Casual

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!!“:

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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:
Bun Cha Vietnamese Cafe & Restaurant (FB page)
Shop 1, GF King Ho Building
41-49 Aberdeen Street (just up from PMQ/Butchers Club Steak Frites)
Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

Phone: 
+852 2858 1900

Price:
HKD200ish a person including tip (no service charge) but we most def overordered.  Normal homies would probably get out at less than HKD200 a person. Hashtag, #thisiswhyimfat yo.

The deal:
One of the thing that has been a constant source of fuck no disappointment in HK has been Vietnamese food.  Yes, I know everyone fucking loves to line up outside Nha Trang / BEP and talk about how Vietnamese food is just ‘so fresh’ but fuck what people say, that HK Vietnamese shit is only just ok.  I just find HK Pho generally so fucking disappointing – the rice noodle selection is always fucking wrong (NO, HOR FUN/skinny rice noodles are the wrong fucking noodle) or overcooked and the soup always feels like inferior stock generally boosted by MSG and stock powder.  Call me fussy but I don’t think you can just throw in some raw slices of beef and some brownish tinged ‘fresh’ Vietnamese mint to turn a normal beef noodle into a ‘pho’.  Cut to me staring with anguish into a bowl of poorly executed pho as my heart yearns for the days of when I lived in Sydney and used to cruise on down to Cabramatta (where all the Aussie-Vietnamese homies are) where I’d get some serious fuck yeah pho by picking my restaurant solely based on who had the most Vietnamese homies in there.

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Bun Cha Vietnamese Cafe & Restaurant only opened about two weeks ago and my homie who lives close by tipped me off.  I rounded up Sir Crunchalot, Ms Two Serves and Ms Siuwaaan as we dared to dream that perhaps that this was gonna be the answer to all our HK Pho related problems.  There were some positive key leading authenticity indicators – I stalked their FB page which had awesome looking pictures of Vietnamese food, statuses where a Vietnamese wife was mentioned and messages where people were writing in VIETNAMESE.  When we arrived at Bun Cha we’d already seen the waiters look blankly at people who were talking Cantonese to them and after checking out their open kitchen, the kitchen staff are all jabbering away in Vietnamese.  Excitement levels were getting so hot it hurts and I couldn’t stand in the way of the Ms Two Serves and Ms Siuwaan Ordering Train who decided swiftly that we needed to try almost everything on the menu despite the large as fuck bowls we’d seen on the tables next to us.

Sadly, one of my Vietnamese food faves, the Banh Xeo (a crispy flour crepe filled with shrimp, pork, bean sprouts) was unavailable which meant that we had to start with the Ga xe phay (HKD68) as a token effort towards eating some vegetables. This salad is a mix of steamed chicken, finely shredded red cabbage and Vietnamese herbs and captures those classic fuck yeah Vietnamese fresh flavours by dressing this with a mixture of mint, coriander, lime juice, chilli, sugar and fish sauce.  The Tom Cuon fresh prawn spring roll (HKD68) was solid too but I found the Cha La Lot Luon (HKD68) more interesting.  Maybe because it was fried and we all know that fried food generally conquers unfried food but the Cha La Lot Luon was a grilled pork patty which was wrapped in a pepper leaf and all fried up together.  We also ordered a Banh Mi (HKD60), which holds a special place in my heart as being one of the best sandwiches of all time and it was one of the better ones I’ve had in HK – served warm, it was a good mix of grilled pork belly, liver pate, coriander and pickled vegetables, held together by a crusty roll and an ample amount of mayonnaise and butter.  I just can’t ever move past the best fucking sandwich I’ve ever eaten in my entire life which happened to be a Banh Mi in Hoi An, Vietnam at Tiem Banh Mi Phuong.  You should definitely fuck off that Sunday’s Grocer hipster gentrified Banh Mi bull$hit and get involved at Bun Cha instead.

