Whenever possible, I use running errands as an excuse to engage in a little food meandering: wandering about ‘circuitously’ in search of my next culinary adventure. Winding my way through Wan Chai, with my end goal the Vietnam Consulate in HK, I spotted a Filipino restaurant and thought, “heck, do I even know what Filipino food is?” The answer being no, I thus took the plunge.
My educated guess is that this joint specializes in the Filipino equivalent of Chinese takeout: fast, cheap, meant to be eaten on-the-go. A step inside revealed a typical Asian fast food set-up. They didn’t speak any English and there was no English menu, but it was not difficult to recognize that each order consisted of one meat and one vegetable dish. As all the choices were on display, all I had to do was point. First, the meat selection: fried fish, roast pig, and barbeque pork skewers.
My eyes got bulgy when I saw the roast pig, and just in case you missed it the first time or want a visual close-up:
As tempted as I was to order a hunk and frame it for my office space, the pure fat:not 100% fat but still fatty meat ratio was ever so slightly out of my range, so I passed. I opted instead for the skewered pork, and for my vegetable, got a heaping serving of string beans drenched in some neon-orange sauce that I thought was curry.
I’m all for knowing who’s behind the food I eat, so by pointing at my camera and then at her, I managed to get a shot of the cook:
Having secured my food, I parked myself on a lovely bench right off the highway, next to an old man who stared intently at my food as I was taking pictures of it.
Despite the promising color of the sauce, the vegetables were bland, surprisingly unflavorful…lesson learned (do not equate neon hues with more flavor). The pork, however, was deliciously tender and sweet, with just enough fat to keep a woman’s waist honest. It has a distinctly different texture than cha xiu, but a similar kind of salty-sweet interplay going on. In addition, the weather in HK has cooled off considerably in the past few days, making it ideal for a lunch outdoors. Happy eating!
Mang Ambo, Filipino Restaurant
120 Jaffe Road
Wanchai, Hong Kong