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  Eats and Treats in Hong Kong July 2012

Visiting Hong Kong for the first time is a wonderful experience.  It is a food paradise, exciting and scary at the same time.  Here is my story of 10 foodie days in Hong Kong.




Day 1
Fran met us after our long flight from the UK but where would we meet Nicola in her lunch break on our first day? Answer at Oolaa Petite
12 & 14, Regal Court, Star St., Wan Chai, Hong Kong, Hong Kong S.A.R., China Nearest Train: Admiralty Tel: 2529-3823

We chose a light lunch of wraps filled with salmon and asparagus, quiche and salads in this modern contemporary French restaurant with an open front to the street, dark wooden furniture and mirrored walls. From here we walked through markets and returned home to the flat near Western Market on the tiny, iconic HK trams.

Evening meal was at La Taste, Central. 1/F, 34-38 Stanley Street, Central,HK
Vietnamese Pho vegetarian noodle soup – delicious tangy sour and savoury soup, also prawn rolls and a beef curry for Howard who wanted some meat. Fran chose stuffed chicken pieces with satay sauce. We wandered home calling for coffee at a corner café to round off a lazy day.


Day 2
Woke early (UK time still with us) but then fell asleep again until 8am. Went to Kowloon on the Star ferry and visited the Kowloon Walled City Park
Kowloon Walled City Park had a lovely lake, plenty of trees, twisted paths and a bronze showing just how the illegal housing on that site had been positioned prior to being raised to the ground. This city park was an artists’ haven and a tranquil escape from the crowds. Walking further into Kowloon down Lung Kong Road we stopped in a local cafe and had salted lemon and honey iced drink (rather like an isotonic sports drink, thoroughly effective against the stresses of humid heat). We were given a little starter of chicken broth (unordered and perplexing when I really thought I had ordered vegetable noodle soup!) Soon the soup did arrive for me, with pork and rice for Howard. All this at the affordable price of £3 each! Perfect.



Happy Valley

It was the last night of racing for the season at Happy Valley Racecourse and so in the evening we joined the throng and made our way to the races. On entering Nic and I enjoyed a jug of Sangria, Howard and Fran had beers. We won on our first bet and enjoyed trying to repeat our success. Two boxes with cheeses and biscuits (great idea!) mopped up some of the alcohol. The party mood was enhanced by live music between the wonderful horseracing. The whole atmosphere was electric. We left before the end to avoid the crowds.



We made our way to the Macau Restaurant purchasing two ‘bowls’ and two side dishes of nourishing, tasty food.




Back home in a cab to Sheung Wan – as another good day came to an end


Day 3
Slept well and woke late. We took the high speed ferry, enjoying the cooling breeze afforded by the water, over to Lantau Island. Arriving in the small town of Mui Wo we caught a local bus to the heritage river estuary town on stilts, called Tai O.
The Public Light Bus sped along, over and between hills, twisting and turning, for around 45 minutes. On arrival the heat hit us and it was easy to see how fish caught in these waters could be dried quickly to preserve food value and nutrients. Fish farming is an industry that works like clockwork in this heritage village. Fish stomachs, eaten for the collagen they provide, are sold wrapped in cellophane. Like huge ancient plastic balloons they hang alongside a multitude of other dried fishy bits and golden, shrivelled, apricot sized egg yolks.

Behind narrow street houses in Tai O little cafes now perch on the river estuary helping tourists enjoy their visit. Here I watched as tiny, dainty biscuits for the cafe were cooked in a small electric portable oven. 




We took the bus back and jumped off at Cheung Sha beach, a hidden gem just off the tree lined road.

We drank lovely honey and lemon with soda and nibbled the fresh little biscuits whilst watching motor boats transport tourists around the stilts and up the river.

We then took the bus back and jumped off at Cheung Sha beach, a hidden gem just off the tree lined road.

Stoep, a South African restaurant nudging the beach was our destination. For lunch I enjoyed a traditional South African dish, Bobotie, rather like curried cottage pie with an egg and almond topping, Nic had grilled sardines and Howard enjoyed chicken stewed with tomatoes and olives. It tasted better for the view!

That evening we went to happy hour with friends at the Novotel, 51 Man Tung Road Tung Chung Honk Kong Tel (+852)36028888 followed by a Chinese meal selection of prawns, noodles, bean wraps, hot tea and dumplings in the IFC tower. We walked home in the thick, hot, dark night with happy memories of our day.


