Sweeties, it’s time to update our post on where to eat in one of Hong Kong’s trendiest foodie neighborhoods, Tai Hang.
For the last few years, Tai Hang has become a mecca for foodies in Hong Kong – home to lots of mom-and-pop eateries, ranging from traditional congee shops to stylish sushi restaurants. We gave a quick rundown of our picks in this recent post, but sadly, rising rents means not every one of our faves is still around – the dessert shops in particular seem to have fled. Here’s the latest:
For baked goods, Bliss Hive is still going strong. The quirky bakery/cafe on Wun Sha Street bakes everything on the premises, so the pastries and breads are all fresh and delicious. They also come with a local twist – filled with sweet potato or peanut butter rather than chocolate, for example – but with a fresh cup of coffee, it’s all good.
For more traditional French pastries, you can’t beat Plumcot, which stands for Plum + Apricot and smells like a genuine Parisian patisserie. Established by two well-known chefs (who happen to be married to each other and who both have Michelin kitchen experience), Plumcot is a teensy place that bakes everything on site – including buttery brioche, flaky croissants and more. But don’t limit your visit to breakfast, Sweeties – because Plumcot is also the neighborhood’s best ice cream shop, home to its signature “Cold Dog” – a fresh croissant filled with artisanal ice cream. Just say oui, Sweeties.
Speaking of cold dogs – or rather, hot dogs, one of Tai Hang’s institutions – New York Club, was forced to move locations because of rent hikes. The tiny hole in the wall now located at the end of School Street does indeed serve hotdogs, but otherwise, it’s a unique blend of Cambodian, Shanghainese, Vietnamese and other Asian dishes. The setting is quintessentially Hong Kong – stools, rickety tables and shower-curtain doors – and the food is delish. Don’t be surprised to have to wait for a seat no matter how wobbly it might be.
Tai Hang is home to quite a few Japanese places – Sushi Shin (by Sapporo's legendary chef Masaki Miyakawa) is popular and highly regarded, for example, but the big move in the neighborhood has been toward authentic noodle shops. We really like Ramen Nagi, which also originated in Japan and serves up nothing but noodles. Take a seat – if you can get one –then grab an order form and choose your preferred broth, noodle firmness, toppings, and extras, i.e. boiled egg or roasted pork. For those keen to keep up with the Japanese fusion trend, you can even order the “Green” broth, which features basil and Parmesan cheese – creating a pesto ramen. We stick with the classics ourselves, but it’s a free world, Sweeties.
Around the corner, dumpling lovers should drop into Jin Jiao Gold Dumpling Bar – a simple place with another simple menu. Perch yourself on a high stool, then pick out which handmade dumplings you’d like and whether you’d prefer fried or boiled. We enjoyed the Assorted Dumplings, which included one of each of the 8 varieties, which range from classic Pork & Bok Choy to creative Beef with Spicy Masa Sauce. They were all yummy. A perfect snack.
Another great spot for dumplings is Gu Ma Ma, a family-operated restaurant on Ormsby Street that specializes in mostly Taiwanese and Shanghainese fare (main photo). They offer a great selection of dumplings, plus terrific noodles (the cold sesame noodles with chicken are a winner as are the fresh noodles with pickled veggies and pork), great cold appetizers like tofu with preserved eggs, and a huge array of tasty mains. You really can’t go wrong.
Also newish to the neighborhood, but making a name for itself is Tai Hang Bar & Grill, which draws a crowd looking for international fare in a comfy colonial-inspired setting. The food is good, with pastas, salads, sandwiches and more represented on the menu. The convivial atmosphere attracts families for weekend brunch and a diverse young crowd the rest of the time. We especially like Tai Hang’s classic décor and its quiet location – tucked under a banyan tree, next to a temple and behind the library - you can't get much more relaxing than that. And, the drinks menu is nice, too – with cocktails and mocktails created and named just for the neighborhood. Cheers, Sweeties!