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8 Jul 2021

Exploring Hong Kong’s South Asian Restaurants One by One

In lieu of a trip abroad this summer, we’ve chosen to eat our way round the world here in Hong Kong. Chatteris Tutor and South Asian food fanatic Ben Chisem shows his is favourite spots for a tasty meal.

Ben, on trip to northern India, probably with a very full tummy | Image by Ben Chisem
Ben, on trip to northern India, probably with a very full tummy | Image by Ben Chisem

Growing up in a ‘curry-mad’ family (mainly thanks to my dad), I couldn’t wait to move to Asia and explore what Hong Kong had to offer in this department. Back in the UK, I regularly make the 2-hour round trip from my home in Pontefract to Bradford (the curry capital of the UK) to get my fix of mouth-watering South Asian food. The discussion around family meals always comes down to “which Indian restaurant should we visit”, rather than “what cuisine shall we go for”. 

Having spent my childhood in the UK, my main point of reference has always been the British interpretation of Indian food. After graduating back in the summer of 2019, I spent a full month alone travelling around northern India. This unforgettable trip allowed me to begin to understand the huge diversity of Indian food and to realise how much there is still to learn about this delicious cuisine! With that in mind, here are my thoughts on a few of Hong Kong’s finest spots for a South Asian meal.

Salaam Namaste

My first experience of Indian food in Hong Kong came with a trip to Salaam Namaste in Yau Ma Tei. Complimentary poppadoms with a tongue-tingling mint condiment was a perfect start to the meal, washed down with a $25 large bottle of beer. For main, I ordered a chicken madras. Beautifully cooked chicken soon arrived in a coconut-based sauce. Pilau rice and a garlic naan for sides complimented the curry perfectly. At home, or at least in Bradford, a madras comes with a fiery kick and usually leaves you sweating. However, the madras I’ve tasted in Hong Kong seems to be a bit tamer, so if you like spicy food, I would definitely recommend a vindaloo! 

All in all, on my three visits to Salaam Namaste, I have always come away content and would most definitely return.

  • Ben’s rating: 7/10
  • Price per person: $250

The Delhi Club

 A feast of chicken madras, chicken vindaloo, pilau rice, garlic naan and keema naan at The Delhi Club | Image by Ben Chisem
A feast of chicken madras, chicken vindaloo, pilau rice, garlic naan and keema naan at The Delhi Club | Image by Ben Chisem

The Delhi Club is without doubt my favourite Indian restaurant in Hong Kong! Located in Chungking Mansions, this place will not leave you disappointed, without breaking the bank.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve actually visited The Delhi Club, but it’s easily into the double figures. The owner (James) is extremely friendly and will recommend the best dish if you tell him your individual preference. If, like my flatmate Tommy Hamblin, you can’t decide from the thousands of options they offer and want “a lamb curry that’s just a little under medium” or “chicken curry with a little kick but not too much”, they’re more than willing to accommodate!

A personal recommendation would be the chicken vindaloo. The curry comes with potatoes and certainly packs a punch (not with the same level of spice as back in the UK) and the chicken simply melts in your mouth! Other recommendations include the chef’s special – lamb rogan josh, meat madras and chicken tikka starter.

I have been to The Delhi Club with lots of different groups and have yet to receive one bad review. As soon as the borders open and my family can visit Hong Kong, without a doubt this will be the first Indian restaurant I will take them to!

  • Ben’s rating: 9.5/10
  • Price per person: $150

Sedique Halal Mess

Once again located within Chungking Mansions, this restaurant serves a range of delicious food from India, Pakistan and Malaysia. Famed for its wonderful tandoor,  if sauce-based dishes are not your thing, this is the place for you.

Straight from the tandoor - chicken tikka and seekh kebabs at Seqique Halal Mess | Image by Ciaran Ratton
Straight from the tandoor – chicken tikka and seekh kebabs at Sedique Halal Mess | Image by Ciaran Ratton

I first heard about Sedique Halal Mess from a couple I met on a beach on Lantau Island. The conversation soon arrived at food and I elaborated on my love for South Asian cuisine. During my time visiting the Taj Mahal in Agra, I experienced the best taste I have ever encountered during my 24-year existence, a portion of seekh kebabs from a small street vendor at the side of the road! Having shared this experience with the couple I had just met, they suggested a trip to Sedique Halal Mess so I decided to drag along fellow curry enthusiast and ex-Chatteris employee Ciaran Ratton. 

