Best Bites: 6 Hong Kong Dishes We Loved This Week
Best Bites is a roundup of the exceptional dishes we had over the past week: those that renewed our love for established places; caught our attention during a new opening; or freshly impressed by the creativity and skill of Hong Kong’s talented chefs. From casual street snacks to meticulously prepared tasting menus, these are the best dishes to try in Hong Kong, and the plates we recommend you make a trip special for.
The dish: Pan Brioche al Tartufo (HK $ 1,280 / person, on the “Journey around the world: autumn edition” tasting menu)
I’m not trying to stir the proverbial pot –– and a sincere apology in advance to all loyal Castellana carbonara fans –– but the tartufo sandwich, or truffle brioche, was the best dish of the fall. Travel around the world ‘from the Italian restaurant menu. Hands very firmly down. Controversial? You tell me.
But as I wait for the comments of disbelief to pile up; spare me just an ounce of beneficial doubt. Brioche is a very thoughtful and well balanced dish. It had the “right” measure of Goldilocks texture and flavor, especially on an expansive six-course menu. The bread was light, fluffy, airy –– add any descriptors that match a baby lamb’s soft coat –– with a perfect crisp, caramelized crust, which I can say with enthusiasm just pan-fried in a swimming pool Shallow Fromagerie Beurre demi-sel de Beillevaire. Coupled with the sweetness of a fine terrine of duck foie gras and the savory of dried egg yolk, it was a magnificent balanced bite. Would have been close if the brioche was served on its own, but with the addition of mountainous shavings of Australian black winter truffle? Absolute winner. I would be so daring to even say, swap my carbonara course for another brioche. Whoops. –– Lorria Sahmet, editor
Castellana, 10 / F, Cubus, 1 Hoi Ping Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 3188 5028
Bacon & Le Petit Pain
The dish: Cuban (HK $ 75)
When a coworker included Bacon & The Bun’s sarnie bacon as the hangover food of choice, I knew I had to cross the bridge to ifc to try it. And, wow, was it worth the steps. I chose the Cubano sandwich from the menu instead of building my own; I will work until this. The Cubano, true to its namesake, sits on a bed of ham and cheese. Specifically, honey ham, mojo pulled pork, cheddar cheese and relish, soaked in a layer of honey mustard squeezed between layers of dark rye bread. This is exactly the sort of thing you’d want to devour after the shenanigans at Pier 3 – the Bacon & The Bun storefront is right across from the entrance to Discovery Bay Pier, by the way – but it is. just as delicious as a mid-afternoon treatment before adventures at Tai O. – Joey Wong, editor
Bacon & The Bun, G / F, Pier 3, Central, Hong Kong
The dish: Orange Chicken (HK $ 88)
While Hong Kong lemon chicken is a traditional Cantonese staple, its orange-hued American cousin doesn’t get quite the same reception from locals. But Chef Karisa Check’s take on the Panda Express specialty at the newly opened Candor is a loving, elevated tribute to the flavors of one of my favorite comforts across the ocean. Boneless, coated and deep fried chicken pieces in a sweet citrus sauce: can you really go wrong? – Nathan Erickson, editor
Candor, G / F, 65-65A Peel Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2362 8100
Bibi & Baba
The dish: Hainan Chicken with Rice (HK $ 178 / half; $ 298 / full)
Every Singaporean worth his salt has a must-see spot for their dose of Hainan Chicken Rice. It’s a thing. We regularly have lively discussions about the place the best in town, and we don’t compromise. Until now. Enter Ho Wai-Kong, a chef born in Malaysia and trained in Singapore.
I’ll get right to the point – this Hainan chicken dish is as near to perfection as you can get in our town. Why is this dish so difficult to perfect, you will tell me? Well, that’s the tenderness of poached yellow chicken; the scent of rice infused with chicken oil; the trio of homemade chili, minced ginger and thick black soy sauce. Each element must come together harmoniously to create the dish that has been hailed as the Singapore dish National dish. It’s a great title to live up to, but Chef Ho Wai-Kong achieves it exactly. God, this is so good. I shared the news with my compatriots all day. And you should too. –– Sandra Kwong, Features Editor
Bibi & Baba, 1-7 Ship St, Wan Chai, Hong Kong +852 2555 0628
The dish: Grape Kyoho
I have always been a type of chocolate candy. Whether it’s Skittles, Starbursts, Sour Patch Kids – if it’s candy, I’ll eat it. Of course with a sweet tooth I was sacrificing my waistline and my PT wasn’t impressed so I had to enjoy candy in moderation and not inhale a bag of candy in one sitting.
When Lean Sweets appeared on my Instagram feed, I knew I had to try it. Their candies have 90% less sugar than other raisin candies on the market and only have 3.1 grams of sugar in the entire bag. Lean Sweets’ current offerings also include muscat grape, which is just as delicious. 1 box of 10 packs costs HKD $ 200, while 6 boxes of 60 packs cost HKD $ 1,200 and can be found through their website and in some grocery and health food stores. So, enjoy sweets without feeling guilty about ruining your diet. –– Austin Miao, Brand Content Managerr
The dish: Crab roe, crab meat, bird’s nest, superior rich broth (HK $ 1,288 / person on the hairy crab tasting menu)
Seafood is my jam. If you asked me to give up red meat or shellfish, I would give up meat in the blink of an eye. No one asked, of course, but there you go. It goes without saying that one of my favorite times of the year is hairy crab season. While most shy away from the sometimes arduous task of delicate shelling, I welcome it. There’s something so satisfying about the journey to all those heavenly eggs – and yes, a full 5 tael steamed crab is included on this tasting menu.
It was hard for me to pick a favorite, but the braised broth was truly spectacular. You get the added salinity of the crab meat, the decadence of the eggs, and the luxurious texture of the bird’s nest filling. It was rich, it was rewarding, but most of all, it was my mom’s stamp of approval – and we all know how hard Asian moms are to please. –– SK
Ming Court, Level 6, 555 Shanghai Street, Cordis Hotel, Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 3552 3028