Written September 2009
Last weekend a couple of friends and I took a little trip to Hong Kong. It was a lot of fun! Surprisingly, more than I thought it would be. Running through the streets of Kowloon, trying to catch the MTR during the mad rush, and navigating our way through Monkok and Causeway Bay had a lot more magic to it with my friends by my side as we escaped death via Hong Kong drivers time and time again. I guess being with friends is a lot more appealing compared to the times I held my Mom’s hand as she guided me through the same streets when I was little (no offense, Mom.)
Based on a friend’s recommendations, we decided to do an Anthony Bourdain tour of Hong Kong. There is no official tour, but if you follow his books and his show, you will find the recommended restaurants he listed for each country. He had a pretty good list for Hong Kong. It gave us five restaurants to visit. Mr. Bourdain gives names and vicinities for the restaurants that he recommends. This made finding their addresses simple enough. It was getting there that was the challenge.
If you are planning a trip to Hong Kong soon, I recommend you try and follow the restaurants Anthony Bourdain visited. They are all superb. The ones I can definitely recommend are Lei Garden on the 3rd floor of IFC Mall in Central. It was voted the best restaurant in Hong Kong in 2008, and it really lived up to its award! Get anything that has to do with seafood and you will not be let down. Their dumplings are also amazing!
The next place you HAVE TO eat in is a place in Wanchai. This restaurant is actually closer to Causeway so you have better luck taking the MTR to Causeway and then just walk towards the Wanchai area on Lockhart road. Don’t do what we did which was take the MTR to Wanchai and walk downwards. It’s a 20 minute walk (our walk), though once you start eating all the pain your feet feel goes away. The name of the restaurant is called Under Bridge Spicy Crab… It was the best crab I’ve ever had in my life. The crab meat was perfectly infused with the spice and garlic flavors, and the shell was–amazingly–not hard to peel or break at all (your fingers can do all the breaking for you.) No dipping sauce is needed because that’s how good it is!!! We had it for lunch on our second day and couldn’t stop talking about it. Even after we landed in Manila, we were still talking about it. Oh, and we’re still talking about it now. So trust me, this restaurant is a MUST. Do not skip it. Besides, Causeway Bay is right there, and Central is a ride away which means there’s good shopping in the area.
Other restaurants that are Bourdain stops are: Yung Kee in Lan Kwai Fong (don’t miss out on roasted goose!), Maxim’s Palace at City Hall in Central (for all you dimsum lovers), and Mak’s Noodle also in Central (for noodles! haha.)
By our third night in Hong Kong, I started looking for other types of cusine. Though we had enjoyed ourselves immensely, our tummies were asking for something more diverse. A quick walk around Kowloon and we found a restaurant we felt we should try. Now, this is not on Anthony Bourdain’s recommended list, but I am recommending it. If you want alternative cuisine, go to Hankow Road in Kowloon. On that road you will find a sign for India Palace, head towards it.
The building is really shady, and when you walk in you kind of think you’re in a bad place. It looks like the kind of building where people get killed…in the movies anyway. But head past the guard and up the stairs and you will find yourself in a very clean and friendly Indian restaurant. As soon as you open the door you can smell all the spices, and all the waiters (all Indian) speak English! Which was a refreshing change because now we were sure that what we ordered is what was coming out, and we were extra glad because it was absolutely delicious!! So good! Seriously.
Talking about all this food is actually making me hungry! To be honest, I think the food is what actually made our trip fantastic. That and the company, of course. Though I wasn’t daring enough to try the streetfood (maybe next time) or the stinky tofu (my friend gave it a shot and threw up so I’m really unsure about this one.) It was memories of the food that got us through our nine hour wait at Hong Kong International (we were victims of the radar breakdown at Ninoy Aquino International Airport.) Getting stuck at an airport is a pretty horrible ordeal, but if you have to get stuck somewhere, heck, it may as well be in Hong Kong.