Sweater weather is finally here, just in time for the holidays, and we’re turning our thoughts to festive cocktails, evenings by the fireside, and sizzling winter warmers. A Hong Kong tradition, claypot dishes are an all-in-one meal best loved for the satisfying pop, crunch and crackle of caramelised, baked rice, and the mix of meat and veggies that retain their juiciness thanks to the vessel-encapsulated steam. Here are Hong Kong’s most flavourful claypot dishes to warm you up from the inside out.
Sizzling hot casserole and claypot dishes take over the menu this season at Tao Li, with almost 20 varieties available from now through the end of December. Claypot casseroles include boiled pork bones and pork lung; braised bean curd with abalone, salted fish and diced chicken; and braised minced pork with minced shrimp, fish maw, mustard greens and celery. Meanwhile, there are almost 10 varieties of claypot rice dishes: all feature a base of crispy, scorched Thai jasmine rice, topped with seasonal specialties including Jinhua ham with black mushroom, black fungus and sliced pigeon; preserved duck and frog legs; pumpkin with spareribs and chicken feet; and barbecued black pork with eggplant and plum.
Tao Li, 2/F, New World Millennium Hong Kong Hotel, 72 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 2313 4225, newworldmillenniumhotel.com
Above & Beyond
In addition to the stunning harbour views from the 28th floor of Hotel Icon, Chef Paul Tsui’s contemporary Cantonese menu at Above & Beyond is one to be savoured, with dishes showing off a range of skills and knowledge of ingredients gathered from his 23 years spent in some of the city’s top Chinese kitchens. As winter hits, the claypot rice with minced wagyu beef (HK$498 for two persons) is set to become a diner favourite, injected with a bright zing from tangerine peel and plenty of spices and herbs. The carbs soak in all the beefy flavour, while the layer of crispy, almost-burnt rice along the outer ring is worth fighting over at the dinner table.
Above & Beyond, 28/F, Hotel Icon, 17 Science Museum Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Hong Kong, +852 3200 1000, hotel-icon.com
With a bowl of jasmine rice arriving as an accompaniment, the fragrant ginger chicken (HK$158) at Chôm Chôm gets the full benefit of its earthenware cooking vessel, served piping hot and caramelised in its own juices. The sticky ginger syrup infuses the chicken with sweetness, pepper and spice, while the patches of crispy chicken skin add texture and a satisfying crackle. This is one of those hearty and invigorating dishes you can have again and again.
Chôm Chôm, 58 Peel Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2810 0850, chomchom.hk
Meen & Rice
When it gets too cold to sprawl out on the beach at Repulse Bay, pop into The Pulse’s casual Chinese diner, Meen & Rice, to feast on a slew of traditional Cantonese dishes. The casual spot takes its inspiration from dai pai dongs with a cool, old-school Chinese aesthetic, and a menu of barbecue pork rice, roast goose, congee and deep fried shrimp on toast to match. The braised chicken and shallots claypot dish (HK$98) is a favourite with its dark and sticky sauce flavoured with preserved black bean, tender chunks of chicken and melange of brightly coloured peppers and onions.
Meen & Rice, The Pulse, Shop 113, Level 1, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2566 8886, meenandrice.com
The Chinese Restaurant
Hyatt Regency TST’s celebrated Chinese restaurant is serving up a selection of sizzling claypot dishes this winter, catering to both meat and seafood lovers. For carnivores, dig into the claypot braised lamb fired up with bamboo shoots and black mushrooms, or the claypot braised chicken which is given a healthy twist with red dates and ginger. The claypot lobster is a lighter take on the winter dish, swimming in ginger and vermicelli noodles, while the signature braised cod fish fillet is available all year round, glazed in a spicy sauce and lifted with a splash of rice wine.
The Chinese Restaurant, 3/F, Hyatt Regency Hong Kong, Tsim Sha Tsui, 18 Hanoi Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 3721 7788, hongkongtsimshatsui.regency.hyatt.com