Along with the bottles of wine imported to Hong Kong, Spanish specialties such as jamon Iberico and paella are quickly gaining a mass following. But what’s better than the traditional paella? Tapas.
Tapas are a traditional Spanish dining concept, and have roots tracing back to the early thirteenth – fourteenth century. The most popular legend involves the late King Alfonso X of Castille. After recovering from an illness where he could only eat small portions of food and wine, the King mandated for all inns across Spain to always serve a small snack, paired with wine. This storied history has made tapas infamous, particularly in Asia. A dozen or so new tapas bars have quickly cropped up across Hong Kong, and here are some to look out for next time you’re craving some Spanish cuisine.
Fofo by El Willy has been the talk of the town ever since it opened in 2010. Wondering who this El Willy character is? Fofo is the second restaurant by Willy Trullas Moreno (aka ‘el Willy’), an infamous chef hailing from Barcelona. Sadly, Willy no longer helms his Hong Kong jaunt, but another Barcelonian chef by the name of Alex Fargas takes pride in producing Chef Willy’s contemporary Spanish tapas.
Our favourites on their tapas menu include the ‘Atun’ Marinated Tuna, Smoked Sardine, Salmorejo Tomato Salad and the Explosive Smoked Salmon Air Bag (buckle up for a flavour blast!). The latter is a delicious ‘melt-in-your mouth’ combo that provides incredible flavour as the pastry, topped with a chunk of salmon, bursts in the mouth.
Dishes We Love: Explosive Smoked Salmon Air Bag, ‘Atun’ Marinated Tuna, Smoked Sardine
Find it at M99, 2-8 Wellington St., Central
Book a table at Fofo by el Willy and earn 2X Chope-Dollars with code TASTYBLOG
Sure, Supergiant doesn’t sound Spanish at all. In fact, it kind of sounds like a grocery store. But its moniker doesn’t forebode inauthentic Spanish eats. Quite the opposite! Nestled in the third floor of a stunningly beautiful boutique hotel, Supergiant Tapas is led by famed Chef Guillermo Delvault, hailing from Argentina. Trained in Barcelona, Delvault has designed a wonderfully Spanish-influenced menu, but with a Chinese twist.
Favourites on their menu include Saturn’s Rings (crunchy, succulent strips of calamari dipped in flour, and fried to golden perfection) and Grilled Chorizo Oreado Sausage – two traditional fresh chorizo sausages, infused with paprika, served with a crusty baguette. End the meal with Supergiant’s infamous Traditional Churro, paired with a sumptuous, rich chocolatey dip and vanilla ice cream. Talk about Supergiant taste!
Dishes We Love: Hokkaido Scallop, Saturn’s Rings, Crispy Suckling Pig, Grilled Chorizo Sausage
Find it at 3/F, Mira Moon Hotel, 388 Jaffe Rd., Causeway Bay
Book a table at Supergiant Tapas & Cocktail Bar and earn 2X Chope-Dollars with code TASTYBLOG
Located on the other side of Ship Street past a bunch of other buzzy restaurants such as Akrame and 22 Ships, Timon Seafood Tapas is an excellent place for fans of traditional tapas paired with house wines. Our favourites at Timon include the Salted Anchovy with Quince Jam on Toast and the Octopus with Sweet Potato Foam & Paprika. The former is a piece of salted fish goodness, whilst the latter couples the spicy kick of paprika with the tanginess of Octopus.
Dishes We Love: Stuffed Baby Squid with Romesco Sauce, Deep Fried Calamari, Slow-Cooked Chorizos
Find it at 33 Sheep St., Wan Chai
Book a table at Timon Seafood Tapas and earn 2X Chope-Dollars with code TASTYBLOG
We love the delectable tapas on offer at One Minden, including crowd-pleasers such as Crispy Pig Ears and Handcut 36-month Belloto Ham. What’s so special about One Minden’s Wan Chai outpost is its mix of seating options – downstairs (counter-heavy), upstairs (table-heavy) – which are reminiscent of those cool tapas shops off the coast of Spain. In addition to the aforementioned dishes, be sure to try out the Grilled Iberico Pork Shoulder Loin: rare, thinly sliced pieces of tepid meat, paired with chimichurri sauce. What a bright and refreshing denouement to your meal!
Dishes We Love: 36-month Belloto Ham, Iberico Pork Shoulder, Crispy Pig Ears
Savvy Diner Tip: Be sure to head to One Minden every Tuesday for 2-For-1 Mains. Also, get a complimentary glass of house wine per guest on every purchase of an All You Can Eat Tapas Brunch!
Find it at G/F, 1 Minden Ave., Tsim Sha Tsui
Book a table at One Minden Tapas Kitchen and earn 2X Chope-Dollars with code TASTYBLOG
Who could forget the delicious bites found at Spanish mainstay, Catalunya? One of Hong Kong’s most talked about restaurants ever since its opening, Catalunya has not seen its popularity abade. No, not all. In fact, the Tapas Lunch menu has grown incredibly popular amongst the lunch crowd; priced at a reasonable $188 and $200, for two and three tapas respectively, it’s hard to beat! On the Hot Menu, make sure to choose the Hokkaido Scallops with Coconut – coconut-celery vichyssoise mixed with curry oil sliced almond and perfectly cooked with Hokkaido scallops. It’s an irresistible combination of flavours! On the Cold Tapas Menu, make sure to try out the Tuna Tataki, which features pieces of succulent, just-caught Atlantic tuna paired with salpicon and raspberries. The other ‘can’t miss’ menu item is the Cod Fish “Esqueixada” – featuring flaky pieces of just-cooked fish, onions, olive oil and hard-boiled eggs.
Dishes We Love: Catlaunya Tomato Tartare, Gazpacho, Crystal Bread
Find it at Guardian House, G/F., 32 Oi Kwan Rd. Wan Chai
Book a table at Catalunya and earn 2X Chope-Dollars with code TASTYBLOG
Iberico & Co, a multi-award winning restaurant brings the popular Mediterranean tastes of the Iberian coast to Hong Kong. Be sure to try out the signature paella – a slow-cooked daily paella cooked in a massive 50kg cast iron pan alongside a traditional rotisserie oven packed with spicy Portuguese peri peri roast chickens. Do make sure to wash down your meal with jugs of traditional or fruit Sangria. We love the Bruschetta with Crushed Vine Tomato, Serrano & Basil (juicy pieces of roasted vineyard tomato, paired alongside crushed pieces of oven-baked Bruschetta) and the Broccoli with Garlic, Goats Cheese & Almonds (just-plucked pieces of broccoli paired with delicious pieces of fresh cheese and crunchy almonds)
Dishes We Love: Broccoli with Garlic, Goats Cheese & Almonds, Bruschetta with Crushed Vine Tomato, Serrano & Basil, Bruschetta with Prawns & Garlic Aioli
Find it at 18 Shelley St., Central
7. Chico Chica
An up-and-coming tapas bar located in hip Sai Ying Pun, Chico Chica is one of our favourite places to try out tapas outside the Iberian coast. Crowd pleasers include Tomato Tempura – cherry tomato paired with wasabi and mozzarella, and Pluma Hamburger – a juicy hamburger patty with Hoisin sauce on the side. Sure, the tapas are on the simple side, but we love their simple, fresh creations.
Dishes We Love: Tomato Tempura, Pluma Hamburger, Octopus Galicia
Find it at 70 Third St., Sai Ying Pun