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.
These were the best dishes we supped on and savoured this week:
The dish: Norwegian Waffle (HK$68)
I’ve been excited about the waffles at Hjem since I saw them on Chanel Adams’s Instagram story, and naturally went wild, because I haven’t had a good waffle in years. While I’m mentioning names, I’d like to say hi to Alex Berry, who tells me she reads these. Thanks Alex! Anyway, back to Hjem’s waffles, which are thin, so they feature the best part of the waffle: the crispy, perfect, golden brown exterior part. They’re delicious without butter or syrup — and served with lingonberry jam and Nordic brown cheese, which I just learned is a thing — but if you request, they’ll give it to you anyway. Best waffle in Hong Kong. Go tomorrow morning, thank me tomorrow afternoon. — Nathan Erickson, Editor-In-Chief
Hjem, 161 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2362 9193
The dish: Hangover Moyo Ramen (HK$148)
I am writing this whilst shivering, swigging lemon-lime Gatorade and feeling quite sorry for myself as I nurse the hangover of a lifetime. Which makes my Best Bites feature an apt choice. Timely. Apropos! I am incredibly tired. But I digress. Moyo’s Hangover Moyo Ramen is exactly what you wanted yesterday evening’s Shin ramen (from the bright red cups that still give you whiffs of college) to taste like, but never do. When it comes to the table — you’ll probably have to shuffle aside your plates of Korean Beef Yukhae Tartare (HK$188) and Carbonara Ricecakes (HK$168), both must-gets — you’ll first notice its broth: it’s bright red. Red to the point of nuclear. Again, Shin ramen — we see you! Cut-up house kimchi lies atop slabs of thick, succulent pork belly, which lies atop swirls of al-dente ramen noodles. All together, a perfect slurp; the kind of cure-all you don’t need a hangover to justify getting. It’d probably cure a cold, cure a bad day at work. Cure heartbreak. I know what I’m getting for lunch. — Joey Wong, Editor
The dish: Vesuvio (part of the tasting menu for lunch, available on either Estro Essential (HK$780) and Estro Extended (HK$1,080)
When it comes round to Best Bites every Friday, I tend to forget what I’ve had in the week. Not because the meals weren’t memorable — they always are! — but because I have come to the point during the year where the days and weeks just seems to blur together. Holiday brain! So I do it with the help of the string of photographs catalogued on my phone and some very kind colleagues. This week’s entry, however, a pasta dish from Estro, remained firmly at the top of my mind as the very, very, very Best Bite from the moment I had the first bite. Of the month, I will say.
This, here, is Estro’s Vesuvio. Or in my very simple words: a warm, delicious bowl of comfort. Everyone needs to come for this, I mean it! It looks very much like a simple bowl, but in fact, it’s a very thoughtful, very meticulous, well-balanced creation by chef Antimo, who distills his own Italian heritage into refined dishes inspired by flavours and techniques of his home. Between the curlicued spirals of the vesuvini is a sweet, lightly bitter jus of golden Montoro onions that’s been roasted and slow-simmered for 12 hours with butter-soft short ribs for a bed of Genovese-style ragù that sits underneath. It’s rich but never heavy; a deep, flavourful bite that was gone within seconds. I wish I can have this for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the rest of the month. A likely impossible wish considering they’re fully booked out until December, so it’s just a longing daydream for now. — Lorria Sahmet, Editor
Estro, 2/F, 1 Duddell’s Street, Central, Hong Kong
The dish: Pan fried Hokkaido scallop with crab meat and crab roe (HK$228)
We’re coming to the tail end of hairy crab season, so if you’re contemplating going for one last run — well, I’m here to tell you: Do it; life’s too short. And if you should decide to take my advice, definitely indulge in a meal at Man Wah. Impeccable dishes with all the delights of crab roe without lifting a plier. The scallop was mad thick with that delightful caramelised sear across the top. They also offer a braised fish maw with crab roe at HK$398 per person, or, should you not mind putting in a little elbow grease, a whooping 6-tael whole hairy crab (HK$488 each) is also on the menu. — Sandra Kwong, Features Editor
Man Wah, 25/F, Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 5 Connaught Road Central, +852 2825 4003