If there was one thing we didn’t run out of, or skimp on while in HK, it was food. I am practically as big (and as heavy) as a walrus so going to the touristy sights (read: Disney; I would have loved to go there but we didn’t have enough time and I don’t think I would have had energy for it) was quite out of the question so the next best thing was to eat.
For someone who is generally not a fan of Chinese food (and Korean, which I try to avoid as much as I can), except for the occasional dimsum and fried rice, I ate a tremendous amount of food.
DIN TAI FUNG
After our three-Michelin star dinner, it was back to normal fare for us (and our wallets, for sure) although I couldn’t really complain getting the downgrade to a one-Michelin star, especially if the food was as good as at Din Tai Fung.
Luckily for us, our hotel was right across Silvercord where one of the two HK branches of this Taiwanese food is located (both branches have the same star rating). The waiting line gets a bit crazy a little after 12 but we came in shortly before that and got a table for three in less than ten minutes (or maybe it’s my baby bump luck striking again!).
And… tea was served. Seriously, I must have drank more tea during this trip than in my entire life. Once you are seated, your assigned server immediately pours you a cup of steaming hot tea. They never let you have your cup half-empty (or even your glass of ice cold water which we were delirious for after downing countless cups of tea) which I think is very nice and attentive of them.
We weren’t particularly hungry so we just got some boiled spinach with ginger which I thoroughly enjoyed. I love spinach. I would sometimes eat it for days on end at home, paired with fried fish and I’d feel like heaven.
And of course, we had to get the xiao long bao for which Din Tai Fung is famous for. It’s funny to note that they even have a printed guide to show guests the proper way of eating xiao long bao: put a bit of soy sauce, vinegar, and ginger on the sauce dish, dip the dumpling, put it in your spoon, and using your chopsticks, poke a hole in it to let out the broth, and tada! Enjoy! I could probably live off of spinach and xiao long bao forever. 😛
|Xiao long bao! This is one of the places that used cloth base for their dimsum, which was nice coz then they wouldn’t stick and give us a hard time picking them up. 😀|
We also got the pork chop fried rice (it’s quite true, that you can’t keep a Pinoy away from rice for so long; two weeks in Europe prior to this trip taught me that I would go into serious withdrawal if I don’t get rice on a normal basis) – a good thing I shared this with my friend as the serving was quite L-A-R-G-E. The rice was good: soft and had lots of egg in it. But the pork chop was a bit bland (and surprisingly dry) for my taste. I prefer my pork chops drenched in salty McCormick breading or anything similar. Luckily, the spinach and xiao long bao more than made up for it.
We had a hard time getting cold water to drink at the previous restos we’ve been too, and this one was no different. But our server had the presence of mind to call someone who can speak English and we got our precious bottled water.
I don’t recall how much our meal cost, but judging how quickly I forgot, it must have been quite reasonable. So anytime you’re in HK, try to visit DTF. I don’t recommend restos on a normal basis but this one is worth it. 🙂
MAXIM’S PALACE CITY HALL
Have to admit, this place wasn’t on our radar. We were just aiming at restos in the Tsim Tsa Tsui area where our hotel was located and this one was at Central (two stations away). But thanks to our lucky stars, my friend’s friend treated us to this dimsum feast.
I can’t really give you a guide on how to get there but just get off Central, exit H, and ask around for Maxim’s and you should be able to find it. On the way there, we passed a couple of alleys that were filled to the brim with Pinoy OFWs – I honestly have never seen such a huge gathering of OFWs in one place. It was a Sunday, and as we all know, that’s rest day for most OFWs and it was nice to know they have this support group overseas.
The line at Maxim’s was insanely long. One from our group had already line for us while we were still at the train station but we still had to wait over an hour to get a table. By then, I was really curious as to what awaited me – I mean, if people willingly waited this long, it must be good, right?
You betcha. This place is actually named the most famous dimsum place in HK on a couple of lists I saw online and I have to say, it quite lives up to the hype for a number of reasons:
a) Interiors are clean and classy – the dimsum places in Manila should take a page from Maxim’s book: this place actually has chandeliers, crisp white linen, gilded, tassled, and cushioned seats, and even a red velvet curtained stage for when you hold banquets (I suppose that’s where the bride and groom would be if a wedding feast were being served here). Even the servers wear starched white uniforms. Everything was so white and bright I felt like shielding my eyes. How’s that for rhyming? Hahaha! I know my description makes the place a bit gaudy, but trust, it contributes to the whole experience!
