Fried Chicken

Where:
Second Draft (FB Page)
G/F, 98 Tung Lo Wan Road
Tai Hang, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2656 0232.  YASSSS they take bookings – I’d also recommend making a booking because both times I’ve been they’ve seemed fairly busy.

Price:
Around HKD300 – 350 a person, including a couple of drinks.  Estimate around HKD200 per person for food (including 10% service charge).

The deal:
Second Draft is a collaboration between May Chow, the chef and founder behind Little Bao, and James Ling from The Tap Ale Project, who have their craft beer and simple eats in their Mong Kok restaurant/bar.  I’ll level with you, I didn’t have high hopes for Second Draft when I heard it was doing fusion modern food with craft beer, expecting that I’d be desperately trying to beg some beardy hipster waiter with tats to bring me some over-complicated food for ants which is trying too hard to be clever before I had to take out all the cash ever out of my wallet and then cruise for a second bang bang snack on the way home.   I never got into Little Bao because while I really enjoy the food at Little Bao, it’s exactly as the name promises – LITTLE.  Combine that with no bookings and its tiny (though delicious) baos the size of of a small child’s fist, it resulted in me cycling through this intense rollercoaster of fuck yeah and fuck no emotions whenever I ate there.  Such as “WOW this is fucking tasty” to “UH OH, how many of these little fuckers am I gonna have to eat to even touch my sides?” and then after some basic arithmetic I realise that the answer is “fuck tonnes x HKD78 each before tip = MY BANKRUPTCY, PLS TO HAVE IT”.

*cut to Sgt Noms’ matcha ice-cream bao sandwich melting under the hot, shower of impending bankruptcy tears*

weirdbiscuit

Second Draft is in the hip enclave Tai Hang, which I have a soft spot for even if it’s never really developed a knock out dining or bar scene.  But I guess that’s the hard to please game that hipster Tai Hang likes to play.  Second Draft is directly opposite where Stones (RIP) used to be and it’s a bright, simple space with sea-green walls, stencilled English/Chinese signs which say cute as fuck things like “NO SMOKING” and “BEWARE PICKPOCKETS”.  The back wall lists all the craft beers and hand pump beers that are available, our cheery waitress and knowledgeable bar dude telling us that that’s the best place for us to choose our beer from as they can’t keep the menus updated enough to keep up with their changing roster of beers.  I’m not the most knowledgeable fucker when it comes to beer but my more learned beer lovin’ homies are impressed with what’s on offer.  I stick to my Subject Matter Expertise and take down a Chen Pei Negroni (HKD120 +10% service charge), a lighter take on your traditional Negroni with Ford’s Gin, Aperol, Mancino Rosso and Aged Chen Pei (mandarin peel) and watch our bartender homie lovingly make this delicious as fuck cocktail with a beaker and a fucktonne of care.

The menu at Second Draft is split into Bar Snacks, Small Plates, Greens & Grains, Sandwiches, Fish & Meat and Chiella with the claim that they have taken traditional gastro-pub food and made it their own by riffing on traditional pub food by adding Asian touches.  Yes, I’m a sceptical fuck so I’ve already got my Why Are You Doing This? Pants at the ready to slip straight into when I get some bullshit Euro-Asian mishmash dish.  But I’m trying to be open minded so I keep them neatly folded to the side while I take a moment to appreciate that Second Draft have gone to the effort of having both English and Chinese on their menu which I give a massive fuck yeahhhhhh.

No self-respecting pub can claim to have their shit together if they can’t make good fries and Second Draft’s Tai Hang Fries (HKD68 + 10% service charge) are dusted with cumin, dried chilli and Szechuan peppers to give it a little bit of ‘ma la’ numbing spice, with a serve of aioli on the side.  There’s also chopped takana (pickled mustard leaf) fried into the mix which reminds me of the chai po (salted, preserved turnip) used by the Hokkien folk and is generally fried and used in omelettes or congee.  You wouldn’t think fries are something that are hard to execute but this week alone I’ve had two fuck no sad fries incidents in HK restaurants so GOLD STARS TO SECOND DRAFT, you know how to fry the fuck out of those potatoes and I showed my eternal appreciation by getting a spoon so I could eat the remaining spice and takana mixture left over when I’d decimated all the fries.

The Buffalo Wontons (HKD82 + 10% service charge for five wontons) are not stuffed with buffalo but are filled with Three Yellow Chicken and Chinese celery.  The name comes from the buffalo sauce which is where shit gets real, referencing the sauce normally found on a buffalo wing (but without the blue cheese), it’s just sour enough and a touch spicy.  To be honest, I can’t remember that much about the wontons but I do know that I wanted to bathe myself in dat fuck yeah sauce.

The Mapo Burrata (HKD138 + 10% service charge) references mapo tofu, and it’s optically creative by subbing out the white tofu with a white ball of burrata.  The ball of burrata is served on the pork “mapo” ragout, with some baby spinach leaves chilling on the side.  Finished off with a red, spicy Szechuan influenced sauce there’s that ‘mala’ spicy numb thing going on which plays against the coolness of the creamy burrata and the fresh spinach leaves.  Fuck yeahhhh, riffing on traditional Chinese dishes and actually producing something clever and delicious as fuck.  Definitely add this dish to your Must Order dishes if you find yourself at Second Draft.

