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Snacks at the Hong Kong Express

Hong Kong Express 1

The Hong Kong Express opened at 242 Rideau Street sometime within the last two years and happens to be located very close to the hotel I always stay at in the capital. On my last visit, I didn’t feel like going very far and so I stopped in for light lunch…

Hong Kong Express 2

The place is nice enough inside. It has the relaxed, casual style of a fast food place (long with the pictorial menus over the counter), but the tables are comfortable and there is full table service as well as take-out. On this visit, my server was a very pleasant young lady who was quick and efficient, but whose English was rudimentary. Our conversation was a bit limited but I did learn that she was from Qingdao when I ordered a Qingdao beer to have with my meal.


Hong Kong Express 3

There is a pretty extensive menu at Hong Kong Express available on-line, but I just selected from the ‘Snacks’ section. For a light little meal, I ordered number 11, identified (inaccurately) as ‘Deep Fried Octopus’, and Number 7, the Pan-fried Dumplings.


Hong Kong Express 4

This is the dish that was described as Deep-Fried Octopus. When it arrived, I saw that this could not be right and then noticed that the three of the four characters in the Chinese name spell out ‘Deep-Fried Squid’. I queried my server about this but she clearly did not know the word ‘squid’. When I tried the Mandarin ‘yóuyú’, however, she beamed and nodded… she also, somewhat helpfully, pointed to the fourth character and said it meant ‘hair’. After the fact, I looked It up and, while the character can mean ‘hair’, as part of compounds, it also can mean antennae or tentacles. We didn’t resolve the linguistic issue exactly, but suffice it to say, the menu is just a teensy bit wrong…

As it happens, I was not at all put out at getting squid instead of octopus and I enjoyed this very much. The tentacles were just simply fried without batter or seasoning and they were very tender but still chewy at the same time (just the way I like them). Serving them on a bed of deep-fried noodles was also quite novel and I liked the crunchy counterpoint they provided even though I didn’t eat all of them.


Hong Kong Express 5

Quite probably, these might appear on other menus as ‘Pot-stickers’, or ‘Guotie’, but here they were simply identified as pan-fried dumplings. They were not terribly attractive, being only simply folded and fried perhaps a little over-enthusiastically, but they were very tasty. The filling was just plain ground pork with a little scallion, and no discernible seasoning other than the tiniest dash of sesame oil. There could, I felt, have been a little more of the filling, but it was still delicious. There was black vinegar served alongside (which I can take or leave) and also chili oil provided on the table. I used a little of the latter on a couple of pieces but, really, they were fine all by themselves.

Anyway, I will be in Ottawa again in a few months and, this time, I may try one or two of their main dishes …

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