Dining alongside sand, sea and some feral cattle
Updated: 2014-06-22 07:00
By Donna Mah in Hong Kong (China Daily)
Enjoying a burger and fries by the beach is a treat during the summer. Donna Mah / For China Daily
Sunny summer days have arrived in Hong Kong, and one of the best things to do is to dine al fresco on Lower Cheung Sha beach, part of the longest stretch of beach on Lantau Island.
The Stoep, Hong Kong's only South African restaurant, happens to be located right on the beach and offers traditional braai barbecue grilled food, as well as many other dishes.
Very popular on the weekends and holidays, The Stoep is often the destination for some visitors, or the "reward" after a long hike on the trails all over the island.
If you're lucky, a feral cow or two may visit your table and try to give you a kiss, though they usually keep to themselves. It is part of the charm of dining here though it can be a bit scary for young children. If you're worried about the cows, dine on the concrete dining area rather than on the sand.
Though the grilled meats from the braai are a specialty at The Stoep, one of my favorite South African dishes is the bobotie. The version served here is made with curried minced beef topped with an egg mixture sprinkled with almond slices and a laurel leaf, and served with a yellow rice and raisins. My South African friend tells me that it isn't like the bobotie his mom makes for him. Made with fresh red chili peppers, The Stoep's version is spicier than what he was used to. Still, it is a dish I order almost every time I dine here. It's not a subtle dish, but it is something that hits the spot when a craving for a bit of spice strikes.
From the braai, The Stoep serves up whole rainbow trout, steak, chicken, lamb chops and boerwors (traditional South African sausage). Most of the barbecue meats are good, but the boerwors are recommended as you can't always find them elsewhere in Hong Kong. The sausages are best enjoyed with a glass of ice-cold beer or white wine.
A couple of other traditional dishes on the menu are an ostrich steak with green peppercorn sauce, which is on the lean side, and the tomato bredie, a flavorful stewed lamb dish made with fresh tomatoes.
Freshly baked farmhouse and seedloaf bread is also available with a variety of dips including hummus, tzatiki, grilled eggplant, feta and dill sauce, to name a few. Though the farmhouse and seedloaf bread are good, the garlic bread often disappears faster than the other breads on the table.
Burgers, fish and chips, baby-back ribs, and lasagna and salad are also good choices for less adventurous diners. The Stoep also serves a number of reasonably priced wines. If you bring your own, they do charge a corkage fee.
Finish your meal with the deliciously decadent Malva pudding with caramel sauce and ice cream and enjoy the gorgeous sea view up close.
(China Daily 06/22/2014 page8)