Best Bites is a roundup of the standout dishes we’ve had over the past week: those that renewed our love for established places; caught our eye during a new opening; or freshly impressed by the creativity and skills of Hong Kong’s talented chefs. From casual street snacks to meticulously curated tasting menus, these are the best dishes to try in Hong Kong, and the plates we recommend taking a special trip for.
Here are the best dishes we dined and savored this week:
The dish: Heroes Deli Sandwich (HK$125)
Since I live in Hong Kong, I have been looking for a quality delicatessen. Many have offered their take on the New York/New Jersey Sub – or hoagie, or hero, or grinder, depending on your personal vernacular – but often something is wrong. But whatever you call it, what you need to know is that your long search is finally over. The aptly named Shady Bodega, Deliveroo’s edition of Peel Street’s perennial haunt of debauchery, is further proof that Shady’s team make great food. Come for the meatball sub (another banger, also HK$125, and available through sister brand Quality Goods Bodega to those in the middle), stay for that bologna monster, with spicy salami, roasted ham, provolone , roasted pepps, pepperoncini, shredded lettuce and tomatoes. — Nathan Erickson, Editor
Shady Bodega, available on Deliveroo
Woo Cheong Tea House
The dish: Crispy Fried Baby Pigeon, Tea Smoked Pigeon Egg (HK$168)
Chinese cuisine can sometimes be tricky. Going too far beyond the boundaries of tradition, the dish becomes too “foreign”; stay too neat in the lines, it’s good but uninspiring. But the recently opened Woo Cheong Tea House may have just struck the right balance between modernity and tradition. tweaking familiar flavors ever so subtly. Like a classic sweet and sour pork served with fizzy candies and this fried baby pigeon – a signature of the place.
Fried pigeon is not new to Cantonese cuisine. This one, with a golden brown coat, looks a lot like the ones you had in your youth at banquet dinners in traditional Chinese restaurants, but it’s done a little differently in technique. Rather than a tedious method of marinating, air-drying and then frying, the chefs here adjust the recipe where the soy sauce-marinated bird is directly fried, resulting in an even crispier exterior while keeping humidity inside. It’s deliciously flavorful, even more so with the accompanying savory five-spice dip, paired with the perfect crunch – and sizzling when it arrives. It’s a small bite that takes hard work for, but it’s worth it. I would go without the gloves next time so I can shamelessly lick my fingers afterwards. — Lorria Sahmet, editor
Woo Cheong Tea House, 1&2/F, 62 Johnston Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
West Side Taqueria
The dish: Esquites (HK$68 on foodpanda)
I like corn, but I don’t like it on the cob. What can I say – I’m lazy. I don’t want to do the work! I especially don’t want to do the job if the job has an extremely high potential for things to get stuck in the crevices of my teeth, which I would then have to either do the embarrassing thing of trying to peel said pieces off at the table, or leave, resigned, to a place where a toothpick (or dental floss) lives. Who needs this! Were busy. Esquites (ess-skee-tay), therefore, and as I have discovered, is a perfect food.
For the uninitiated, Esquites is the version of elotes (grilled corn on the cob, then smeared with some sort of cream, lime juice, chilli, crumbly cheese, the works; a mainstay of Mexican street food) that requires less effort. From the eater. Westside Taqueria’s interpretation delivers creamy, indulgent bites that still look wholesome – it’s corn! Smothered in mayonnaise, cheese and spices with a squeeze of lime to tie it all together, but it’s neither here nor there. It’s basically a salad. Get your greens. —Joey Wong, Editor
Westside Taqueria, Shop 204, 2/F, Lee Garden One, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
The dish: Vegetarian bibimbap rice (HK$78) and sweet and spicy Korean fried chicken (HK$88)
December indulgences make me want to go a little deeper on food this month (it’s January – you know the drill), but instead of depriving myself of all the delicious things, I’m trying to make better decisions. And MOYO Sik’s Sweet Spicy Korean Fried Chicken was a very good decision. Tasting exactly as directed on the box, this sticky, crispy fried chicken was the perfect “side dish” to a bowl of vegetarian bibimbap. Complete with all the trimmings, I had five a day without compromising flavor. Korean food truly strikes the best balance, and I’m looking to find my balance these days. — Lexi Davey, Editor-in-Chief
MOYO Sik, Basehall, 36 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong