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Looking Back on my First Taste of Hong Kong

Looking Back on my First Taste of Hong Kong

I still remember clearly my first trip to Hong Kong 20 years ago. We arrived at dusk but still had time before dinner. Instead of waiting in my hotel room, I decided to take a stroll to whet my appetite.

The weather was cool and I could feel the energy of the city around me. I was also deeply aware of this pleasant medicinal scent, like a mixture of crushed leaves and camphor, that I now always associate with Hong Kong.

Last weekend I had the chance to visit a friend who had been living and working in Hong Kong for seven years. At Harbour City, she took me to a Vietnamese restaurant that had a queue at the door. It reminded me of Japan and how locals patiently wait in line whether it be for a table at a restaurant or entrance to a popular store.

  Vietnamese fishcakes, each the size of a baby's fist at Nha Trang

Vietnamese fishcakes, each the size of a baby's fist at Nha Trang

Nha Trang has a number of branches in the city and has won several awards since 2014. We shared our orders which included a tasty (but unphotogenic) crab curry, beef salad, and fish cakes, each the size of a baby's fist.

We walked off our dinner and made plans to meet for lunch the day after tomorrow. B, who works at at a jewelry trade magazine, brought me to a tiny eatery near her office in Wan Chai. We were lucky enough to snag a table for two; singles or duos are usually made to sit at a communal table.

  This tiny eatery on Spring Garden Lane in Wan Chai served delicious pork chops

This tiny eatery on Spring Garden Lane in Wan Chai served delicious pork chops

The restaurant's specialty is fried pork chops over rice served with a bowl of spicy curry. Unless you can read Chinese, you wouldn't be able to tell because the place has no English menu. Fortunately, B had been there many times before with her officemates and already knew what to order.

  Fried pork chops over rice with a side of spicy curry

Fried pork chops over rice with a side of spicy curry

The pork chops over rice arrived on chipped plates but it turned out to be one of the best meals I've had. It was crisp outside but the meat was soft and delicately seasoned. Dipped into the curry and eaten with rice, it was the perfect comfort food.

Don't expect five-star service though. The restaurant at Spring Garden Lane has no frills but what it lacks in ambiance, it makes up for in taste and low prices. Each order of pork chops and rice is good for two and costs around P400.

  Stick to the Earl Grey Lemon Cake at Ginger Bakery at 55 Johnston Road in Wan Chai. It's their bestseller!

Stick to the Earl Grey Lemon Cake at Ginger Bakery at 55 Johnston Road in Wan Chai. It's their bestseller!

As we walked around the area, looking for a spot to have coffee and dessert, we stumbled upon Ginger Bakery (55 Johnston Road) that--thank goodness--did not have a line. They have several cakes in the refrigerated showcase but the hands down bestseller is their Earl Grey Lemon Cake (P120/slice). As B and I chatted, customers would come in and order one or two slices of the lemon cake to go.

*Post photo from Finding Beyond.

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