OMG, Valley Girl heaven in Hong Kong – the tacos at Mexican restaurant Te Quiero Mucho
From The Trump to the carnitas to the wagyu beef version, the tacos at this new Sheung Wan restaurant are the best in Hong Kong. The tostadas more than pass muster too
Occasionally, when I get excited, I revert to the dialect of my childhood: Valley Girl.
“Oh my god!!!” I squealed (by text message) to a friend. “These tacos are ah-MAY-zing! The best in Hong Kong!”
This friend, like me, is from California, and we often talk about how much we miss the Golden State – not for the sun and beaches (both of which we avoid) but because of the tacos.
You can get tacos in Hong Kong, but too often, they’re covered in too much gloop which obliterates the focus: the tortilla (if the tortilla is bad, the taco is bad) and filling. When it comes to tacos, we agreed, chefs should keep it simple.
So when a different friend – not from California – announced she was opening Te Quiero Mucho at the Mojo Nomad hotel in Sheung Wan, I tried not to get my hopes up too much.
Fortunately, the tacos – and other dishes – were much better than expected.
The restaurant is small, and there are only two conventional tables with chairs. The other seating is high, backless stools at the bar, tall tables and along the open window that faces the street, and a low communal table with sofas, which are uncomfortable because they’re too deep and don’t have cushions, so you can’t lean back.
The food menu is brief (the drinks list is much longer), with tostadas (four varieties) and tacos (five) making up the longest sections.
Guacamole (avocado, charred onion powder and tortilla chips, HK$88) came in a generous portion, and was very pure, which is how I like it; the avocado flavour wasn’t muted by sour cream which many restaurants use. The chips were crisp and fresh.
The upside-down tuna al pastor tostada (HK$65) featured slices of moist seared fish. The roasted pineapple relish gave the combination a nice bite, but what really lifted the flavours was a sweet-tart guava jalapeño sauce.
The octopus in our next tostada (called octopus in love, HK$50) was very tender and the mild heat of the chipotle mayonnaise was balanced by the creamy avocado.
But we were there for tacos and we ordered four of the five (skipping only the vegetarian version). Then we reordered two more. For all of them, the corn tortilla was toothsome yet resilient enough to hold up to the fillings.
My favourite was “The Trump” (HK$40) – and not just because of the name. Described as, “a lot of beef tongue with a wall of crispy chicharron,” it has two of my favourite ingredients. The tongue was soft, moist and very beefy tasting, the fried pork skins added crunch and the salsa verde gave it a mild tang.
Carnitas is usually another favourite taco but while this version (HK$40) was very porky (you could taste the lard! That’s a compliment …), simple and delicious, the wagyu A5 taco (HK$60) was even better. Wagyu taco sounds gimmicky, but it works. The chopped beef came on a thin layer of creamy chestnut purée with an unusual salsa of peanuts and dried chilli. Fried calamari taco with guacamole and corn relish (HK$45) was also good, but I couldn’t really tell it was squid.
We had both desserts on the menu. Churros (HK$60) with cajeta (like dulce de leche, but made with goat’s milk) were fantastic – very crisp outside, but with a moist core. The deconstructed tres leches with pomegranate and lychee (HK$65) was too dry.
Te Quiero Mucho, Mojo Nomad Central, 284-286 Queen’s Road Central, Sheung Wan, tel: 2910 1700. About HK$300 per person without drinks or the service charge.
While you’re in the area