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Best Bites: 6 dishes we loved this week

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.

These were the best dishes we supped on and savoured this week:

Buenos Aires Polo Club

The dish: Malvaviscos (HK$108)

So, devout “not-a-dessert-person” writes about yet another dessert (last week’s was the ”World’s No.1 Apple Pie”) for her Best Bites feature. I’m sensing a little character development moment for 2022, to the chagrin of my very, very tight pants. Bring on the resolutions! Anyways. Where were we? Buenos Aires Polo Club. I, as of this very moment, have still not sat in and had a proper meal at Polo Club. I’ve had burgers at the bar; chorizo at the bar; pasta at the bar; many TeqSo’s at the bar; some filthy-dirty Martinis at the bar (thanks, Rohan!) — but never a meal in the dining room. Still haven’t! But now, after the dessert I’ve had this week, I must.

The Malvaviscos is what my company calls a “date cincher”. It cinches the date. Touch down. Y’know. A duo of skewered marshmallows arrives at the table (the bar, for me) on a wooden tray alongside charcoal that’s, then, lit very theatrically on fire. It’s interactive! You then proceed to roast your marshmallows to your preferred doneness (IMO: a crisp golden-brown, with jet-black bubbles of flaky burnt bits) — and chomp into a delicious hot-meets-cold bite. Because it’s not just a perfectly roasty marshmallow; the gooey outside holds within it an ice-cream interior. It’s magic. A perfect grace note to any meal. Or, a perfect grace note to a second nightcap. So, bring a date. Bring your mum! Bring a friend you met at summer camp a decade ago and reminisce. Have Danny (Hi, Danny!) lift them high into the air! It’s a magical bite. — Joey Wong, Editor

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

The dish: Popeyes Spicy Chicken Sandwich (HK$55 for two)

Hey, you guys know there’s a Popeyes in Mongkok, right? Apparently there was (is?) one at the airport, too, but Chep Lap Kok hasn’t been seeing as much action since the world ended. Instead, I direct your attention to TOP (This is Our Place), a shopping centre in my favourite Hong Kong neighbourhood. The basement food court has a lot of slappers, from Korean to Japanese to Taiwanese, but we’ve established what kind of person I am over the course of this captain’s log, so you, dear reader, know there’s one reason I’m here: The Sandwich™, the spicy chicken sammie that launched numerous physical altercations in America over its limited supply, circa 2019. What about a sandwich could drive man to fight his fellow man? A perfect bouquet of crunchy, salty, spicy and greasy — I mean, I get it. Get one, and you will, too. — Nathan Erickson, Editor-in-Chief

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Shop B01, B/F, T.O.P, 700 Nathan Rd, Mong Kok, Hong Kong, +852 2333 3251

R.T Thai BBQ

The dish: Grilled Pork Neck (HK$65)

One should not accomplish anything during the last week of the year. That’s just a rule. So naturally, I spent the week slouching around the house wrapped in a fluffy warm duvet shuffling back and forth doing nothing. I took a four hour nap one afternoon and binged on a bag of popcorn hate-watching Emily in Paris on another. It was great — the best time I’ve had all year.

Of course, this was also the perfect time for takeaways and dinners out, which, trust me, I’ve had my fair share (I’ll be healthier in January, I promise). One of which was a very delicious meal from R.T Thai BBQ (they’re on FoodPanda!), a small, local-run stall in the dense network of restaurants in the Hung Hom neighbourhood. There’s nothing fancy or ostentatious about it — it’s tucked away at the end of a narrow street with short opening hours of just 6pm to 1am, three times a week (Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays). There are no seats or tables here either, so you wolf down your meal standing or you take it home. Of our massive order, which the dear shop owner assumed was for a larger group of three instead of just two, the grilled pork neck was an instant favourite. It’s a hefty portion of perfect charred stripes which is done over a smokey grill right before you, lightly coated with a sticky glaze and so very, very tender. They haven’t been sliced to thin disappointment either, which, if you’ve had those, are extremely sad to eat. So just ordering for the satisfying chunky cuts is worth it. — Lorria Sahmet, Editor

R.T Thai BBQ, G/F, 5 Fu Yip Building, 21-27 Station Lane, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 5114 6446

Zoku Restaurant & Terrace 

The dish: Miso-glazed salmon (HK$288, part of the lunch set menu) 

It’s funny how quickly one’s ordering style changes when we have to start minimising carbs. I would usually have gone straight for Zoku’s delightful udon set, or even their nigiri platter, but, being good, I knew this all-protein option would make my PT proud. And, it did! More importantly, though, was that it was utterly delicious. Flakey, lightly fatty and seared with just the right amount of miso glaze. — Sandra Kwong, Features Editor

Zoku, 2/F, The Hari, 330 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2129 0338

OBP

The dish: Braised Short-Rib, Gal Bi Jjim (HK$388)

Feeling quite homesick recently, I decided to persuade my friends to celebrate the end of the year the Korean way. You know, at a po-cha, where everyone is eating and drinking together and it’s all laughs and good fun. Having tried my fair share of Korean restaurants claimed to be “authentic”, I’ve unfortunately been disappointed many times. But OBP really did the job to satisfy my craving for a hearty Korean meal.

The Gal Bi Jjim, a traditional Korean beef stew, took me back to my little home in Gangnam, Seoul. It tasted exactly, if not nearly, like a homemade beef stew. Although the portion could have been more — or maybe I just devoured it too quickly — every bite into the beef was tender and rich. I don’t enjoy tugging on tough and chewy meat, and that was not an issue with this dish. Paired with a bottle of Hwa Yo (premium Soju), you’re pretty much set for a delicious Korean dinner experience. — Subin Hong, Editorial Intern

OBP, LG/F, 3-5 Old Bailey Street, Central, Hong Kong

Sorabol Korean Restaurant

The dish: Grilled Bulgogi Beef & Kimchi with Mozzarella Cheese over Rice (HK$150)

Sorabol was one of the first traditional Korean restaurants to be listed on the Michelin Guide. The kimchi fried rice here has a softer texture with added kimchi and fresh kimchi juice, while the beef is coated with a thick layer of mozzarella cheese melted over the top. Mixed in with a sweet, salty and spicy sauce underneath the creamy cheese, the tender bulgogi beef perfectly balances the zingy kimchi to create a great flavour with a refreshing sweet-but-sour taste upon finishing. It is fun to wrap a long string around grilled beef as you scoop it all together out of the pan to make it extra juicy. Once you get a taste of this Korean cheese fried rice, you will know why this is such a popular Korean dish. 

I love eating kimchi fried rice after having Korean BBQ, and the dish is definitely enough to share with your family and friends as the last order. Get together with your loved ones and end with this classic kimchi fried rice. — Jingchuan Zhang, Editorial Intern

Sorabol Korean Restaurant, 18/F, 99 Percival Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2881 6823

Header image courtesy of Buenos Aires Polo Club

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