North Point

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.

Where:
Qinghai Tibetan Noodles (青藏牛肉麵)
Behind the North Point MTR station
North Point, Hong Kong

Not very descriptive but this is the description I received directly from the restaurant.  There appears to be zero correct addresses for this place online – see below for the map.

Phone:
+852 3565 6553 (don’t quote me, but I don’t think this is a booking kind of place).

Price:
HKD410 for five people.  FUCK YEAHHHH, SUB HKD100 EATS.

The deal:
GUISE, I’m having some sort of existential food blogging asshole moment because I know that HK homies love to read about new shit but I just can’t find enough energy or money to try any new places.  I get all geared up to line up somewhere new to try and then I’ll get a bullshit report back from my homies who say they went and spent HKD800+ at some new restaurant where it took 4+ hours for them to work through a patchy tasting menu with basic decor and shithouse service (yeah, so FYN homies, you won’t be reading about Quest by Que any time soon here).  Or I’ll read the new opening sections of various HK news sources and my visceral reaction to every new opening these days is pretty much either “HOLY SHIT, HKD150+ FOR ANOTHER FUCKING BURGER PLACE?” or the pure abject horror that ripples through my entire being when I read about another casual restaurant specialising in some sort of Mexican-Korean-Italian bullshit trend which seems to be sweeping HK at the moment.

Like seriously in the last few months we’ve had the following open – MOYO spruiking Kimchi Tomato Bruschetta, Takorea offering a kalbi beef burrito or a taco for HKD80 before you add HKD10 for kimchi, Crafty Cow with its grilled ox tongue, kimchi and roast potato dish and then the thoroughly upsetting Boomshack which offers the Holy Kimchi, a burger containing baconnaise (stahp), corned beef (STAHP) and house kimchi (STAAHHHP) for HKD88.  FUCK ME KIMCHI KARDASHIAN, is this what the HK consuming public really wants (really really wants)??  To eat a collection of trendy foods all mashed haphazardly into some sort of carb with an HKD80+ price tag?  To all the Fusion-Korean asshole HK restaurateurs out there, it’s time to step away from your Momofuku/David Chang shrine that you’ve made out of old copies of Lucky Peach, empty sriracha bottles and dried instant ramen packets, stop watching clips of Roy Choi and his food truck and try to think of something other than putting kimchi on your mediocre food as an excuse to jack the fuck out of your prices.

davidchang

So after finally getting on a hike with Mr and Mrs Ain’t No Mountain High Enough and some other homies (versus our normal modus operandi where we plan to hike and instead we sit around their apartment drinking champagne and listening to playlists I made for the hike), we found ourselves in North Point.  After taking them for a dumping aperitif (fuck yeahhhh, dem wor tip and xiao long bao) and some ghetto Park n Shop red wine action at Mr Hutchinson, we then embarked on trying to find Qinghai Tibetan Noodles (青藏牛肉麵) in North Point.

FYN Fun Fact:  Every online address for this place is fucked up – NO, it’s not at 27A or 41A Kam Ping Street and it’s not on Kings Road.  I even called the restaurant to ask where the fuck they are and all they could helpfully provide was that it was ‘behind North Point MTR’ and that they weren’t even sure how to explain which street they are on.  To prevent similar North Point misadventures, check this helpful as fuck map I made just for you fuckers and look for the orange awning at the end of this alleyway.

(null)

The problem with a lot of the cheap noodle shops are grumpy as fuck staff, dirty restaurants and often, no English support (both verbal and written).  If there is an English menu it can be pretty shitty, either poorly translated or missing half the items.  I fucking get it though, we’re in HK and Cantonese is the native language here – but due to my abysmal Cantonese skillz it doesn’t help me at all in being able to order food.  Fuck yeah to Qinghai Tibetan Noodles (青藏牛肉麵) not being lazy and actually providing a decent English menu and not relying on the ‘We’re a cheap noodle restaurant which is why we’re going to act “You killed my dog” level pissed off every time you ask for something or we don’t understand what you want’ HK noodle shop model.  Yeah yeah, Grumpy HK Restaurants, I know your landlord is raping you on rent every month and you’re a million years old so it’s hard to find the energy to give a fuck about my order, but give me a fucking break, I just want to eat some goddamn food

Getting into the food here, we ordered a shit tonne of stuff and only stopped when our waiter homie indicated that we’d definitely ordered enough for five people.  We ordered the dry beef noodles with home made garlic sauce (HKD39), crispy fried chicken (HKD32), deep fried veggie bean curd roll (HKD25) and the noodle salad with mutton (HKD38).  While the noodle salad was good, the bigger fuck yeah noodle times was the dry beef noodles with garlic sauce (it’s listed at #1 on the menu) – shit’s pretty simple, noodles, a chilli-garlic sauce, strips of beef and some coriander.  Get dat fuck yeah fresh flavour combination into my life.  Serving sizes are also decent – you can easily share this between four people if you’re ordering other dishes.  It’s also hard to get a fuck no out of fried chicken and the crispy fried cumin and salt seasoned dish here delivered exactly what the name promised.   Unfortunately, my deep love for chicken wings was left unfulfilled that night as the deep fried cumin chicken wings were fuck no sold out.

There’s also a list of BBQ skewers at a fuck yeah price, ranging from HKD10 to around HKD35 depending on the ingredient.  We ordered a couple of mutton skewers (HKD13), the cumin grilled eggplant (HKD25) and the beef steak (HKD30). The meat skewers were a FUCK YEAH – decent sized chunks of meat seasoned in chilli, cumin and salt.  A++ would buy again.  The cumin grilled eggplant with garlic was 50% garlic and 50% eggplant.  I fucking love garlic but even this was pushing my boundaries of how much garlic one can eat.  Maybe I was meant to push it to one side and just eat the eggplant, but my natural instinct is to eat everything on the plate.  We finished it but fair warning homies, if you’re not into garlic stay well away from this dish.

I have no deep knowledge of Tibetan food so I can’t give you any pretentious as fuck insights into how authentic shit might have been here compared to that time I spent an amazing four weeks exploring the wilds of Tibet (just amazing guys, you really need to check it out before it gets ruined by too many tourists).  But, fuck yeahhh shit was tasty and I am all about that cheap as fuck, sub HKD100 a person price point.  Yo Sheung Wan / Central, you can keep your bullshit new Frankenkorean concepts cause Lethal Weapon style, I think I’m just getting too old (or too fucking cynical) for that shit. You tell ’em Danny:

davidchang

Verdict:
Fuck yeah to cheap tasty North Point eats which also allow you to insufferably brag to your west side homies about how it’s really about getting into the ‘real HK’ outside of Sheung Wan and Sai Yin Pun.

%d bloggers like this: