The One With Ho Lee Fook – Holy F*cking Good

I wrote the title of this post in case you missed the homonym of the cheeky name for a certain expletive, like I did. I honestly thought Ho Lee Fook was one of those trendy restaurants in Soho with a penchant for Asian names. Literally translated as “good fortune in the mouth”, Ho Lee Fook is third restaurant of Taiwan-born chef Jowett Yu. To give the restaurant its playful vibe, Yu collaborated with Douglas Young of G.O.D to come up with the many touches of off-beat Asian funkiness, including its name sake.

It was weekday night when a group of us #hkfoodbloggers descended into the basement of this Soho shop for a night of good food and great companionship. We literally ordered the entire menu, so I am in the position to tell you that, like most popular opinions, the food at Ho Lee Fook was as good as it looks despite all the cheeky sounding names.

Ho Lee Fook

Perhaps one of the key things you should know about Chef Yu is his obsession with sauces. We requested for a platter of these and he happily obliged. From extreme right, going clockwise – lemongrass chili paste, fresh chili, pickled chili, roasted black almond chili, chili sambal, salted chili, chili oil, and XO sauce at the center. I sampled each one and loved the zesty lemongrass chili paste the best. Gimme a huge bowl of rice with that.

Ho Lee Fook

Wagyu steak tartare, Yunnan style – This beef tartare with sliced bird eye chillies and chopped herbs came with a top of generous fried shallot, which looked weird but worked just fine. The fish sauce complemented the tartare very well, giving it a refreshing twist.

Ho Lee Fook

Fried chicken mid wings with shrimp sambal – The wings were deep fried to golden perfection and tasted like all other great wings you have ever tasted, but it was the shrimp paste sambal which won our high praise. Simply put, the fragrant sambal with its slightly above average spiciness went well with almost everything. Mop it up, ask for more, dip in.

Ho Lee Fook

Mom’s “mostly cabbage a little bit of pork” dumplings with sacha soy dressing – A signature dish at Ho Lee Fook, the skin of these dumpling has very good texture, and the meat within was compact. Overall it was a good dumpling dish that doesn’t taste very Cantonese, but I can’t say it was exceptional.

Ho Lee Fook

Truffle with fried rice – I didn’t find out for sure the name of the grain-like pasta used for this fried rice, but it seems to be risoni pasta. This off-menu item came with shavings of black truffle so generous, the strong smell can be very overwhelming.

Ho Lee Fook

I learned that night – as you sometime do – that truffle is more for the smell than taste. To use an Italian pasta instead of the usual rice was an interesting twist to this staple Chinese dish, giving it a different texture with much less oil being absorbed. I’ll go so far as to describe this to be a light dish.

Ho Lee Fook

Kurobuta pork char siu – Part of the roast meat menu and definitely one of the signature dish, the char siu was devilishly balanced between the lean meat and the fatty parts. I could do more with the meat being more charred, but the charred bit tasted good without being overly caramelised with honey. This is very different from the usual char siu you get elsewhere, which is sweet and very tender. On contrast, Yu’s version of char siu tasted much meatier.

Ho Lee Fook

Roast goose – We only ordered half a bird and on retrospect, we could have done one full goose. The spice used to season this bird is seriously awesome and with the now-distinctive Ho Lee Fook twist, resulting in a very fragrant dish if a bit oily dish. Hands down the best roast goose I had in Hong Kong so far.

Ho Lee Fook

Grilled pork belly – Served on a bed of red cabbage salad with roasted chili and almond salsa, the pork belly has much crispy bits, giving a good contrast with the fat layers which, needless to say, were delicious.

Ho Lee Fook

Roast wagyu short ribs – Easily, the star of the night. The beef was slow cooked for more ten hours and then deep fried, giving it a truly finger-lickin’ contrast of juiciness (on the inside) and crunchiness (on the outside). The meat retains much of its savoury flavour and was a play on the senses when devoured together with the fiery jalapeno puree and the green shallots (scallions) kimchi. If you can only order one dish at Ho Lee Fook, make this be the sin of your choice.

Ho Lee Fook

I realised I could write about everything that we had that night – like the hamachi, soy chicken, fried cauliflowers, crispy chicken etc etc etc – but I reckon you get the drift. Ho Lee Fook has opened for only about a month and yet the strong word-of-mouth is a testament to the quality of food one has come to expect there. It boasts an extensive wine list and some seriously cool cocktail (try that gimlet for taste, but never sucked through the lemongrass like I did).

Ho Lee Fook

Verdict? Not your usual Chinese food haunt, but Ho Lee Fook will play to your senses, delivering a gourmet experience like no other. You have been warned.

Ho Lee Fook
G/F No. 1-5 Elgin St,
Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2810 0860
Email: info@holeefook.com.hk
Website

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