However this was all just warm up for the Bun Cha and the Pho we had ordered.  A Bun Cha is a dish which originates from Hanoi and is traditionally some sort of grilled fatty pork (cha) mixed with thin white rice vermicelli noodles (bun), this is then mixed through with herbs and a thin, slightly sweet and sour sauce which combines chilli, fish sauce and vinegar which you pour over your noodles.  Due to a kitchen mistake, one of our grilled lemongrass pork roll orders arrived as a Bun Cha which meant our table of four was confronted with THREE massive bowls of bun cha (HKD68 each).  The grilled beef and pork each one was served it was a fuck yeah but once the meat was gone we were left with a shit tonne of noodle mixture with no more fucking delicious grilled meat to eat with it.

The Pho Bo (HKD68, Beef Pho) arrived and this is where shit truly got real at Bun Cha Vietnamese Cafe & Restaurant.  We devoured that bowl of pho as if we hadn’t eaten for days, only pausing to remark on how dreams really can come true.  FUCK YEAH, it’s possible to have pho in HK which has the RIGHT fucking noodles that aren’t a mushy disaster and the soup was full bodied and clearly the result of a proper stock base made from beef bones, charred vegetables and no lazy-ass powders or shortcuts.  Imma gonna declare it that this is the best fuck yeah pho I’ve had in the Kong and I think we told the staff at Bun Cha about 12 times before we left how fucking happy we were after eating their pho, eyes glistening with tears induced by superior fuck yeah beef stock.

Next to our table was a group of girls who were similarly so fucking happy with their pho and we chatted to them about how fucking awesome everything was.  One of them was ordering their food in Vietnamese so I can only assume that she knew more about Vietnamese food than myself.  We spotted that they had some sort of awesome fried spring roll thing so we got involved and ordered the Chu Nem (HKD88).  OH MY YASSS, you take this prawn and pork fried spring roll and wrap it with fresh herbs and lettuce leaves before dipping it into a sweet, slightly spicy sauce.   Major fuck yeah times homies, if you come here promise me that you must order this dish so you can be a better person.

As Ms Two Serves ain’t called Two Serves just as a cute nickname, the four bowls of noodles and other dishes that we’d already ordered wasn’t enough to satisfy her wanton desire for moar food so she was left with no other choice but to revisit our FUCK YEAH PHO times experienced a mere 10 minutes ago by ordering ANOTHER bowl of pho. We wanted to try the Pho Ha Noi (HKD78), a fresh beef and ginger pho, but it was unavailable.  NO BIGGIE though cause we just double downed on the Pho Bo again which we’d already had.  Same same but still fucking awesome so no tears, just fuck yeah shit eating grins cause fuckkkkk it’s all about the noodles and the soup as our entire table bathed in the blissful glow of fuck yeah pho feelings.

I quizzed one of the ladies who was serving us and I suspect she’s one of the owners.  She told me that she’s from Hanoi and she’s been in HK for over 14 years but now that her children are older that she had more time to be able to cook her food and open this restaurant in HK.  It’s not that I have a PhD in Vietnamese Food (but fuck, LBR, I don’t have a PhD in fucking anything) but I did spend a week in Vietnam once, so I should know what’s up.  But in all seriousness, there was something really heart felt about the food served at Bun Cha and you can’t turn out bowls of fuck yeah pho without giving a fuck about what you’re doing.

I almost don’t want to tell you assholes about this place because Bun Cha doesn’t have that many tables and I want to keep my unfettered access to securing fuck yeah pho in HK.  However, take it as an indication of my selfless fuck yeah nature cause I know my best FYN homies are gonna be all over this well priced, superior fuck yeah Vietnamese food.

Verdict:
FUCK YEAH, PHO LIFE, ALL DAY ERR DAY.  Don’t forget the Chu Nem times either.

Where:
Catch on Catchick (O M G, website is actually useful and the menu is almost up to date.  PRAISE BE)
G/f 93 Catchick St
Kennedy Town, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2855 1289

Price:
HKD600ish per person including wine.  For the food, it was about HKD335 per person.

The deal:
I was stuck on a Sunday night trying to find somewhere casual for dinner that wasn’t going to break bank or make me weep salty bitter tears of disappointment into some overpriced, fuck no bistro style dish.  I also decided that in the interest of not being the most predictable fucker in the world I should perhaps actually try somewhere new.  You wouldn’t think finding a casual restaurant with straight forward food is a difficult ask but fuck, as I started to sift through the new restaurant sections of various HK publications I started to rapidly lose faith in humanity that no clickbait article was gonna be able to restore. Like seriously, I’m not even fucking kidding when I say there’s a new restaurant in Central called Kettle Black which is focussed on presenting dishes which are black in colour, including a black truffle, porcini mushroom with cordyceps flower pizza.  Thank fuck, because I’ve always wanted to have a restaurant where I can reliably get black themed food and surely this concept will never lose its novelty ever. No really.

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I took my despondent self to my FY Noms FB account (yo add me if you ever wanted a homie who’s gonna read your FB drivel and give you a fuck yeah when you do something rad) and after an appeal for suggestions, a singular homie suggested I check out Catch on Catchick.  I was slightly hesitant because I’m not normally the biggest fan of Kennedy Town.  I know it’s come a long way since the MTR opened a station there and everyone’s getting onboard the party train to K-Town but I’ve just had so many ‘just ok’ meals with shitty service in Kennedy Town that I sometimes think people just get their judgment all screwed up because they’re really fucking proud that they’ve gotten out of Sheung Wan or Soho for a meal.  However Catch on Catchick’s menu looked like it was well thought out and full of fresh seafood which sounded like a fuck yeah idea on a balmy hot as fuck summer HK night.

Catch on Catchick is not large, with less than 10 tables.  We got jammed into a small table right by the accordion style door and we were bitching about it amongst ourselves when a conscientious waiter homie overheard us and asked if we’d like to move to another table. WAT, IS THIS REAL LIFE? AM I STILL IN HK?  I hadn’t even bothered to ask if we could move because I was imagining that we were going to have that HK argument where waiters won’t let you sit at an empty table for whatever arbitrary reason they’re peddling that night.

After reading Catch on Catchick’s menu, one thing that hit me was that it was giving me some strong Australian feels with the way they were presenting their ingredient combinations.  Not to say that Australians have the intellectual property rights over combos like soft shell crab and chipotle mayonnaise or barramundi and eggplant purees, but it felt like it was doing that Australian thing of taking shit from a bunch of different cultures, relying on fresh ingredients and mixing it into fuck yeah dishes.  Or maybe it’s just that Aussies like to throw a bit of chermoula or haloumi around to fancy up shit *cue Curtis Stone staring at you with his dead, dead eyes*.  I have since half-heartedly googled Catch on Catchick to see if I could find more background on the chef / owner, but I’ll confess that I lost interest and decided to rely on my own fairly baseless assumptions that there must be some sort of Australian connection given the prevalence of Australian and NZ wines and the use of ‘Stickys’ to describe the dessert wines on Catch on Catchick’s menu.

We asked our waiter homie how much we should order and he gave thoughtful, well thought out answers even giving guidance based on what specific dishes we wanted.  My homie and I decided to share everything because the menu had so many things we wanted to get involved with.  For a starter, we split a baked goat’s cheese and spinach spiral for a very decent fuck yeah price of HKD108.  I’m sure some restaurants are charging that for steamed green bean sides.  The baked goat’s cheese and spinach filo pastry spiral was fucking awesome, but I guess warm goat’s cheese and buttery pastry is a combo that’s hard to fuck up.  The strong goat’s cheese paired really fucking well with the salad, managing to keep its shit interesting with the slightly bitter endives, the acidic dressing, crisp as fuck apples and some crushed roasted hazelnuts.  This fuck yeah combination of tart Granny Smith apples with goat’s cheese made me have a vivid flashback to when Sir Crunchalot aggressively stacked on the kilos when he decided that he fucking loved eating cheese and apples right before bed to induce cheese dreams and decided the appropriate cheese quantity for this nocturnal ritual was about 500 grams to one apple. EVERY NIGHT.  Eat, cheese, sleep, repeat. Eat, cheese, sleep, repeat.

