Decode: Adventure

Decode: Adventure: Hong Kong 2015 – Food Trail

Decode Adventure

One of our biggest motivations to go to Hong Kong for was for the food. And Disneyland. But that aside, food always plays a big part in my travels. While many places I went to were recommendations from other blogs and friends, I thought I’d present my trail in the form of the kind of meals we took.

Breakfast

Mido Café

Inside the Mido Cafe
Inside the Mido Cafe
View from where we sat
View from where we sat
Breakfast!
Breakfast!

This place was found based on my urge to eat at a proper Tea House at least once during this trip. The ones, according to my brother and the dramas my grandmother watched, with the melamine tables, wood-framed glass windows, steep staircases, and little square tiles lining the walls.

One of the employees sent us up the moment we approached the café, and we took a booth seat after ordering our toasted sandwiches and HK Milk Tea.

The fragrance of freshly fried noodles and processed meat sandwiches was the most artificial but rewarding scent one could ask for in a Hong Kong Tea House. As compared to the couple behind us, Val and I each just had a toasted sandwich with egg and luncheon meat fried to a bacon-like crisp (the only kind of luncheon meat I’ll eat). Milk Tea was one of the better Milk Teas I had, with a good balance of the black tea and condensed milk.

Now I wish we’d ordered more then. This place is definitely marked for a return visit, especially since I’ve heard their signature dishes included their baked rice and pork ribs!

Address: 63 Temple Street
Opening Hours:
8:30AM – 9:45PM
Nearest MTR Exit:
Yaumatei Station, Exit C

Brunch

SimplyLife Bakery

Their open-concept greens kitchen.
Their open-concept greens kitchen.
Val's pasta and my pizza =)
Val’s pasta and my pizza =)

This was a request from Val, and when we saw the pastries on display and the open-concept kitchen, we decided to give this place a try post-Page One madness.

The both of us each took a set – I had a spinach and mushroom pizza. Val had a mushroom linguine. – and it was rather worth it. For HKD98, we got a drink, a main, and a soup / salad. The pasta was freshly made, and you could taste the peppery depth of the olive oil without the oily aftermath coating your lips. Personally, I don’t like thin-crust, or Naples-style pizza, but this thin but substantial pizza was utterly satisfying.

Val and I got their muffins and croissants for breakfast the next day, and I felt it was comforting to know that these pastries retained their taste and texture even after a night in the fridge.

Address: Shop 30, L2, Festival Walk, 80 Tat Chee Ave
Opening Hours:
11AM – 11PM
Nearest MTR Exit:
Kowloon Tong Station, Exit C

Lunch

Mak’s Noodles

ARGH!!! THE BEST FIND OF THE TRIP.
ARGH!!! THE BEST FIND OF THE TRIP.

This was possibly the best discovery we made our whole trip. (!!!)

It was funny, because I was hoping to head to Tai Ping Koon after we got our cookies from Jenny’s Bakery in Sheung Wan. Instead, we chanced upon their humble shopfront. Remembering it was one of the recommended places from the Tiger, we decided to head in.

NO REGRETS.

I know there are a few branches in Singapore, but thus far, nothing beats the original.

We each got a bowl of Wanton-Beef-Brisket-Soup Noodles, hoping to kill two birds with one stone. I’m generally not a fan of ‘mee kia’, which is kinda like the thinner version of instant noodles. But for some strange reason, it’s the noodle I look forward to the most when I’m in Hong Kong.

Once again, the Hong Kongers haven’t disappointed, with their wantons jam-packed with minced pork and whole shrimp. The beef broth which stews over the days, weeks, and months permeate the dumpling, releasing a burst of flavour and soup with each bite.

Similarly, the beef brisket crumbles with the slightest force of our chopsticks, giving us the equivalent of pulled beef. Complementing the flavours of the broth, the beef provided the tender texture needed to contrast the succulent shrimp wantons, the sweet broth, and the noodles with the right amount of bite.

So yes, I have a lot of good things to say about this place. If you’re in Central, GO HAVE A BOWL!

