My routine semiannual visit to HK. It greets me with an early sunrise, mist of moisture in the air and sounds of busy city waking up.
I enjoy my visits here and every time I look to try something new. On this journey I reframed from any tourist activity or even much shopping, but rather focused on trying to eat every day in a new restaurant ... here is what happened:
Day 1: Early morning arrival throws me into a loop ... is it breakfast? dinner? afternoon snack? Getting off the plane so early in the day (5:30am local time) is tough. Ones checked in I go to the gym. Good workout puts me in a right state of mind, after vegetating in a seat for 16 hours. I move on to the Spa, there I proceed with a deep tissue massage and a facial. Feeling rejuvenated and alive by mid day, now I feel its time for lunch.
Lunch - Crystal Jade @ IFC Mall (multiple locations) - simple and no fuss place near the hotel and I am in favor of soup dumplings. One of my favorite here! It is truly a perfection, between the just right thickness of the dough, tender and full seafood filling inside, along with warm broth, it is the best remedy, and also makes you feel warm and at home. I get a few dim sum (small plates), among which are also sautéed string beans with garlic, bbq pork ribs on a bone and green tea. Delish and excellent start.
A short walk, a nap and we are progressing to dinner here ...
Dinner - Hutong, Kawlon (1 Peking, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong) - An award winning Norther Chinese traditional restaurant, with warm and inviting setting with jaw dropping views of Central HK. Just across the harbor, short cab ride away, you'll visit traditional Chinese village with all of the specialties it has to offer and more. I have been here on my very first visit to HK about 5 years ago, it has made quite an impression on me and I was eager to come back. The restaurant carries full spectrum menu, however be mindful that most dishes are very spicy, let’s be frank - hot! There is one dish on the menu that is served in a clay bucket filled with red hot chili peppers and crab meat, however there is an option to substitute for chicken which I did. It is one of a kind spicy baked chicken that makes your whole face numb, yet so tasty that you cannot simply stop eating it. Chasing it with cold sake always helps. There is a wide range of appetizers to choose from that would fit anyone's taste. I also had their seafood dumplings, lightly fried spring rolls, and cod in black bean sauce. Everything in this place is amazing! A must if you really enjoy spicy food palette.
Day 2: Slept all night! Woo Hoo! For anyone having the experience battling 13 hour time difference will understand me.
Aside of uneventful gym visit, hotel breakfast (which I must admit has one of the best croissants I have ever had! that is including Paris or Lyon), stroll around Central, little cosmetics shopping (I stock up on Korean face masks that for whatever reason are not being sold in the States), I realize that I have unintentionally skipped lunch :(
Dinner - Under The Bridge Spicy Crab in Wan Chai - everyone knows this place and reservations are not taken. Unless you are an expert in cleaning shell fish - do not wear anything that you don't want to be ruined. Low key, simple place for shell fish and other seafood delicacies. Their main attraction is the Typhoon Crab - baked in garlic and hot chili pepper. It is messy but truly one of a kind meals. Excellent with cold light Chinese beer and some langoustines to start off with. I also enjoy the company of sautéed string beans or Chinese broccoli. The menu is large and they have many other Chinese options, however, I feel like the trip to UTBSC should be for the crab!
Drinks - It happened to be Saturday night. Ooops. I meet a few of my friends at LKF for the night out (like Meatpacking district in NYC used to be, this area has bar on bar, clubs and lounges on top of each other for any occasion). Ironically we meet at Pastis (there, NYers will hear me ... oh the legendary brunch venue ... oh my 20s ... ). A couple of glasses of Chablis and we decided where we going next.
More Drinks - The Iron Fairies - bar/lounge/life music - Only opened a few weeks ago, The Iron Fairies is small and cozy lounge with plenty for eye to look at. The decor is medieval and whimsical. Entire ceiling is covered with colorful butterflies in a flying effect. Medieval fire pits make for the tables, low hanging chandeliers burn candles creating seductive and mysterious atmosphere. And of course there are fairies everywhere ... Mixologist have impressive list of complicated signature cocktails, and that night live music was playing.
Drinks and Dancing - The Dragon-I - one of my favorite places to party. Music is always great and crowd is beautiful. This place is not big, but rather just right to make a party cozy and easily meet new people. Frequented by models and celebrities, this is the place where I do wear a heel. ;-)
Day 3: Haaaaaang over ... thank God its Sunday and it is absolutely legal to merge breakfast with lunch ...
Brunch - BEP (multiple locations) - Vietnamese Food. The amazing soup noodles in magical broth brought me back to life! Started with fried dumplings and chicken wings, followed by noodle soups. Everything was delicious and cheap! I'm still obsessing over the soups as I'm typing this ... this is what I'm talking about when I said that I would "try to eat at different place every day" ... some places are soooo good it is simply hard to stay away ...
Dinner - Four Seasons Room Service - had to do it at least ones, come on! Savoring the last tastes of my brunch meal I decide to eat without getting out of bed ... keeping it light to Caesar salad ...
Day 4: The work week began ... Having busy meetings schedule I had full but healthy breakfast at FS. Lunch was skipped and for a good reason ...
Dinner - Ye Shanghai (Pacific Place) - as you can tell from the name another traditional Chinese food, however the setting is more modern and open. The food and service both are impeccable. Must admit that ordering was done by a local, however, I'm sure everything from the menu will be up par. Some of the items we had: shrimp fried rice, sautéed Chinese broccoli (most similar to kale), sautéed string beans, variety of dumplings, roasted goose, after I went into food coma and have no recollection.
Day 5: another day with clients ...
Lunch - Mott 32 (Central) - Blew me away! This is my favorite discovery on this trip for a few reasons ... Unexpected decor and style! Very modern HK, industrial chic. Even the name is inspired by the modern Chinese expansion overseas, specifically 32 Mott Street in NYC, where the very first Chinese store was opened back in 1850s and became the central point of now epic Chinatown in NYC. Farm to table concert representing China as a largest farming nation in the world. Honest food. Mainly Cantonese cooking with some Beijing specialties. Exceptional service! I'm very excited to put this place on my to visit list when back again.
Dinner - Inagiku (FS/IFC) - It has sort of became a tradition to come here at least ones. I generally get the same thing and love it every single time - deluxe sashimi platter, sea urchin, egg custard, and mixed fried tempura with some sake. This is on another level, really something else!
Day 6: In anticipation of some serious eating, I have put forward all my strong will for breakfast and only had yogurt with fresh squeezed juice.
Lunch - Pierre at the Mandarin Oriental - is there anything else I need to add? Classic Rich Elegant French. Absolutely stunning restaurant, awarded with 2 Michelin stars. It is simply Devine! There pre fix lunch menu has plenty of options to choose from (2/3 course menues available). My only wish I was there not on a business lunch but with a good company who really enjoys the craftsmanship of food making.
Dinner - Lung King Heen (FS) - the 3 Michelin star rated restaurants is superb! Of course like savages we order chicken soup and the Peking duck, which comes in two courses, and chase it down with a bottle of Krugg. I must say it is a looooot of food to consume for two people, and we have made a mistake before when ordered too many appetizers and no longer had the room for the main course. Beware!
Day 7: I'm squeezing lunch with friends in a local Japanese Ramen Noodle place famed for slow cooked pork ramen noodle soups. Its a hole in a wall and wait time is over 30 minutes, but we brave it and it was all worth it! I'm packed, relaxed and now feeling warm inside ready to go home ...
My mission is accomplished! I have tried new places and look forward to coming back to some. Before I know it, 6 months will pass and I'll be back here again for new discoveries and old favorites. Now all I need to think about is what to focus on during my next visit.
till next time we meet ...