Best Bites is a roundup of the outstanding dishes we had within the last week: Those which renewed our love for established venues, caught our attention at a new opening, or freshly impressed upon us 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’d recommend you make a special trip for.
The dish: Club Bagel (HK$55)
We in Hong Kong are entering our third straight summer of Oh God Please Give Us Something, Anything To Do, and with world travel still a distant dream, trekking out to the city’s outlying islands by ferry or sampan remains a primary public holiday and weekend activity. That’s how I found myself enjoying a sunny afternoon at Jaybird on Lamma. While HK$40 hot dogs (gotta try ‘em all) drew me in, Jaybird had a whole menu of “I hiked so it’s okay”-delights that it was my sworn duty to indulge, like this turkey club, available with both plain and poppyseed bagel buns. What brought it all together? The best bacon I’ve ever had in Hong Kong, which came on both the sammy and extra crispy in the Bloody Mary. Be back soon. — Nathan Erickson, Editor-in-Chief
Jaybird Restaurant, Lamma Island, Yung Shue Wan Main St, 15A號號地舖, Hong Kong, +852 6026 3693
The dish: Chunky Thai Chicken Soup (HK$59)
Two Sundays ago, I had the pleasure of meeting, smelling, then consuming Rajasthan Rifles’ Mulligatawny. If a perfect soup exists, then the Mulligatawny — a heroic combination of curry, pulled chicken, apple, celery and rice — must be on some sort of pedestal. A podium, at the very least. It’s chicken soup! With rice! And curry! A whole meal! But, as I do not live on the Peak and cannot realistically afford a Black Sheep meal willy-nilly, I had to make do. Which brought me to M&S’s Chunky Thai Chicken Soup (food-styled here for your pleasure; garnished with micro-greens from Common Farms. Shout-out to my sister).
While entirely wrong geographically, M&S’s Chunky Thai Chicken Soup has very similar components. It has the rice, has the bite (see: edamame beans and water chestnut) and has that yellow-green curry flavour profile. It has the chicken, has the veg and is ready in four and a half minutes. It’s also within vicinity of M&S’s perfect packs of wafer-thin honey roast deli hams, so, uh, eat my bicycle shorts, Mulligatawny. (JK, I can love two things at once. I have the range.) — Joey Wong, Editor
Order it here on foodpanda
The dish: Seafood Trikini (HK$250)
The bikini — the sandwich, not the swimwear — is the simple Catalan street-snack of melted cheese and thinly sliced ham that got its name from Barcelona’s Bikini Concert Hall, where vendors have been selling the humble sandwiches for years. It has absolutely no ties to sandy beaches. It’s just your average ham & cheese! As you can expect, it’s an easy enough afternoon snack. But before you default back to another this noon, I’m here to tell you there’s one better. And it lives at La Rambla.
In case you haven’t heard, chef Rafa Gill has returned the modern Spanish kitchen and brought along his excellent Basque and Catalan cooking. Which also involves this original creation: Seafood Trikini, a reinvented, amped-up, triple twist on the usual bikini. Chef Rafa’s Trikini keeps to the clean-cut, triangular structure but stars a cast of less simplistic means. Between the toasted layer that give way to a crackly first crunch, are a generous fill of finely diced tuna on one side, then, on the opposite end, a medley of Japanese king crab, smoked caviar and crème fraîche. It’s like the bikini finally got a taste of the good life of the seaside resort next door (still no ties to the beach). Each bite was light and fresh, with the sweet undertones which only fresh seafood could offer. If I could have it my way, chef Rafa’s Trikini is taking over every single bikini sandwiches there ever was. — Lorria Sahmet, Editor
La Rambla, Shop 3071-73, Level 3, ifc mall, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2661 1161
The dish: Slow Cooked Pork Ribs (HK$260)
Theres something very primal about tearing through a rack of ribs, and primal is the last word you’d use to describe me. For God’s sake, I havent even had pork since like… 2015? I know, I know — how could I — but I’m just trying to lose weight and achieve the unattainable. But anyway. For the sake of our weekly Best Bites segment, I’ve been attempting to branch out and Try New Things — which includes these Slow Cooked Pork Ribs from Tai Hang’s tropical bar Maka Hiki.
Inspired by the flavours of the Caribbean, these ribs are slow braised in kecap manis, star anise and chilli. They’re the perfect balance of smokey and not-too-sweet — too sweet being what you usually get when you order ribs in Hong Kong. The meat is fall-off-the-bone tender, super flavourful and just. *chefs kiss* And before I forget, shoutout to the sautéed bok choy served with the dish — veggies done right! — Charmaine Ng, Editor
Maka Hiki, 2/F, The Corner House, Little Tai Hang, 98 Tung Lo Wan Rd, Tai Hang, +852 2155 1777
Artisan De La Truffe
The dish: Poisson Du Jour (HK$358)
In this week’s special double-episode of Trying New Things, I sampled a restaurant dedicated to truffles, even though I don’t like truffle much at all. I mean, I definitely get its appeal, but the smell is just… a little bit too overwhelming for me. Anyway, the restaurant, named Artisan De La Truffe, dishes out appetisers, soups and main plates cooked with truffle oil then topped with a generous amount of truffle shavings — paradise for the truffle-lover, and a nightmare for the truffle-averse. As part of my brunch set, I chose the grilled fish of the day — or poisson du jour if we’re being fancy — which happened to be sea bass.
Luckily, the truffle smell in this dish wasn’t too strong, and once I pushed the truffle shavings aside with my fork, the sea bass was actually really good. The flesh was cooked to perfection, with a medium-firm texture and a slightly buttery taste, complemented by the crispy skin that topped it. The melange of asparagus, carrots and haricots verts was refreshing and paired well with the fish. And everything was presented in a super Instagrammable way, which is something I always appreciate. — CN
Artisan De La Truffe, Shop OTE303, Level 3, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 2885 2030
BOW Artisan Cakery
The dish: “Branches Love” Easter Cookie DIY Set (HK$368)
The best thing about Easter is undoubtedly the public holidays and the sweets. What’s better than an excuse to eat chocolate eggs and bunny-themed everything all weekend? As an attempt to be creative, I’ve gone ahead to purchase a DIY Easter cookie decoration kit with 24 pieces of pre-made cookies in various shapes and tubes of pastel-colored icings. What’s great about this set is that the colours are selected by local artist, Macaron Loves Painting, hoping to inspire us all to create watercolour-inspired treats.
While I tried to unleash my inner Monet with excess sprinkles, the cookie itself tasted just right. Not too sweet, crisp, with a fresh buttery aroma and, of course my own unique designs — all came together as one amazing bite. Perfect for kick-starting the holiday mood. Just a personal tip, sprinkles make everything tastier. — Leanne Lam, Social Media Manager
BOW Artisan Cakery, 904, 9/F, Wing Hing Industrial Building, 14 Hing Yip St, Kwun Tong, Kowloon, +852 9280 5068
(Hero image: Courtesy Maka Hiki, Featured image: Courtesy La Rambla)