Mar 19, 2009|
They say the longer the queue is, the better the food. But is it true? Hong Kong has more than 10,000 restaurants and yet every day we see people queuing up outside certain ones, sometimes round the clock. So what is it that has people willing to wait for up to over an hour? We went to the four newest places with the longest lines to find out.
You are queuing up for: French fries that come with different sauces
They say it’s just the fries that have people filing up outside here for a quick bite during their busy shopping day. But this place is no ordinary fast food joint. These big rough-cut crunchy fries are a world away from the weak little substitutes you find all over town. Plus, they come with a range of different sauces. Classic picks include honey mustard, special cheese, and meat sauce and sour cream, but they also have some creative offerings such as wasabi mayonnaise and passionfruit cream. We’d normally say it’s plain madness to put fruit cream on top of fries, but seeing those teenagers queuing up for 30 minutes, we just had to give it a shot. We were not disappointed.
Shop A, 518 Jaffe Rd., Causeway Bay, 2151-0889.
You are queuing up for: Pho
Local Vietnamese chef Cheng used to be responsible for the long queue in front of the Locomotive restaurant in Tai Hang. People couldn’t get enough of his execellent Vietnamese beef rice noodles. When he left the restaurant and opened one on his own in nearby Tin Hau, he apparently brought over the queue with him. With more than 30 years of experience, Chef Cheng is known for his signature pho with raw beef, beef tendon, meatballs and ox tripe, bathed in a meaty and frothy soup with flat rice noodles that are soft and silky but not overly fragile. The small but cozy restaurant is often packed, so make your booking a couple of days ahead, or you will just have to queue up for it.
136 Tung Lo Wan Rd., Tin Hau, 2895-0788.
You are queuing up for: Taiwanese oyster and intestine vermicelli
If you’ve been to Taipei you’ll have seen it already: a tiny restaurant in a busy street with no chairs or tables, serving only one kind of noodles. Well, this phenomenon has finally made its way to Hong Kong. New restaurant Ay-Tu Flour Rice Noodles specializes in Taiwanese oyster and intestine vermicelli done the authentic way—hand-made noodles cooked for four days in a soup of pork bones, bonito, Taiwanese sauces and crab vinegar. It’s surprisingly chewy, and the slight sourness goes well with the intensely flavored stew. Basic ingredients include brine intestine, garlic, coriander and black rice vinegar, but customers can pay extra for oysters, scallops, crab meat, clams, spiral shells or sausages. You might feel a bit ghetto standing and eating from a polystyrene foam bowl, but everyone is doing it—and loving it.
G3A, Richmond Commercial Building, 107-111 Argyle St., Mong Kok, 2395-4100.
You are queuing up for: Modern Japanese fare
You have to hand it to Gilbert Yeung. The guy is a master of long lines (Dragon-i, for example), and now the club head has a new Japanese restaurant in Quarry Bay called Misocool, which serves contemporary Japanese cuisine in a hip and lively setting—and with a very long line winding around outside, of course. What’s so special about it? The squid ink linguini is first pan-fried al dente, then added to a milk soup complete with clams, scallops, calamari and shrimp. Konjac jelly noodles, a traditional Japanese jelly-like health food, is served in hot spicy broth with tender pork ribs. Ginger rice, pork and scallions are enveloped within a thinly sliced piece of radish, resulting in fried dumplings with a twist. But that’s all just a cover-up: the real reason everyone comes here is because bizarrely it’s become the place to see and to be seen. Misocool indeed.
Shop SLG8-9A, Westlands Gardens, 2-10 Westlands Rd., Quarry Bay, 2565-1001.