I love trying new things when I travel and I love writing my Foodie posts. In Hong Kong For Foodies, I’m covering some new restaurants and some old favorites (to see if they stacked up the second time around.) I should start by saying that it really helps to have a local friend who is a foodie and had some great suggestions on this trip. There’s no chance I would have discovered all of these wonderful places without my friend Karen.
Night Market – The Night Market is not what you think. It’s a trendy restaurant in the Central district that features Taiwanese food. The restaurant is quirky – on their website they inform you that “There is no MSG (monosodium glutamate) in our food as we only use ingredients we can pronounce.” and their menu features some very unique drinks and dishes. How about a Winter Melon Tea with Taro and Sweet Potato Balls (they’re in the tea)? Don’t worry, there’re a lot on the menu if you’re not daring enough to try pork intestine with ginger. We shared several dishes including the popcorn chicken – a deep friend piece of chicken that had just a little spice and a great sauce. Black pepper beef – tender pieces of beef coated in a spicy sauce – this was my favorite dish by far. Pork fried rice – this was a dish that you’d expect to find in any Chinese restaurant in America except it was much lighter and had way more flavour here!
You might have a hard time finding The Night Market if you don’t know where you’re going. They’re located at 11 Stanley Street in what looks like an office building. I was shocked to discover that inside the building there were floor after floor of restaurants. Night Market is on the 6th and 7th floor. Reservations are recommended. The Night Market is a Hong Kong gem!
My pictures just don’t do it justice…so here are a few shots from their website.
208 Duecento Otto – a relaxed, family-style Italian restaurant under the direction of Chef Vinny Lauria (he worked at Mario Batali’s NYC restaurant, Babbo – one of my all time favorite restaurants) was a surprising find in Hong Kong. At 208 Duecento Otto they are very serious about pizza. In fact, they have pizza expert on staff who ensures that the pizza are made according to the regulations of the Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN) using only VPN approved ingredients – no, I did not make any of that up. That not enough for you? Their pizza oven was custom made in Italy! I had a pizza with four types of mushrooms and no tomato sauce. It was one of the best white pizza’s I’ve ever had – yes, one of the best ever.
The restaurant is located at 208 Hollywood Road and accepts reservations – in fact, they are recommended. I know everyone wants to eat Asian food in Asia, but sometimes you can find amazing restaurants that bridge the globe and leave a lasting impression. 208 Duecento Otto is one of those.
Chachawan – a fresh new Thai restaurant, that happens to be located next door to 208 Duecento Otto, features North-East regional Thai specialities. The authentic food is created by chef Adam Cliff, a protégé of Nahm Bangkok’s David Thompson (Nahm is one of the top 50 restaurants in the world.) and Cliff was in the restaurant on the day we dined. The Larp Moo, a mixed salad made from chopped pork, shallots, mint and spicy chili sauce brought me right back to Thailand. It was my favorite dish. The Kai Jiaw Moo, an omelet with pork and spring onions accompanied by siracha sauce (I didn’t need any extra spice) was reminiscent of street food you’d find in Bangkok and was very good. The Yam Makuar Yaw, an eggplant dish served with mint, coriander, lime and fish sauce, chilli dressing was the most disappointing dish. The eggplant was watery and the dish was overly spicy. I wouldn’t order that one again.
The restaurant does not take reservations – so go early if don’t want to wait for a spot.
Nha Trang – this was my second or third or maybe even fourth visit to the Vietnamese restaurant. It’s just as good as I remembered it and my favorite dish, the La Dua Bo Nuong – grilled beef marinated in pineapple and lemongrass and wrapped in Pandan Leaves, was as divine as I remembered. We shared a beef Pho that was as good as any Pho I had in Vietnam. We also ordered a crab spring roll that was good, but not my favorite dish of the night. I found it a bit too sticky. We also ordered the grilled lemongrass chicken skewers and they were delicious.
There are several locations with the original at 88-90 Wellington Street in Central. If you go during prime time be prepared to wait – but it’s worth it and part of the experience. Reservations are not taken. I wouldn’t miss Nha Trang on any visit to Hong Kong. I will probably dream about the La Dua Bo Nuong until I visit again.
Dim Sum at Tim Ho Wan – Tim Ho Wan is famous being the cheapest Michelin Starred restaurant in the world. The cash-only restaurant always has lines of diners waiting for their amazing dumplings. There’s nothing fancy about Tim Ho Wan and you can expect to share a table with strangers when you are seated (though there are some smaller two-tops along the wall.) The menu is limited, but you’ll be thrilled with whatever you select. I was with a local who did the ordering for us and everything was amazing.
The Monogamous Chinese – This small and hidden gem was one of my favorite meals I had in Hong Kong. Obscured by the famous never ending escalators, The Monogamous Chinese is a treat. It’s apparently hard to get reservations unless you’re willing to go early, so we did, and it was worth eating like an early-bird. The best dish, and the one I had been looking forward to most was the Peking Duck. Oh, man, I would go back just for that dish. The duck was served with traditional sides of leeks, cucumbers, plum sauce and pancakes. We also enjoyed the spicy minced pork with onions served with lettuce cups – we asked for mild, but it was still spicy. We shared some Xiao Long Bao, Steamed Pork Dumplings -my favorite, and steamed shrimp and spinach dumplings and both were great. I highly recommend you check out The Monogamous Chinese if you’re in Hong Kong.
Dumplings at The Queen Street Food Market – I learned that not all dumplings are created equal while in Hong Kong. There are different styles of dumplings and one style is called the Bejing-style dumpling. We were taken to the Queen Street Cooked Food Market where you won’t find an English menu but you will find stall after stall serving amazing local cuisine. A local we had lunch with ordered for us. I loved the pumpkin dumplings and potato and chive dumplings. Wow, were they good. If you can find it, I’d recommend a visit.
Greyhound Cafe – Another meal that I greatly enjoyed was at Greyhound Cafe in IFC Centre. Greyhound Cafe is a Thai restaurant that started in Bangkok. They serve absolutely traditional Thai food with a modern flare. A friend and I enjoyed the Pad Thai and Minced Chicken with Sweet Basil, Hot Chilies and Rice. The minced chicken was amazing and in fact, I’ve ordered it several times at the original Greyhound Cafe in Bangkok and the Hong Kong version lived up to expectations.