For any of you who have read our foodbaby feature on where to take tourists, you will see Temple street clay pot rice. This small night market is easily accessible from Yau Ma Tei MTR station and is full of wonders. One being the amazing local food. This week, we had to try it out!
There are many queues lining up for popular restaurants in the area, which we steered clear of. Instead, we scoped out the menus from the smaller restaurants and decided on one.
Do not expect much in terms of cleanliness, but you can come armed with hand sanitizer and a box of tissues as a precaution.
Three of us are Mandarin speakers but we still struggled to order. Unfortunately, as soon as they see a foreigner, they will assume you want the ‘foreigner menu’ i.e. pork chop with rice, so do ask for the other one.
It is crab season so we immediately ordered a serving of the hairy crab. The meat had that amazing sweetness and was served with some black beans and pepper to contrast flavours.
Next came the steamed edible frog, which was something new for me. Frog by nature does not have much meat on it, but whatever meat was on there I felt like sucking off the bone. The spring onion that it was cooked in did not overpower the overall flavour and complemented it well. For those who have not tried frog before, the taste was similar to chicken but the texture is closer to fish.
Something I was quite skeptical I would like was the goose intestine. From first appearance it looks like it would be rubbery, chewy and porous. However, I was pleasantly surprised! It was only slightly chewy with not much flavour so it will take on the taste of whatever it is cooked in, in this case spring onion and chilli. I took several helpings!
After much back and forth, we finally got our clay pot rice! For which Temple street is famous. We managed to take a sneak peak in the kitchen where you can see the little pots cooking on high heat. The result you want is a crispy base of rice at the bottom, very much like a paella. Ours was traditional with a raw egg served on top of the pot for us to crack upon on the rice. The rice itself was unfortunately mediocre. I have had much more flavourful clay pot rice before, this one could have done with some garlic, spring onion etc. and a crispier base.
Lastly, came our steamed sea snails in spicy sauce. Again, something I have never tried before, the snails were surprisingly firm and not as chewy as I would expect. The sauce unfortunately overpowered the flavour of the snails and was over salted. Despite this, I would definitely try snail again.
After paying our bill of 150 HKD per person including drinks, we took a quick tour of the night market and some exceedingly interesting haunts. One I was particularly captured by was the SNAKE SOUP restaurant (FOODBABY review: https://foodbabyhk.wordpress.com/2016/11/13/snake-soup-a-winter-warmer-snake-king-%E8%9B%87%E7%8E%8B%E8%89%AF/).
Next, we headed on over to Royal dessert (皇室甜品) for our sweet fix.
The sweetest dessert was probably the tong yun (glutinous rice balls in sweet ginger soup), the ginger was so refreshing which makes it the perfect dessert for winter!
The red bean dessert isn’t something I usually order, I often find it too heavy and lacking in flavour, but this one had citrus rinds inside giving it a tangy kick!
The mango pancake was super light and creamy. Great if you don’t have much of an appetite but still want something sweet.
Lastly, the chocolate fondant cake hits the spot although don’t expect good quality chocolate for such a local dessert place!
Verdict: If you haven’t already been to this area to check out the knick knacks on sale, get your fortune told or more importantly for the authentic local food, it’s time to head on down! Only 20 minutes from Central station, there is no excuse not to try Temple street for your next foodie adventure!
Temple street, Yau ma tei MTR station exit C