It’s at this point that I realise that I’ve slipped into some sort of alternate HK reality slider because I realised we’ve been blessed with fuck yeah, top notch service all night.  What is this?!  Is our waitress attentive, friendly and totally on her shit?  Is she sniffing empty beer glasses and identifying what beer we’ve been drinking so she can get us another one before we even get a chance to desperately throw down thirsty face shade to try and get more drinks?  Is she equally fluent in English and Cantonese and busting out the charm and affable service bilingually across all the tables?! Is this really a waitress or a fallen angel from the Efficient Service Heavens as she changes all of our plates AND cutlery so we can enjoy our next round of food without it being tainted with all the dishes that have gone before??  I’m not used to this level of kindness in the wilds of HK Hospitality and I’m afraid that this vision of beautiful, efficient service is too good for this harsh and cruel HK world.  Don’t leave us our celestial hospitality angel, we want you, we need you, we love you.  PLEASE STAY.

catleave

Someone had given me the red hot tip to smash up the Sandwich section at Second Draft and we went all in, ordering three of them – The Shanghai Dip, The Reuben and Fried Chicken sandwich (HKD98, HKD128 and HKD98 + 10% service charge, respectively).  Also, Bread Elements by Gregoire Michaud are doing their bread so at least you can be guaranteed that you’ll be avoiding the sad times and carb crimes that normally accompany most HK sandwiches.  The Shanghai Dip’s been getting some major promo at the moment as it was part of some Ultimate Sandwich Contest that’s been doing the rounds.  24 Hour braised pork leg and pickled cucumber is piled onto a ciabatta and served with a side of Stonecutter Scotch ale pork jus on the side, for you to get your dip on. It’s solid enough but I really thought I was going to enjoy this one more than I did, the dipping sauce and braised pork just being a bit too sweet for me to really get my full Fuck Yeah Sandwich on.

However, the Second Draft Reuben storms it home, using a dark beer bread and sliced pastrami, melted swiss cheese, pickled red cabbage and a young ginger dressing which in combination DING DING DING rings my FUCK YEAH SANDWICH bell so fucking hard.  In a major win, everything’s the right temperature which means that the sliced pastrami and its fatty streaks are still melting, the Swiss cheese is not a congealed slice of sadness and the toasted beer bread is actually still warm when it’s served.  Sure it’s not a traditional Reuben sandwich but I’ll take this one over some of the super sad ones I’ve had in HK.

We’d been seeing some fuck yeah looking fried chicken sandwiches being delivered to the other tables so we piled in for this one.  When it actually arrived at our table I realised that it wasn’t on any sort of appropriate bread but it was in fact constructed from, MY NEMESIS BRIOCHE.  In case you’ve forgotten about my feelings regarding brioche, please refer to my greatest contribution to the internet to date:

fuckbrioche

Sir Crunch-a-lot tries to calm me down as my face screws up into what resembles a cat’s anus, “Maybe the brioche won’t be that bad? I mean, it still looks really good”.  He’s not lying, there’s a fuck yeahhhh looking fried piece of Three Yellow Chicken with Nam Yu (fermented tofu) Mayo, Pickled Ginger Coleslaw on BULLSHIT BRIOCHE.  As predicted, I can’t get turned on for brioche and as I eat my fried chicken sandwich, the brioche goes from being slightly offensive to being downright BULLSHIT when it disintegrates into a thin piece of soggy, slightly sweet bread.  ASIDE from the BULLSHIT BRIOCHE though, the fried chicken sandwich contents are FUCKING AMAZING.  The fried chicken is fried perfectly and the pickled ginger coleslaw brings a fresh, zingy bite to it and cuts through the grease of the fried chicken.  Don’t freak out about the fermented tofu in the mayo because it’s more just a of a low bass note that rumbles through the whole fuck yeah sandwich affair.  BUT WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY do people still insist on using toasted brioche for savory foods???? *falls to the floor with flailing arms, hands in rictus gripped into flipping the bird and gnashes teeth, amongst broken dreams and inferior bread choices*

likewhylikedont

Don’t get me wrong, the Fried Chicken Sandwich was still FUCKING DELICIOUS.  So delicious that I added another order of the Fried Chicken (HKD108 + 10% service charge) so I could continue to get my fuck yeah chicken on without the distress of facing MY NEMESIS BRIOCHE.

I wasn’t exactly sure what the Octopus and Pork Belly (HKD148 + 10% service charge) would be, billed as “Nam Yu Braised Octopus and Pork Belly, Chimichurri and Pickled Garlic”.  This was my least favourite dish of the night because I didn’t really get what it was trying to be.  There were pieces of octopus and some pork belly sitting in a tomato gravy and some baby peas just floating about.  There was something nostalgic about this dish for all of us, touching on something from our childhood of peas and gravy but ultimately I just didn’t know what the sum of these parts was meant to be and I was neither better nor worse off for knowing this dish.

