English Article : Tai Kok Tsui – Eat Your Heart Out
Every day, we as human beings must perform certain compulsory tasks to maintain ourselves, sometimes twice a day, or even thrice a day, so that our bodies can function at peak performance.
From the bathing to the shaving, the walking to the talking, and the working to the smirking, we are vulnerable to the necessity to undertake certain tasks repeatedly. However, the best of the daily mundane rituals, I think, by far, is the eating.
The foods that I’m eating on the day to day differ greatly from those that I grew up with back in Australia. Instead of Rice Bubbles with Milo for breakfast, I’m now eating instant noodles with egg and sausage, and where dinner would have been meat and three veg, now it’s rice, a couple slices of meat and a leaf of boiled lettuce.
But who’s to say eating has to be boring?
And in Tai Kok Tsui we have a wealth of culinary options right on our doorsteps.
To write an article about food in TKT is a huge task, there are so many options that an overall comprehensive piece would be unfathomable. So, for this article we are going to focus on one particular observation.
Can we find the world’s most popular types of cuisine right here in Tai Kok Tsui?
To determine what the world’s most popular cuisines are I started with extensive research via one of the world’s richest sources of popular information… Google!
The results are accumulated from various lifestyle magazine articles and cross-referenced with a study by the government of the United Kingdom that determined what are the popular types of food for people from different nations. The results are as follows in no particular order; American, Chinese, Indian, Mexican, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, and Thai.
As far as eating to sustain life we must succumb to the concept of what is the staple food of each county’s cuisine. For the Asian styles it’s definitely rice and noodles. For most western cuisines it’s potatoes, but the anomaly here might be the Italians, taking an exquisite Chinese invention and calling it their own – spaghetti. However, at the same time you could argue that what the Italians did with spaghetti, the Americans did with pizza.
So, what is American food? I think most people would say fast food! But that’s a bit too simple, let’s not brush it off that easily. According to Open Rice, American food is burgers, steaks, hot dogs, and milk shakes.
How fortunate we are to have a good choice of places in TKT to grab a good burger or dog. From dedicated places such as “Burgerman” and “Juicy Burger” for hamburgers, and “Zeppelin” for hot dogs, to the places that offer a mixture of choices such as “SupBurwich” outside HSBC and “Kinson” at Olympian City 3, which, by the way, is a popular place for people to bring their pet dogs and cats… Yes, cats!
Mexican food in TKT??? Nope! Sorry.
When you ask most people exactly what is Spanish food? You’ll likely hear the word tapas.
Unlike their Mexican counterparts, the Spanish do have a little representation in Tai Kok Tsui, but beware of the terminology, the word tapas literally translates to appetizer, so while there are a few tapas spots littered around the neighbourhood, just know that the prices are probably not going to match the portion size expectation.
There is one place however, doing a decent job at recreating a Spanish dish called paella. A rice-based dish with seafood simmered to perfection. “Dr. Panini de Home-Made Kitchen” serves up this traditional treat, and as verified by a real-life Spaniard it’s not bad, not super traditional, but not bad. It does take a while to prepare though, so make sure you bring plenty of good conversation with you for the wait.
If authenticity of authentic national cuisine is your thing, then “Ristorante Pizzeria da Vincenzo” is a must. While TKT is knee deep in all kinds of variations of pizza and pasta, you simply can’t go past our resident Italian Mr Vincenzo when he’s in the kitchen flipping his dough and whipping up some tiramisu.
From here we are left with the Asian styles of cuisine. India has only one representative in TKT, “Roti King” and I have been assured by my mates’ mother that this is the most legit place you will find for miles in Hong Kong. Contrary to this our neighbourhood is absolutely littered with Thai food, counting no less than fourteen establishments on any given day. The range is extensive, from your high-end places like “Sawadee Chef” in Olympian City 2, to the one-man band “Top Thai” on Anchor Street with his famous chicken and cheese rolls.
All four types of Japanese food can be found around town, sushi, ramen, yakiniku, and shabu-shabu. From your franchise sushi spots to the small ramen shops, it’s all yours to discover. One that has been quite popular lately is “Daimaru Ramen” on Pok Man Street with multitudes of people lining up down the street to taste their treats, but of course my favourite is “Mou Mou Club” in Olympian City 2, I just love hot pot.
Lastly one of the most popular types of cuisine, not only in TKT, but statistically popular around the world, is Chinese food. There is so much choice that doing a complete breakdown would be an entire article in itself. From the traditional Hong Kong cha-chaan teng, to specialised cuisines of Sichuan, the possibilities are enormous. If you are looking for a good Beijing Duck and dumplings, then “Lao Zhang Gui” on Ka Shin Street is a must. If spicey fish more your speed, then head over to Olympian City 3 for “Charlie’s Chili Kitchen”.
However, after all is said and done, you can’t look past the tradition, atmosphere, and speciality of the dai pai dong at the TKT Cooked Food Centre in the Municipal Building on Fuk Tsuen Street. Every now and then you simply must sit down for a meal and re-connect with your roots.
In conclusion, we can see that many of the world’s most popular cuisines are available in TKT. It’s not surprising though that the most abundant of all of the cuisines we have are the Asian ones. I guess no matter what’s on offer, rice and noodles will always be the staple among the people of Hong Kong and Tai Kok Tsui.
By Daniel Hemsworth
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