ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Hong Kong's Tasty "ILLEGAL" Kitchens - Excitement of Fear!

Updated on May 6, 2017
Janet Tam profile image

Janet is a Registered Professional Architect, a Luxury Jeweller, a Designer and a Blogger based in Hong Kong.

The city is growing with “Private Kitchens”, all found fruit in the loophole in the regulation for licensed eatery. Most of them these days are quite fancy and upscale. And then, there are others... set in the dirtier shadows of town. Those you feel like are “inexplicably illegal” because of the fearsome and skeptic vibes the workers and other diners exert when they see a new face enter the room. I’m speaking, today, of the secretive Nepalese momos hidden in Central LKF.

I was fortunate enough to have a group of Extreme Foodie Friends (EFF): friends who love the upscales of Afternoon Tea in Mandarin Oriental or Sevva.. as well as the grittier street foods and very questionable dishes in back alleys.

Source

It all began with this one Instagram (by @sumberry). One picture of Nepalian Dumplings served on grandma’s table cloth. The speculation and curiosity arose: ”What the heck is that?” (Actually that’s what I thought only, I’m more superficial when it comes to food) My friends, particularly those wishful of 852 in 604, were drooling, imagining and creating a frenzy over it. The legendary momos.

A few weeks later, some humid day in 2014. The group reunited. “Janet, you’ve got to come to this place! THE best momos.” It was in the evening, we were finishing a full dinner elsewhere. These set of friends of mine talk a lot, mainly food and Lane Crawford - sometimes I drift out of their conversations - they speak a different language than me. They mentioned the same ghetto place a few times over the meal, and I thought, sure they seem to be checking out the place in the coming days..

Boy, was I WRONG. We are going tonight..at 10pm?

THE ADVENTURE

Somehow, I got persuaded, I was joining them. I’m easy when it comes good food. ( I should be thankful I didn’t grow up with friends who took drugs.) I remember walking up the streets of Lan Kwai Fong, then stopped in front of an awkward forsaken door. Drinkers and flashy clubs all scowled against me near by (sorry, I’m not a late night person or drinker) then this awkward little door to peacefulness.. Sum walked enthusiastically in, and my friends followed like Alices with the White Rabbit. I felt like I was walking to my deathbed. This is it Janet, where you meet your LAST fears..

Click of a button, we were up the elevators in this odd old building, with drunkards down below. “It’s this floor!” he said. You’ve GOT to be kidding me, I thought. Flickering fluorescent lights.. gates all shut, odd tranquility in the air, it was a deadman’s floor - RUN JANET! Sum had forgotten which door it was, he laughed saying it just looks like any other residential door “They hide well” he laughs. He was about to try to press his chosen door bell.

Secretly, I was on the look out; for signs of hidden kidnappers, for the escape staircase.. I pretended to be cool and joked, but I slowly edged back closer to that safer elevator door.

“Welcome!”

Say what? Sum got it right, and the face behind the gates remembered Sum, a pale clean faced CBC. I remembered being escorted into the small but brightly lit room, shared with full tables of Nepalese faces that stared back at us. It looked like we crashed somebody’s apartment. Sofas placed against the walls, and tables were folded out to entertain the parties of people who were packed. It was a mini-party! We sat close to the entrance, there were 4-5 of us squeezed in.


THE FOOD

Sum did his magic and ordered the dish my team had all been waiting for. He was basically a local there. “This, this and that. ..”

Honestly, I am less eloquent than my peers in explaining the food. It was interesting I’d say - NEPALESE MOMOS? Some Momos had potato inside, the sauces were all pretty unique, tamarind? Some fried, some soft. It was a bargain for the food we got. The chicken wings I remember were a bit too dry for my liking. Definitely an adventure for my soul and tastes!

OUR SECOND CRASH

Flash forward to late 2015. We returned again. Same leader, a few new members. Same adventure. But this time, we really crashed it! They weren’t officially opened! Apparently they just finished renovating and were testing menus!

Sum’s familiar face caught their attention and they brought us in despite the mess - only in private kitchens! The interiors were all upgraded, now it looked like a proper restaurant. I missed the randomness and mess of the original run-down apartment. It felt more exotic. They brought us into their new space, the family was having their own private dinner, and gave us some of their own test dishes haha. Ended up being their food critiques - we missed the original menu more!

THOUGHTS

To me, to be honest, didn’t taste like a miracle that I yearn often about. Yet it was the excitement of entering the fringes of society, the fearful trek and the double-check-my-back to reach that dish that made it all the worthwhile and addiction. It was like a second life that I never knew of Hong Kong. An Alice in the Wonderland. The feeling of tasting a secret.

I believe the place is less deserted and mysterious as I made it out to be now, with the new renovation and its rising popularity. Two years back, it felt like an Insider’s Pact to remind quiet and oblivious about its location and name. “UP9″ - it was the hipster’s secret! But I’m sure if you do some researching, you’ll find more details. If not, throw me a message, and I might just tell you where our favourite MOMO is hidden!

Hint: people in Lan Kwai Fong will know.. .


Know any other cool / ghetto / delicious Private Kitchens? Let me know in the comments below!

A
Lan Kwai Fong:
Central, Hong Kong

get directions

© 2017 Janet Tam

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Angel Guzman profile image

      Angel Guzman 

      15 months ago from Joliet, Illinois

      This is so cool. I love trying new restaurants too and this definitely sounded like an adventure, lol.

    • Sissi Ravano profile image

      Theskha 

      15 months ago from The Beautiful Ligurian Sea, Arm Of The Mediterranean Sea

      Asian are blessed with the bliss of delicious food and its varieties that endless

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)