Dining near the sea can whet appetites

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 May, 2011, 12:00am


If you are spending the day shopping at Horizon Plaza, but would prefer to head out and explore the culinary offerings of Aberdeen, there are plenty of options to cater to all tastes.

Written records of a village at Aberdeen go back to the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) and it remains the home of many boat dwellers, who have for centuries made their living from fishing in and around the harbour at Aberdeen.

While many descendants of this community no longer live on their boats, there is still a strong connection to the sea and Aberdeen's most famous restaurant symbolises this maritime spirit.

The Jumbo Floating Restaurant, which opened in 1976, is set in Aberdeen Harbour and is accessed by a free and short ferry service. It is one of Hong Kong's most iconic restaurants with its curving roof and ornate, colourful dragons carved into the exterior walls.

Famously having hosted Britain's Queen Elizabeth and actress Gong Li, the restaurant specialises in Cantonese cuisine, particularly seafood, and dim sum.

The restaurant is at Shum Wan Pier Drive, Wong Chuk Hang, and is open from 11am to 11.30pm, Monday to Saturday, and from 7am to 11.30pm on Sundays and public holidays. Bookings are advised, on 2553 9111.

The Top Deck is located on the top floor of the Jumbo. This restaurant is a favourite for busy city workers wanting to enjoy the sea breezes and a sense of space looking out over the water.

The 9,000 sqft rooftop offers views of million-dollar yachts in the harbour, and diners can opt to sit al fresco under large white parasols cooled by electric fans, or in the old-style restaurant with wood panelling and stained glass windows. The venue is good for families as children can keep themselves happily occupied inside the playroom or out on the spacious deck.

Top Deck is open for dinner during the week, but what attracts diners from across Hong Kong is the weekend buffets that come with unlimited sparkling wine for the grown-ups and soft drinks for the children (adults HK$388; children HK$158). The food on offer includes plenty of chilled poached seafood, cold cuts, dim sum, Asian and Western soups, sashimi, sushi, Indian dishes, pasta dishes and salads. There are separate pizza and grill stations.

The restaurant is open from 6pm to 11.30pm Tuesday to Thursday, 6pm to 2.30am on Friday, 11.30am to 2.30am Saturday, and 11.30am to 11.30pm Sundays and public holidays. Book in advance, on 2552 3331.

Another dining option for international buffets is the new restaurant on Level 3 of L'hotel Island South, or LIS , at 55 Wong Chuk Hang Road, tel: 3968 8833. The restaurant offers international buffet staples such as fresh steamed seafood, sushi and sashimi, salads, noodle dishes and barbecue items. There is also a selection of desserts such as mango pudding and chocolate mousse.

The restaurant interior is simple and modern. The buffet costs about HK$400 per person for dinner.

If you are looking for a more casual bite of local fare, Shan Loon Tse Kee Fish Ball, at 80-82 Old Main Street, is known for its fish ball soup noodles.

It also serves other toppings, such as beef brisket and fried wonton, and dishes such as fried fish cakes.

Paramount Banquet Hall serves Cantonese teahouse staples such as har gau, cheung fan and char siu baau, as well as roast duck, steamed fish and sauteed vegetables.

Aberdeen also offers a range of casual and affordable eateries. For a taste of Taiwan, stop by at the Aberdeen branch of Gong Cha, at Shop B, 13 Wu Nam Street, for a takeaway bubble milk tea or a refreshing juice, and for a bowl of pho at Viet's Choice, Shop 2, G/F, Site 2, Aberdeen Centre.

Or opt for sushi at Japanese chain Yoshinoya, at the Shop 4B, G/F, Phase 5, Aberdeen Centre, or a green curry at the highly rated Thai Palace, at Shop 5, G/F, 108 Old Main Street, or Thai One, Shop 3, G/F, Site 5, Aberdeen Centre Shopping Arcade.

Other popular restaurant chains with branches in Aberdeen include Koon Thai Hai Nam Chicken, LG1, Wah Lee Bldg, 15 Tsung Man Street, Gengki Sushi, Shops 9, 11 & 13, G/F, Site 3, Aberdeen Centre, 1-5 Nam Ning, and Pizza Express, Shop 210, 2/F, Port Centre, 38 Chengtu Road.

If you are looking for something sugary to replenish your energy levels after a hard day of shopping, head to Maxim's Cake Shop, Shop 23-24, Port Centre, 38 Chengtu Road, Tai Cheong, Shop 4-5, G/F, Goodview Centre, 12 Wu Pak Street, Yamazaki, 7 Wu Nam Street, or Saint Honore, G/F, 21 Tung Sing Road. All offer sweet delights likely to put a spring back in your step and possibly the urge to spend a few more hours back on the hunt for bargains at Horizon Plaza.