small and large plates. I particularly recommend the Vietnamese beef tartare and the crispy spring roll, which is stuffed with pork.

The restaurant has a bar too with a small but impressive wine list and cocktails. Hanoi 75, a cocktail with gin and Prosecco is a good choice to start the evening. Alternatively, try the Saigon Special, which is one of the Vietnamese beers on its menu.

■ Open from 5pm “until late”; chomchom.hk

BRICK HOUSE

For a first-timer, part of the experience of visiting
this inconspicuous watering hole in LanKwai Fong, on the other side of the bridge, is locating it. You
may have passed it a thousand times without even realising its existence. Just off the main road, Brick House is at the far end of a narrow passage that is
no more than the width of three people standing shoulder-to-shoulder. As you go deeper into the passage, it begins to reveal itself in the form of catchy music and loud chatter.

Quirky is what comes to mind when you walk in: bare brick walls, unpolished floor, funky graphics, tin barrels for tables outside and simple wooden ones inside. It’s tough to get a seat there and it may take a while to catch the servers’ attention, but it’s all part of the experience at this seriously fun establishment.

Brick House’s friendly staff are only too happy
to recommend something from its authentic South American menu. I ordered the Peruvian ceviche and the Black Angus Beef Short Rib — palatable and succulent. Its tequila selection is pretty fantastic too; or try the classic Pisco Sour — it can’t get more Peruvian than this.
■ Open from 6pm-4am; brickhouse.com.hk

Angel's Share - Hong Kong

ANGEL’S SHARE

Not too far from Brick House, further up LanKwai Fong, is Angel’s Share. The name is a common term used to describe the amount of alcohol that evaporates from casks in which whiskey is aged.

To emphasise on its business, there is a life-sized cask at the entrance, after which you step into a “vintage-styled den” in leather, wood and stone, high quality meat to go around. If whiskey isn’t your thing, they do have a full bar, but I strongly suggest that you get at least one Whisky Flight.
■ Open from 5pm-1am, until 3am on Friday and Saturday, closed on Sunday; angelsshare.hk

Yard Bird

YARD BIRD

This modern take on an izakaya-styled restaurant will probably top your list as it has mine. The minimalistic approach to the decor includes high chairs, plain beige wooden tables, white-washed walls, and peppy music. The one-page menu is divided into sections titled: Smaller, Yakitori (different chicken parts, including the heart, skin and tail), Bigger, Rice, and Soup. I thoroughly enjoyed the ume thigh and the skin yakitori preparations.They have a full bar with an array of sake and Japanese whiskey, as well as cocktails that are really good.

I must warn you though, just because they’ve got a laid-back vibe, doesn’t mean you can sit through
a long dinner. Enter – order – eat – leave, not because the staff wants you to, but because the serpentine queue outside sends impatient feelers through Yard Bird’s glass walls. It’s usually a full house and it doesn’t take reservations. We only got the chance to eat there on our third visit! Go early if you must, but don’t leave Hong Kong without eating at Yard Bird. ■ Open from 6pm to midnight, closed on Sunday; yardbirdrestaurant.com

TIM HO WAN

It is as casual as any McDonald’s is, with paper napkins, a cola machine in the corner, instructions to customers stuck on walls, and all tables pushed together within earshot of each other. Don’t let its appearance fool you though. Only a few places
do dim sum the way Tim Ho Wan does — one of the reasons it has earned a Michelin Star rating (Sham Shui Po and North Point outlets).

Part of a chain, there are five in Hong Kong alone. I went to the one which is below MTR Station Central. Pick any one — they’re all equally authentic, despite some regulars rating them in their order of preference.
The chefs are aware of their popularity and don’t bother with presentation. Paper menus
have tick boxes that you hand to your server. Everything arrives together in a big plastic tray and rather quickly.

The food there is worth every calorie intake. No doubt its signature baked bun with BBQ pork is
a flavoursome delight, but its dim sums (I can’t recommend just one) are, without exaggeration, an experience by themselves.

I suggest visiting for breakfast as the queues are shorter then.
■ Open from 10am-9:30pm; timhowan.com

Nikhil Agarwal

Loading comments...

Search Flight

See a whole year of Reward Seat Availability on one page at SeatSpy.com

The cover of the Business Traveller June 2024 edition
The cover of the Business Traveller June 2024 edition
Be up-to-date
Magazine Subscription
To see our latest subscription offers for Business Traveller editions worldwide, click on the Subscribe & Save link below
Polls