Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My Favorite Supermarket in HK

I didn't use to have a number 1 favorite supermarket or gourmet grocery store simply because living in HK you are spoilt for choice. Three Sixty (The Landmark, Central) has a convenient location, a wide range of organic products and reasonable prices. Oliver's Delicatessen (Prince's Bldg, Central) has very reasonably priced deli meats and sausages, City'Super has many locations and a wonderful-smelling bread shop called Little Mermaid. It also stocks Splenda by the packet, and my trusty fire-engine red silicone utensils. Great Food Hall (Pacific Place) stocks food from all over the world, and always entices me with their expensive "olive oil and vinegar" in barrels selection. They also carry Polaine bread from France. I'll segue a bit and tell you about the avocado oil and avocado oil with lime my friend is raving about. She says it can be found in HK but it's very pricey. She bought hers from New Zealand, where it's made. I can imagine drops of this fragrant oil on salads and pasta. Mmmmmmmmm, I miss the truffle oil an uncle gave me. It ran out ages ago.

So you see? There are so many food shops in HK (I hear the newly-opened Jason's Marketplace is a must-visit) that it's hard to choose just one favorite.

Yesterday though, a friend brought me to Jusco in Taikoo Shing (far away on the Easternmost side of HK Island)and I fell in love. A few of the highlights:

*Wide aisles and bright lighting.
*A lot of Japanese food on offer. And I mean a lot.
*Prices are far better than most.
*The crowd at their ready- meal counter was awful and jostling for space, but this can only mean the food is good.
*I've never seen such a variety of fish on sale.
*A Japanese restaurant inside that serves set meals that look yummy, although I have yet to try it this weekend.
*So many food stalls selling a variety of sweets like Stick Sticks (cakes cut into sticks instead of wedges), Beard Papa (the gourmet cream puff), Antique Tea Room, Maria's (their cheesecake was selling out fast), and Sakura Street (I loved the Japanese pancake filled with matcha cream and azuki and gobbled one up in minutes), to name a few.
*Savory stalls include a Fat Angelo's pizza by the slice and packed salads, 2 long Chinese cooked food counters, 2 sushi counters, a takoyaki counter, Japanese skewers, and so many more.
*If you get tired of grocery shopping, they have several floors of department store above.
*A Macau restaurant across the street that's well-known for their pork chop bun, curry and fried rice.

I ask you then, what's not to like? Probably the fact that there's no fresh seafood stall or a butcher, but I can walk to the Graham Street market (HK's oldest, since 1841)near my home. Most labels are also in Chinese, which means I have to brush up! Despite these negatives, Jusco is officially my favorite supermarket in HK.

Nearby is Apita, (located in Cityplaza, a mall in Taikoo Shing) another supermarket run by a Japanese chain, if you get bored with Jusco. Their prices are slightly higher, though. On the top floor of this mall is the best food court in HK! Their Taiwanese food, Wonton and Congee, Vietnamese Food and Sergeant Chicken (Hainanese Chicken Rice) stalls are famous! I tried the chicken rice yesterday. It was dreamy to be able to eat soft, pliant flesh dipped in soy sauce, chili sauce and the finest ginger, mixed with fragrant rice and soup. Their chicken is boneless! They even have boneless chicken feet.

I have now decided that the eastern side will be the location my next food trip. This includes Taikoo Shing and North Point (haven of Fujian cuisine, the one I grew up eating).

For a list of HK food shops see this link:

Wonton vs. Dumplings

A Chinese friend just taught me a food lesson yesterday. She says wontons and dumplings should not be interchanged or confused with the other. Wontons are often crescent-shaped, and fillings are composed of meat, vegetables and crunchy strips of dark fungus. Dumplings are usually round, and filled with meat only.