Happy New Year!!! I do hope 2013 is treating you all well so far. I have returned from my trip and back at work waiting for time to pass. Hence why I am blogging right now. I had a marvellous time in Hong Kong and it was filled with many delicious delights that I plan to tell you all about. After travelling to many cities around Asia I have come to learn that Seoul pretty much blows in food terms in comparison to other places like Shanghai, Tokyo and Bangkok. But in Hong Kong I really hit the motherload. I knew it would be good in terms of British fare but I never imagined it could be that good.
Even in the humble 7-11 they sell a bounty of delights (including Bounties!) Here’s just a little summary of what I found/bought in no particular order. Malteasers, Malteasers chocolate rabbits, white chocolate Malteasers, Kinder Buenos (yes they have them here now too), white chocolate Kinder Bueno, Time Out, Picnics, Cadbury’s chocolate, Kettle Crisps, Ribena (yes I love Ribena) English magazines and Hienz baked beans. I’m sure there was plenty more I forgot but those were my majors.
Marks & Spencer!!! To truly appreciate Marks and Sparks I think you really do have to be British, its like a national institution who everyone shops at for something. However the highlight of this fabulous store apart from the old staples like pants and socks is their food. Just a browse around their well stocked aisles is enough to bring a smile to my face. In Hong Kong they have a store just for the food. I have already visited the Kuala Lumpur and Shanghai branches and had my hopes well and firmly up and luckily I was not disappointed. If I lived in Hong Kong I would go there every day, I’m considering relocating just for that reason alone! On my lovely and booze induced shop I gathered, salt and vinegar fat reduced crisps (you can eat twice as many), a samosa, goats cheese, cheese and chive dip, garlic onion dip and their very fabulous wasabi pea dip (I shall be making my own batch of this in the very near future). Giant chocolate buttons, M&S skips, and a coronation chicken sandwich.
Whist we were there my main focus was eating plenty of dim sum. There are several restaurants there which have gained Michelin stars for their dim sum and I was very keen to try them out. Our first stop was to try Tim Ho Wan . Famed for their crispy pork buns and long queues we arrived eager to sample their goodies. However when we arrived at 12pm we were informed that they wouldn’t be giving out any more tickets for the next seating until 4pm. I knew we would have to wait but 4 hours was insane. We decided to try another Michelin star dumpling restaurant not too far away. We arrived at One Dim Sum Chinese restaurant and were given a number and told to come back in 50 minutes by the lovely English speaking manager. He recommended we take a walk around the flower market nearby but we had already spotted a pub two doors down and sat in the sunshine drinking pints and cocktails (a concept which seems unreal today when my pipes have frozen and its -15 outside). We came back and were seated in minutes. We decided to try a variety of treats. Sweet and sour wantons, shrimp shumai, baked pork buns and the pork dumplings. Everything was fantastic and we left feeling full, happy and a little drunk. The whole meal was only 15,000 for the both of us and it was amazing.
Still keen to go to Tim Ho Wan we decided to try the other location at the IFC mall. On our way through the labyrinth of shops we spotted a huge group of people waiting outside of Crystal Jade. Since visiting the branch in Myeong-dong which you can read my review for here, we actually found out how famous it was. We took our number and were told to come back in 30 minutes. We went down to visit Tim Ho Wan while we were waiting and once again found the queue to be immense. However someone told us that you can just get a takeaway and it will be ready in 15 minutes. We went back to crystal jade and feasted on their amazing soup dumplings. I have to say they were slightly better in Hong Kong but only just and in Korea they were a lot cheaper and you got more so I would urge you to visit them ASAP. We also didn’t have to wait for a table there. We tried various dishes, some fried lo mien noodles, sweet and sour chicken, and pork buns.
After that momentous meal we stopped by Tim Ho Wans and picked up an order of all their treats to go. I have to say the baked pork buns were awesome, especially considering how cheap they were but not in a million years would I queue up hours to eat there. Get your order to go and save yourself the trouble. The pork buns are not to be missed, though sadly I forgot to take a picture but they were magical, soft and crispy and sprinkled with sugar. They were deliciously sweet and savoury all at the same time. I can also recommend the pork and cheese dumpling, soft, juicy and full of flavour. The turnip pancake should definitely be avoided though as it was rather strange for want of a better word. We had a giant bag of food of Michelin star cuisine all for 20,000. The cheapest Michelin starred food in the world! I guess it’s what keeps the punters coming back over and over again and the queue incredibly long.
My last restaurant was Aqua Tokyo Aqua Roma. We booked in for the champagne brunch after we failed to get in at the Intercontinental, however I was very glad it turned out this way. We got there at 12pm and didn’t leave until 4pm. It was spectacular, all the champagne, mimosa’s and Bloody Mary’s you could drink (you know how I love a good Bloody Mary!). Then a mix of Italian and Japanese dishes brought to your table but everything was unlimited. Even the main courses, I think we mustered about 10 between the 4 of us plus 2 dessert plates, 7 plates of pasta, 2 anti pasto, a sushi plate and a very large bowl of endamame beans. I don’t know where I managed to put it all especially with all that drink but it was gorging of the highest calibre with a spectacular view of Hong Kong harbour. I am shocked that this place wasn’t packed to the rafters with a waiting list. The meal cost 100,000 per person and considering the quality of food and drink I don’t now how they could have made a profit from us. It was one of the best meals I have ever eaten and I’ve been to some pretty fancy places in my time. I would recommend it to anyone visiting Hong Kong, it was far better than the Park Hyatt in Tokyo which cost the same but only came with one glass of champagne. Here’s just a few pictures of what we had. I would go every Sunday if we were lucky enough to live there and I shall now be hunting to find the Korean equivalent.