New Places To Go And Dishes To Try On Your Next Hong Kong Trip
We Filipinos are such creatures of habit. More often than not, a short trip to nearby cities like Hong Kong, Tokyo, or Singapore will include a fixed itinerary of where to dine, what to visit, and how to spend the days abroad, often a repeat of what transpired on our last trip.
It’s like the proven and tested is our fallback position, the comfort zone we reach for whenever we travel to a destination we’ve visited in the past. And that’s why on my recent Hong Kong weekend earlier this month, we precisely made the vow to eat only in places we’d be going to for the very first time, and try out new eateries. At least, that was the bright idea!
We stayed this time at the Prince Hotel on Canton Road, which along with sister hotels Marco Polo Hongkong and Gateway Hotel—all located along the Harbor City and Ocean Terminal complex—are consistent favorites for Filipinos who love their shopping and dining to be right at their doorstep. To prove this, Joel Cruz with his caboodle of children, yayas, assistants, and family friends were also staying at the Prince, moving like a little township, as they numbered no less than 25 in total—and they were just one of the parties of Filipinos we bumped into at the hotels.
Samantha Poon, Director of Communications for the Marco Polo Hotels, and Angel Wong, Assistant Communications Manager, suggested we try the newly opened Ocean Terminal Extension (OTE), four floors of new restaurants and eateries that jut out onto Victoria Harbour. And it was excellent advice, as the options available were rich in diversity, and all boasted of impeccable quality.
First order of the day whenever in Hong Kong is go for what I like to call their version of our lechon, and that’s the indulgent Peking Duck. So Xihe Yayuan at the OTE was our first stop, and they’ve modified the ceremony of how Peking Duck is served, carving out the duck in waves of specific portions and bringing a munificent tray of condiments. Two of the expertly sliced portions, one pure skin, they suggested we take with a mustard-like sauce, similar to what they serve with Crispy Pork Belly; and without the wrapper. The wrapper with the traditional hoisin sauce, was reserved for the slices that boasted of both skin and succulent meat.
three versions of Peking Duck
At OTE, one can find Artisan de la Truffe Paris, the Hong Kong branch of a French restaurant with outposts in Hamburg and Tokyo as well. Artisan de la Truffe is noted for focusing on truffles without going overboard with the experience. There’s also Gordon Ramsay maze Grill where we had our Sunday lunch. Naturally we went for the famous Beef Wellington, and true to its hype, the crust was sublime, flaky like a croissant, and yet toasted and firm, with the beef inside a healthy deep pink. And we loved our starter, the Scallops with Jalapeño, Green Apple and Coriander.
Gordon Ramsay maze Grill
Scallops with Jalapeño, Green Apple and Coriander.
Butter in bone marrow
For Shanghai cuisine, we took on Lechon Diva Dedet de la Fuente’s suggestion of Wu Kong at Alpha House on Nathan Road, a stone’s throw from Jollibee. This is the home of the Hairy Crab Meat Pork Dumpling, and the Cua Pao Bun with Crispy Tofu and Ham. We love scallops, and our new discovery was their Scallops with Truffle Sauce and Kale. Dedet really knows her stuff, and you ignore her suggestions at your own peril.
Wu Kong's scallops with truffle sauce and kale
For one ‘light’ lunch, we went to Shake Shack at IFC Mall. I confess I often joke about why I’d go to Hong Kong and eat a burger. But with a Shake Shack coming to Manila this first quarter of 2019, it was something of a salute to Anton Huang and the SSI Group, and anticipating how they’ll be opening their Shake Shack doors very soon at Central Square, BGC. And yes, it’s worth the waiting in line—loved the Smokehouse Burger, which has strips of bacon.
Desserts and sweets are a must on any Hong Kong trip, and we enjoyed Dalloyau, Pierre Hermé, and Lady M. There’s also The Cheesecake Factory right across the entrance of the Prince Hotel, and while I personally found TCF too rich and sweet, I can fully understand why it’s such a hit with their big servings and soda fountain-type service. Filipinos flock to TCF in droves when in the United States, so it was no wonder to find groups of Filipinos regularly patronizing this HK TCF since its May 2017 opening.
Desserts at Dalloyau
Lady M's Yuzu lemonade, Rose Petal Frappe, and Strawberry Shortcake
If ever you’re thinking of booking at any of the Marco Polo Hotels, there’s an ongoing promotion until March where, if you book directly on their website, you can enjoy a 15% discount on the room rates, with upgrades if one is a Discovery member.
So how many of the places to dine mentioned above have you tried? Don’t always be predictable creatures of habit—explore and be thoroughly rewarded. There may be occasions that you’ll think you won’t be coming back here, but with so many options in cities like Hong Kong and Bangkok—two of Southeast Asia’s culinary meccas today—nothing ventured is nothing gained.
Marco Polo Hotel Hong Kong is located at 3 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
For reservations, go to www.marcopolohotels.com
Click here restaurants at the OTE and Harbour City
Photos by Philip Cu-Unjieng