So J and I recently got back from an epic 1 month’s holiday across India and after over 30 days of eating some form of curry for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the first thing we wanted was some good ol’ Chinese food. Luckily for us we have a group of foodie friends and it was suggested that we go exploring in Mong Kok. As most of the group are hard core Hong Kongers and rarely venture across to Kowloon, this was seen as an exciting adventure. Less exciting was the fact that none of us knew where we were going.
After a lot of wandering and looking like lost school children, we had to succumb to asking for directions to Tim Ho Wan (the famous and world’s cheapest Michelin starred restaurant). Unfortunately we failed miserably to get into Tin Ho Wan, despite the valiant efforts of one of the girls getting a ticket. This was partly because there were 9 of us and it was 8pm and the queue was gigantic and partly because we were all too hungry and impatient to wait. So we decided that Tim Ho Wan’s legendary cha siu baau’s had to wait for another day and the 9 of us trotted off to Temple Street.
Those of you familiar with Temple Street will know that it’s famous for its open air night market, lots of chinese snacks and street food stalls called Dai Pai Dongs. What made our night extremely amusing were the rows of rather questionable goods on sale (I’ll leave it to your imagination or maybe you should just go for yourself one night!) and by the time we reached our dai pai dong of choice, we were in high spirits and absolutely famished.
We chose Hing Kee Restaurant in the end, which judging by the only queue in sight, meant that we were onto a good thing. A nice and very helpful lady miraculously had a big table free for us so we jumped the queue and squished ourselves into the back of the restaurant. Hing Kee looks unassuming from the outside and is your typical Hong Kong street food restaurant, but what is so special about this place is their claypot rice. It used to be a small roadside stall which cooked its claypot rice on charcoal fire and now it has perfected its various claypot dishes and morphed itself into a busy restaurant bursting with customers. It is also known for its fried oyster omelette which has clams and spring onions added to the oyster and beaten eggs mix.
What did we eat? EVERYTHING. My friend MSY aka “JEd lover” took it upon herself to order 2 whole pages from the menu, saying “We want ALL of this” and gestured wildly over the pages. Meanwhile, my other girlfriend “Krispy K” decided to order the beers and after some confusion ended up getting these massive Harbin beers which, if imbibed fully, would probably drown a small person. But we weren’t done yet, with glee, my half of the table ordered a claypot rice each. I was very excited when I spotted the salted duck and stewed duck claypot and J went straight for the lap cheong rice. We somehow ended up with an extra order of chicken feet and pork rice, but we ate it anyway! I drowned my rice with soya sauce which wasn’t the best idea as my rice had SALTY duck but it didn’t mar the taste- yay.
The service isn’t great and if you order too many claypots at once, you’ll have to wait as there are only so many they can cook at one time. So don’t expect a 5 star joint but do go and try the claypot rice if you’re ever in that part of town and make sure you put lashings of chilli sauce with your oyster omelette- it makes the taste so much better! I recommend you try the sweetcorn soup and salt and pepper white bait, both very moreish and tasty!
We finally left Hing Kee stuffed to the brim and extremely satisfied. The meal was inexpensive with most of the dishes $40 or below . Happy wallets and happy stomachs!
Chopstick rating: 3/5
Hing Kee Restaurant, 19 Temple Street, Yau Ma Tei. Nearest MTR- Yau Ma Tei Exit C. Opening times 6pm- 1am.