Best Bites: 4 dishes we loved this week
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.
Food & Drink
Food & Drink
The dish: Cutlet Wagyu Double Cheese Charcoal Bun Burger (HK$98)
There are real, burger traditionalists on the Lifestyle Asia team with real, specified, time-tested preferences when it comes to gavel-pounding on whether any given burger is acceptable to consume or not. I, for good or for worse, am not one of those people. I’m easy! If I’ve got buns, I’ll pretty much eat them however it’s served. This Cafe Whale burger, though, was something special — even for a self-avowed no-opinion Burger Person like me.
The Wagyu patty is encased in a deep-fried cutlet crust that meant your crunchy layer doesn’t start and end at whatever green veg was wedged between meat and bun. Once your teeth cut through the golden-brown, your mouth is suddenly met with the juiciest beef patty — so juicy it will most definitely run down the sides of your palms, so have tissues on hand — that’s somehow layered through with the perfect amount of… mayo? There’s definitely some cheesy action there, too. It’s just all good. The burger itself was substantial but not too big where it’s larger than your jaw can unlatch and, therein, becomes a fussy knife-and-fork meal. And, lastly, how can I forget: the charcoal-black bun. No, it doesn’t taste like charcoal. It doesn’t taste like anything; it’s just a perfect, toasty, cooler-than-thou bun. — Joey Wong, Editor
Cafe Whale, Shop 28B, G/F, ABBA Shopping Mall, 223 Aberdeen Main Road, Aberdeen, Hong Kong; +852 9784 2062
The dish: Cod Madras with Basmati Rice and Garlic Naan (HK$1,688; part of The Chinnery Curries Combo)
I’d admit, I’m not very adventurous when it comes to trying new orders. I know what I want and I know what I like. For Indian curries, I prefer a masala or vindaloo. The protein stays the same — chicken — as do the sides of either garlic naan or long-grain basmati rice. But from a recent delivery from Mandarin Oriental’s The Chinnery, I couldn’t keep my spoon away from the Cod Madras. Even when a usual love like Chicken Tikka sat nearby.
First things first about The Chinnery: I hear it’s in a very charming setting of an old gentlemen’s club — dating back to 1963, to be exact — with deep mahogany panelling and leather armchairs; a very distinguished atmosphere. But as I scarf this down from the edge of my sofa, in my pyjamas, no less (see also: reusable cardboard containers), it’s less about the formality and more about the food. And the food was so good. Turns out I don’t hate fish in a curry — I actually really enjoy it! The madras is fragrant with all the right spices and a surprising kick of heat. It’s deliciously rich and creamy, the kind where you just want to soak your rice in a full bowl then sweep it all up with the toasted, garlicky naan. And the fish! Even though it’s buried deep under heaps of curry, it never lost integrity — firm while flaky, all the while silky smooth. I’m going to be going for the cod from now on. — Lorria Sahmet, Editor
The Chinnery, 1/F, Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 5 Connaught Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2825 4009
The dish: Strawberry Chocolate Coated Strawberry (HK$26)
I, like many of us on Team LSA, love strawberries; in fact, I’m always dangerously close to making it my whole personality. Which does mean I am, of course, in possession of strawberry earrings, many pairs of strawberry socks, and the very-not-cool habit of cooing when I see a strawberry print in the wild. (I will get the perfect strawberry knit. One day.)
MUJI does a very popular (seasonal) white chocolate coated strawberry, but these baby pink strawberry chocolate coated strawberries? I needed them. And it’s so good — not too sweet, a little tart, with the perfect ratio of hard chocolate shell to freeze-dried fruit. Please don’t count how many times I said strawberry in this. — Sakina Abidi, Editorial Assistant
The dish: Honey Stars (HK$18 at time of writing for a 150g box at ParknShop/HK$30 for a 300g box from Nestlé eShop)
There is nothing sweeter than the taste of childhood. Some might say this is just a snack for kids, but I say this is happiness for a stressed-out adult. This star-shaped flake (though I think it looks more like a flower) is so crunchy, sugary, and delightful. Paired together with full cream milk, every bite is a sweet escape, setting the perfect tone for the rest of my day. — Leanne Lam, Social Media Manager