Old Street Kobiteh
Despite our proximity to the region, good Southeast Asian food is surprisingly difficult to find in Hong Kong. Understandably then, we were rather excited about the opening of Old Street Kobiteh, a retro-styled Malaysian eatery located in the retail abyss that is Tseung Kwan O’s newest mall, PopCorn.
Set up as a quick service restaurant (order and pay at the counter, pick a seat and wait for your food), the menu is small, but has enough of the usual suspects to satisfy any hunger pangs for generic Malaysian fare. Curiously, Old Street Kobiteh also offers pad Thai and other dishes which are clearly not native to Malaysia and, for the sake of authenticity, it’s best to steer clear of these.
Giving the starters a go, the chargrilled satay ($45) consists of four sticks – two chicken and two beef, which appear thinner than our chopsticks and arrive coated in more oil than you’d find in the Gulf states. Either these meat skewers are fried or are grilled on very low temperature with insufficient heat to render off the oil. We also try the roti canai ($16), which, for an extra $5, comes with a bowl of curry. The bread is well-made with the layers of pastry perfectly fluffed up. It’s almost like eating airy clouds of fragrant, crisp pancake, though it does err on the greasy side. The curry also has a good balance, combining the earthiness of fragrant spices with the sweetness of coconut milk and the all-important thin layer of red oil on top giving it a slight chilli kick. And if you order the bak kut teh, you’ll get one solitary rib and a tiny, oil-laden Chinese cruller that’s no longer than the width of a palm. The meat falls off the bone and the soup tastes at once herbal, savoury and sweet with a clarity and lightness that’s comforting without being stodgy. But at $46 a pop, it’s one pricy bone. If you’re in the area and have a insatiable bak kut teh craving then it’s worth dropping by for a quick meal. For everyone else, it’s a long way to trek to and a lot to pay for quite a few misses on a tiny menu. Janice Leung
Shop F54, 1/F, PopCorn, 9 Tong Yin St, Tseung Kwan O, 3974 5118. Daily 11am-10pm. Dinner for two: around $150.