HK 2013 – Claypot Rice War @ Temple StreetNovember 26, 2013 | 10,160 views
Claypot Rice is one of the staple item in a rice-loving Chinese community of Hong Kong; especially in the cooler season whereby huddling over a warm pot of rice cooked with various meats; fresh or preserved, sounds very inviting.
After the ‘yum cha’ session at Sheung Wan’s Teakha (not your conventional idea of ‘yum cha’ though, as this was a cafe at a back alley serving cakes and coffee), we went even further west past Sheung Wan MTR station; towards the west coast of Hong Kong island. Of course, if walking’s never in your dictionary (shame on you …), then by all means you can take the tram running the east-west direction across Des Vouex Road to commute.
Our destination? Claypot rice at Kwun Kee on Queen’s Road West; one of the most talked about claypot rice stall in all of Hong Kong. But as luck would have it ….
Kwun Kee Claypot Rice does not open until 6pm onwards on a Sunday. We were there about an hour before, with nowhere else to kill time. Thus … we left with tails between our legs.
But no fear, once again, there’s always Plan B. Read on to find out more …
You can take a tram westbound towards Sheung Wan from Central, in case you’re not fond of taking the MTR Island Line. If you’re on Des Vouex Road West, also known as “Hoi Mei Gai” (referring to dried seafood street; for the famed dried products), then you can also indulge in bouts of shopping frenzy as well.
We walked all the way to Kwun Kee, but it was closed. Tough luck. On other days, the shop opens throughout from 11am until 12.30am, but on Sunday, Kwun Kee only opens from 6pm onwards. Oh well. There’s always another Sheung Wan trip; for Kau Kee Beef Noodles and this, I suppose.
And hence, we took a tram running towards Central MTR (about HKD2.30 per pax; roughly RM1 only), and take the red line MTR (Tsuen Wan line) northbound towards Yau Ma Tei MTR. Exiting from Exit C, make a U-turn immediately as you exit to the street and follow along Arthur Street. You will see Four Season Claypot Rice on your left.
We have actually been here the last round; Temple Street where knock-off goods, knick-knacks and even pornography are being sold openly. And yeah ,… the fortune tellers along the streets are there just like the movies, and we ended up sipping on refreshing red bean ice and cheese baked rice at Mido Cafe. More on that later.
The menu of Four Season is displayed outside of the shop; with prices stated on them. The two lower shots belong to Hing Kee Claypot Rice, their strongest competitor and apparently the origin of claypot rice at Temple Street; more than 2 decades old now.
Unlike the ones sold in Malaysia, claypot rice in Hong Kong arrives piping hot; with your choice of meats (everything from chicken to beef and various waxed meats like duck, sausages, liver sausages), but WITHOUT any sauce.
We were there 10 minutes short of 6pm, and the place was packed! Thankfully there was an empty table, and we grabbed that instantly. The shop has air-conditioning and you don’t have to dine al fresco, though that added to the authenticity actually.
Anyway, ordering was a cinch as the menu comes with English descriptions.
Claypot rice with one meat starts from HKD 30/RM 12/USD 4 per pot for one. You can choose from one or two types of meats, basically customizing the combination to your liking.
I have read and heard much about the claypot rice in Hong Kong though. Most expecting the sauces to be mixed before the pot of rice is being served, and then when it’s not and the sauces have to be mixed DIY (a bottle of soy sauce and a bottle of oil; supposedly lard oil), many complained.
That the taste is horrible, tasteless, like steamed rice blah blah blah.
For me, the rice was cooked perfectly; every grain separated and retaining the firm texture with a moist centre; and the piece of waxed sausage was excellent; like any other preserved meats sold in Hong Kong. The steamed chicken was merely passable though. The side plate of watercress (tung choi) with fermented bean paste (fu yee) complemented the rice well, but don’t mix the entire dollop of fu yee in though, as the pungent saltiness can be overwhelming.
After awhile, the queue built up to this. It was barely 6.30pm. There has been laments about 1 hour of wait if you come in later, so do come before 6pm if possible.
FOUR SEASON CLAYPOT RICE
No 46-58, Arthur Street, Yau Ma Tei,
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Business Hours: 5.30pm – 12am
Here’s the ever useful Motormouth Hong Kong Food Map; updated with all places reviewed.
*For a summary of the entire Hong Kong/Macau 2013 Trip; jump HERE.