Apr 01, 2010|
San Po Kong is easy to miss on the food radar, being known mainly as an industrial and residential neighborhood next to the old Kai Tak airport. But between the many housing estates and factory buildings in the area, a foodie haven awaits. From decades-old neighborhood favorites to newer dining establishments serving hotdogs or artisan coffee, it’s all there for your foodie exploration.
Ocean S-Lobster is Hong Kong’s first and (so far) only crayfish specialist. A giant white bowl of bright red crayfish goes for just $60 for two pounds, or $100 for four pounds. The restaurant imports their crayfish supply from the largest freshwater lake in China, where these little firm-fleshed crustaceans have become quite a popular snack. There’s not much meat in the little guys but owner-chef Chan stir-fries them, shell-on, in a mouth numbing and addictively spicy, aromatic Sichuan hot sauce. Perfect for nibbling away on with a few rounds of cold Tsingtao beer. For something more satiating, diners can order the crayfish stir-fried with smooth and glossy potato starch noodles, or opt for the restaurant’s special fried rice, with pieces of deshelled crayfish, stir-fried with a bit of fermented beancurd for an extra fragrant, savory edge.
Shop H, New Lai King Building, 60-64 Yin Hing St., 3524-7756.
This popular local eatery, Seven Happiness, offers a mishmash of dishes to satisfy all sorts of cravings. Early-risers head to Seven Happiness for a steamed zhong (rice dumpling), or a bowl of morning congee, which is offered with ingredients ranging from the commonplace combo of preserved egg and minced pork, to the more indulgent sliced abalone with fish maw. For lunch or afternoon tea, go for their satisfying wonton soup noodles, or the soupless mixed noodles. But evenings are when it gets really crowded—the restaurant’s small stir-fries and other local-style dishes are particularly popular. Think beef brisket stewed with daikon, vermicelli and garlic topped scallops, braised pork knuckle, beef tripe with goose intestine, and an assortment of stir-fried greens. Most of the dishes come in at less than $50 and the place itself is open until 2am. Is it any wonder it’s always packed?
90 Shung Ling St., 2354-9687.
Veteran restaurant Tak Lung has been serving the San Po Kong neighborhood for over 10 years. The restaurant is particularly famous for its old-school, authentic Cantonese dishes. In fact, Tak Lung is one of the few remaining places in town where you can find the must-try “Golden Coin Chicken”, which (despite the name) is a slice of fatty pork topped with a sliver of melt-in-the-mouth pork liver, barbecue pork and a thin piece of ginger for a nice spicy zing. The whole thing is then doused in a thick, sweet honey-based sauce. Unhealthy? Yes... but also absolutely delish. The “Chicken Roll” is another highlight, again made with fatty pork, this time wrapped around some chicken meat and then deep-fried into golden, crispy, artery-clogging yumminess. Aside from the excellent food, you can also expect a friendly (if a little boisterous), neighborhood restaurant vibe here. And it’s not just the San Po Kong locals who love Tak Lung; even the Michelin folks are singing its praises, listing them as a recommended restaurant in this year’s restaurant guide.
25-29 Hong Keung St., 2320-7020.
Dong Fang has been in business since the 1960s. The interior is still charmingly retro, with kitsch, white butterfly chairs in the middle of the eatery, sandwiched between two rows of yellow booths. As for the food, expect a small menu of your typical cha chaan teng fare, along with a variety of baked, local breads and pastries. But the real selling point here is the prices—a typical tea set with soup noodles, buttered toast and a drink will set you back less than $20.
42 Shung Ling St., 2321-3493.
Tucked away in the unassuming industrial district of San Po Kong, BLEND by DANES has been garnering quite a bit of java-junkie buzz since opening its doors in late 2009. The space is actually the showroom and training center of the Aussie gourmet brand Danes coffee, but it also doubles as a retail space and coffee/espresso bar for the general public. The baristas here are all knowledgeable and passionate about coffee and will happily talk you through the brand’s different beans. The most popular is the Caribbean blend, which is smooth, slightly nutty, and has the added benefit of being NASAA certified organic. The coffee drinks here are expertly made, from the simple, single espresso, to cappuccinos with just the right amount of foam.
G/F, Midas Plaza, 1 Tai Yau St., 2472-3603.
In a district littered mainly with cha chaan tengs, noodle shops and Cantonese restaurants, Hotdog Union might seem out of place with its bright yellow interior and its American-inspired fast-food menu. But apart from bringing a refreshing dose of diversity to the area, Hotdog Union also serves up some truly delish frankfurters and the tiny store has won over a large following since its debut last year. The store offers 10 different sausages, which go for $18-$20 for à la carte ordering. The vast selection ranges from cheese and ham to German curry, the most popular being the chili chorizo sausage. The hefty eight-inch dogs are broiled to order and sandwiched between a freshly-toasted, sesame-sprinkled bun, ready to be topped with ketchup, mustard, and whatever other condiments your stomach desires. Hotdog Union also offers a nice selection of sides; the French fries are delicious, golden brown crispy strips, and—to cater to the still largely local neighborhood clientele—items such as instant noodles in cheese sauce and kaya toast are also on the menu.
Shop 14B, Hong Keung Mansion, 32-34 Hong Keung St., 3586-1428.