HOWEVER, the Flower Crab Pasta (HKD198 + 10% service charge) doesn’t suffer from this fate at all and when it arrives, it’s a pile of thick Shanghainese noodles, stirred through with a butter sauce, hand dressed pieces of Flower Crab and shredded cucumber.  There’s a whole egg yolk on top, hidden under the empty carapace of the Flower Crab which is meant to be broken and mixed through the noodles before eating.  It’s fucking gorgeous and this dish also brings the FUCK YEAHHHH feelings.  There’s the dense chew of the Shanghai noodles and the sweet pieces of crab which is matched with black vinegar to bring that Shanghainese crab feeling.  The noodles are coated with creamy, fat fuck feelings from the egg yolk and butter sauce but it’s also balanced with the acidity of the black vinegar and the fresh cucumber slices which pierce through the richness, so it’s all the dark and the light, the ying and the yang and the fuck yeahhhhs and the MEGA MAJOR MIGHT JUST HUMP THE TABLE LEG FUCK YEAHSSSSSS.  Just like a 90s power love ballad, YEAH YOU CRAB JUST TO KNOW YOU’RE ALIVE:

irisgiveupforever

This crab noodle dish was so fucking amazing that I trotted my fat little legs straight back to Tai Hang no less than FIVE DAYS later so I could get Mr Pinchy and his Carb related friends back into my life again.  Except I fell into a trap for young players and as I expectantly sat at my table, dreaming of the crab related love and happiness that was soon going to be in my face, my smiley waitress broke the sad news to me that Second Draft don’t do the Flower Crab Pasta before 6pm.  My heart breaks into a million pieces, my eyes shine with disappointed tears and FML, this is what it sounds like when foodie blogging assholes cry:

les-mis-now-life-has-killed-the-dream-i-dreamed

So all of my reservations about Second Draft turned out to be incorrect, because I fucking loved it so much more than I ever thought I would.  Casual eats with top notch service, reasonably priced food which is riffing on the East / West thing but isn’t a total shit show, good beer/drinks and I can even book that shit so I’m guaranteed a table?  Sign me up for that good shit, preferably after 6pm so I can get that sweet fuck yeah Flower Crab Pasta in my life ASAP.

Verdict:
Fuck yeahhhhhh!!  I might even be able to move past the offensive use of brioche because dat Reuben Sandwich, Flower Crab Pasta and Mapo Burrata giving me serious LIFE.

Where:
Viet Kitchen (fuck yeahhhh functional website.  WITH MENUS. VIET KITCHEN, I’M CRYING HERE)
Lobby, Nexxus Building
41 Connaught Road, Central
Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2806 2068 (but they will only take lunch bookings for more than six people)

Price:
HKD98 for the starter and main lunch set. +HKD22 for the drink. After service charge, out at HKD120 a person.

The deal:
Chef Peter Cuong Franklin, previously of Chom Chom fame, has set up Viet Kitchen at the Nexxus Building (near the Hang Seng Building / walkway through Central Market).  I gotta make a FYN confession, I never went to the new Chom Chom even though everyone was losing their shit over it. This is because my kindred soul mate in nom, Ms Two Serves, went a few times and I was on the receiving end of several emotional whatsapp outbursts about her fuck no experiences which really just consisted of about 20 messages saying “Whyyyyyy?”, interspersed intermittently with “So salty” and “Pho Cheung Fan Rice Rolls??”.  Add in the hordes of people and the inability to book and I wrote Chom Chom off entirely. Chef Franklin is no longer at Chom Chom and he has since opened the substantially sized Viet Kitchen.  I decided to try it because I was looking for somewhere new for lunch with minimal drama in Central because I just find eating lunch in Central to be such hard fucking work.  As you can’t book Viet Kitchen, I aggressively implored my fellow lunch homie to leg it down Des Voeux Road with me as close to 12pm as possible because Viet Kitchen won’t take bookings for tables of less than six people.  Yasss bish ruuuun:

totororunbitchrun

Luckily the most cardiovascular exercise I’ve had in weeks gave me more tangible results than the gym ever did because we walked straight into getting a table.  I’ll note though that I found myself back at Viet Kitchen within the week and without the Des Voeux Noonday Dash ahead of the lunch hordes, we arrived at around 12:30pm and we only had to endure a relatively short 10-15 minute wait for a table.

One thing that I’m giving a major FUCK YEAH for Viet Kitchen’s proposition is that they are gunning to be an efficient as fuck lunch joint and it’s clear that their speedy wait times are no accident.  You are able to select your lunch from a clipboard while you wait and as soon as you sit down, your entrees are practically upon you.  The restaurant itself isn’t the size of a postage stamp and seats over 80 people meaning they can pack the masses in.  The lunch menu is straightforward with minimal options and no one has to verbally take your order – meaning that your lunch inputs are fed straight into the Viet Kitchen Lunch Machine and it’s barely minutes before your entrees are being served up to your table.  The staff are efficient and on their shit which means fuck yeahhhhhhhhhhh, supreme lunch efficiency!

