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Overpriced fishballs usually make me really angry.  But these peppered pork tripe beef balls at The Lobintan remind me of those “explosive pissing beef balls” in the Hong Kong classic, “God of Cookery”.  I really don’t think I can express it better than Stephen Chow’s comedy brilliance, so let me just leave you with this:

The balls are $34 for 7 pieces.  7 pieces of bouncy heaven.

You can find this little food truck near one of the entrances at Festival Walk, Kowloon Tong.

3/F, Grand Progress Building, LKF

Once upon a Friday night, I was stumbling around Central trying to find somewhere to eat.  Unfortunately, I found Mayta.

It was suspiciously easy to walk in during dinner service but I, being all too excited to try one of the few Peruvian restaurants in Hong Kong, waltzed right up to the table with my earnest little foodie heart on my sleeve.  The decor was eye-catching and rather sexy, with colourful Peruvian textiles playing against the dark walls and wooden beams.  In a flamboyant display of Inca geometrics, patterned vases and ceramics adorned the wall shelves, artful pops of boisterous colour bejeweling the space.

I’m sure this proud, sophisticated show of Peruvian culture would’ve been something to appreciate but at this point I was just getting pissed off by the loud, inconsiderate group of rugby boys or stag lads or some group to that effect, that were taking up the long table, center stage, hooting and howling and, with such unnatural, all-American volume, recalling anecdotes like that one time, at Twat Camp…

So what was one to do but hit the drinks menu?

Of course I ordered a Pisco Sour ($68) to get the Inca ball rolling – I opted for a passionfruit blend and enjoyed this thoroughly.  Their Pisco cocktail list is extensive, with innovative signatures, and served strong.  Try the Mojito Chilcano ($68) which replaces rum with Pisco.  I was happy about the cocktails, surprised that a drinks menu could be so reasonably priced in the middle of Lan Kwai Fong.

Appetisers (or small shares) weren’t too bad either.

IMG_1696[1]The popular David-Chang-pork-bun imitation, called Pan Con Chicharon ($138) was good.  I believe the Momofuku original is simply a steamed bun with pork belly, but this clever counterfeit threw in a chili aioli, some pickles and fried sweet potato.

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Cheung King Mansion, 144 Austin Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

A slight detour from Knutsford Terrace and you find yourself around Kimberly Road and Austin Avenue, an area I can only describe as Hong Kong’s K-Town.  Indeed, Tsim Sha Tsui is synonymous with some of the best Korean food in Hong Kong, among other things (read: that ma laa yue daan near Granville Road that Andrew and I are currently obsessed with), so for anyone thinking of getting their Korean hotpot or BBQ on, this is the sitch.

If you walk further to Austin Road (closer to Jordan station than TST), you will come across Hansong, a delicious go-to for some late night Korean BBQ.  Which is just what we did on a Saturday night.

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1/F Wo On Building, 8-13 Wo On Lane, Central

Common Room, Prive Group’s new gastropub venture, does exactly what it says on the tin:  ‘classic, contemporary and molecular cocktails’, paired with ‘world-inspired’ tapas.  I suppose with such a glorified menu of generalities, it’s not hard for whatever they produce to fit their rather abstract incarnation of a culinary bill.  Although the notion of ‘global cuisine’, ‘global food’, or ‘world-inspired’ might seem anathema to foodie purists or, on the flip side, like a backpedaling restaurant strategy to cop-out from any serious food philosophy, at the end of the day I don’t believe Common Room really cares, and I guess neither do I.  It is the Common Room of Lan Kwai Fong; anything goes after hours.

From my experience on a Friday night: drinks come first, food second, and when you’re situated smack bang just off the strait and narrow of Lan Kwai Fong – next to good ol’ grimey Baby Buddha, Oysters Bar with cheap, full-of-regret Long Island Ice Teas, and the amphitheater with artsy, hemp-hooved hippies who’d rather sit in the humidity drinking their Sols at whatever pace they please thank you very much – well, you’d be stupid not to.  And the food that was served complimented our libations particularly well, in that drunken “damn, this is good munch, and shit! Is that truffle?” kind of way.

In all, Common Room is just far too casual, far too fun and far too well priced for a Central joint, to pass any damning judgement.  I know: shock, horror! A chic new gastropub in Central that actually takes reservations, makes you full, and doesn’t turn your wallet skinny?!  Hong Kong, I think I heard the food cherubs singing hallelujah! OK, fine – I would have, if Common Room hadn’t killed my earbuds with the incessant, loud, drunken chatter and that sick Funktion One soundsystem.

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4-B, G/F, Hang Hau Village, Tseung Kwan O

I’m not sure whether an introduction for Lardos is necessary.  This steakhouse has been around for the last 13 years, and I’m sure a ton of reviews have been written with far more gusto than I could ever amass in my dark, loathsome, fatigued lack of a gut, but I will say that if you are a steak lover and you have not trekked at least once to Lardos, you are missing out on a super deal.  And hell, if I can haul my lazy ass over to this village, so can you.  I don’t doubt that whatever Lardos is doing, they’re doing it right – apart from their complimentary salad bowls.  (That, I don’t understand, and I will never be a fan of stale lettuce, sorry.)   In any case, the place always seems to be fully booked for dinner service and you can understand why; when a 38oz Tomahawk steak on the special, grilled to medium rare perfection, comes to but $800 – yes, 38oz for 8hundo hongky hunky dollars… – allow getting swagged up for Soho, allow decking out on dinners where you’re selling your stomach short and where you can hear your wallet wailing and wishing you’d stop pulling and pinching his leather cheeks so damn hard.  Be kind to yourself.  Live, eat, pray… Love..  Eat.. Fuck it, just eat.