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For mains, we got the dukkah crusted salmon (HKD198) and the Jamaican jerk chicken with coleslaw (HKD168).  Fuck yeahhhh, I love dukkah.  For those of you not down with Egyptian spice blends to use on bread or to coat meat, dukkah’s a crushed up fuck yeah combination of spices and nuts like hazelnuts, macadamias or pistachios with coriander, cumin and sesame seeds.  Catch on Catchick served their dukkah salmon with cumin spiced lentils, a bit of yoghurt, raisins and pomegranate.  Yassssss, these sweet, earthy Middle Eastern flavours were fresh as all hell and most def a fuck yeah.  This dish just felt like perfect fuck yeah HK summer food because shit was tasty as fuck without being too goddamn heavy or hot.  The Jamaican jerk chicken was fucking great too – grilled so there was a bit of char with it using a citrus-based slightly spicy marinade and then served with some solid fuck yeah coleslaw.  It’d be a decent sized feed for one person but it’s not fucking crazy, probably checking in at just under half a chicken.

Given our order of a starter and two mains,we weren’t fucking stuffed to the gills so we both ordered the cardamon panna cotta (HKD68).  I’m an OCD asshole so I involuntarily twitched when I saw our panna cottas arrive in two different size containers.  I know it shouldn’t make a difference but I also prefer my panacottas to be released from their moulds, rather than scooping them direct from their container.  Petty foodie asshole preferences aside this panna cotta was a fuck yeah, delicately spiced with cardamon which was offset by a berry compote and a toasted coconut crumble.

Ultimately, I really fucking enjoyed Catch on Catchick because they just got all their shit right and it feels like it’s such a HK rarity to be able to have a no fuss meal which is still in a relatively decent restaurant but isn’t boring as fuck either.  It was also a fucking dream to receive such bang on service with not a single waiter leaving us wanting for anything.  The food was relying on fresh ingredients and flavour combos were pulled from different sources without being awkward or obtuse.  Prices were on point and thanks to the Kennedy Town MTR it’s not even too fucking hard to get there.  WTF, is this what complete satisfaction feels like?!

Verdict:
Honestly, this shit’s a HK rarity, a casual restaurant with fuck yeah service at an appropriate price point with interesting fresh dishes and not a dumbass trendy dish in sight.  Fuck yeah!

Where:
Up 9
Unit H, 9/F, Winner Building
27 – 37 D’Aguilar Street
Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong

Phone:
???? – it’s on the bottom of the menu, but I didn’t take it down. Sorry homies, but I doubt you can book this place.

Price:
Dishes range from HKD30-60, we got out at HKD80 a person.

The deal:
Up 9 is also known as the ‘secret’ Nepalese restaurant in LKF.  Allegedly, it’s where the formidable as fuck Nepalese bar and hospitality staff get their late night, post shift eats on.  It’s also where every hipster foodie asshole who actually knows where this place is gets all fucking weird and defensive about actually disclosing its location.  Lucky for my lazy ass one of my homies did the hard yards on finding its exact location by haranguing his regular Nepalese bar homie.  Like WTF foodie hipster assholes, just cool your fucking jets on how special you think your discovery is because guess what, I found Up 9 referenced on Mario Batali’s blog, so it’s not like you’re blazing the shit out of the HK’s ‘secret’ underground food scene.

I was given a thorough briefing before I went, being warned that Up 9’s interior is pretty ghetto, with the bulk of their business done via take out / deliveries.  I asked whether it was more or less ghetto than your average Chungking Mansions restaurant, and my homie likened it to eating in a room from Saw.  As in Saw the horror movie where people get dismembered and fatally fucked up in grimey rooms with flickering fluorescent lights. OHHHH SHIT SON, with a pre-amble like that, I made a careful selection in who to go with, rounding up Ms Little Yak (if you don’t read her fuck yeah travel photography blog, you really fucking should) and one of my Antipodean homies who was visiting the Kong who actually gets a bit hot and heavy for authentic, ghetto cheap eats.

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So you’re gonna need very specific details on how to get to Up 9 as it’s totally unmarked.  Up 9 is on the ninth floor of the Winner Building (near Al’s Diner) and it’s the first door on the left when you exit the lift. There’s fuck all signage, just a “9H” on the doorframe, a door bell towards the top left corner of the door and a few bags of styrofoam containers outside.  We stood a bit dazed and confused outside what we thought was the restaurant when a kind Nepalese homie passing by assured us we were in the right place.  When we were let inside, it felt like we’d crashed someone’s apartment for dinner.  At this stage, my hot-for-ghetto-eats Antipodean homie was noticeably giddy as we sat our asses down at one of the foldable tables covered with printed plastic sheets, amongst the styrofoam takeaway containers piled up to the ceiling.  Despite being warned about the Saw inspired interior design, shit wasn’t quite that grim in there – there’s even air-con but fair warning, don’t take your prissy as fuck besties here cause it ain’t going to go well for you. Or them.

We are given a one page laminated menu and a super sweet Nepalese waitress takes our order.  I’ll be fresh with you, my knowledge of Nepalese cuisine is coming from a very low base, essentially limited to “It’s kinda like Indian food but not exactly” and momos (a type of steamed or fried Nepalese dumpling).  Yeah, I’m making space on my mantle right the fuck now for that James Beard Foundation award that I’m totally gonna win this year with such a solid expertise in global cuisine.  Regardless, we hit our waitress homie up for some recommendations and the following hilarious conversation ensues:

Team Ghetto Eats (TGE):  We’ll have the chilli momos.  What else do you recommend?

Super Sweet Nepalese Waitress (SSNW):  Chilli momos.

TGE: What else do you like to eat?

SSNW:  Steamed momos.

TGE:  Ok, we’ll get the steamed vegetable momos.  Anything else you like to eat?  What do you eat from here?

SSNW:  *awkward pause* I don’t really eat here.

OHHHH, that’s not the best sign.  However, this turns out to be a bald faced lie cause we saw our SSNW eating her dinner there later. Regardless of the miscommunication issues we may have had, our lassis arrived.  Which were actually lassis from a carton which proudly declared to have “Natural, Natural Identical and Artificial Flavouring Substances”.  I toasted to #cleaneating and #eatrealfood2015 and unfortunately, I gotta fuck no this artificial mess but LBR, WTF do you expect from lassi in a carton??

No biggie cause the real stars starts to arrive.  The chilli momos are fried thick skinned dumplings covered in a thick, red piquant fuck yeah sauce.  I think the sauce is a combination of hot and sweet chilli sauce with tomato ketchup, but for all my knowledge deficiencies re: Nepalese chilli momo sauce, I can definitely tell you that they made me really fucking happy.  The steamed vegetable momos were slightly less exciting except for when you added the achar sauce.  ERMAGERD that bottle of achar sauce left on every table was a fuck yeah of epic proportions, a mysterious mix of ginger, tomato, coriander and chilli which I wanted to guzzle straight from the bottle.  This achar sauce sent straight from the gods of oh-so-oh-so-oh-so-fucking deliciousness was also a motherfucking treat with Up 9’s fuck yeah vegetable pakodas (Nepalese for pakora).  Crispy and light, these delicious as fuck vegetable fritters were fried to fucking perfection, ensuring that any vague nutritional benefits from being a vegetable were battered away to oblivion.

However, the fuck yeah highlight of the night (if not my whole goddamn month) was the panipuri (heads up yo, these aren’t actually listed on the menu).  Panipuri comes from two words – pani meaning water and puri meaning bread.  This dish consists of crispy fried hollowed out spheres made from wheat, which are filled with a lightly spiced mix of potatoes and onion and a sizeable chunk of fresh red chilli (with seeds).  Our SSNW had warned us that it was very spicy and she wasn’t wrong.  A bowl of tamarind infused water is served, which should be poured into each hollowed out sphere.  Due to my Nepalese Noobness, I used a spoon to get that sour, salty soup into my puri but I noticed some Nepalese homies just using their puris to scoop directly from the soup bowl. More importantly, these delicate fried puffs were a monumental fuck yeah of contrasts.  Sour versus spicy, the crispy shell versus the soft potato and then the tamarind soup brought it all together.  Given the fact I had homies with me, we shared a plate but fuck me, I’d totally be down to smash a plate of these fuck yeah panipuris all on my lonesome.  These were so fucking good that I even provided unsolicited advice to a table of lost looking Asian dudes that they should add a serve of panipuris to their order of “chilli mamas”.

So Up 9’s shit is not fancy but if I ever need quick, cheap late night eats in LKF with homies who don’t give a fuck about aesthetically pleasing dining rooms, I’m definitely gonna get my panipuri, chilli momo fuck yeah eats on again.  But next time, chatpate (Nepalese chaat – a mix of spices, crunchy shiz , puffed rice and tomatoes), imma coming for you.

Verdict:
Fuck yeah to Nepalese cheap eats!  Just steer clear of the boxed lassi and start the fuck yeah panipuri and achar sauce dreaming.

Where:
Schragels
17 Po Yan Street
Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 9730 6727  (whatsapp!!!) or fuck me, you can even email them at bagels@schragels.com.  SHIT HOT DAMN, MEET GEORGE JETSON THIS FEELS LIKE THE FUTURE.

Price:
HKD670 for the Mr Schragel’s Knows Best full spread (a dozen bagels, 300g of cream cheese spreads, 300g lox/smoked salmon).  FYN DISCLOSURE – I totally freeloaded this one.

The deal:
Although I fucking hate being called a food blogger (that’s because most food bloggers sound like fucking morons on a gratuitous adjective abuse bender), I gotta face the facts that I fucking write about food so ipso facto looks like I’m a bona fide food blogging asshole too.  I’m not sure if the broader public realises just how rampant this practice is – that is, if you have a moderately popular food blog, restaurant peeps will offer you free shit because who doesn’t love a bit of publicity for their restaurant with a healthy dose of oh-so-oh-so-oh-so divine to-die-for bullshit tagged onto it.  Some foodie blogging assholes don’t disclose this at all and just write it up like a normal review (this is usually tipped off with pictures of them with the Chef, gushing about how nice and friendly said Chef is and “Oh my! Chef Ballbag was so delightful and sent our way a complimentary symphony of sumptuous starters”). Which we all know is a Mega Deceitful as Fuck Dickbag Move.  Other foodie assholes love to post these long as fuck diatribes in their bio section (normally titled a ‘Manifesto’ or a ‘Code’) about how they aren’t for sale and that they always disclose if they don’t pay for a meal and that their opinion can’t be bought.  Which means they will indicate somewhere in the blog entry that they were there ‘by invitation’.

So while FYN has not been inundated with requests to get my free eats on (probably because who wants to give some foul mouthed cocksucker a free meal only to get pasted publicly as a fuck no), every now and again I get the occasional offer, normally from someone who claims to be a FYN fan (which my vanity can totally get behind).  Fuck no to the PR firm that tried to flush my identity out by offering me a free Cali-mex burrito though. Oh no you didn’t, cause even a greedy as fuck, freeloading wannabe food eating asshole such as myself still has some fucking self-respect limits which are higher than a Cali-mex burrito.

Anyway, because FYN is into ethical shiz and not into a) being a deceptive, cash for comment douchebag b) writing long as fuck blogging manifestos that no one is gonna care enough to read, our graphics team has been slaving away night and day to create a bold and simple graphic that you can always look for if I’ve received a freebie.  Check this shiz out:

getmoneysquirrel

I’d been chatting to Rebecca Schrage (owner of Schragels) on FB (shameless plug, add FY Noms on FB if you want a homie who randomly shows up on your FB to give your statuses a fuck yeahhhhhh.  Like Fuck Yeah Noms on FB if you wanna be rad and show your Tinder matches that you’re into the good shit) when she offered to hook me up with some bagels after professing to her my deep fuck yeah love of bagels with no obligation to write about shit. This sent me into a nostalgic as fuck gluten filled flashback to when I was jet lagged as all fuck in New York and I took it upon myself to be that smug as fuck morning person, setting up outside Tompkins Square Bagels at the ungodly hour of 6:45am before they opened, judging everyone else for sleeping their lives away while carpe diem bitches, my fucked up circadian rhythms allowed me to be the closest I’ll ever get to being one of those Lululemon clad mindful assholes who runs 20km and smashes a green goddess juice before the sun even rises #killingit #namastebitches.

Schragels gave me a Mr Schragel Knows Best selection which comes in a massive fuck off brown paper bag. Twelve dense gluten filled bagels, 300g salmon and 300g schmears (scallion cream cheese and honey pecan cream cheese). Schragels hand roll their bagels and bake each one on its own stone.  There’s a range of savoury bagel flavours – boring ass plain, garlic, poppy seed, sesame and the all in ‘everything’ topping.  I picked up my stash direct from Schragel’s industrial kitchen (delivery facts:  pick up available for a half-dozen bagel order, delivery available for orders over HKD300 and delivery’s free to Central when it’s over HKD800) and I gotta be real, I was so fucking beside myself with excitement that I didn’t even make it home before I got me some bagel action. Mr Noms and I veered off into a nearby park, commandeered a Chinese chess table, rolled our singlets up to reveal our bellies, threw some sunflower seeds on the floor, argued about the horse racing and got our bagel eats on while some old HK dudes gave us The Look for stealing their weekend hang spot. I’m generally a bagel traditionalist – poppy seed or sesame seed bagel with cream cheese, salmon and capers and fuck yeahhhh, my parkside Schragel bagel time was giving me DEM CHEWY GLUTEN FEELZ.  I’m got big love for a chewy dense bagel where a homie has gotta do the chewing work.  A special mention for the Schragel’s large ass piquant, briney capers which were giving me life. But despite generally swinging savoury, I was fuck yeah in love with the raisin cinnamon bagel with the honey pecan cream cheese schmear. Punchy levels of cinnamon which I could totally get behind cause I’m a full on down and dirty slut for cinnamon. When I’m making blueberry pie I usually add 2.5 times the recommended cinnamon, cause fuck that one scant teaspoon bullshit. This cinnamony bad boy would have been rad as fuck toasted with butter, not that I’d ever know cause the only raisin cinnamon bagels that managed to make the arduous taxi journey home were in mah belly.

I did manage to cart back some of the savoury bagels home and I called up my US Super Coach (ie. my homie who made me do multiple drafts of my NYC itinerary before I was officially declared ‘good to go’) to get his ass over and try some bagels to give me some more reputable American opinions.  My East Village homie was impressed enough to say probably the best you can get in HK.  I get it yo, as if anything could ever stack up to a Fuck Yeah Murica though.  So fuck, I know I got a freebie on this one but I’m so fucking down to order again and spend my own ca$h.  Check it out homies and if you think it’s bullshit you should totally call me out on my lemon stealing money grabbing whorish ways.

getmoneybitch

Verdict:
Fuck yeahhhhhhhh, get bagels bitch.  I’m ready for some more of dem chewy gluten feels. For further information, you should check out www.schragels.com.  THAT’S WWW DOT SCHRAGELS DOT COM.

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