For starters there’s a four choices – deep fried lemongrass silken tofu, caramel chicken wings, the Vietnamese soft spring roll stuffed with sole or a green papaya and mango salad.  But lolz, as if I was ever gonna get some sad ass papaya salad when there was deep fried, caramel chicken wings on offer.  The chicken wings are fucking awesome and Viet Kitchen will give you three pieces.  Slightly spicy but with a warm, caramel and garlic flavour. Obviously I could have eaten nine but I’m not known as the Angel of Chicken Death for nothing.  On another return visit I ordered the deep fried lemongrass silken tofu which were a small, though fuck yeah starter.  One of my lunching homies decided to respect himself and made the sensible choice and got the salad, which came with an extra serve of sadness on the side.  He barely touched his healthy as fuck salad, while he longingly stared at my golden cubes of deep fried tofu.  Face facts homies, good decisions never ever start with forsaking fried chicken for salad.

wayansbaddecision

I’ve tried two mains at Viet Kitchen now. The first time, I went for the traditional Saigon Beef Pho, billed as beef broth, medium rare beef, slow roasted brisket and rice noodles.  Viet Kitchen’s Pho has been quite the source of consternation on OpenRice (lolz) with crying faces all over the shop.  I’m not gonna declare it to be the best pho in HK nor am I gonna be an asshole and compare it to some hole in the wall pho joint that you’ve most definitely never heard of in Vietnam, but it was a solid fuck yeah and I enjoyed it.  Sure, I could have done with more beef and I’m always into getting beef balls and tripe as well in my pho.  I also would have preferred a firmer noodle with more bite vs the softer “hor fun” style noodle that Viet Kitchen used, but that’s HK Pho Life for you. You can add another HKD28+ to upgrade to the large bowl but I’m a greedy fucker and the normal size bowl was perfectly fine by me. Overall, the pho was solid lunch time fare but I wasn’t overwhelmed by unbridled fuck yeah emotions.

On my return visit, I got involved with probably one of my favourite sandwiches of all time, the majestic Banh Mi (Tiệm Bánh Mi Phương, I still burn for you, my love, my fire, my carb based desire).  Viet Kitchen aren’t fucking about and will send you straight to my favourite destination, CARB TOWN, loading up their banh mi with a side of lightly spiced french fries and sweet chilli ketchup.  Rules to live by:  Carb life = best life. Viet Kitchen lets you choose from three types of banh mi – The Pork Experience, Wok Fried Lemongrass Beef, and Turmeric and Dill Sole Fillet.  I ain’t got time for that new age banh mi bullshit so of course I went in for The Pork Experience.  As I’ve had so many sub-standard banh mis in HK I wasn’t exactly holding my breath, steeling myself for fuck no sandwich related disappointment.

But whoa, surprise on the upside cause fuck yeahhhhhh this was probably the best banh mi I’ve had in HK.  First of all, the French baguette they use is a fuck yeah because it’s crisp as fuck but not so crunchy that your mouth ends up being carved up into a mess by razor sharp shards of crust.  There’s a good amount of bread in proportion to the ingredients and they haven’t just packed it with low cost carrots to make up for actually giving you meat.  The pork banh mi is stuffed with thin caramelised pieces of pork belly, slices of Vietnamese pork sausage, pickled carrots, daikon and cucumber and fresh coriander.  To bring it all together, there’s a good smear of pork liver pate and sriracha mayo.  Yassssssssssss, sriracha, pork and bread based feelings followed by a french fry chaser is the sort of fuck yeah lunch time experience that I can wholeheartedly get my greedy carb loving ass behind.

It’s HKD22 to add a drink to your lunch and while there’s the bog standard options of canned soft drinks there’s also some of my favourite fuck yeah Vietnamese options – fresh lime soda, salted lime soda, Vietnamese iced coffee and Vietnamese iced tea.  I’m all about the Vietnamese iced coffee and Viet Kitchen’s  is a fuck yeah – strong, punchy black coffee being sweetened just enough from the condensed milk.  Fuck yeahhhh, just add a shot of Kahlúa and vodka and I’d happily drink these til I lost all sensation in my face.

If you wanted to, I think you could easily be seated and out of Viet Kitchen within half an hour.  However, despite the demand for tables though, our waiters were polite and never hassled us to leave before we were ready.  The good news is that even if you can’t be fucked braving the lunch time crowds and dealing with the table palaver, you can always just get a FUCK YEAH banh mi from their Viet Baguette take-away counter.  I’m not sure how big the non-lunch or weekend crowds are for Viet Kitchen considering its location is in the middle of Central not near the restaurants of Soho etc, but I know that Viet Kitchen is giving it a red hot go to be a bar/drinks venue as well.  Not sure how that’s going to go for them but fuck, systematic and organised lunch service gets a FUCK YEAH from me.

Verdict:
Fuck yeahhhh to efficient as fuck, affordable and tasty lunch sets. Make dat lunch money Viet Kitchen, you efficient restaurant homies most def deserve it.

Where:
Momojein (no proper website so check their FB page)
23/F QRE Plaza
202 Queen’s Road East
Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2789 1949

Price:
We got out at HKD440 a person. But I was with Ms Two Serves which means most people would probably get out for less.

