Five great Hong Kong restaurants for Christmas and Boxing Day if you’re not cooking that festive meal
For those looking to avoid the stress of cooking on December 25 and 26, these mainly Asian establishments offer all-round good eating
As much as I love to cook up a huge holiday feast, I can understand the sentiments of those who would prefer to go out to celebrate, leaving the stress (and cleaning up) to someone else.
I tend to choose Asian food for going out over Christmas and Boxing Day because it rarely forces you into having an expensive holiday set meal.
Here are my choices for those two busy days:
This Singaporean restaurant chain recently expanded from Tsim Sha Tsui and opened a second branch in Causeway Bay.
As the centrepiece to a holiday meal, order the glutinous rice-stuffed suckling pig (at least one day in advance) with its thick discs of crisp skin and flavourful stuffing.
Other dishes we like are the poached sliced pork liver, deep-fried squid with salted egg yolk, and frog cooked two ways.
Imperial Treasure, 1 Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2613 9800; 2/F Crowne Plaza, 8 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay, tel: 2663 9919
A good alternative to a suckling pig centrepiece is duck – and what better place than Dragon Noodles Academy, which specialises in Peking duck?
Order a whole one and watch as a chef skilfully carves it tableside into plates of skin only, meat with a little skin attached, and meat-only pieces, served with delicate pancakes and side dishes of rock melon, cucumber and duck sauce.
If you have a large enough group, also order the 12-hour sous-vide US bone-in short ribs. Meanwhile, any of the noodle dishes here are very good (we like the minced pork and shrimp roe lo mein), as well as the crispy lobster puff.
Dragon Noodles Academy, Man Yee Arcade, Man Yee Building, 68 Des Voeux Road Central, Central, tel: 2561 6688
Another good place for duck is Hoi Wan Heen in Hullett House, which is now under the management of Harbour Plaza Hotels and Resorts.
Here, the duck is camphor-smoked in Sichuan style; it is lightly smoky, with moist meat and crisp skin.
Wok-fried string beans with pickled olives and minced pork makes a fine accompaniment, with other recommended dishes including the deep-fried bean curd with home-made spices, the daily soup, and the boiled grouper fillets with mung bean noodles and Sichuan chilli oil.
Hoi Wan Heen, Hullett House, 1881 Heritage, 2A Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 3988 0107
If you want to warm yourselves from the inside out over this cold snap, head to Deng G, which serves very fine Sichuan dishes.
What’s nice here is that they categorise dishes by flavour profile, so you don’t end up ordering dishes that are just hot and numbing, say, or sweet and sour.
If you don’t fancy a camphor smoked duck or braised beef rib with pepper powder as the centrepiece, order an impressively large basin of braised sliced Mandarin fish in red chilli soup. For something more prosaic, try the stir-fried pork kidneys, sliced pork with garlic and chilli, and dry pot mushrooms.
Deng G, 2/F Weswick Commercial Building, 147-149 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, tel: 2609 2328
I know I mentioned at the beginning of this piece that I avoid some restaurants over the holiday because the only option is a set meal. I’d make an exception for Henry’s, the restaurant in Stanley that used to be called Lucy’s. It’s a warm and welcoming place and just right for a family celebration.
They are closed on the night of December 25, but are open for Christmas lunch, where the HK$520 set meal (HK$260 for children under 12) gets you a choice for main course of roast turkey with fruit and nut stuffing, or beef fillet with roast potatoes (a vegetarian menu is also available).
Things go back to normal on Boxing Day, when their regular blackboard menu lists satisfying and delicious dishes such as salmon fishcakes, spinach and feta souffle with tomato sauce, lamb fillet with tomato, cucumber and beetroot salad, and treacle, banana and pecan tart.
Henry’s, 64 Stanley Main Street, Stanley, tel: 2813 9055