b) The dimsum is delivered on a traditional cart where you can just point and get what you want and the servers just mark it on your order card. The only downside is, most of the signs are in Chinese but there are a few English translations if you squint a bit. How quaint is that? It just makes the experience all the more “authentic.”
c) You can’t go wrong with the food. Even if you can’t understand the menu, you can always ask and as I repeat, you can’t go wrong because everything’s good (I’m starting to sound redundant now). We even made the “mistake” of ordering veggie dimsum but in the end, we still finished it off. It was that yummy. I can’t really recommend any single dish because I liked everything but what I remember are the custard and pork buns, and the octopus tentacles. It was my first time (I think) to try the latter, and definitely won’t be my last. It was crispy/salty/spicy in all the right places, and it was cooked perfectly – not gummy at all which is usually what happens when food from this particular animal family is prepared.
|Well, they can say what they want about Thailand mangoes (this one tasted like it came from TH) but I will still pick our very own mangoes. They’re sweeter, softer, and fresher.|
As if we were gonna run out of dimsum, we also made pit stops at Crystal Jade. Funny, but our first meal in HK was at the Crystal Jade at the airport, and our last meal before we headed back to the airport was at the branch near our hotel.
True to form, we ordered xiao long bao both times (Din Tai Fung’s is better though but I also enjoyed this version), some very thinly slice beef (so thin I had a hard time picking it up with my chopsticks. Not that I’m an expert in using those sticks but still), rice and veggies which I loved to bits.
|Not your average donuts – these are empty buns drizzled with confectioner’s sugar. Good, if you want a change from the overly/sickeningly sweet Krispy Kreme once. But if you have a sweet tooth, this one’s not for you.|
|I am not a veggie fan but the sauce was just too good and putting it in the wrap and finishing it in one big bite was the highlight of this meal. Hahaha!|
|So thin it was almost see-through!|
|xiao long bao. Arrg, I am salivating just looking at the photos.|
|Fine, we ordered a bowl of fried rice (I think we actually ordered a second serving). Can you blame us?|
The good thing is, there are several Crystal Jade restos in the PH (and there is one just five or so minutes from our house, hahaha!) so you can always satisfy your craving (and that’s me making parinig to hubby).
Lest you think we stuffed ourselves full with Chinese food – we did make a couple of exceptions. One is our high tea outing which I wrote about here, and BLT Burger.
It was one of those instances when we were just too lazy to go anywhere far and since our hotel was right smack beside the Harbour City, it made sense to look for a place to eat there (and shop at the same time, right?). We wanted to take a break from all the dimsum we consumed so with our trusty TripAdvisor mobile app, we found this must-try burger joint at the 3rd floor of the Ocean Terminal part of the Harbour City.
Again, the line was insanely long – we waited 45 minutes and I was soooo hungry the entire time and also tired from lugging my purchases (this was after our second day at the outlet stores in South Horizons) that I would have walked away if not for the patience of my two companions.
Haha, you know me all too well that I can’t really deal with long lines unless I’m stuck with good friends or a good book, or a really good mobile game to pass away the time. Luckily, I had all three on hand.
I was so hungry (am repeating it to make a point here, :P) that I ordered one BLT burger combo meal for myself (check out their menu here). The burger, as its name suggests, had one big patty -7-0z to be exact, smoked bacon, lettuce and tomato and it came with fries and soda which you can upgrade to fruit juice, milkshake, or beer. I opted to get an upgrade to the campfire marshmallow milkshake which was served with a huge grilled marshmallow dunked on top.
You can also choose the kind of fries you want. They have skinny, fat, and waffle fries. I was thinking the skinny ones were like the piknik ones but they turned out to be the normal sized fries (as you can see below) but one of my friends got the waffle fries which turned out to be a cross between KFC’s colonel fries and McDonald’s criss cut fries. I liked her fries much better. Tasted better too as I think they put some spices on it.
|I am dubbing this the most expensive burger meal I ever ate – at HKD202 for the combo. But that big mashy on top of the milkshake is just begging me to have another go at this place.|
The meal is not cheap though considering I only ate a “burger” but the serving is large and my combo meal could have fed two. Silly me thought I was hungry enough to eat for an army but I ended up eating only half of the burger and barely touching the fries before my tummy begged to be spared more. Hahaha!
I made myself hungry with this post and if you end up with a growling tummy after my lengthy post, then I achieved my purpose (insert naughty grin here). I can’t wait to go back, and this time, I’ll make sure the hubby tags along – he loves Chinese food and he’ll definitely love these places.