The deal:
Momojein only opened in September and its claim to fame is its imported Korean celebrity chef, Lim Hee-won.  I give zero fucks about celebrity when it comes to chefs because fame don’t make shit taste good but I understand that Chef Lim used to front some reality Korean TV show.   Ms Two Serves and I wanted to try somewhere new but when we were deciding to try Momojein in Wan Chai, we were so fearful that their claim to ‘Korean Inspired Cuisine’ could end up in mediocre and run-of-the-mill sadness.  As the ‘Korean inspired’ cuisine alarm bells went off, we did some due diligence and were vaguely reassured by their menu which contained no bullshit Mexican influences.  I don’t know why every single fucking Korean place is all viva Mexico because I have zero interest in sitting through some godawful Korean-Mexican kimchi stuffed burrito with some heinous fuck no name like the Miss Kimmy Kurrito.

The final deciding factor in trying Momojein was when Ms Two Serves pointed out that Momojein is walking distance from Stone Nullah Tavern and if it all went pear shaped, we could try and erase the fuck no disappointment with a second Redemption Dinner involving fuck yeahhh SNT buffalo wings. As the saying goes, failing to prepare is preparing to fall in a big bag of fuck no, sub-par food-related failure, and Ms Two Serves and I ain’t got time for that.

Momojein is a really fucking cute and modern space, their interior and branding nailing the clean, trendy feeling they were going for.  There’s warm wooden tables, brushed concrete floors and enough potted plants and greenery to make sure shit still feels comfortable and doesn’t veer too becoming a stark, austere echo chamber.  A clean and simple menu outlines Momojein’s modern take on Korean food in a modern sans serif font and Ms Two Serves and I revert to our default mode of wanting to order everything.  Well, except for the entire salad section which listed some unexciting healthy shit like “Watermelon and Beef Salad” and “Crispy Beef Brisket Salad”.  These salads weighed in at HKD132 each and seemed like an expensive way to get some artistic pieces of arugula, a tiny amount of protein and the faintest shred of pretence that you are making some healthy life choices.

simpsonswinfriendssalad

Ms Two Serves and I also examine what could potentially be the world’s most boring cocktail menu that anyone has ever bothered to write down.  Ms Two Serves asked whether she could have a vodka and soda with a splash of yuzu, which caused a mini meltdown because Momojein’s cocktail list didn’t push the boat out and include “vodka and soda”.  Fuck yeahhhh, let’s take shit truly back to basics zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz:

momojeinzzzz

We order the Kalbi Hotteok  (HKD82), which is described as a “juicy hand-crafted beef wrapped inside a chewy crepe bun that is then pan seared for the ultimate crispiness”, with ranch dressing on the side.  Ms Two Serves resolutely declares that “ultimate crispiness” is a concept that she can wholly get behind.  Hotteok (a Korean pancake) is normally stuffed with a sweet filling and Momojein are fancying up shit by stuffing it with beef, but fuck tradition because this Kalbi Hotteok is fucking delicious with its chewy though crispy fried rice flour bun and fuck yeah juicy beef filling.  While our waitress claimed we could share this, it wasn’t the most easily shareable food given that when you cut it open with the provided scissors, the hotteok leaks its fuck yeah beef juices all over the place.  Given its modest size, this fuck yeah beefy treat is not cheap at HKD82 (+10% service charge) but fuck, I’d probably still order it again.  However, the Flowered Chives Pancake (HKD108 +10% service charge) is really where the fuck yeah party gets going, this dish being the fuck yeah highlight of the starters that we ordered.  The flowered chive flowers are so fucking pretty and delicately flavour the pancake with onion and there’s a good amount of seafood mixed into the pancake. All of this works with the soy and chilli dipping sauce.  But what I remember the most is how this pancake truly captured dem fuck yeah “Ultimate Crispiness” feels.  No sad ass soggy bottomed bland Korean pancakes here.

For our main we ordered the Whole Kalbi and Coriander Salad which weighs in at a hefty HKD340 (+10% service charge).  Of course I was fearful that it was going to be tiny but Momojein’s prime beef rib turns out to be decent in size and could be shared between two to three people quite comfortably.  Even two greedy fuckers like Ms Two Serves and myself.  It’s fucking great – the beef is charred and served sliced with a fuck yeah Korean influenced BBQ sauce (read: BBQ sauce which is a bit sweet and spicy) and more ranch style white sauce.  You better believe that I went hands on with the bone to make sure no fuck yeah beef was left behind.  The accompanying coriander salad was refreshing but a bit half assed on the vegetable ontat as it didn’t really consist of anything more than coriander, a few shredded carrots and a light sesame dressing.  Yo Momojein, if you ain’t going to pad your salad out with any other sort of salad greens suggest that you only use younger coriander so your customers aren’t left chewing the woody coriander stems like cud chewing cows.

