Foodie Finds: Six secreted-away culinary gems in Hong Kong

In a city largely dominated by Italian, French and Japanese cuisines, a much more understated mix of the city’s cultural melting pop offers a vibrant gourmet experience for adventurous gourmands. For those hankering for a trip out of town and for new flavours feast on, look no further than your own backyard with these exotic cuisines you might not have tried before.  


1. Club Rangoon (Burmese)
Authentic culinary traditions of Burma set in a dim, plushly-furnished diner wher diners are offered a profusion of South and South East flavours. Its Burmese style coconut noodles, in particular, is a hearty bowl of chicken curry and coconut soup, topped with sesame and chilli oil with egg noodles.
Must-try: Ohn No Khout Swel
Location: Central
Contact: +852 2503 3077

2. Kaum by Potato Head (Balinese)
An ode to the rich traditions and cultural heritage of the Indonesian archipelago. Foodies are spoilt for choice with the myriad of exotic delicacies, extensive selection of sambals and unique cocktails that depict the native flavours of Bali.
Must-try: Babi Guling (pit roasted suckling pig)
Location: Sai Ying Pun
Contact: +852 2858 6066

3. AZIZA (Eygptian)
With no shortage of vegetarian options and richly flavoured grilled meats, this family-run Aziza offers a range of hot and cold appetisers, and wide selection of hummus. The warm ambiance of this 60-seat capacity eatery is one that the entire family will enjoy.
Must-try: Aziza homade couscous
Location: Kennedy Town / Sai Ying Pun
Contact: +852 3462 2844 / +852 2886 4889

4. 11 Westside (Mexican)
Featuring authentic Latin-American dishes prepared with imported Mexican ingredients, this modern and chic dining space presents a flare of fresh flavours worth trying. The highlight is their guacamole, served tableside with fresh, lime, red onion, cilantro and, of course, crispy tortilla chips.
Must-try: Guacamole
Location: Kennedy Town
Contact: +852 9300 8068 (whatsapp chat)

5. Manakamana (Nepalese)
In a modest diner along the bustling Temple Street, expect to find a fusion of Indian and Western cuisines mixed into a variety of Nepalese dishes on the menu. This family-run establishment offers popular delicacies such as momo dumplings and panipuri.
Must-try: Panipuri
Location: Jordan
Contact: +852 2385 8293

6. Junel’s Restobar (Filipino)
Eschewing the sophisticated decors and fine-dining presentations, in a discreet alleyway along On Ning Lane, diners can expect to find the odd but familiar Asian flavours Filipino cuisine delivers through a hearty selection of soups, stews and fried delicacies that are sure to win hearts over.
Must-try: Sizzling pork sisig
Location: Sai Ying Pun
Contact: +852 5182 8725

Hearty, homey Burmese cuisine at Club Rangoon

In  a city that has come to be largely dominated by Japanese, French, Italian and Chinese culinary hotspots, one particular eatery is bravely looking to bring a very different gourmet experience to Hong Kong connoisseurs. Nestled in the slopes of Central’s Aberdeen Street, Club Rangoon is unique in being the only Burmese restaurant in the whole of the SAR. 

Mayanmore Hearty, homey Burmese cuisine gafencu magazine club rangoon chef Nelson cheque

The brainchild of Nelson Htoo, a native of Yangon, Club Rangoon reflects his desire to introduce the culinary traditions of his homeland to Hong Kong’s more discerning diners. Expanding upon the thinking behind this passion project, he says: “With this restaurant, I don’t just want to introduce locals to the recipes my mother and grandmother swore by when I was growing up, I also want to provide a genuine taste of Burmese culture.” In line with this, the dark, plushly-upholstered interior of the eatery is adorned with a plethora of Myanmese images, including many photos of Htoo’s own family.

Mayanmore Hearty, homey Burmese cuisine gafencu magazine club rangoon Samusa

Turning to the cuisine itself, we commenced our tasting odyssey with the Mutton Samusa, a hugely popular snack in Myanmar, it also has legions of foodie fans in neighbouring India and Nepal. The dish sees lightly spiced morsels of mutton wrapped in flaky pastry and delivers a surprisingly light finish despite being deep-fried. The accompanying mint sauce – similarly subtle – heightens the samusa with a lovely aromatic tang. 

Mayanmore Hearty, homey Burmese cuisine club rangoon Village Style Egg Curry Bites gafencu magazine

Next to be served were the Village Style Egg Curry Bites, with each boiled egg topped liberally with deep-fried peas and caramelised onions. A study in restraint, rather than overwhelming the taste buds, the curry serves to enhance the flavours of the melt-in-your-mouth onions, while the crunchy peas add another layer of texture. 

Mayanmore Hearty, homey Burmese cuisine club rangoon Ohn No Khout Swel (Burmese style coconut noodles) gafencu magazine

Then the first of our mains – Ohn No Khout Swel (Burmese style coconut noodles) – arrived tableside. Built on a base of chicken curry and coconut soup, the egg noodles are seasoned with liberal drizzles of sesame oil and chilli oil. Undeniably a feast for the eyes, its visual appeal was matched by its rich, hearty flavours, with the thicker consistency of the sauce finding the sweet spot when it comes to the optimal noodle-to-condiment ratio. 

Mayanmore Hearty, homey Burmese cuisine gafencu magazine club rangoon Mohinga

Scarcely had we finished than the next course put in an appearance – a piping hot bowl of Mohinga. This noodle soup concoction is widely considered to be the national dish of Myanmar and, as such, is an essential part of the Burmese diet. Traditionally consumed at breakfast time, mohinga is equally at home in the country’s fine-dining establishments as in its street-side hawker stalls. In Club Rangoon’s take on this iconic classic, the rice noodles are diced into bite-sized pieces and eaten with a soup spoon rather than chopsticks. The star of the particular show, though, is the catfish broth, an intense soup redolent with lemongrass, ginger and a hint of chilli that embodies comfort food at its very best. 

Mayanmore Hearty, homey Burmese cuisine club rangoon A Mel Thar Dan Bauk, a Burmese-style beef biryani gafencu magazine

Scarcely pausing for breath, it was then on to the A Mel Thar Dan Bauk, a Burmese-style beef biryani inspired by Htoo’s grandmother’s own recipe. Unlike typically heavier Indian biryanis, the rice-and-vegetable bed here is simply seasoned, making it the perfect foil for the delectably tender beef cheeks. Slow cooked for 12 hours, their delicious softness is further enhanced by a tomato and dried shrimp sauce and a coating of crispy fried shallots, with the resultant combination packing a powerful umami punch.

Mayanmore Hearty, homey Burmese cuisine gafencu magazine club rangoon Burmese Tea Ice Cream

Although almost sated by the delicious meal proper, we had just enough space for dessert – Burmese Tea Ice Cream. Described as ‘an ode to the tea culture of Burma’, this particular after proved more than a little reminiscent of Hong Kong’s own famed milk tea, though, perhaps surprisingly, not that sweet. The banana and cashew crumble – made in-house by Head Chef Karisa Cheque – and banana pudding, however, more than made up for that, upping the sugar content of the dish by several notches. 

Mayanmore Hearty, homey Burmese cuisine club rangoon gafencu magazine

Well aware of its pioneering positioning as the sole Burmese eatery in Hong Kong, Club Rangoon still goes the extra mile to ensure the authenticity of its dishes. Beyond that, though, it all but guarantess that every item on its menu isn’t just tasty, but also wholesome, hearty and welcoming, ensuring diners retain only the fondest memories of their encounter with this undeservedly rare culinary tradition.

Club Rangoon. 33 Aberdeen Street, Central. (852) 2503 3077.