The Modern Cha Chaan Teng and Hong Kong's First Food Truck Festival
This week's new and noted restaurants.
If there’s one thing that unites Hong Kong’s up-and-coming generation of young F&B entrepreneurs, it’s a willingness to test the boundaries, come hell or high water (or soaring rent prices). Enter Adrian Lo, a young entrepreneur whose debut venture, Kasa, aims to modernize the notion of the traditional cha chaan teng. We’ve seen a few recent attempts at presenting Hong Kong’s “modern CCT”—all of them incorporating artful “throwback” aesthetics, updated versions of classic teahouse dishes, and western-style service, but this is one of the few we’ve tried that’s truly worth its salt (and the added price tag).
On the menu is an eclectic mix of Hong Kong-style, Chinese and western dishes, with some of our favorites being clay pot rice reconstituted into crispy arancini for a HK-style scotch egg ($38), the Shanghainese braised beef short ribs ($108) and the curry chicken with coconut milk ($218)—a hearty pot of tender chicken bits, potato and onion in a smooth, fragrant yellow curry sauce. If you come for the tea set, you’ll find a menu of thoughtfully made CCT dishes (all $48), from scrambled eggs and corned beef to French toast and a molten duck yolk custard lava cake that hits the East-meets-West brief spot on. They’ve also just launched their own range of house-blend cold brew bottled coffees (so hipster), as well as eight cocktails based on the Chinese tale of “The Eight Immortals”: “The Elder Zhang Guo” mixes maotai with rum and coconut water; “The Immortal Woman” is a fizzy blend of huadiao wine, lemon juice and ginger ale; and “The Iron-Crutch Li” infuses whisky with the Chinese wujiapi herb.
Hong Kong Food Truck Festival 2016
There’s something about the phrase “food truck” or “food fair” that gets people all excited. Maybe it’s the lack of proper utensils, the dining alfresco and the standing in line with a bunch of other eager, like-minded foodies that makes a taco or a hotdog taste about a thousand times better from a food truck than it does at a proper sit-down restaurant. This month the Hong Kong Food Truck Festival 2016 (May 4-8, PMQ) is brings four colorfully decorated food trucks to PMQ to serve up tasty morsels alongside 15 other food and lifestyle booths.
The food trucks will be manned by four homegrown food brands: fried chicken and waffles from Boomshack, a shop originally inspired by America’s food trailer scene; Homie Cookies, debuting their new ice cream sandwiches; lobster rolls and XXL hot dogs; and newbie to the scene Superstar serving Korean street snacks. After filling up on rice cakes and lobster rolls, check out the other pop-ups to pick up Mother’s Day gifts from local handicraft brands, sip French Luc Belaire Rosé from Island Bar and get your hands on Boomf’s designer marshmallows (yep, it’s a thing) from none other than James Middleton, available for the first time in Hong Kong.
Ueda Washoku Lounge & Dining
Finding a calm spot to sit for a relaxing and enjoyable lunch in Central where you’re not herded in and out like cattle can be a bit like getting a cocktail in Sai Ying Pun for under $100—a rare find these days. That’s why we we’ve pounced on Ueda Washoku Lounge & Dining, a relative newcomer to the city’s flourishing Japanese dining scene that sits smack dab in the middle of Central, yet still seems to offer its own calm, undiscovered secret haven for a midday break. The restaurant serves a $328 eight-course omakase at lunch highlighting the kaiseki-ryori multi-course tradition, with a mix of local and imported ingredients used in cold and hot preparations.
While the dinner kaiseki is served dish by dish, the lunch set comes all at once with each plate beautifully presented in its own unique tableware, giving customers a chance to savor the meal and still make it back for their 2pm meeting. Highlights of the meal include shrimps cooked in salt water, slow-cooked roast beef, and eels wrapped in bean curd and fried up like tempura. From the à la carte, do yourself an favor and order a portion of the juicy abalone topped with a spoonful of finely diced thousand-year-old egg—a surprisingly refreshing combination.