It’s at this point in time that we see this super cute Asian couple next to us throw down an order which belied their tiny, lithe frames.  As part of this order we saw the majestic as fuck fried Country Chicken sitting gloriously on their table, with a pile of golden renkon / lotus root chips stacked upon it.  Ms Two Serves and I rue the fact that of all nights, this was the night we decided to exercise a rare show of self-restraint in choosing the perfectly fine Korean chicken wings as starter instead of the far more impressive looking, whole fried chicken.  Cue to us being really fucking subtle and throwing some wistful stares at our neighbours’ table and their basket of rad as fuck looking chicken and their elaborate flat pieces of Grilled Bulgogi Pork which we wanted desperately in our lives:

eddieo

Ms Two Serves and I were after desserts but for whatever reason, our normally attentive Momojein waiters totally disappeared after our mains and seemed to be tasked with polishing all the cutlery instead and avoiding eye contact with us.  HK Restaurants, Y U never actively push dessert onto me??  After finally managing to catch the eye of a waiter and begging for a dessert menu we decided to the order the Black Sesame Tteokbokki.  Tteokbokki is a soft rice cake which is normally covered with a savoury sauce (usually a sweet red chili gochujang based sauce) but Momojein are continuing to mix shit up, adding some red bean jelly cubes and then covering it with a slightly sweet and salty black sesame sauce.  I was really into this dessert because I loved the dense, chewy tteokbokki rice cakes and the slightly salty-sweet black sesame flavour which was fucking delicious but a bit unusual compared to other desserts.  But I can totally concede that a lot of people aren’t going to be down with this black goopy sweet, salty black sesame rice cake and red bean mess for a dessert.  In which case, don’t order less conventional weird-ass textural Asian desserts to try and be a badass, just order the yuzu cheesecake or the banana hotteok pancake with ice-cream, ok?

So Momojein isn’t traditional Korean (ie. spicy red hot, bean sprouts in small dishes, spicy red hot, stewed beef, spicy red hot kimchi, pickles, spicy red hot) but I think at least their shit was coherent and the changes they made weren’t some douchebag bullshit that’s trying to demonstrate innovation just for the sake of creating something new or declaring obnoxiously how they’re some sort of global cuisine gypsy.  Combine the fuck yeah interiors with some innovative modern Korean food which is still fucking delicious and I’m so fucking down to get my casual Modern Korean on again at Momojein.  Particularly if it involves more grilled pork and fried chicken based fuck yeah moments.

Verdict:
FUCK YEAH to casual Korean inspired eats which aren’t a half-assed fusion mess in cute as fuck surroundings.  Momojein, imma coming back for your country fried chicken.

Where:
曾記粿品 (Openrice entry)
Shop 8, Sheung Wan Cooked Food Market
1 Queen’s Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

FYN Note:  It’s next to ABC Kitchen, look for the red / white Chinese sign.  It’s only open for lunch too, so don’t try and go for dinner.

Followed by:

KFC
Shop 231A, 2/F Shun Tak Centre (ie. the Macau Ferry Terminal)
168-200 Connaught Rd
Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

Phone:
I don’t think you really need the phone number for either place.

Price:
HKD100 for two people at 曾記粿品 and HKD27 for the KFC Double Down.

The deal:
Mr Judgmental and I had planned to make a return to 曾記粿品, a tiny shop in the Sheung Wan Cooked Food Centre which specialises in Chiu Chow cakes (or as my SE Asian homies would call it, ‘kueh‘) and other dishes such as Chai Tow Kway (菜头粿 – also known as carrot / radish cake) and the Oyster Omelette Pancake (耗煎 – O Luak or O jian / 蠔餅 – hou beng in Cantonese). While the other dishes may be of varying quality, the Oyster Omelette is off the fucking chain.  However, somewhere between the planning for Oyster Omelette and getting some other pan fried Chiu Chow / Teochew kueh, the news came out that the Double Down had come to KFC HK.  Yes, the gut busting burger monstrosity that substitutes two deep fried chicken fillets for the standard burger bun, with cheese and bacon stuffed inside.

I gotta admit that I fucking love to get a HK New Food Scoop (lolz) but even my greedy ass limits were being tested by the idea of the KFC Double Down.  I floated it with Mr Judgmental whether we should postpone our Oyster Omelette date and go and be amongst the first to smash a HK Double Down instead, despite strong reservations that the Double Down was going to be disappointing.  He shot back instantly that we should get our Bang Bang on.  That’s where you have two full meals at two different restaurants. Sensing my calorie loaded hesitation, I got a stern talking to that this was an opportunity similar to 2010 when people went from ‘Katniss who??’ to ‘Katniss yesssssssssssss!’ and with that hard hitting pep talk I was all FUCK, I get the poetic logic of a Bang Bang double meal which involves a Double Down and I pinned my Mockingjay badge on, pulled on my hard cunt pants and declared “I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE!!“:

hungergamestribute

曾記粿品 is as basic as you’d expect for a cooked food centre.  From previous experience, we’d already established that the png kueh (a tear drop shaped kueh filled with rice, peanuts and pork mince) is a fuck no, too much dough and not enough filling.  Mr Judgmental hadn’t been a huge fan of their carrot cake (claiming it was too sweet), so instead we loaded up on some kuehs, an oyster congee and my first, my last, my everything – DAT OYSTER OMELETTE.  For the kuehs, we ordered the garlic chive, taro and white radish ones (you need to order at least three if you want them to fry them for you).  These are quick and easy snacks, the garlic chive one being my fuck yeah favourite of the three.  Yeah, we doubled up on the Chive Kueh.  The oyster congee was fairly unexciting but DAT OYSTER OMELETTE was still the fucking magnificent beauty that I remembered.  A generous amount of large oysters fried into a crisp, tapioca starch and egg omelette which deserves all the FUCK YEAHS ever.  Oyster Omelettes can be so sad for so many reasons including tiny ass oysters of poor quality, crappy gloopy consistency due to too much tapioca starch or poor frying which means it’s just a fuck no, greasy mess.  Fuck eating poorly fried food with all of the calorific impact but none of the fuck yeah delicious, crispy times.  No such concerns at 曾記粿品 though, because this was a fuck yeah crispy oyster pancake masterpiece which I ate seasoned with a little bit of fish sauce, white pepper and my own salty tears of pure and unadulterated happiness.  How can HKD42 at 曾記粿品 purchase such jubilation? I cannot fully explain it but for anyone jonesing for a fuck yeah oyster omelette, I can’t imagine there’s a better fix available in Hong Kong.

antmfeels

With our stomachs well sated by a fuck yeah budget priced lunch of HKD100ish for all of our food, we set off under the heat of a thousand suns to trek to the Shun Tak Macau Ferry Terminal, the only KFC in the Central area.  Under the bright fluorescent lights of Shun Tak, I had the sudden realisation that I’ve never actually physically been to a KFC in HK.  Praise be to the availability of online ordering or the fried chicken gathering skills of Sir Crunch-a-lot.  Not that my lack of patronage to KFC Shun Tak Macau Ferry Terminal has been hurting business because these guys were rammed, a long line of customers snaking out and around the KFC.

Sgt Noms:  Do you think they’re all here for the Double Down?
Mr Judgmental:  No, I’ve scoped the tables – I’ve only seen one person eating it.
Sgt Noms:  What about that awkward white dude who’s avoiding eye contact with everyone?
Mr Judgmental:  Yeah, he’s probably here for the Double Down.  Just as we are.

Thanks to KFC’s fuck yeah efficiency, we were soon placing our order for the Double Down (HKD27).  Mr Judgmental added a Hot & Spicy thigh piece as well as some waffle fries.  We stepped past our awkward white dude homie who was unwrapping his own Double Down and soon, we were staring down our meal which was putting the bang into BANG BANG.  Look at that glorious piece of Hot & Spicy thigh, lying all seductive as fuck in its plastic wicker basket, flanked by the innocuous looking Double Down:

doubledownhk1

FYN Fun Fact:  Did you know that at HK KFC that cleanliness is next to godliness?  Have you been eating KFC all your life with your bare hands like some sort of wild, heathen animal?  HONG KONG, I AM TRULY LIVING IN THE GENTRIFIED FUTURE NOW.

doubledownhk4

Do you ever read those food blogs where someone has carefully staged a photo of an avocado artfully smashed across a thick cut piece of five grain toast while a gently grilled charcoal kissed tomato sits to one side? Just to the corner, a blue and white porcelain milk jug with a sprig of wild rosemary peeks out precociously, while in the front of the photo there’s the gentle curve of a vintage mother-of-pearl handled knife which sits almost out of frame, while all of this is casually strewn across a rough hewn wooden table made from the deck of an ancient Greek fishing boat?  Yeah, well FYN food photography gets you the greasy wrapping paper of a Double Down which repeatedly declares SOGOOD SOGOOD, a greasy ass lump of fried chicken, bacon and cheese, with a plastic glove peeking out from the top left corner.  Fuck yeahhhh, behold the culinary wonders of Shun Tak Macau Ferry Terminal!

doubledownhk2

All I could think about at this stage is why was our built to order Double Down so fucking soggy.  It’s not like we’d sat around for 10 minutes gazing at our Double Down before we unwrapped it?  I care so deeply for my FYN homies that I even took a cross-section of the Double Down so you are all now fully equipped with the deep fried chicken truth.

doubledownhk3

Scientific dissection complete, it was time to glove up and get Doctor Chicken Takedown in the house.  I am not entirely sure what I was expecting from the KFC Double Down but from a base level I fucking love fried chicken, bacon and cheese.  How could combining these three things be a bad thing? Ohhhh but there’s always surprises in life and first of all, WHY WAS THE CHICKEN SO FUCKING SOGGY?  The flaccid bacon lay lifeless between the two soggy ass Original spiced chicken fillets with the highly processed melted cheese binding the whole mushy affair together.  But the greatest horror was the “mayonnaise” – which was so fucking sweet, with a fruity overtone.  I chewed my Double Down, pondering my life choices which have led me to this deep fried juncture, while I thought over and over “WHY DOES THE MAYONNAISE TASTE LIKE PINEAPPLES!?”.  It was like they were trying to put the Hawaiian feeling into the Double Down and trust me, the sweet mayonnaise fought valiantly for attention in the Double Down Salt Bomb Arena, taking me back to the Saltiest Ever Paella that I ate at La Paloma.

