Time Out foodie tour: Sha Tin
Dorothy So treks around the district’s hidden culinary hotspots. Photography by Calvin Sit
At first glance, Shing Kee looks more like an art gallery than an eatery. There’s a large wall by the entrance covered in black and white photos stuck on to pieces of Styrofoam; in another corner of the room, shelves of books and vintage toys sit alongside sculptures spun from recycled tyres and rope. This eclectic space has been the local hangout for Lek Yuen Estate’s inhabitants for the past 30 years but its history extends back to the 1950s. Originally founded as a noodle dai pai dong in Sha Tin, Shing Kee relocated to Fo Tan in the early 1970s before settling down in its current location in Lek Yuen’s cooked food market. This family-run operation is one of the oldest remaining noodle shops in the area and when it was faced with closure at the end of 2009, the neighbourhood outcry was so strong that it was granted an extended lease allowing it to continue business.
Shing Kee still does noodles in the daytime but in the evening, the second generation owners roll out portable tabletop stoves in preparation for the hotpot dinner menu. There are close to 30
broth bases to choose from, ranging from the relatively common cilantro and century egg ($40) to drunken chicken cooked with Huadiao wine ($130/half; $160/whole), all prepared without the addition of any MSG. The ingredients list is equally extensive and includes premium hand-sliced beef ($118), homemade oyster dumplings ($38) and the widely recommended deep-fried bean curd sheets ($32). Shop 5, Lek Yuen Estate Market, Sha Tin, 2692 6611.
Lung Wah Hotel
Lung Wah was once a favourite with Hong Kong’s eminent movie stars, socialites and important government officials in the 1950s and 60s. Its popularity has waned since its heyday but the kitsch ambiance (imagine funhouse mirrors, checkered tablecloths and several peacocks roaming about a cage) still retain plenty of charm. The food helps of course and Lung Wah prides itself especially on its signature roast pigeon ($78 each). The whole birds are braised in soy sauce before they’re roasted to a crisp-skinned state. The best way to enjoy these is to use your hands to tear into the gamey, fat-slicked flesh. Another notable dish is the deep-fried pigeon egg with spicy salt ($88). These crisp, golden orbs aren’t always on the menu so definitely order them if they’re available. The restaurant boasts several spacious dining rooms but we recommend grabbing an outdoor table which looks out over Lung Wah’s lush frontyard garden and newly renovated mahjong pavilions.
22 Ha Wo Che Village, 2691 1594 & 2691 1828.
Located in the northeastern stretch of Sha Tin, the Hong Kong Science Park is a daytrip destination for those who want to escape the crush of city life. After spending the day cycling along Tolo Harbour, we recommend hitting up Meraviglia for drinks and dinner. This spacious bar and restaurant is one of the few higher-end eateries in the park and serves authentic Tuscan fare courtesy of executive chef Massimo Bartolozzi and his team. Ninety percent of the ingredients here are imported straight from Italy, including the cheeses and olive oil. A lot of the dishes are made from scratch, including all the pizzas, several pastas and some sauces, as well as the basil pesto used in the spaghetti al pesto Genovese ($158). The secondi are also worth a special mention, especially the Tuscan-style roasted crispy chicken ($178) and the roasted baby pig with garlic and rosemary sauce ($238). For those working in the area, Meraviglia can seat more than 200 people and boasts a spacious outdoor patio that’s perfect for large corporate parties.
Shop S040, G/F, Phase 2, 10 Science Park West Avenue, Hong Kong Science Park, Pak Shek Kok, 2210 7168; www.meraviglia.hk.
Hospital canteens might not sound like the most pleasant of places to dine in, but this casual eatery at the Prince of Wales Hospital delivers enough style and substance to match up to some of the hippest cafés in the city. The venue is part of New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association’s social enterprise scheme, which provides employment opportunities for recovering patients with mental issues. There’s a heavy focus on healthy eating here and most of the vegetables used in the light salads and sandwiches are sourced from New Life’s organic farms. 330 also offers preservative-free, homemade breads, cakes and healthy beverages such as organic soybean milk and sugarcane juice. Lunch specials start from $32 with a rotating selection of hot dishes ranging from organic pastas with farm-fresh veggies to steamed brown rice served with seasonal produce. Another reason to love 330? Everything is served in toxic-free, biodegradable plates and containers made from upcycled wheat straw so you can be eco-friendly and healthy all in one meal.
1/F, Main Clinical Block & Trauma Centre, Prince of Wales Hospital, 30-32 Ngan Shing St, 2637 3112.
BEST OF THE REST
Chan Kun Kee
This dai pai dong is one of the most popular eateries in Wo Che Estate’s open air cooked food market. Expect cheap and cheerful stir-fries and roasts. The signature cumin-spiced spare ribs are a must here. Deep-fried Bombay duck fish in spicy salt is also worth trying. Shop 3-5, G/F, Wo Che Estate Market, 2606 1390.
Opened by the crew behind A-1 Bakery, this cutesy café at New Town Plaza offers fusion Japanese-Western dishes and all sorts of baked treats. Start with one of the pastas, salads, wraps or signature French quiches but remember to save room for Cocomo’s sweeter offerings. We recommend the Japanese dessert platter, which includes homemade warabi mochi, matcha ice cream and two types of sweet potato cakes. Otherwise, go for the assorted European selection, which has tiramisu, raspberry panna cotta, macaron and a miniature croissant. Shop 3-003 & 3-013, 3/F, Yata, New Town Plaza Phase 3, 2-8 Sha Tin Centre St, 2602 3013.
Keung Kee Seafood Restaurant
Keung Kee offers a wide range of seafood dishes but most come here for the famous chicken congee. The brothy rice is cooked to a cottony consistency with chunks of tender poultry. Keung Kee also does an upgraded rendition that has abalone added to the mix. Garden Rivera, 20-30 Tai Chung Kiu Rd, 2646 0928.
Liu Man Lee
A cha chaan teng, noodle shop and roast meats specialist rolled into one, Liu Man Lee is a neighbourhood favourite for a quick breakfast. The scrambled eggs and corned beef sandwiches are no-fail and regulars also recommend the grilled pork chop buns. Shop 7-9, Food Court, Sha Kok Estate Food Centre, 2648 7128.
Sha Tin 18
This restaurant offers Canto and Northern Chinese specialties. Dishes are prepped in the restaurant’s show kitchens, allowing guests a chance to enjoy the chefs’ skills. Sha Tin 18 also does one of the best Peking ducks in town. 4/F, Hyatt Regency Hong Kong, Sha Tin, 18 Chak Cheung St, 3723 7932.