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: Frühlings Erbsensuppe (Part of a tasting menu, HK$1280)
I know, I know. This picture? It is not soup. But these are the key ingredients of a soup, one with a gorgeous chartreuse base that’s poured for you live during the second of six courses of a meal at Heimat. Heimat is the passion project of chef and owner Peter Find, the former executive chef of Tsim Sha Tsui’s Ritz-Carlton, dedicated to the warm and comforting meals of a childhood spent in his native Germany. It’s the savoury bite of smoked ocean trout that really brings this bowl of pea soup from a transitional dish to a unforgettable favourite — touches like this can be found all throughout Find’s menu, which he’s happy to describe in detail, eyes twinkling, seeing his years-in-the-making dream unfolding high above the crowds of Wyndham Street. And whether it’s over a bowl of warm soup or a handpicked selection of gummy bears — Germany is Haribo country, after all — it’s hard not to feel like you’re sharing that dream with him, too. — Nathan Erickson, Editor-in-Chief
Heimat, 8/F LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham St, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2881 1022
The dish: Jalapeño Poppers (4 for HK$50; 8 for HK$90)
Jalapeño poppers are, generally, non-existent in the geographic vicinity of Hong Kong Island. If you just so happen to come across them, they’re, often times, uh, not very good. (Sorry! I stand to be corrected! Send a girl some poppers! Not that kind! Maybe that kind!)
This sentiment might continue to stand true, because the city’s best jalapeño poppers live 30 minutes away from Hong Kong Island by ferry: on Lamma Island. Lamma Grill’s jalapeño poppers — dipped, of course, into a pool of ranch dressing — are so delicately breadcrumb-coated, every bite is crunchy, then cheesy, then jalapeño-y and, yes, ends up quite greasy in that “I know this is probably very bad for me but I can’t stop eating it” kind of way. They’re perfect. Perfect! I’m going back for mozzarella sticks next because they do it correctly: with marinara sauce.
The Tex Mex Beef Burger and the Sante Fe Wrap — massive portions — were also magnificent. As was the off-the-menu-but-they-can-make-it-if-you-just-ask Bloody Mary. — Joey Wong, Editor
Lamma Grill, 36 Yung Shue Wan Main Street, Lamma Island, Hong Kong, +852 2982 1447
Pret a Manger
The dish: Nutty Salted Caramel Brownie Bites (HK$28)
Contrary to popular belief, Pret is not only an easy choice for lunchtime wraps, but it’s also a place — if you weren’t already treating it as such — for breakfast, dinner and anytime in between. I’m specifically bracketing the hours from after lunch to 6pm for this entry; when that sleepy afternoon lull hits, you take a walk and somehow end up at the dessert cabinet just in front of the check-out counter at Pret.
The next time you find yourself in a similar predicament, put down the Choc Bar, or Chunky Chocolate cookies and even the Salt and Vinegar Tyrells. Instead, turn your attention to these Nutty Salted Caramel Brownie Bites, a brand-new addition to the permanent roster. A perfectly sized tub of four to six Belgian chocolate squares, they’re fudgy without being cakey, sweet without being sugary and rich without being too heavy — even if you decide to finish them all in one sitting. Salted caramel ribbons are laced through each gooey bite, tempered by the crunch of chopped walnuts and thin caramel drizzle. If you have any inkling of self-control, they’ll last you through the week, otherwise you, like me, will find yourself making a lot of trips to Pret at 4pm. — Lorria Sahmet, Editor
Pret A Manger, various locations around Hong Kong
The dish: Broccoli (China) (HK$10.5 for two)
I know many people who can’t fathom the thought of eating the same thing two nights in a row, much less every single night of the week. And like, I get it. Why would you torture yourself so, when you literally have access to any type of cuisine (shoutout to foodpanda!) at the tap of a finger? Plus, it’s healthier to diversify your diet. And changing things up keeps things exciting (I think I read this in Cosmopolitan. Not sure if it was about food though).
But I’m not one of these people. In fact, I’m part of the strange minority that likes to eat the same thing, every single night, and for me, that one particular dish just keeps getting better and better.
My ultimate, yummy-licious dream dinner is — if you haven’t guessed from the cutely filtered photo above — mushy steamed broccoli. I swear I’m not trying to be ~quirky~, I genuinely enjoy eating like this. No salt, no pepper, no nothing. Just broccoli. I read online that you can retrain your palate to be healthier and that’s exactly what I did around five years ago.
Now, let me enlighten you with my broccoli-making ritual (sorry in advance? I mean if you’ve had enough of my monologue you can skip over this entry). I’m not ashamed to admit I’m too lazy to even switch on the stove to steam my veg, so I actually bought a portable steamer from HKTVMall and now I just chop my broccoli, dump it into the little metal container that comes with the steamer and plug it in. One hour later, voila! My dinner is done and there’s minimal cleanup required. — Charmaine Ng, Editor
ParknShop, various locations around Hong Kong
The dish: Chilli Beef Nachos (HK$158)
Here at LSA HQ, I work among the ranks of avid wellness practitioners such as Charmaine, above, whose diet consists of steamed broccoli and spearmint tea, and Leanne, who is in contact with her spirit guide, Merlin. Sitting beside them is me, some girl who eats like a beast. These chilli beef nachos came buried underneath sour cream, guacamole, tomato salsa and too much cheese. Not that I’m complaining, I would never turn down a dish that feels way more filling than it actually is, and will leave you with immense guilt when the tipsiness wears off. I promise it was my cheat day. — Michelle Chan, Editor
Nathan Left, G/F, 5-9 Hart Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 2369 1333
(Lead and featured image: Heimat)