So in one weekend back in Hong Kong I managed to eat and do quite a lot. The last post summarised where we went on a Mongkok food tour or ‘invasion’ and this post is kind of the odds and ends post with all the other good things.
Having left Hong Kong nearly a year and a half ago it is great to see is that it seems to have got better as a city rather than being overwhelmed by the selling of luxury goods and high rise buildings. There have been a raft of new openings which are actually good, inventive and creative. Which in a city run by Developers and with rents as high as they are is a fairly amazing thing.
Po’s Atelier and Deadend Cafe
This one bakery/ cafe was probably the highlight of my visit. It gave me confidence that Hong Kong is overcoming the obsession with money above all else. Or perhaps the owners have very rich parents. Regardless, they are inventive enough to serve breads with Yunnanese ham and to do so in a space they have obviously invested time and effort in to make beautiful.
They are baking for the local community with local ingredients. I couldn’t love the concept or the execution more. You can either take away the breads or eat them in the cafe next door which I have to now recommend as having the best service in Hong Kong. Having taken a bit too long to serve two coffees the barista returned us the money and simply said “spend it next time”. Bravo.
The great thing about Hong Kong is that you have new things like Po’s Atelier and you also have dingy old places with years of history on the walls and cooking which has stood the test of fussy Cantonese eaters. Hing Kei is one of those.
Thanks to a kindly @dimsumdiva I was collected at the airport and taken for a midnight feast there.
I’ve long had a favourite Cooked Food Centre over in Mui Wo because of their black bean clams and deep fried prawns. This plain beat it. The clams here were otherworldly. We were ordering extra bowls of rice and just pouring the sauce straight onto them to make ghetto congees. Amazing.
The razor clams and the typhoon shelter style crab were similarly good. A word of warning if you want to go; this is not a pretty surroundings kind of restaurants. It is dingy, slightly filthy but great.
Tim Ho Wan picnic
I’ve blogged about Tim Ho Wan before as have many as it is famous for being one of the cheapest Michelin starred restaurants in the world. One way in which it maintains its cheapness is through its typical Hong Kong style atmosphere – crowded, lots of hustle and bustle, screaming. Constant turnover.
There is now a new branch in the IFC Mall in Central which is much the same as the original in Mongkok apart from one thing; takeaway. What you can do is go and order some of the better dim sum in the world and eat it on your terms, at your pace in one of the many beautiful places in Central. I chose to have a picnic at the bottom of Jardine House. Lovely.
Hong Kong’s People-Geography
I ate a bunch of other stuff including some sublime wonton mein and a filthy warming hotpot but what I forgot and loved most about this visit was the overload of Hong Kong people thumping through the city’s unique geography of half dilapidated: half bling streets.
Everywhere you go in Hong Kong it is crowded. Even as against other big Asian cities like Tokyo or Seoul Hong Kong somehow feels more. As though a human tap has just been turned on.
And this morass of people gives rise to beautiful, crazy situations such as an old woman under a bridge who you can go to when you want to curse someone (above) or wet markets nestled amongst the most expensive real estate on the world with the best produce I’ve ever come across (below).
It is the Philipino helpers who colonise the centre of Hong Kong on their one day off a week and who always seem to me like the most positive cheerful people in the city despite the racism and low pay they face.
I miss it. Which is kind of wonderful really as it is only a few hours away and an excuse can always be found.
- Po’s Atelier - G/F, 62 Po Hing Fong, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
- Hing Kei - 1/F Po Wah Comm Building, 180 Nathan Road, TST, Hong Kong
- Tim Ho Wan – Shop 12A, Hong Kong Station (Podium Level 1, IFC Mall), Hong Kong