We ordered tandoori chicken & seekh kebabs from the tandoor, and a spicy mutton curry to share. Although the curry didn’t blow our socks off, the tandoori side of the meal more than exceeded our expectations. Again, melt in your mouth (a favourite saying of mine as you can probably already tell) meat with refreshing mint and spicy chilli sauce lasted the best part of 30 seconds between the two of us.

Overall rating of a 7/10 as the curry wasn’t quite to our tastes, but well worth a visit if you’re craving kebabs for sure!

  • Ben’s rating: 7/10
  • Price per person: $150

Khyber Pass Mess Club

Although one of the more popular Indian restaurants amongst Chatteris Tutors, this meal wasn’t my favourite. Also located in Chungking Mansions, Khyber Pass Mess Club has served many celebrities – as the photos dotted around the room show. Although I enjoyed the meal, I was definitely not blown away. Maybe my expectations were too high.  

I visited Khyber Pass Mess Club with a friend and we decided to order one chicken curry and one lamb curry to share. Both weren’t as flavourful as I would have liked and the portion size compared to other restaurants was on the smaller side. Cold rice further added to my disappointment!

Maybe an off day in the kitchen, maybe my taste buds just weren’t feeling it that day, but whatever the reason, personally I am in no rush to return.  However, with such high reviews from fellow Chatteris Tutors maybe I will give Khyber Pass Mess Club another go – only time will tell!

  • Ben’s rating: 5/10
  • Price per person: $150
An unbeatable set lunch at Manakamana | Image by Anneliese Murray
An unbeatable set lunch at Manakamana | Image by Anneliese Murray

Manakamana

Located on bustling Temple Street in Jordan, Manakamana is the perfect place if you’re craving Nepalese cuisine. At the time of writing this article, Manakamana is currently ranked 2nd on TripAdvisor in its category and well worth its place!

For around $80/90 (from memory), you can get a choice of curry, rice or naan, spring rolls or soup and a soft drink. Even as a Yorkshireman, famous for often saying “ow much”, this is a bargain for sure! I decided to upgrade to a garlic naan for an extra $10 and without doubt it made the meal!

After a longer wait than all my friends, I finally received my meal and was not disappointed. The chicken was very succulent, the naan swimming in garlic and rice freshly cooked. As we tucked into each part of the dish, no complaints could be made.

A Nepalese beer alongside the meal made for the perfect refreshment. Without doubt, a return to Manakamana is long overdue! Overall rating of 8 for this fine establishment.

  • Ben’s rating: 8/10
  • Price per person: $120

Spicy Island

  • Ben’s rating: 7/.510
  • Price per person: $250

Whether you’ve spent the day hiking, or just sat on the beach, there’s no better way to end the day on Lamma Island than with a trip to Spicy Island. Located two minutes from the ferry pier, this peaceful restaurant is the perfect place to re-energise before heading back to the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong Island. My recommendations include the chicken jalfrezi and paneer karahi, both of which were delicious! As is often the case on Lamma, the prices were a little on the expensive side, but the food more than makes up for it.

Roti King Indian Fusion

If you fancy South Asian cuisine in the comfort of your own home and live around Prince Edward, Sham Shui Po or Mong Kok, my favourite restaurant which can be found on Deliveroo or Food Panda is Roti King Indian Fusion.

A choice of any starter, any main and a drink including delivery works out at just under $140. The food is always delivered on time, warm and fresh. As a creature of habit, I always tend to opt for the fish starter & chicken biryani, but the curries are also delicious should you fancy something with a bit more sauce.

  • Ben’s rating: 7/10
  • Price per person: $140

My recommendation…

In my opinion, if you’re craving South Asian cuisine, The Delhi Club is the best place to go. The service, price and food will not disappoint!

I highly doubt any place can top The Delhi Club, but if you disagree and think you know the best South Asian restaurant in Hong Kong, please feel free to share the recommendation in the comments below and I will be sure to check it out! 😊 

If your taste buds are tickled and you’d like to try out any of Ben’s recommended spots, join us in Hong Kong as a Chatteris Tutor.

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