Wednesday, March 6, 2019

First Bite: Honolulu Café

The influx of foreign brands has been crazy these past years. We've welcomed several establishments that we used to include in our itinerary whenever we go abroad. And one of the newest brands to find its way to our shores happen to be the oldest tea restaurant in Hong Kong.

Hello, Honolulu Café.
Honolulu Café's story began in 1940 when it opened its first store in Hong Kong serving  egg tart, coffee, milk tea, buns and mouthwatering comfort dishes. Regarded as the first and original Hong Kong café dining concept, it is not surprising that a stop here is a must for every traveler up for a gastronomic experience.
Many were thrilled to know that this iconic brand is coming to Manila and most drooled as they waited to feast on its signature egg tart made with light egg custard and 192 layers of crust. And it was indeed a sweet reunion last January when Honolulu Café opened its doors to the public. 
I was invited last week to sample Honolulu Café's bestselling dishes and we started off with its Egg Tarts (PHP50 per piece). 
I couldn't help notice its near perfect glazed yellow center which is quite mesmerizing. The crust that envelopes it is rather thick yet not overwhelming nor overshadows the egg tart
Bo Lo BBQ Pork Bun (PHP60 per piece) tastes just like Tim Ho Wan's crowd favorite Pork Bun
However, Honolulu Café's bread is much softer and doesn't have that slight crunch. It is best to enjoy this with coffee or tea. 
Curry Fish Balls (PHP198, 10 pieces) is a delightful snack to munch on. Lightly flavored with spices, I could picture myself having an order or two to go and enjoy these as I catch my latest drama addiction. 
Stirred Fried Hong Kong Style Noodles with Pork Chop in XO Sauce (PHP268) is the type of dish you have to indulge in while it's hot or it tends to dry up when cold. This snappy plate of noodles is best for foodies who like lots of different textures to bite on. 
Honolulu Café's Deep Fried Prawn in Thousand Island Sauce (PHP488) is a crowd favorite. Crunchy and flavorful in every bite, its slight zest is absolutely addictive that one piece is not enough. Grab some rice while you're at it. 
I'm not a big fan of curry but Honolulu Café's Hong Kong Beef Brisket Curry Casserole (PHP328) had the right balance of flavors. The spices were not very strong or overpowering and it wasn't spicy at all. I prefer to have this with rice though or perhaps some buns. 
I'm not sure if the other dishes had stronger flavors but the Baked Rice with Pork Chop in Tomato Sauce (PHP298) and Hong Kong Style Noodle Soup with Fried Egg (PHP198 with option of luncheon meat, pork chop or chicken chop) were rather bland. 
Maybe the bowl of noodles would have been tastier if it had pork or chicken chop. 
For a heavier and more filling meal, do try Steamed Rice with Chicken and Mushroom Casserole (PHP198). The great thing about this dish is that it goes well with other dishes but one can also enjoy this pot of rice on its own. Another option to consider is Steamed Rice with Chinese Sausage with Wind-Dried Meat Casserole (PHP198).
For drinks, I enjoyed my glass of Hong Kong Style Milk Tea (PHP120, available hot and cold). It had the right level of sweetness making it also a thirst quenching drink. Best to ask for less ice though as mine became too watered down. 
If you prefer a bit of bite to go with your drink, go for Iced Red Bean with Milk (PHP130). 
I love how service was prompt and that the staff are so friendly and helpful. I'll definitely be back for more Egg Tarts, Buns, Deep Fried Prawns in Thousand Island Sauce and perhaps try some other dishes too!
Honolulu Café is located at Lower Ground, SM Aura Premier, McKinley Parkway, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

Honolulu HK Café Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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