The joy of the food court. No, really!

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I get to do a reasonable amount of travelling for my job, which means quite a lot of nights away. And two words strike dread into my heart.

Room service.

Generally, if you’re on your own, there is no more depressing evening meal than room service. Few dishes benefit from the long haul journey from kitchen to room, so it’s never going to be the best meal you ever eat. I have no problem in eating out alone, but sometimes you don’t want the fuss.

Which is why in Hong Kong recently I ended up in two different food courts, both of which turned out great dinners, and fantastic people watching. And a very different experience to every food court I’ve crossed here. The one at the Trafford Centre comes to mind, which involved bypassing great food choices and taking out yet another mortgage, all for the privilege of a bad meal.

Not so either of these two, even if one is a rather petite version of a food court:

 

Less food court, more corridor

 

As you can see, this is a long, thin food court, which is in the basement of SOGO. Along here I could have chosen everything from sushi through noodle dishes, but I was in the mood for dim sum. Pretty pleased at being able to order without pointing, this was my order:

 

One reasonable dinner bill for one - £3.50

 

In case you can’t spot from this, I was getting a portion of xiao long bao (Shanghai soup dumplings) and char sui pork buns, with a glass of iced lemon tea.

 

What you get for HK$35

 

Freshly steamed, great tasting, and about £3.50. I think even the golden arches would have been a similar price, and nowhere near as good.

Of course, my other favourite feature of the food courts in Asia is the plastic food displays. Which does give you a great fall back if you don’t speak the language (although please learn at least please and thank you, goes a long way). And interesting to see how the plastic version compares to the real thing. Here’s the spot the difference for my second dinner:

The plastic version

 

The real thing

Looked recognisable to me, and was very tasty. It was an expensive night though, as this was the best part of £6. So, if you’re in Hong Kong anytime soon, then these two food courts, at SOGO and City Super are definitely worth a stop by, whether you’re on your own or not. City Super has the better scenery, as it looks out over the harbour, but also gets super busy.

Is there anywhere in the UK like this? Perhaps I should write a guide, or travel hopefully to find one! Great to know if you’ve come across one though.

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Helen Tarver

Collector of great gifts and fabulous food, mum, cake baker & eater, wine opener. I write about food and the gift of it in its many forms.

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