June in Hong Kong is hot and humid: +35 degrees Celsius and a continuous pressure of rain in the air. It was not unbearable. Actually, if you are from Sweden (or Finland) you should not complain about warm weather. Its not allowed. However, regardless of warm weather being welcome, we sought refuge in air conditioned malls, underground tube tunnels and in restaurants and bars of course. That is what we came for: food and beverages. Hong Kong is truly a great place for eating. We went through the full range, from simple street food to the finest restaurants in town. Hong Kong is a funny city from that perspective that even a fast food noodle shop can get a Michelin star. Don’t get me wrong, I think its great. I don’t appreciate white gloves service that much, I am always in it for the food. However, it is just such an overwhelming difference to the Nordics, where even one Michelin-star is amazingly difficult to earn. In Hong Kong, they have given them out, to my opinion, quite generously to simple dim sum and noodle places. The gourmet-guide has tried to adapt to a local baseline and way of eating. The same trend followed in Singapores new Michelin guide where a few well known hawker-stands received a star. We of course took advantage of this, and visited as many starred places as we could squeeze ourselves into. The best ones to my opinion were Lei Garden and Din Tai Fung, both dim sum places; roast goose at Yat Lok was also quite delicious. Service at all of the places was very chinese..
The other end of the range was very luxurious. On this trip we celebrated Ms birthday, so he wanted to go for a two-starred fine dining experience. Amber is a restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental and ranked third in Asia’s 50 best restaurants for 2016. The ambiance and food were of course great, however Amber, like many other renowned restaurants charged an arm and a leg for any alcohol accompanying the food: almost 400 Hong Kong dollars (40€) for a glass of Ruinart champagne – You must be kidding me. So we skipped alcohol actually and drank tea with our tasting menu. A very good choice as they filled the teapot continuously and it also meant that the taste experience was sharper (alcohol numbs the taste buds). Compared to other highly ranked restaurants, Amber will not be making my top-five list, mainly due to the prices and selection of drinks. The food was good, but not very innovative (classic is perhaps a better word to describe it). However, service was exceptional.
Other highlights from the trip included awesome Yakitori at Yardbird, innovative cocktails at the Envoy and a really inspiring wine list at Le Quinz Vins. As you can see from the pictures below, someone also went a bit crazy with the camera. My new 18-200mm freedom lens is awesome, and Hong Kong is the perfect town to test it. Really good places for taking photos are Mong Kok (street markets), Tin Hau temple, the Goldfish market, the Bird market, Viktoria harbour for Hong Kong island skyline and the Yick Cheong building, where the latest Transformers movie has been filmed.
We had a great week, but I must say the trip was a bit heavy on the wallet. The local price level is quite high, so visiting HK was just as expensive as visiting New York. Perhaps the hotels are a bit cheaper. The weak Swedish krona was also not helping of course. I am sure we will come again, but we have a few other places ranking higher on the list for our next trip. Speaking about next trip, we will be going to Krakow for midsummer. Awesome! M has been googling of course, and found the only natural wine bar in town.
Until next week, enjoy the pictures