Address: 77 Wellington Street
Opening Hours:
11AM – 9PM
Nearest MTR Exit:
Central Station, Exit D2

Dessert

Sogno Café+

After climbing three storeys...
After climbing three storeys…
...we were greeted by the Cloud family...
…we were greeted by the Cloud family…

Under the umbrella of the Fluffy House, Sogno Café is a quaint dessert café in the middle of the developing areas of Wellington Street.

It’s not the easiest place to chance upon, with the both of us having to find the building and then climb three flights of stairs up the older building. This was one of the moments where I really felt I was exploring Hong Kong.

Regardless, we ended up at this café adorned with the likes of Mr. Cloud, Miss Rainbow, and their companions. Having just come from Mak’s Noodles, Val and I sat down to dessert while I explored the area.

...and Dessert!
…and Dessert!

My milk cake with honeycomb was delicate yet flavourful – the honeycomb balancing out the light sponge cake and cream, a nice counter to Val’s dark chocolate cake. Service staff here are friendly as well, especially when it comes to enquiring about the Fluffy House figurines they sell in the café as well.

(I ended up buying an Original Mr. Cloud for the Tiger)

Address: Flat 2D, 2/F Welley Building, 97 Wellington Street
Opening Hours:
12NOON – 5PM (Mon-Wed), 12NOON – 10:30PM (Thur-Sat), 1:30 – 9:30PM (Sun)
Nearest MTR Exit:
Central Station, Exit D2

Yee Shun Dairy Company

It's like eating ice cream, only that the ice cream is like velvet.
It’s like eating ice cream, only that the ice cream is like velvet.

THE MILK PUDDING HERE TASTES LIKE CHINESE ICE CREAM.

Or something of that calibre.

I know the Tiger has a good eye for desserts, but I wasn’t expecting a surprise like this! Val and I got the original, cold milk puddings just to have a taste.

To be honest, I was expecting something along the lines of Lao Ban (Soy Pudding), with a more milky flavour, but I was pleasantly surprised. The skin at the top can be off-putting to some, but it doesn’t affect the taste and texture of the dessert. Our spoons cut clean through the pudding, and the smooth dessert slid down our throats like velvet.

This is not the vanilla-laden white water some people claim to be milk.

The milkiness in this dessert is not for the lactose intolerant.

And yes, we will definitely be coming back again.

Address: 506 Lockhart Road, Causeway Bay
Opening Hours:
12NOON – 12MIDNIGHT
Nearest MTR Exit:
Causeway Bay Station, Exit C

Snacks

EXpresso

/gluttony noises
/gluttony noises

The last time I went to Macau, I declared that if there was a way to bring their Portuguese Egg Tarts as they were (fresh, warm, puff pastry base, and all), I would bring a whole crate back. Until today, I’m still unable to do that.

Fortunately, a colleague of mine recommended the Portuguese Egg Tarts at EXpresso, one of the eateries in The Excelsior, at Causeway Bay.

When we reached, there was a queue almost out the shop, even in the middle of the afternoon! It was almost as if the patrons were there to only get egg tarts, with the café selling them in sets of 1, 6, and 18. Seems like the fragrance of espresso in the background did little to distract the coming crowd from getting what they wanted. And when we tried the egg tarts that night, we realized why.

While the egg custard maintained its caramelized sweetness and its inner wibble, the puff pastry held it together without going dry or bland. My only complaint was how we couldn’t finish that many in one sitting.

Address: The Excelsior, 281 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay
Opening Hours:
7AM – 7PM (Mon-Fri), 8AM – 7PM (Sat), 8AM – 6PM (Sun)
Nearest MTR Exit:
Causeway Bay Station, Exit E

Jenny’s Bakery

Found it!
Found it!
The queue going in...
The queue going in…

I am grateful that we didn’t have to queue up for long to get these butter cookies.

I first heard of Jenny’s Bakery when one of my colleagues brought these back for everyone else to share and they were incredibly delicious. In fact, Jenny’s Bakery is the only place where I would consume something remotely associated to coffee (i.e. their coffee flowers).

