[Hong Kong] Food Adventures in Sai Ying Pun 西營盤
With the opening of the Sai Ying Pun MTR station set to open today, it means more hidden gem restaurants to explore in this traditional neighborhood! Here's a few that I have visited so far and there's still many more I have yet to visit so watch this space for more updates.
Yuan Is Here 阿元來了
73 Third Street
Tel: 3579 2460
I finally made it to this highly popular Taiwanese restaurant which sells authentic Taiwanese snacks. The bright lights and signs make you feel like you are in a Taiwanese night market. As the shop is quite small, the queue can get long around lunch time if you are dining in. Service is very friendly and polite plus most of the staff speaks Mandarin which adds to the whole Taiwanese experience.
The menu is simple with classic Taiwanese snacks like braised pork rice, popcorn chicken, oyster pancake and a variety of tea drinks. I wanted to try the oyster pancake as that is one of my favorite Taiwanese snack but it is only available from 2:30-5:30pm.
I ended up trying the Taiwanese Braised Pork Rice ($27) and Boba Milk Tea ($20). I loved the braised pork rice as the pork belly was flavorful but not too fatty which was delicious to eat along with the sauce and pearl rice. The boba milk tea was legit too with strong tea flavors and chewy tapioca balls.
83 Third Street
Tel: 2104 6788
Seoulmate Cafe is a very cute Korean cafe with a nice little garden in the back with wooden furniture and a swing set for al fresco dining. The owners are Korean and they are best known for their specialty coffee drinks and desserts which are all homemade.
Green Tea Misugaru Roll ($38) - while this cake is not for those looking for rich matcha flavors, it was absolutely delightful as it was moist and not too sweet while the misugaru cream stole the show. Misugaru is a traditional grain powder made from 7-10 different grains that is usually served as a drink in Korea but worked really well as a cream here as it was thick and cold like ice cream almost with malty and nutty flavors!
59 High Street
Tel: 2117 9792
Korean Fried Chicken (KFC) has been the latest Korean food trend in Hong Kong ever since the Korean drama "You Who Came From the Stars" from last year. Quantity doesn't always mean quality, however, and I have tried a few that can't even match half the quality of the KFC in Korea but Uncle Padak is one that I have found to be very close to the real deal!
They have a few different KFC flavors from its signature The Padak, Sweet & Spicy, Plain and Soy.
J and I got The Padak which is the signature with sweet and spicy sauce topped with sliced scallions. We also found a few fried rice cakes and dumplings in our mountain of KFC as well. The fried chicken was very crispy without being too oily and while the sauce was quite spicy, it didn't overwhelm the chicken at all. The only criticism is that this dish uses white meat which was a bit lean and not juicy enough compared to the chicken thighs and wings so I would choose those parts of the chicken next time for KFC. The portion was also quite big so between the 2 of us, we couldn't finish this plate and had to take some of it back home.
The restaurant also has a lunch combo on weekdays where you can get wings, boneless chicken, salad, pickled radish and rice balls for $78 only. I really liked the soy chicken wings so that would be the flavor I'd recommend. The rice balls with the salmon roe were also quite delicious and fun to eat.
58-60 High Street
Tel: 2549 6788
U-Hang is another Korean restaurant but a more modern and hipster cafe with bright colors and outdoor seating. Their take on the food is more innovative as well with a new approach to traditional Korean dishes. I was here for lunch where they offer 2 course set menu for $98 with the option of salad or soup plus a main course where you can choose from Bulgogi Stone Pot Rice, Spicy Squid, Kimchi Spaghetti, U Hang Burger and Chef's Special. I hear that the weekend brunch here is also very popular with its savory and sweet pancakes!
I chose the salad because I thought the staff said there was an egg on it but not only did I not find any, the salad was quite sparse actually with only mixed greens but luckily the spicy and tangy sauce made it appetizing to eat.
I chose the Spicy Squid as my main with stir-fried Hokkaido squid marinated in Korean chili which was very yummy! I love Korean spicy squid and they were cooked perfectly here as they were perfectly soft and tender. The spicy sauce was just right with a hint of tanginess that made it real appetizing to eat - perfect with a bowl of rice.
Lastly, the set lunch also came coffee or lemon tea which was great at the end of the meal to help with the digestion.
Craft Brew & Co
36 High StreetTel: 2559 0498
Craft Beer has also taken off in Hong Kong in the last couple of years with more and more places offering unique craft beer from around the world and even classes to brew your own beer! With 2 locations, Craft Brew & Co has a wide variety of craft beer in bottle and on tap.
66 Third Street
Tel: 2549 6788
Pak Kee Bakery 百奇麵包西餅
101 Third Street
I love mango mochi (芒果糯米糍) and after seeing this on Instagram, I decided to get some when I was dining in the area! At only $14 for 4 mochi which were made with fresh mangoes, just be sure to eat them on the spot as they didn't quite survive on the trip back home. It wasn't as good as the famous one in Cheung Chau but still pretty good.
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