Welcome to Hutong! Our (R and I) favourite restaurant in Hong Kong! First recommended to us by a dear friend who absolutely loves the place for not only its food but it’s ambience – romantic and with a view beautiful enough for the perfect proposal! The restaurant, is situated on the 23rd floor of One Peking on Kowloon Island and has an unblocked view of the Hong Kong Harbour. Whenever R and I have the chance to go, we always get a 6.30pm reservation to watch the sun set or rather watch the sky grow dim and stay till 8pm at least where the Hong Kong Island buildings put on a show! Well it’s an orchestrated light show called Symphony of Lights where all the buildings on both islands display a whole host of lighting effects – from laser lights to cascading lights on the facade of the whole building! It’s makes for a nice highlight (pun intended), especially if its your first time seeing it and finishes off the evening quite nicely.
Hutong or 胡同 are what ‘small alleys’ are called in China and are a big part of Beijing’s culture and way of life (Read more here). Much of the decor and ambience at Hutong really does bring you into the realm of a time in China that many may not have seen or have since forgotten but with a modern twist – antique-y Chinese dining furniture, a decorative rickshaw at the entrance (pictured below), wait staff’s uniforms – sam fu style, the restrooms – with wooden double doors and a traditional bolt, a tap that spews water from a trough hanging from above and function rooms – partitioned with wooden double door frames possibly from actual homes (a true blast from the past).
Besides the beautiful decor, R and I rave about its food! Here’s a pageant of food that we’ve had on our past trips there:
三不象 – Spring Onion Baby Geoduck Clam on a bed of Mung Bean Sheets [CAN TRY]
Sounds really exotic right? Hong Kong was the first place R and I had ever tried Geoduck Clam (not in Hutong though, but at a Hot Pot place, it looks really offensive in its shell, read more about it here) and it doesn’t have a very strong shellfish taste. And Hutong’s was prepared to perfection! The Mung Bean Sheets are kind of like Kway Teow really.
Drunken Crispy Pigeon – Half a Crispy Roasted Chicken and Half a Pigeon Poached in Chinese Wine [CAN TRY]
Tender and juicy for a small bird!
京城羊肉 – Crispy De-boned Lamb Ribs (A Hutong Signature Dish) [MUST TRY]
Before Hutong, we’d never heard or tried Lamb Ribs roasted in the manner of Siew Yoke (Roast Pork) and with this dish Hutong creates an exquisite texture in the meat (I wish I knew how they did it). Crispy crackling skin sits atop layers of meat interspersed with layers of juicy fat – when dipped in the accompanying sauce of scallions, soy sauce and garlic make for a gastronomical explosion in your mouth. R has declared this dish the only dish he has to have before he dies – and that speaks volumes about the dish esp since it’s coming from him! Warning: this dish MUST be shared or you might die of a heart attack.
蛋汁虾 – Crystal Prawns Fried with Creamy Egg Sauce [MUST TRY]
You can hardly see the prawns here ‘cos it’s simply drowning in the egg sauce – made from eggs, salted egg and crab roe (explains the crab shells). It’s really rich but I guarantee you will want to lick every drop of sauce off the plate. Note: Not to be confused with Hutong’s other dish called Crystal prawns with crab roe and salty egg yolk which is also a good dish but drier.
胡同担担面 – “Dan Dan Noodle” with Minced Pork and Peanut Sauce in Chili Soup [MUST TRY]
This is Hutong’s spin on the Dan Dan Noodle available in many chinese noodle restaurants (like Crystal Jade/ Ding Tai Fung in Singapore) but this is by far THE BEST I’ve ever had. It’s a small portion of noodles with a soup so mildly spicy yet so tasty you want to drink from the bowl. The noodles are really delicate and have a bounce to it when bitten into. *wanting a bowl right now*
Funnily enough there’s never a need to have rice with our meals at Hutong – you’ll be really full I promise you that! Other dishes that I’ve always wanted to try but seem to always get derailed by our all time favourites are: Abalone Carpaccio, Fish Lips, Pig Throat and Leek Salad, Hand Shredded Salty Chicken, Golden Eggplant stuffed with Minced Prawn, Beggar Chicken, Crispy Boneless Duck, Red Lantern Crispy Soft Shell Crab and Stir Fried Squid with Sea Urchin Sauce.
Here are some tips and pointers for your visit to Hutong:
a) Opening Hours: Daily from 12pm to late. Lunch from 12 – 3pm, Dinner from 6pm – late.
b) Reservations: are a must, especially for the weekends. Take an earlier reservation of 6.30pm to avoid the crowd and always request for a table at the window (front row seats are the best). Call them at least a week or 2 before hand at +852 3428 8342 or fill in a form on their website.
c) Service: Service staff are not THAT fluent in english. Service is incredibly swift – your first dish will take less than 10 minutes to arrive upon ordering.
d) Minimum spend: There is a minimum spend per head for the weekend at about HKD$600/ SGD$120 so be prepared but I definitely say it’s worth the experience. Ordering some wine to go along with your food and perhaps dessert and you won’t need to worry about the minimums. They have an excellent selection of wines here!
e) Restrooms: Restrooms are dark and dim so bring your night vision goggles. The sink’s tap isn’t automated so just pull the lever to one side of the water trough and water will come flowing (you’ll know what I mean when you get there).
f) Restaurant Tour: once you’ve finished with your dinner, take some time to walk around the restaurant and soak in the atmosphere and also check out the view on the Kowloon side. Take a visit up to the Aqua on the 29th Floor or have an after dinner drink there. Food here’s pretty good too I’ve heard.