Day 4
Lazy up again, followed by morning coffee at a tiny Austrian cafe, cool and refreshing, after a hot walk up steep streets and steps. Cafe Loisl offers Viennese charm and calm. 8 Tai On Terrace, Sheung Wan Hong Kong Tel 9179 0209 .




At the Mandarin Oriental Cake shop we sat round a central island bar and ate the cakes we had chosen from the wonderful selection available. What a treat.




That evening we went to Oolaa restaurant G/F, Bridges Street, Centre Stage, Central)
(as opposed to Oolaa petite earlier in the week) which was fresh, modern and very smart. We had whitebait, salads, leg of lamb followed by Eton mess made with passion fruit and lovely Stellanbosh Chardonnay and Argentinean Merlot.

Not content with that we made our way to Wooloomooloo in the Hennessy building for a night cap. (31/F, The Hennessy, 256 Hennessy Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong



31 floors up and very unassuming until you step out onto the decking, this offered amazing, heady views of the city night lights and together with long mojito cocktails a good high level experience.
Oh, what a day!


Day 5
Our weekend treat was a day trip on a junk. This was a birthday celebration; a party with friends and family all out for a good day on the South China Sea. It was raining as we waited to embark, rather heavy rain that left the roads deep in water, so much so that passing cars literally soaked us all from head to foot as they splashed through huge puddles. Undeterred we boarded the junk and were welcomed with drinks and nibbles to sustain us on our way.  A couple of hours on and the sun returned to shine on tropical islands and golden beaches. What a lovely way to see the area. Out came quiche, Greek salads, crudite and lovely Sea Breeze cocktails, cold beers and cold white wine. Were we in heaven?

Lunch was served in heated trays, lamb curry, beef stew, quiches with masses of salads, breads and potatoes. Sunbathing and relaxing on top deck in breezy sunshine completed a lunch break like no other. On our return journey more snacks appeared. It was a great trip with some lovely people.

In an effort to continue a celebration what more was there to do than hit a bar with a good sea view – Hooray Bar Hooray Bar & Restaurant, P502, World Trade Centre, 280 Gloucester Rd., Causeway Bay, Hong Kong,  Phone: 2895-0885

A couple of cocktails later we needed food (well you’ve got the jist of the day by now!) so wandered off to Din Tai Fung and ordered about eight plates of fairly fast Dim Sum. Tasty, comforting and just what we needed.




Day 6

I put on a posh frock today for a special lunch out. Nic and Fran were taking us out for our 40th anniversary. We took a cab out to the New Territories. The restaurant was called One–Thirtyone in Tseng  Tau Village. 131 Tseng Tau village, shap sze heung new territories, +852 2791-2684

Caith Chow, the Chef is passionate about food, ingredients and the whole sensory experience of dining.  We sat under an outdoor pergola looking towards a lake with lush green mountains in the distance.  Caith (Ping to his friends) created a menu that captured the true freshness and beauty of food.  Salmon trapped in smoke under a glass dome, beef steak portions so tender and juicy they literally melted in the mouth and wonderful fresh wines. The dessert was a story in itself, a cocoa pod shaped mouse, on a beach of styled ingredients, with fruits for sustenance and a tear drop glass container of lime and coconut alcohol juices to refresh the palate. Perfection.






On the way home we took a short trip to Sai Kung, the fishing port bustling with weekenders enjoying fresh fish and crustaceans.   It was hot,very hot that day.





Day 7

A purposeful day. We needed to pack up and move into the Hotel for our Anniversary. Firstly we walked via the Shun Tak shopping centre, stopping at Deli-O for a quick breakfast ‘set’ with noodle soup, toast, omelet and coffee.

Deli-O Shun Tak Centre, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong,

The Penisula Hotel lived up to its reputation.
Afternoon tea at the ‘Pen’ is an iconic interlude for many tourists in Hong Kong. We sat in the lobby and absorbed the grandeur and splendid ambience of the Hotel whilst our silver tea pot was refreshed at least a couple of times.  We made choices between sandwiches, scones and jam and cream and cakes. What a way to spend 3 hours!




In the evening we met in the Cocky bar Cocky Bar, 18/F, The ONE, 100 Nathan Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
A high level bar offering cocktails with stunning views allowed me to see the evening light show at the same time as spectacular lightning, which curtailed our alfresco drinking and left us perched on tall stools in a glossy bar instead. We ate later at Rice Paper in Harbour City. a traditional Vietnamese French restaurant
Rice Paper Vietnamese Tsim Sha Tsui Gateway at Harbour City Gateway Arcade, 3rd fl., Shop 3319 (Canton Rd.) Hong Kong. We selected a variety of fresh tasting, hot, spicy and sour selections, such as my vegetable Laksa which left me with hot lips for over an hour!! 


