竹園重慶雞煲 (Bamboo Chongqing Chicken Pot)

竹園重慶雞煲 (Bamboo Chongqing Chicken Pot)

Where:
竹園重慶雞煲 (Bamboo Chongqing Chicken Pot)
2F/99 Java Road Municipal Services Building
North Point Cooked Food Market
North Point, Hong Kong

FYN Navigation guidance:  Go to the second floor of the cooked food centre and turn left.  Head right to the end and on the right you’ll see an area blocked off by wooden dividers with a brown sign with gold Chinese writing on it.

Phone:
+852 3486 6313 (I’d recommend booking, both times I’ve been they’ve been fucking busy)

Price:
I’ve been twice – both times with ample Tsing Tao beer was HKD180-HKD200 a person (including tip). Tip not expected, as evidenced by our super confused waiter.  Fuck yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, cheap eats.

The deal:
I’m all about North Point at the moment because I think there’s a shit tonne of good food in the hood and it’s such fucking good value.  The problem is, there aren’t a lot of good English resources which talk beyond Tung Po or the egg waffle place which means I’m flying largely in the dark, reduced to peering into restaurants that have a lot of people in there and taking photos for future reference.  I’ve been trying to squeeze information out of my local HK homies as to where I should try in North Point and most of them are shutting my North Point ambitions down straight away, claiming that most restaurants will be ‘too local style’ and won’t have enough English support to allow me to order any food (I concede this point).  Don’t hold out on me local HK homies, share the love cause I need to have some North Point priced eats to dollar cost average the price of all the out of control Central / $heung Wan eats.

My homie booked us into Bamboo Chongqing Chicken Pot after his optimistic attempt at trying to book the famous Tung Po restaurant on a Saturday night on a Saturday afternoon.  I wasn’t devastated because while Tung Po is rowdy fun largely due to their inimitable proprietor, Robbie, the food is only just ok. For those that don’t know, after around 9pm, Robbie will blare loud music and do the robot while he demonstrates his ability to pop bottle tops off with a chopstick and drink too much beer.  But Tung Po’s food is only ok and seems to be dropping in quality. Controversially, two of my homies, who went separately, have also gotten fuck no food poisoning post-Tung Po. Gotta be real though, Tung Po’s fuck you to food quality has had fuck all impact on its popularity as they are always packed with red-faced patrons and they seem to have taken over most of the floor now.

Chongqing Chicken Pot (gai bo) is a hot pot dish which is popular in the cooler seasons.  So sorry homies on the FYN timing, I seriously only left it ONE fucking week to write this fucking review and it means we’ve missed primo-Chongqing chicken hot pot season given this was the week when HK changed overnight from miserable, cold HK to shorts and tee-shirts HK.  We ordered the spicy gai bo and a clear soup base, with half a chicken each and despite the waiter’s attempt to upsell, FYN confirms that two half size soup bases is beyond adequate for six people, even if you’re a fat fuck like me:

fatfuck

allergicjerks

The deal with a spicy Chongqing gai bo is a black pot arrives with spicy chicken sizzling inside and the pot is kept on a flame, to keep the contents hot.  The braised chicken is cooked with a shit tonne of flavours, predominantly chilli, Sichuan peppers (to give it the ma / numbing effect), garlic and onion, with a massive bunch of coriander thrown into the pot at the table, keeping things fragrant as fuck.  You then eat whatever chicken you want before your waiter pours in a Sichuan style soup base over the remaining chicken and sauce, effectively deglazing the fuck yeah tasty chicken sauce into the hot pot soup base.  Fuck yeahhh, gimme dat chicken flavour.

Per normal hot pot procedure, you then proceed to add whatever ingredients you want to cook.  Bamboo Chongqing Chicken Pot doesn’t have anything particularly out of the ordinary but as hot pot ingredient ordering can be overwhelming for the less experienced, I’d recommend the following to get shit started:

  • fish skin dumplings
  • vegetable dumplings
  • fried bean curd skin
  • gluten balls (SMD Paleo! Just soak these in the soup til they soften up)
  • fried fish skin
  • vegetables – my pick is always corn, enoki mushrooms, some sort of green vegetable (lettuce or choy sum)
  • beef strips
  • cuttlefish balls (in my mind, superior to fishballs)
  • sweet potato noodles

Chongqing food is similar to Sichuan food, that is, really fucking spicy.  They will ask you here for everything how spicy you want your food and as someone who can eat spicy, I found the medium level not for the faint hearted.  By the time your soup boils down, you might even want them to ask them to add plain chicken stock because it gets super fucking spicy by the end of the night even by my hard ass standards.

Bamboo Chongqing Chicken Pot has a number of  side dishes to order too.  The first time, I ordered some of the fried dishes such as deep fried cuttlefish and sweet potato, which were good enough but the batter is thick, typical of the local cooked markets in HK which isn’t my favourite jam.  However, the second time I went (no less than two weeks later), Mr Vegetables got it right by ordering the fuck yeah cold Chongqing/Sichuan style dishes.  We got the cucumber, the Chinese Lettuce/Asparagus Root (also known as ‘wosun’/celtuce, but is often described simply as ‘Asparagus’ on Chinese menus.  It’s the stalk of this vegetable – Cantonese homies, let me know what you call this) and my favourite, the fuck yeahhh bean flour sheets.   All of these are covered in Sichuan peppers and chilli oil.  Much happiness that I finally had some hard cunt homies with me and we got to step shit up from medium level to hot level spicy and Bamboo Chongqing Chicken Pot are not fucking kidding with their labelling, shit was fucking hot.  I may have paid the fuck no gastrointestinal price the next day.

Given my non-existent Cantonese and the terror we’ve all experienced when you’re effectively guessing what you’re ordering as a grumpy as fuck waiter is totally put out by the communication breakdown, Bamboo Chongqing Chicken Pot has a full and accurately translated English menu and a few of the waiters have excellent English.  Bonus points territory, they are even nice about it and were super confused by our HKD100 tip (the bill was HKD998, we left HKD1,100 and our waiter really didn’t understand what was happening).  So if you want to do the cooked food market thing, it’s time to skip the decidedly average Happy Valley one that everyone loves and forego the average food at Tung Po and instead eat some spicy chicken hotpot and drink beer from Chinese bowls, for under HKD200 each.  Oh, and if you’re into being an insufferable expat, you’ll totally have enough material to brag about your local, authentic HK experience for at least one week afterwards.

Verdict:
Fuck yeahhhhhh, value!  Even if the turn in the warmer weather now means you’ll be sweating balls in a cooked food centre.

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