My boyfriend and I eat too much.  And when it comes to premium pieces of protein at damn pretty prices, we are so there.  We are there and we don’t care how to get there.  We’re there!  Before we went inside, we had a good look at the signage across the street and already knew this was going to be a hit or miss.  Having checked out openrice reviews, I was optimistic, but still anxious – a gem of a steakhouse tucked between chaan tengs and dai pai dong style eateries in a comparatively remote little village with unpretentious, no-fuss food at incredibly reasonable prices?  That’s like a foodie wet dream.  We walked in, admittedly an hour earlier than we booked because we didn’t know what else to do around there. (Note:  Hang Hau Village is actually quite close to Clearwater Bay Beach, but I’m sure HKUST kids already know this.)

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2/F, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Road, Wanchai 

Since we couldn’t wait another six months to fine dine, the boyfriend and I went to the Grand Hyatt Steakhouse to cheers to our half year anniversary (when I was in Hong Kong).  Anyone who knows me knows how terrible I usually am with relationships, which is why I preferred to shy away from them for the last two years.  But I suppose what applies to food can also apply to men: if you already have a quality ingredient, then you don’t need to work too hard to make your dish perfect. Aww yeah.

The setting/atmosphere is very ‘Boardwalk Empire’ cool; dim-lighting, plush leather chairs, dark ominous colours, dark wood panelling, little statues in little corners that you see in the corner of your eye.  This is a manly man’s club, fully decked out with a cigar room too near the exits. The booth style tables are actually near to the buffet table (you can opt for a seasonal buffet) but the floors in that part of the restaurant are wood planks, and the noise is less appealing than in the carpeted area on the other side.  Which is where we were sitting.  Which was nice.  Because you know all that new couples want to do on a date is whisper sweet nothings to each other in peace.

Then the menu.  First thing I noticed about the menu was how simple it was.  I love this!  I hate menus that beat around the bush and don’t actually tell me anything about anything I want to know, or worse still:  when they give names to dishes that mean absolutely nothing to me, like “Mom’s Pie” or “Stacy’s Gumbo” – What did your Mom put in her fucking pie?  Who is Stacy and was she or was she not familiar with Creole cuisine?  There’s always a backstory.  Allow this backstory, your food should be a story in itself.  Let it speak for itself!  Let it scream on the plate, not from your paper, fool!

The GHS went straight to the point – “PAN FRIED DIVER SCALLOPS – TOMATO AND BACON SALSA”.  Boom.  The server actually asked us after we made our order whether we were hungry enough for all the items.  Little did she know what we were capable of….

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53-59 Kimberley Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui

I’ve got a New Year’s resolution to actually update this blog. I pretty much stopped eating properly in September because I’ve been a little silly; food was more sustenance than art, which is obviously a travesty by Hong Kong standards.

So I thought I’d start off with something easy, a nice little self-server: Nomads on Kimberly Road. It’s been around for a while, I remember going for one-too-many birthday dinners here when I was in high school. I always thought we looked annoying to fellow diners; three tables pushed together with little gwai muis giggling and screaming at eachother, taking flash candid photos, dressed up like tarts while a mother desperately tries to cover her 8 year old’s ears as we spit out how fuuuuucking hot Justin Timberlake is. Not much has changed; Justin Timberlake is still futuresex, and I was still taking flash photos… this time, of the banging food that gets grilled in the open kitchen. And, after a few glasses of wine, we were cracking up like we were 17 again.

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G/F, 1 Whampoa Street, Hung Hom
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I’ve never really been a fan of Hung Hom, particularly the MTR station and its exits which never seem to lead anywhere in particular, surrounded by all sorts of public transportation that never seem to offer a way to the places I want to go!  Countless a time I’ve exited B1 or B2 and just walked around in circles before ending up at the same exit.  I don’t know whether it’s just me and my poor sense of direction but I’ve always had such a problem getting around there.  It also reminds me more of China than Hong Kong, so I just end up feeling more lost than ever.

Pair this with the fact my only real memories of Hung Hom have been of me and friends lugging our typical white kid sports equipment after school to some field hockey match at King’s Park, when all I really wanted to do after a shit day at school was to buy some McD’s, have a fag and pass out in the comfort of my much-loved but consistently neglected bed.  God, I don’t miss high school, and I never missed those trips to Hung Hom.

So imagine my excitement when a friend of mine said that we’d be meeting there for our next foodie mission.

I tried to swallow all my initial fears and prejudices towards the place when I was told that this was the place to go for some authentic, good Sichuan in Hong Kong – if we could find it.  Apparently, the place closes for a couple weeks every month so that the owner can go to Sichuan to get all the spices, so my friend had to check to make sure it was open before we legged it.  But how legit is that?  We’re talking all those crazy Sichuan peppercorns, the pickled chilis, pastes, fermented black beans.  To be fair, I’ve only ever passed through Sichuan province on a 36 hour train-ride so I’m not even sure what real Sichuan food is meant to taste like, other than ridiculously mouth-numbing; mind-numbing even, to the point that your brain can’t even deduce between pain and pleasure, and releases a confused brand of endorphins into your bloodstream so you feel this kind of tortured euphoria.  What a fucking high.

I was in Guangxi province once and I remember we had some backpackers from Chengdu who kept on complaining about how mild the food was there.  I thought they were just being cocky, but when you see the film of chili oil on every fucking Sichuanese dish, piled with even more roughly cut pickled chili, I suppose one’s entitled to that kind of food-bashing…

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