There are very few meals in a New Zealander’s life that appeal more than a paper wrapped package of salty, delightfully greasy fish and chips, preferably eaten in a sunny waterside location. A hangover from our colonial influences perhaps, its a part of our life, affordable and heart-warming, even on the dreariest of days.
Alas, when the little kiwi* has flown the coop and wandered far from its natural habitat into the wild and exotic climes of Asia this treat, in its desired state, can become rarer than a moa**.
Heeding the call to our salty supper, a Google search bore rather disappointing fruit. Yes, it seems that one can come by fish and chips quite easily…but at a price! Back in the land of the long white cloud (and in the home of our ancestral elders, the UK) fish and chips can be purchased inexpensively and as close-by as the nearest ‘chip shop’ on the corner. Unlike the moa, it requires little hunting…so what of Hong Kong?
Quintessentially (a wonderful but fairly high-end personal concierge service) recommend its list of Top 5 chippies, all of which are in the price range of $148-$200 plus the standard 10% service tax. Quite frankly, they would have to be sublime to justify that kinda cash in Hong Kong and we highly suspected our spoiled – and well knowledgable – fush and chup palates would be uber-critical and therefore, disappointed. Believe us when we say we’ve invested a lot of time into eating fish and chips in various locations.
So on with the Googling.
A couple of other places rate quite highly on the search but alas, one is all the way in Sai Kung and its a shame too – Chip In does a relatively decent product but what is AWESOME is that it’s stylistically close to our hearts: from a small shop, wrapped in paper, a minutes walk from the ocean. Its more our kinda standard price too, $36 for a small serve of fish and chips.
Still, a three hour return trip from our apartment doesn’t really make it something to enjoy impromptu or when suffering from a hangover.
The other mention was a relatively casual looking place in the heart of Central, but with prices still well over $100 and a particularly ‘scene-y’ gloss, we knew in our hearts we could do better.
And then…one desperate day when the waterfallsandcaribous team ventured Beyond the First Pages of a Google Search, past the shiny pubs, the white plates, the trendy hang-outs and the tourist traps, out of nowhere glowed a promising entry on a forum began precisely 1470 days prior:
“Coming from NZ where fish and chips is one of the cheapest foods available – not some “luxury” meal you actually have to order from a sit-down restaurant! – I really miss the corner chip shop, where you could “get a feed” for a couple of dollars.
For me, the best tasting DIRT CHEAP Western-style fish and chips is Ka Ka Lok Fast Food takeaway under Castro’s bar in TST (16 Ashley St). Something like $15 for fish and chips. Sure, the fish comes in bite sized pieces instead of 1 big fillet, but the taste and texture is very authentic (though not healthy!)”
Okay, so its not quite $15 but it was still only $30 and for out of practice fish and chip eaters as ourselves, it was a generous portion at a super cheap price.
To prevent ourselves from leaping face first into the deep fryers and cutting out the wait, we entertained ourselves by taking photos, much to the confusion of the other patrons as well as the staff. Like we hadn’t seen fried rice in China before, or something.
After a respectable wait of 7 or so minutes, we were handed our fried fare. We got as far as the front stoop of the shop before tearing open the bag/polystyrene container (hmm, oh well). It was delish – both chips and fish were greasy, crispy-in-all-the-right-places and creamy and tender in all the other ones; this was just what we had been looking for.
So if you’re of the antipodean persuasion/too cool to be scene-y/broke and hungry/want us to like you/just plain old want fish and chips, get thee to Ka Ka Lok, 16 Ashley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui. They have a few locations in TST, Kwai Chung and Jordan but we especially like the gruff, bald guy that fronts this particular establishment as well as the wink-y, shirt un-done wok guy.
Turns out you CAN buy happiness.
* While some weirdos refer to a little hairy, green fruit as a ‘kiwi’, we in New Zealand most sensibly refer to it as a kiwifruit. Kiwi, on the other hand, refer to either the native bird of New Zealand, or more colloquially and our intended use here, a New Zealander, i.e. a person. A mighty fine person at that.
**Being a bird of large stature, (approximately 3.6 metres talls/230kg) we suspect it was probably akin to KFC on steroids. And yes, that’s another bird reference. Being a hungry bunch of natives, we ate the moa out of existence somewhere between 1400 and 1900. Oops.