A close up of my KFC all glove no love shame:

doubledownhk5

Despite whatever shortcomings it may have had, I still finished my Double Down in its entirety.  I stripped off my glove and in the cleanest I’ve ever been post-eating KFC, I jealously watched Mr Judgmental destroy his piece of KFC Hot & Spicy thigh while I reflected on how the Double Down could have more fully lived up to its fried chicken potential.  Why did the Double Down use Original chicken fillets, rather than what I feel would have been a superior fuck yeah choice of the Hot & Spicy Zinger burger fillet?  From my research, I understand this is an option in some other markets. It shouldn’t have been that hard to execute a Double Down – all the Colonel needed to ensure was that his homies were using crispy chicken patties, a decent slice of crispy bacon, about one-third of the cheese that we received and normal non-pineapple flavoured mayonnaise.  But then again, what expectations do you really have of a novelty chicken item that has taken five years to get its greasy ass to Hong Kong??

As sure as people will never let you exit the MTR before they get the fuck on, I felt fucking awful all afternoon.  The Double Down truly did take me down.  Maybe it was the obscene amounts of sodium.  Maybe it was the alleged cheese.  Maybe it was because I ate three times my daily recommended calorie intake in a Bang Bang lunch affair where everything was fried.  Maybe it was the inevitable guilt and shame that overcomes someone after indulging in some KFC dirty bird because that truly is the darkness that clings to your psyche, long after you’ve removed the greasy glove and moist toweletted yourself down with the faint scent of medicinal lemon. But sweet greasy KFC darkness, oh yes, I will come for you again. Just in your traditional form and not in a fuck no sandwich which uses soggy chicken fillets to substitute the bread.

arresteddevelopmenthellodarkness

Verdict:
Fuck yeahhhh to the best fucking Oyster Omelette that I’ve had in Hong Kong.  Fuck no to novelty chicken items at KFC – but I’m not gonna lie, I could get my glove on again for a piece of that delicious fuck yeah KFC deep fried chicken thigh.  Original, Hot & Spicy – I know I’ve got room in my heart for both.

Where:
Mr Korea Chicken
21F Circle Tower
28 Tang Lung Street
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2849 5688

Price:
HKD120 each (Mr Korea Chicken was giving 20% off at lunch as they don’t have a lunch set).  A serve of fried chicken ranges from HKD158 – HKD178 (+10% service charge).

The deal:
Korean fried chicken has been storming Hong Kong for the last year or so.  While the epicentre of Korean Fried Chicken has been over in TST, a number of places have been opening island side.  Thank fuck, because going to TST is really fucking scary and so far away (lolz j/k).  I think Mr Korea Chicken (offshoot of Mr Korea BBQ in Austin) is only a few months old and after stalking attractive pictures of fried chicken on Openrice, I went to check it out with Mr Judgmental.  I believe he’s qualified as fuck to judge this as I’ve seen this asbestos mouthed judgmental asshole slam an entire four-piece Popeye fried chicken feed with barely a pause for breath before I was even halfway through my two-piece feed.  Fuck yeah to homies who aren’t doing Ultimate Performance and still eat fried foods and high GI carbohydrates.

We ordered some starters which varied in quality.  The kimchi pancake was fine, however the dukbokki (rice roll with a spicy sweet sauce) was weirdly fried and served with what appeared to be the fried chicken sauce.  The highlight was their seaweed roll, which had rice noodles wrapped in nori, before the whole roll was dipped in batter and fried. Fuck yeahhh, carb-on-carb action!

Despite Mr Korea Chicken not being that busy, fried chicken was slow as fuck making its way out of the kitchen.  I’ve got a strong suspicion that they may only have one fryer in there which means they’re definitely gonna have a bad time if their shit ever gets popular.  After a fucking eternity, our two serves of fried chicken finally arrived.  For our table we ordered one serve of half-and-half original fried and sauced chicken and the hot spicy fried chicken. The half-and-half was underwhelming on both flavours with the original fried chicken being totally underseasoned which meant it really was just hot chicken straight from the fryer.  The sauced chicken was covered in a red goopy sticky sauce which had too much fucking sugar in it.  The hot spicy sauced chicken was the best of the three types that we had and while it was hot as fuck, it wasn’t an exceptional example of Korean Fried Chicken.  My key take away from all of Mr Korea Chicken’s sauces were that they were just really fucking one dimensional and shit was just  TOO FUCKING SWEET.  The chicken gods also didn’t smile on me because I kept falling on the wrong side of chicken selection, always ending up with a dried out piece of fuck no breast meat which has most definitely contributed to my lack of fuck yeah feelings for Mr Korea Chicken.

Overall, Mr Korea Chicken may make the bold and unsubstantiated claim that it’s “The Best Tasting Chicken in Hong Kong” but they’re fucking wrong.  I guess “Quite Adequate Tasting Chicken in Hong Kong” doesn’t have the same ring cause while shit was passable enough at the time (predictably, we still ate everything), I ain’t coming back to wait for Mr Korea’s one solitary fryer to slowly cook up some offensively sweet, largely unmemorable  fried chicken.

Verdict:
Fuck no – I wish I could have my calories back so I could spend those bad boys at Jollibees instead.

%d bloggers like this: