My original plan for Hong Kong was fitting in as much amazing Cantonese, Japanese, and Southeast Asian food as possible in a 3-day period. I solicited recommendations on Chowhound and did research on Openrice. I had dreams about sitting in a cha chaan teng with Hong Kong milk tea, French toast with condensed milk, and the odd-sounding but comforting macaroni with Spam. Then I got sick.*
I did get my milk tea, some congee, and a nice Cantonese dinner with relatives. But I was in no mood to hunt down new restaurants on streets and alleys I had never been to. Sneezing, wheezing, headaches, and a sore throat can dampen the spirits of any seasoned foodie. The best meal I had in Hong Kong was on the day I arrived, before the bad stuff started.
Jake and I got into Kowloon's train station at 1:30pm. By 3pm, after dropping off luggage, we were sitting in plastic chairs at Victory Kitchen in Northpoint. We were with my uncle, a HK foodie, who had never been to the restaurant but has always seen lines of people outside the door. That's a good enough sign for me.
The tiny restaurant, operated by a Thai chef (according to the uncle), serves a mix of Southeast Asian and Cantonese dishes. I ordered a noodle soup with huge chunks of lemongrass fried pork. I had not eaten anything with pungent lemongrass flavors in many months, and savored every bite. (That the pork was deep-fried probably contributed to my sore throat later on, but I would gladly eat it again.)
Jacob's Hainan chicken noodle soup was every bit as flavorful as I remembered Hainan chicken to be. The best part was the immaculate house-made chili sauce that came with the chicken, somewhat light but with a nice vinegar tinge to the spiciness. As we left I saw the cooks in the front kitchen quickly and expertly slice a Hainan chicken in preparation for the dinner rush, placing the slices onto neat mountains. This is why I love the south.
Victory Kitchen 124 Wharf Road, North Point Hong Kong
*I'm in Zhongshan now, still very sick, but sucking down as much Tylenol, Fisherman's Friends, ginseng tea, and random Chinese medicine as possible. Of course, this common cold or flu or whatever it is absolutely pales in comparison to the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people right now in Sichuan province after the worst earthquake to hit China in 30 years. Too many people lost their lives, too many of them are young children. You can't be in China at this time and not feel the weight of this disaster, when the images of the dead and the barely alive are on TV 24-7, and when so many people wonder if this disaster was partly man-made. My heart goes out to all the victims and their families.