Hong Kong Wo Ai Ni

Warning – do not read if hungry!

It’s got to be at least, oh, a couple of weeks since I wrote an “isn’t Hong Kong awesome” post, so we’re about due for another one. I have to try and keep up with T who’s proving to be a worthy challenger.

I was determined not to spend the entire week long holiday on my sofa, so decided to head down to HK for part of the holiday. It’s my third and final trip this year, but it never gets old. One of my friends was baffled by my choice of destination. “Why not Thailand?” he asked. Well, let me tell you why. Firstly, the food. Hong Kong has it all and every time I go I have a pretty long list of things I have to have because you simply can’t get them in Shanghai. The list includes:

1. Penne aragosta (lobster pasta) at Grappa’s at Pacific Place. They’re super generous with the lobster meat and it comes in a lovely rich creamy tomato sauce.

2. Cheap wonton, fish balls and / or cuttlefish ball rice noodles in soup. You can get them in Shanghai but they just don’t compare. The delicious bowl will cost you around 24 HK dollars which is less than two pounds.

3. Doner kebabs from Ebeneezer’s in Wanchai – Again, you cannot find an authentic kebab shop in Shanghai. Greasy, poor quality meat that just tastes amazing. If you can manage it, get a lamb and a chicken kebab and eat the both with the crinkle cut fries and garlic mayo. We had this 3 nights running on top of a full dinner.

4. Full English breakfast – you can get close in Shanghai but the sausages NEVER make the grade.

Maxim’s Palace City Hall

5. Dim sum just about anywhere, but this time at Maxim’s Palace at City Hall. Okay, I have to be honest, we can get pretty close to HK standards for dim sum in HK, but this place does it the old fashioned way with the food pushed around on trolleys and you just grab what you want as it passes by. Beats giving an order to a waitress and then having to wait for the food to come. Get there by 11am or expect to wait hours for a table.

6. Afternoon tea at The Peninsula – scones with clotted cream, finger sandwiches and at about 200 HK dollars, it’s half the price and twice as good as The Peninsula in Shanghai.

7. Freshly made sandwiches from PRET – shrimp and crayfish, cheese and pickle, or pretty much any of their other sandwiches.

Not on my list but something I enjoyed this time round was New York Fries (at The Peak) which I haven’t had since my trip to America last autumn:

New York Fries – This one is called “The Works”

And I also tried a HUGE chili crab which was amazing:

That’s a full size spoon in the background!

Oh and not food but drink related, look what they have in HK that I’ve never seen in Shanghai – glass bottle Coke Zero:

I don’t know why Coke tastes better in glass bottles, it just does

I could actually go on but I think you get the idea. On some of the shorter trips, I find myself trying to make myself hungry so I can fit everything in before I have to go back to Shanghai. Luckily I was there for 4 days so I managed to get cover most things on the list.

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23 Responses to Hong Kong Wo Ai Ni

  1. Rich says:

    Donner kebabs? You’re as bad as Mark!

  2. anthony says:

    this should be called Wo Ai’s Hong Kong Food Frenzy

    lol

  3. BT says:

    Got to completely agree…home comforts and HK makes a great escape. As Samuel Johnson once said, “When you are tired of Hong Kong you are tired of life.” Or it may have been Hong Kong…

    And surely, the other great think you get…Service.

  4. Brando says:

    Wanchai has great food and even better company ;)

  5. Vanderbilt says:

    I tried Yung Kee at Central and the food was sooo frickin’ good. Then my sister took me to try Hutong at Peking Road – fantastic food and view. A bit pricey, but u have to try it once in your life. You also get to see the symphony of lights at night. But quite a boring spectacle if you will ask me.

    I heard Isola is also a good try. But much more expensive than the 2 I mentioned running at 1k HKD per pax.

    On the cheaper side, I love the food at Spaghetti house. Eat there more than once everytime am in HK.

    And you are right about hk. I find it the best place to enjoy life when you love eating and shopping. Whats the greatest pleasure in life other than XXX? IT’S EATING!

  6. Stimpy says:

    Ah, you were doing so well until the Coke Zero. Awful stuff, glass bottle or no glass bottle.

  7. WoAi says:

    @Rich – To be honest it was Justin who went mad for the kebabs. I would have been okay with just having it, oh let’s see, twice!

    @Anthony – Food frenzy is pretty accurate.

    @BT – Yes, in a funny way, going to HK is better than Britain for me as I can get most “English” comforts but don’t have to give up the Chinese stuff either. And my God, service, YES. Ozone at the Ritz Carlton in HK compared to Flair at the Ritz Carlton in Shanghai – chalk and cheese. Everything is just that little bit better and in some cases, much better.

    @Brando – Why thank you. I think.

    @Vanderbilt – I’ve heard of Hutong. Will try it next time. We have Isola in the IFC in Shanghai, apparently a good Prosecco brunch deal. That’s the other thing I loved about HK though. You can have great food for 20 dollars and equally great food for 1000 dollars. And yeah, when I lived in HK, I was a regular at The Spaghetti House.

