|Spicy boiled pork at Sichuan Da Ping Huo.|
Donna Mah / China Daily
Adding spice to your life and palate can be healthy as well as delicious. Donna Mah has suggestions on where to go.
There are dishes from cuisines all over the world that spice up life by exciting the palate and stimulating the taste buds. In Hong Kong, the spicier side of life can be found in all kinds of foods and in all kinds of places.
Recent research says spicy food can be beneficial to health.
For example, eating hot peppers can help speed up metabolism and get the body to burn calories faster. Hot peppers are also said to improve the body's ability to fight inflammation, promote good circulation, slow the growth of cancer cells and even make us feel better by boosting endorphin and serotonin levels.
Yet for some, the reason for eating fiery hot food is just a simple "I like the taste".
Hong Kong has an almost endless number of choices to find a hot and spicy fix. Do you want spicy Thai, Indonesian, Indian or Sichuan food? Whatever your preferences, it is usually possible to find a number of places to satisfy the cravings, at different prices.
For modern, innovative Thai food, try Thai Basil in Pacific Place, where signature dishes include papaya salad with tuna, pepper crab and deep-fried lobster dumplings. Though you're in a shopping mall, the atmosphere is warm and comfortable. Dim lighting and neutral tones make it a cozy place for dinner tte--ttes.
For delicious traditional Thai food in a less glamorous setting, head to Phit That Food in the cooked food center in Shek Tong Tsui. This popular stall offers real value for money. The Hainan-style chicken seems very popular here. Tender and moist, the chicken is served with a spicy tangy sauce for dipping. The green curries are also very good. Please note that the stall is closed on Wednesdays.
For authentic and reasonably priced Indian food, The Delhi Club in Chungking Mansions is the place to go. The fresh naan makes the perfect accompaniment to the spicy, flavorful curries. They serve their dishes with varying degrees of heat, so let them know if you want to take it easy or if you can handle the strong stuff. You must also try lassi, a sweet and refreshing yoghurt drink often made with mango.
For traditional Indonesian food that's beautifully presented in a relaxing and warm environment, IR1968 has been around for decades and is a great place to enjoy a meal with a group of friends. Try the satay skewers, beef rendang, and perkedel (Indonesian potato croquettes).
An evening of art, spice and song can be found at Sichuan Da Ping Huo. A well-known private kitchen, Da Ping Huo offers two sittings per evening. A set menu is served each evening with a spicy dish (such as a spicy boiled meat and mapo tofu) and a non-spicy dish (such as steamed pork ribs or white cabbage in chicken soup). This is perfect for those not used to heat in every dish. The husband/host is a former artist and the wife/chef is a former singer. At the end of the meal, your chef serenades you with a song to close the evening.
So spice up your visit to Hong Kong - just take your pick.