Day 8

Breakfast in the Verandah dining room presented a choice so great it took ages to walk along the buffet tables reviewing the range of beautifully presented dishes. International cooked selections and a vast range of assorted fruits, yogurts, breakfast cakes and of course copious tea. We lingered, it was bliss. It then seemed a good day to take it easy and to use the hotel facilities. A facial, ginger tea and relaxation was followed by a swim. Iced water and towels were waiting for us as we lay by the pool in a cool watery environment. It was exactly described by the term ‘chilling out!’

The evening brought a family meal at a well respected Peking Duck restaurant called the Spring Deer. 2/F, 42 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong
Kong  Tel: 852-23664012

We gathered around a big circular table and feasted on pickled ginger and peanuts, fish portions, tofu wraps and mock crab (fish, dipped in egg white and poached). After a really good mixed selection more meats, lamb and the wonderful Peking Duck, carved at the table ready for us to enjoy with spring onions (scallions) and plum sauce and light, soft homemade pancakes. We also had sweet and sour prawns. The food was cooked beautifully and served with such pride.

The meal ended with Chinese doughnuts with red bean curd inside and a lighter, fluffier egg white dough than the English. When they were picked up with chopsticks (I did manage these!) the mouthful was pure sugary crunch, soft and light, exactly as anticipated.  A traditional and special evening after a restful day.


Day 9

Overslept but just made it down to the Lobby, Penisula Hotel for a breakfast of Eggs Benedict and French pastries together with fluffy pancakes and maple syrup.  Washed down with at least two teapots of English breakfast tea and a dose of the South China Morning Post assured a leisurely pace.

In Reclamation St, Kowloon I looked at cooking equipment shops. It seemed hotter than ever so we finally ducked for cover in McCafe, purely for research purposes! I had a green tea and red bean icecream.   It was actually very nice despite the green slimey gunge topping.


We then spent time at the Ladies market and bought a few presents before returning to The Penisula to get ready for dining in The Verandah. After Nic and Fran arrived we toasted their recent engagement after 11 years together since meeting at Manchester Metropolitan University. Six courses were declared, but some were buffet selections so you could return for a second and third tasting. A special celebration meal in such a special place.


Last Day

Where would it be nice to return to? I pondered this and decided the Austrian Cafe, Cafe Loisl up the steps and through some pretty tropical garden patches.   The coffee and lemon glazed croissant started the day well.
We then met friends for Dim Sum at Maxims Restaurant.


Dim sum lunch involved copious tea, from chubby pots that were refilled the minute the lid was left at an angle.
We had about 20 differing selections such as Shanghai dumplings, shar sui buns, spring rolls, tofu and prawn rolls, beef puffs, brocolli, steamed beancurd stuffed with shrimp paste, steamed minced pork dumpling with compoy in soup, steamed glutinous rice wrapped in lotus leaf, steamed dumpling, deep fried spring rolls with chicken, baked barbequed pork pastries, deep fried dried shrimp and minced pork sticky dumplings, beef with preserved orange peel wrapped in rice sheets, steamed chive dumpling, steamed rice with pork rib and chicken feet, braised whole compoy stuffed with cucumber. What a great feast. A test to a variety of cooking methods you may not expect in one meal.  We finished with ice cold sago pudding made with mango soup.. We enjoyed the family atmosphere, seeing little Hannah eat her Dim Sum using pictures to choose them from a little card book (Early Learning of Chinese  food names!) 10 day old baby Amy slept.

Later that day we shopped, buying some lovely little blue and white bowls in Stanley St and exploring market stalls for final bargains. Wan Chai offered delightful pickings from genuine stallholders enjoying their trading. We dived into Kam Fung Cafe for sweet pineapple buns and Hong Kong Custard Tarts with tea, lemon and honey drinks.

On our last night we went along to Central to FOFO. 2-8 Wellington Street Central, Hong Kong Tel: 2900 2009
FOFO was a modern stylistic Spanish restaurant with wonderful views. It had a fresh white interior with laser cut lampshades looking almost like cartwheels and details such as shelves of white painted penguins and piglets perched in rows above the dining tables. Chef of ‘el Willy’ – Willy Trullas Moreno from Barcelona, showed his style in the menu from which we selected: Gazpacho soup, Chilli prawns, Scallops, Foie gras, Nest potato egg with chorizio, Beef and suckling pig not to mention some excellent sherry and wine.






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