Best Bites is a roundup of the outstanding dishes we had within the last week: Those which renewed our love for established venues, caught our attention at a new opening, or freshly impressed upon us the creativity and skill of Hong Kong’s talented chefs. From casual street snacks to meticulously prepared tasting menus, these are the best dishes to try in Hong Kong, and the plates we’d recommend you make a special trip for.
The best dishes we supped on and savoured this week:
The Cheesecake Factory
The dish: Fettucini Alfredo (HK$168 / with chicken, HK$206)
Come for the bright red lighting of a Wan Chai wet market, stay for portions that could feed a small army — yes, it could only be The Cheesecake Factory. Like dim sum for gweilos, the massive platings are often the kind best shared, family style, but on this particularly peckish Saturday afternoon, it was a whole steaming platter of chicken alfredo, just for me. One colour, one flavour, two textures all the way through. Perfetto! — Nathan Erickson, Editor-in-Chief
The Cheesecake Factory, Shop G102, G/F, Gateway Arcade, Harbour City, 25 Canton Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 2791 6628
The dish: Squid Ink Paella (HK$300/ medium; HK$450/ large)
In case you hadn’t heard, Bayfare Social has just welcomed new chef de cuisine Jorge Gutierrez, a Spanish native that’s bringing all the tried-and-true Spanish recipes to the vibrant gastropub with his arrival. Of which includes this indulgent Squid Ink Paella, which chef Gutierrez points out is a very authentic, no-frills make that’s honest in its flavours and traditional in its creation — from the adding of a very flavourful sofrito to the signature crispy socarrat base. A stunning creation that arrives to the table in a sizzling saucer-size pan, a single jet-black spoonful is rich in umami, delicately accompaniment by the sweet and smokey char of fresh octopus. Teeny-tiny dollops of aioli swirl in-between the crunchy grains for a delectable, moreish mouthful of the understandably Mediterranean favourite. — Lorria Sahmet, Editor
Bayfare Social, 5/F Rosewood Hong Kong, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 3891 8732
Bibi & Baba
The dish: Chap Chye (HK$58)
To say I’m a bit of a picky eater would be an understatement. For me, it’s strictly no rice, no noodles, no red meat, no dairy and no fun (apparently I exhibit very “red flag” behaviours. I dunno). Anyway, Bibi & Baba happens to be one of my favourite restaurants, but when I went this week, I discovered they’d taken their Assam Fish — my favourite dish of theirs — off the menu. So, with my rigid eating rules, I ordered the only other thing I could: the Chap Chye.
Despite the funky name, Bibi & Baba’s Chap Chye is essentially a Chinese stir-fry veggie dish. For HK$58, the plate of slow-braised cabbage was pretty hefty, which was a good thing because that was all I had for dinner that night. Consisting of cabbage (of course) and an assortment of other vegetables with glass noodles, the slightly savoury sauce is reminiscent of the Lo Han Jai (Buddha’s Delight for you English speakers) we typically eat during Chinese New Year. If you need a palate cleanser between your Nasi Lemak and Nonya Laksa at Bibi & Baba, or if you’re a fussy eater like me, then the Chap Chye is for you. — Charmaine Ng, Editor
Bibi & Baba, 1-7 Ship Street, Wan Chai, +852 2555 0628