So we went to the branch at Sheung Wan, which was reportedly less crowded. Regardless, there was still a queue there, with a lady controlling the crowd.

We got our tins within half an hour =)

And we had to endure the rest of the trip before actually tasting them.

Address: 15 Wing Wo Street
Opening Hours:
10AM – 7PM
Nearest MTR Exit:
Sheung Wan Station, Exit E2

Dinner

Gudetama Café

All the lazy eggs looking at you...
All the lazy eggs looking at you…
...and just asking to be quickly eaten.
…and just asking to be quickly eaten.

I made it a point to head to this place, especially since the Tiger is a huge Gudetama fan. It helped that the café was located at The ONE and had a menu spanning across dim sum and fusion western. It also helped that Val and I made it a point to reach the place before 6pm.

Gudetama Chee Cheong Fun!
Gudetama Chee Cheong Fun!
The Har Gao triplets.
The Har Gao triplets.
And their signature Chocolate Custard Bun!
And their signature Chocolate Custard Bun!

Known for their chocolate custard buns in the shape of the Gudetama egg, we ordered a set of that. Determined to keep to the theme, we ended up ordering Gudetama Chee Cheong Fun and Har Gao as well. Yes, I know, but Val was full and I can’t eat that much.

Note: The ladies at the table next to us were rather chatty and had a Rice Bowl with a fried egg Gudetama top. One of them was presently surprised when she saw our Gudetama Har Gao.

What I liked about this restaurant was how well positioned their signatures were. In order to cater to the general public, they had a normal menu with slightly themed and generic Char Chan Teng food, with the Gudetama specialties on their own separate order chits to order from.

The ambience was great, and full of people taking pictures of their food (understandable). Most importantly, the dim sum served here didn’t put Hong Kong dim sum to shame (at least in my book). The Har Gao and Chee Cheong Fun were still chock full of shrimp, and the smooth chocolate custard complemented the fluffy yellow and white buns of the character (haha).

They also sell Gudetama merchandise on the side, so if you’re a fan, this place is worth a go!

Address: L308, 3/F, The ONE, 100 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Opening Hours:
11AM – 11PM
Nearest MTR Exit:
Tsim Sha Tsui Station, Exit B1 or B2

On-the-Side

Mickey Bars!

The original
The original
And his friends!
And his friends!

You can’t go to Disneyland without having one of these! Okay, they’ve expanded their menu to other characters, so we got to choose between the dark chocolate-covered vanilla Mickey bar, the partially-chocolate coated strawberry Minnie bar, a raspberry sherbet Lotso paw bar, and a blueberry (I THINK) Stitch sherbet paw bar.

Utterly delicious and a sweet treat despite the cool weather.

Address: Hong Kong Disneyland, Lantau Island
Opening Hours:
10:30AM – 8PM
Nearest MTR Exit:
Disneyland Resort Station

Tai Cheong

I think I placed the fastest order I had in my life here – 2 egg tarts and 2 sar yung (Chinese doughnuts). I still prefer egg tarts with a puff pastry tart casing though, but the sar yung was pretty good. Despite it getting carried around until we returned to our hotel, it was a nice treat with its sugary glaze and its custard-like, almost eggy-soft interior.

Address: 35 Lyndhurst Terrace
Opening Hours:
7:30AM – 9PM
Nearest MTR Exit:
Central Station, Exit D2

Maxim’s Bakery

The first place we bought food from, this was also another place requested by Val. Little did we know that they pepper every MTR station – kinda like what BreadTalk does. They do have a good variety of snack breads, cakes, pastries, and desserts though. So if you have an itch to scratch, they’re pretty accessible as you travel between stations.

Address: All over Hong Kong
Opening Hours:
Depends on the Branch
Nearest MTR Exit:
All over Hong Kong

Okay, so we didn’t end up going to a lot of tea houses or dim sum houses, but for the amount of time we spent on Mainland and Hong Kong island, I was glad we managed to get as much food as we could!

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3 thoughts on “Decode: Adventure: Hong Kong 2015 – Food Trail

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