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 best dishes we supped on and savoured this week:
The dish: Cheddar & Jalapeño Hotdog (HK$75)
The Lifestyle Asia Editorial Board briefly considered a “Best Hot Dogs” category for the MMMs Awards 2021, but at the time only a few options out there cut the mustard, so to speak. But I’m pleased to report that the availability and variety of quality dogs has beefed up significantly across all three of Hong Kong’s territories over the past year, and the latest addition to the pack is Mendel’s, that place everyone you follow on Instagram went to over the past week and change.
Mendel’s is a love letter to the daylong cafes and delis of New York City, complete with everything bagels, an “all chicken matzo ballin’” soup and black-and-white photos of celebrities like Larry David and Drake (“None of these people have ever eaten at Mendel’s,” reads the writing on the wall). Anyway, back to the dog. What more can I say? Just look at it. Cheddar. Jalapeño. Sauerkraut. Relish. And the perfect bite-to-snap ratio. Simple pleasures. Get over to Mendel’s. — Nathan Erickson, Editor-in-Chief
Mendel’s Delicatessen, 66 Catchick Street, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong
The dish: Crab Cake Benedict, Buttermilk Biscuit, Spinach, Hollandaise (HK$248)
A creature of habit to the dark, bitter end, I cannot escape an Eggs Benedict order on any brunch menu. I might peruse and consider — Percy’s Caviar & Crème Fraîche Soft Scramble did come up as an option — but when the waitress turns her gaze on me, the words that tumble out of my mouth on any given Saturday/Sunday afternoon will undoubtedly rhyme with Schmeggs Menedict. I like what I like!
Percy’s Benedict contender is luxurious. It says “No thanks!” to Canadian bacon and, instead, goes for a heaping, utterly decadent portion of meaty crab cake. And if you were expecting an English muffin, you’d be surprised with buttermilk biscuit brackets instead. (The ooey-gooey egg that splits open with the slightest touch, though, stays, so no worries there.) All together, it’s a rich, dense bite — there’s a reason it’s a one-egg serving as opposed to the Benedict’s typical two-egg presentation — that carries all the comforts of an eggy, Hollandaise-smothered bite, with just a sneaky crabby twist. You’ll need a nap after this. — Joey Wong, Editor
Percy’s, 18-18A Shelley Street, Mid-Levels, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2898 2699
The dish: Polpo (HK$248)
Rather than listen to yet another recount of their (you know that person) amazing, wonderful, fabulous trip to the Mediterranean — oh, the sunniness of the breezy coast and the freshness of its seafood — try it for yourself at Hong Kong’s own coastal Italian destination Osteria Marzia, where chef Luca Marinelli’s deliciously flavourful cooking makes the gloomiest of weekdays feel like a holiday.
Among authentic serves of fresh homemade pastas that, while simple, are undoubtedly sweet — get yourself a portion of his Bronte pistachio spaghetti — are chef Luca’s seasonal takes of reimagined seafood in inspired new flavours, like Polpo. A stunning presentation of charred octopus resting upon a bed of rich zucchini cream, the smokey caramelised chew is complemented by sweet pecorino and the umami sweetness of octopus reduction. There, a turn to tell stories of Italy’s bright and fresh flavours of your own. Also, count this a reminder to book that holiday! You need it. — Lorria Sahmet, Editor
Osteria Marzia, G/F, The Fleming, 41 Fleming Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 3607 2253
The dish: Purple Potato Du Du (HK$31)
Is it just me, or has The Peak completely transformed? Granted, it’s been like, ten years since I’d last been, but still. All the shops I remember are gone, replaced by swanky new ones — like Nayuki, a Japanese-style tea-bakery-café from China.
Located on the ground floor of the Peak Galleria, Nayuki is hard to miss and commands your attention from the get-go. Despite dine-in being closed, there were long lines snaking around the store with people ordering its speciality teas and pastries to-go. Not to miss out, I joined the queue and picked one of its signature — and super photogenic — baked goods, the very cutely named Purple Potato Du Du.
Now, I don’t actually know the meaning behind the name Du Du, but what I do know is that if you’re looking for a filling piece of bread or pastry, then Nayuki’s got you covered. Judging by its appearance, I fully expected the Purple Potato Du Du to taste explicitly sweet, but no — it was just right. Apparently, Nayuki’s products are low in oil, sugar and salt with no added additives, a bonus on top of their Instagrammable looks. But the real question is, do they taste good?
Well, my friends, I’m glad to report that yes, the Du Du was good. And although it cost me $31, well, it was worth every dollar. Coated with a thin layer of sugar, dig inside the dough and you’ll find chewy mochi, encased inside a layer of sweet potato, encased inside a layer of anko (sweet adzuki bean paste). All in all, a very substantial snack that didn’t feel too heavy and didn’t leave me feeling sluggish for the rest of the afternoon. — Charmaine Ng, Editor
Nayuki, Shop G08, G/F, The Peak Galleria, 118 Peak Road, The Peak, Hong Kong, +852 2386 6468
The treat: Umeboshi Up Gummy Candy (HK$19.9)
On all levels except physical, I’m a Japanese resident, which means roaming the jam-packed aisles of DON DON DONKI is the closest thing to the authentic Tokyoite experience I could hold on to (Delusional? Yes.). I know, it’s the first weekend since dinner is returned to us, but I’ve also never been in a line so long for something to eat, considering the sheer force of the discount store’s customer flow.
So, what’s the deal with Umeboshi Up? It introduces the sour and salty undertone of Japanese preserved plum to the chewable, gelatin-rich texture of gummies — one of the best combos in my book — to make a delightful treat that is not too sweet and will leave you wanting more. #umeboshi4lyfe. — Michelle Chan, Editor
DON DON DONKI (various locations)
(Lead and featured image: Black Sheep Restaurants)