Header image courtesy of @indulgenteatshk (Instagram)
Rice is one of the most versatile ingredients out there—great on its own with sides and also great when used as the foundation of a fried, steamed, or baked dish. Surely, no one can live in Hong Kong and not have had some kind of dining experience with rice, but what if you want to take your love for carbs to the next level? We have decided to look into some of the more extravagant, super-sized rice dishes that we bet you haven’t seen or tasted before. These ultra-photogenic rice dishes will blow your mind once you have a taste—that’s a promise!
Have a seat at Table, a seafood restaurant that has been dominating our Instagram feeds of late with their signature Mud Crab Meat & Roe Garlic Rice ($1,980). The steep price tag is eyewatering, but honestly, looking at those pictures is enough to make us blink away the tears and develop a drool. As the best part of the crab is arguably its roe, Table uses this premium ingredient to inspire their rice dish.
For your feast, choose to use one, two, or three mud crabs to incorporate into the garlic rice. A massive steel pan is used to spread the rice on the bottom and the disassembled mud crabs are piled on high top with shells full of roe. Once you’ve snapped your fill of pics to capture the spectacular moment, the staff will pour the rich roe onto the rice and mix it all together. Remember that this signature platter needs to be ordered three days in advance so be sure to plan ahead if you would like to treat yourself to this delicacy!
Table, 8/F, The Pemberton, 22–26 Bonham Strand East, Sheung Wan | (+852) 2815 2367
If we are talking about special rice dishes, how can you forget Neighborhood, the royalty of speciality dishes? This modern European establishment, sandwiched in-between art galleries and antique shops, offers a slew of rice dishes that make the most of seasonal ingredients in their prime, such as the Hairy Crab Paella, where a bed of rice is cooked in rich umami flavours and served with hairy crabs on top, as well as the Hokkaido Kinki Paella, where a whole fish is spilt in half and presented delicately on top of the rice.
A year-round staple on Neighborhood’s menu is the signature Salt-baked Chicken Rice with Yellow Wine and Morels ($980), which is one of our favourites. A whole chicken is baked in salt and cracked open in front of astounded diners, then laid it out on a massive casserole dish filled with rice, generous medallions of foie gras, and plenty of earthy morels. If you plan ahead and visit during truffle season, you can even get truffle shavings on top to really elevate the flavours of the whole rice dish!
Neighborhood, G/F, 61–63 Hollywood Road, Soho, Central | (+852) 2617 0891
Do you know what always goes well with rice? Wagyu beef—and no one does it better than Yakiniku Jumbo with their signature Wagyu Rice (starting from $980). When the well-loved Japanese barbecue joint came from Tokyo to open its Hong Kong branch, this signature rice dish was brought along for the ride as well, serving the same beef as its flagship in Japan.
Depending on your party size, you can opt for a smaller portion suitable for four to six people, all the way up to the insanely large portion fit for up to 12 diners! This next-level rice dish comes with a veritable mountain of wagyu beef that is grilled to perfection and rests lavishly on a bed of rice. It is also served in a bespoke casserole pot that has a cow-shaped iron handle—talk about getting beefed up!
Yakiniku Jumbo, Shop 302, 3/F, Man Yee Building, 60–68 Des Voeux Road Central, Central | (+852) 2151 3887
We talked about crab roe with rice, but don’t forget about the rest of the crustacean! Crabmeat with rice is a heavenly combination that you can find in Le Bec Fin in the form of their extravagant Japanese Crab Paella ($1,850). A two-day advance order is required for this ginormous paella fit for six people, but it’s worth every cent. Served in a covered steel pan, the staff will remove the lid with a flourish to reveal the exquisite paella enveloped in a cloud of billowing smoke. The rice is cooked in a crab and clam broth with crabmeat picked out of a whole Hokkaido hairy crab. If you are looking for a true celebration of umami flavours, we suggest dropping by for a visit!
Le Bec Fin, Shop 8, G/F, China United Centre, 28 Marble Road, North Point | (+852) 2217 8889
Had enough of crab yet? There’s more to come. The last crab rice on this list is a more affordable option that you can find in FL Fusion. Offering modern Cantonese cuisine with a twist, their star dish is the Mud Crab Paella ($680). Similar to the previous crab rice dishes, premium rice grains are cooked in crab broth to really bring out its concentrated flavours and served with hollow crab shells filled with roe. Feel free to take your sweet time cracking open the tangle of crab claws for the juicy meat inside!
FL Fusion, Shop 9A & 9B, 2/F, Wai Wah Centre, 11–17 Centre Street, Sha Tin | (+852) 2570 0168
If we’re going to move on from crab, how do we feel about shrimp? And we’re not just talking about any shrimp rice here, but a special sakura shrimp fried rice. Old Time Flavour is a Taiwanese restaurant looking to reinvent the tropical island’s most classic flavours, and among their successful creations is the Dried Scallop Sakura Shrimp Steamed in Lotus Leaf ($88).
The dish is exactly what the name describes: rice mixed with dried scallops and mushrooms then steamed in a lotus leaf with a heap of fried sakura shrimp sprinkled on top for a blend of flavours and texture. While sakura shrimp does not impart a particularly strong or briny flavour that most people will be familiar with, their small size means they can be fried in oil and eaten whole, crispy shell and all.
Old Time Flavour, 5/F, Kyoto Plaza, 491–499 Lockhart Road, Causeway Bay | (+852) 3421 1765
Unique rice dishes don’t have to come with an expensive price tag, and our discovery of the Flamed Rose Beef Pot Rice ($138) sure proves that. Thick slices of marbled beef are wrapped in a playful floral shape on top of the pot rice, and when it is brought to the table, the staff will pour drizzles of Chinese rose liqueur (also known as mei kuei lu chiew) over it before lighting the whole thing up for a spectacular finish! The liqueur instantly imparts sweet-smelling aromas of rose and the flames from the alcohol leave the beef with a charred edge. If you ever find yourself in the area, you’ve got to try it for yourself and taste this unique blend of flavours.
Wing Kee Restaurant, Shop A & B, G/F, 12 Yuk Wah Crescent, Tsz Wan Shan | (+852) 2328 9232
We know, we know, we said we wouldn’t mention any more crab dishes, but let us slip one more in before we finish the list. Hanare in Central, an infamously exclusive restaurant with only eight seats, is celebrated for its unique rice dishes. Focused on wagyu-themed kaiseki menus, Hanare serves a nine-course menu ($1,980) featuring a special Matsuba Crab Rice as one of the main courses. The wait is worth it, as you will get to tuck into a mountain of crab meat and crispy sakura shrimp sitting on a bed of fluffed pearl rice. For even more decadence on a plate, opt for their alternative nine-course menu ($2,150), which includes the restaurant’s signature wagyu rice.
Hanare, Shop 302, 3/F, Man Yee Building, 68 Des Voeux Road, Central | (+852) 6136 0898