    @Stimpy – I always break out in a cold sweat when I see a Stimpy comment and think what have I done wrong now. As it turns out, it wasn’t too bad. Zero is not as good as regular, but I don’t have much choice as my belly won’t allow me to indulge and Zero tastes better than diet Coke for me.

  8. T. says:

    @Woai/Vanderbilt – Hmm, I do love HK food and I’ve been to Hutong a few times to take out people new to Hong Kong. That being said, that is an example of something much better done in the Mainland. I think the food is solid, but not exceptional – and honestly we have a lot better examples of that style in Shanghai and obviously Beijing. The view is, however, unbeatable.

    @WoAi – I do love Maxim’s City Hall – but I’m curious as to your choice of Grappa’s. I mean I ate my fair share of Grappa’s when I lived in HK, but on a 4 day trip, I’m not sure I have room for a decent italian meal – I want a really good italian meal instead – maybe Grissini or Va Bene (far superior to the Shanghai one) or one of the places up in the mid-levels.

  9. WoAi says:

    @T – Grappa’s is just a throwback to my days living in HK in the late nineties. I did apologise in advance to my companion for the choice of venue (she lives in HK). I just really like their lobster pasta. Lots of meat, no shell, creamy tomato based sauce. I have NEVER had anything similar anywhere, so I go back just for that, not because it’s good Italian food of which there are many options in HK and Shanghai.

    Maxim’s City Hall also is definitely not the best dim sum in HK but it’s good for first timers and tourists and I was acting as tour guide for some friends.

  10. Rich says:

    Nice shirt your mate’s wearing ;)

  11. WoAi says:

    @Rich – Well spotted. That would be Justin from this previous post:

    http://blog.friday-nite.com/?p=4602

    Are you not sleeping yet or up early?

  12. CP says:

    ‘Penne Aragosta’ – what a name. Sounds like some sort of pseudonym for an Italian playboy!

    I am indeed hungry after reading that. You do stop and wonder what went wrong here on the mainland, where things are now more expensive yet often worse quality, and the service leaves a lot to be desired.

  13. T. says:

    @CP – do you really stop and wonder what went wrong on the Mainland? How about 61 years of the CCP being in charge – and for many of those years being hostile to capitalism and service?

  14. CP says:

    @T: The quality and service might just have something to do with your reasons, but at least it used to be cheap. However, it’s really getting ridiculous that we have to pay more than HK for it!

  15. WoAi says:

    Yes, in just a few short years the tables have completely reversed. The HK dollar used to be worth 7% more than the RMB, now the RMB is 22% more than the HK$. Taxis in HK were much more than in Shanghai. Now in Shanghai the flagfall is 18 RMB after 11pm. In HK it was 18 HKD until last week when it increased to 20 dollars. That’s just 16 RMB. So a short taxi journey will now cost you more in SH than in HK. And at the Ritz Carlton in HK a bottle of Veuve Cliquot was just 800 RMB / 980 HKD. Compare that to M1NT or any of the top clubs / bars in SH. No chance!

  16. T. says:

    Taxis in HK are still quite a bit more than Shanghai – those HKDs add up very very quickly as opposed to the slow tick of the Shanghai cabs.

    @CP – You can still get crappy cheap food here in Shanghai. Outside my apartment, they still have 3 kuai Lanzhou Yangrou mian.

  17. WoAi says:

    @T – Yes, but we’re reaching the crossover point as it is now possible to have a cheaper taxi ride in HK than SH (at night, short distance). My guess is it won’t be too long before SH is just more expensive period.

  18. T. says:

    Well – maybe. .. but think about this. My friend’s rent just went up . . . by my entire rent. He was paying somewhere in the 30k range – and now he’s paying above 40k HKD/month – the difference between his this year’s rent and next year’s rent is EQUAL to my entire rent. His place is about the same size as mine. But less usable space.

  19. WoAi says:

    Yes, accommodation is far more than SH for sure. I was paying 8,000 HKD back in 1998 (so almost 9,000 RMB back then) for a tiny 40sq metre place in Sau Kei Wan. That’s more than I pay now, 13 years later, in Shanghai.

  20. Stimpy says:

    @WoAi: Fair enough (re. the Coke Zero). The rest of the food does look amazing though- I shall have to make a trip to HK sooner rather than later.

  21. Gla says:

    Did you guys gain weight after HK&Macau trip:P Are you able to make a nice list for HK now(like SH one)? I guess it would be an EATING list…

  22. Gla says:

    Why do I always get this picture… what is this, the ones Rich and CP got are more cute!

  23. WoAi says:

    @Gla – I don’t think I gained weight, but Justin definitely did! I can do a HK list for sure but it’s only my favourite places from when I lived there 15 years ago so not the best list.

    Yes sorry about the Gravatar, it’s generated automatically because you do not have your own one. It’s easy you can sign up for your own personalized Gravatar here:

    https://en.gravatar.com/site/signup

    This will then appear on any blog you comment (not only mine) as long you enter the same email address when making a comment.

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