Tucked away in one of Aberdeen’s small side streets is a place that my stomach and soul recognise – often with a series of rumbles – as a home from home.
Aberdeen’s often overlooked Adelphi Lane hosts one of, what I believe to be, the city’s best places to eat.
If you swerve just off Union Street near Annie Mo’s, give a nod to a person usually smoking a cigarette under the graffiti bespattered tunnel and look for a blinding bright light, you have found Taste of Hong Kong.
The Cantonese restaurant has become a much-loved munch spot after a colleague’s recommendation. But I am often surprised by how few people know about its existence.
However, the place is usually bustling so it is clear enough of Aberdeen and beyond know good food when they smell it.
And when my husband Chris and I entered the brightly lit restaurant on a dreich Thursday night, our taste buds were already tingling.
Taste of Hong Kong
A former venue in Aberdeen Market, the restaurant is run by husband and wife Teresa Li and Vincent Chiu.
The couple moved to the venue on Adelphi Lane during the pandemic and have created a comfortable, casual dining atmosphere which was fairly packed when we arrived.
Any spares tables were marked with reserved signs making us glad we had pre-booked.
Despite the busyness, we were greeted with a warm smile and directed to our table in the middle of the room.
After ordering a Tsingtao beer for Chris and a TOHK’s gin and tonic, we settled in to make our food game plan.
As has been mentioned in the past, the 14-page menu is very clear for those with specific allergies and food intolerances.
With peanuts being a big no-no for Chris, this was very reassuring and saved us from asking about every dish.
It also stopped us from having to run for the Piriton (something which has cut quite a few dates short in the past).
To start us off, we decided to try something new.
Chris was set on the chicken and sweetcorn soup (£5.00) which he had been eyeing for a while and I decided to give the salt and pepper calamari (£7.00) a try having seen it wafting by in the past.
Once the big decisions had been made, we sat back and prepared out stomachs.
From our central view on our table, it was easy to take in the various decorations such as the iconic picture of a ship with the Hong Kong skyline and playful googly-eyed lamp.
After what felt like a short time taking in the bustling atmosphere, the food arrived.
Signing up our stomachs for a marathon, we had opted for having the dishes whenever they were ready which meant we ended up with a banquet to dig into.
My salt and pepper calamari was one of the first on the table and provided a colourful and crisp take on the dish.
Plied with red chilli and fried onion and spring onion, the calamari was soft and not overly chewy which can often be the danger.
The thick strips of breaded deep fried squid were crisp but not greasy and although it was a little difficult to navigate the pick up with a fork or chopsticks, it was worth the battle.
A few minutes later and the other dishes were delivered. That was when we really dug in.
The chicken and sweetcorn soup was surprisingly thick and proved to be a hearty choice, perfect for winter.
The saltiness of the broth and chicken was balanced nicely by the sweetness from the sweetcorn and got the thumbs up from Chris.
It was a generous portion with the bowl filled to the brim but my main soon put it to shame.
When ordering, I had asked advice from Teresa who had served us after being torn between a fried udon dish and the noodle soup with homemade wontons, roast duck and egg noodles (£15.50).
When she then asked how hungry I was, I confidently replied ‘very’. That should have been my first sign.
The noodle soup topped with spring onions arrived in what some might consider a small mixing bowl.
Upon my first taste, I was sold. The homemade wontons were hefty in size and stuffed full with tasty pork and prawn filling but it was the melt in the mouth duck that stole the show.
The meat easily fell off the bone, was rich in flavour and had a beautiful glaze to it. When mixed with the egg noodles and broth, the whole dish was delicious.
I spent some time trying to eat as much as I could but eventually took the rest away in a box.
Chris on the other, had no such problem. Going for a favourite, his XO fried ho fun with chicken (£11.00) was wiped clean.
The wide rice noodles mixed with beansprouts, onion, chilli, spring onions and chicken made for a flavoursome main with a little spicy kick.
Fools for dessert
Despite being defeated by my main, we still asked for the dessert options.
This was our first time getting dessert at Taste of Hong Kong and we quickly realised what fools we had been.
Unlike the rest of the menu, there are fewer sweet options but Chris was quick to ask after the French toast.
Usually made with peanut butter, he was trying not to get his hopes too high but was delighted after Teresa said they could make an allergy-friendly version.
A sucker for raspberry, I was drawn in by the homemade swiss roll with raspberry sauce and paired it with a Jasmine tea.
When the sweet treats arrived, our eyes lit up.
The syrup drenched French toast was decorated with a perfect square of rapidly melting butter.
And with the way my husband looked at the stack, if it was possible to jump into the melting pool on top, he would have dived right in.
The dessert was the perfect mix of flavours and still retained its crispiness underneath the smothering of syrup and butter.
It did not outshine my own choice however.
The homemade swiss roll was surprisingly light and creamy which when mixed with the tart raspberry sauce made every bite a delight.
We rolled out feeling very full and satisfied – and at a reasonable price.
The hearty authentic food and big portion sizes plus the exceptional and accommodating service made it a very enjoyable night.
I also picked up some homemade chilli oil (£5) to take home which I would highly recommend.
We cannot thank Teresa and her staff enough for going above and beyond to make time to answer questions, avoid peanuts and to ensure we felt at home.
Address: 28 Adelphi, Aberdeen AB11 5BL
T: 01224 912221
Price: £62.00 for a beer, gin and tonic and three courses.
- Food: 5/5
- Service: 5/5
- Surroundings: 3/5