Thursday 8 March 2012

英國在香港的餡餅週 - British Pie Week in Hong Kong

I know this is British Pie Week but one of the great things about pies is that they are loved by many people all around the world, as we have already shown by some of our reviews of pies in Belgium and New Zealand. However I hadn't quite realised how extensively this love of pie spreads until a recent trip to Hong Kong. As a former British Colony there seems to be a special love of pies in what is dubbed Asia's World City. I was only there a day and had made no special effort to find an establishment selling our favourite pastry based product but I happened to stumble across Pie and Tart Specialists on Chatham South Road near the Hong Kong Museum of History. I have now found out they have quite a big chain of shops in Hong Kong, great to know they share our love of pies!

This was a take-away only type establishment with a street side counter with a long selection of pie and pseudo-pie products. What a great selection of pies they had too, all the typical pies you might expect such as chicken, mushroom and apple with some more unusual ones thrown in such a curry beef, blueberry and ostrich. I knew that I could only eat two pies while they were warm and before I was full (I didn't want to bias the test by being too full and therefore not enjoying the pie, we're professionals here y'know!). Thus I decided to get one 'normal' pie for comparison to its Western counterparts and another more outlandish pie. I settled on killing two bird with one stone by getting a Chicken Pie and an Ostrich Pie. I started with the Ostrich Pie which I was most excited about. This arrived in good condition and if there was a score for artistic presentation of the pie this would score highly. It had a nice crinkled edge and was sprinkled with sesame seeds. The pastry was more of the Chinese style except baked rather than fried or steamed as you would normally expect from Chinese pastry products. This worked well with a nice, thin, flaky texture to the pastry. The filling was a fantastic mixture of flavours. Not knowing the ingredients I tried to guess and what I picked up were green beans, potato, mushroom, onion, ostrich (not that I would know if it wasn't) and plenty of pepper along with some other spices that made it quite hot. There was just the right amount of gravy to make this a good portable snack whilst not being in the least dry. The ostrich itself tasted great, like a cross between beef and chicken. It was slightly chewy but not enough to significantly affect its score.
After this effort I was expecting great things from the chicken pie. However, it did look quite different and upon digging into the crumbly pastry I was to discover that the pastry was in fact sweet! This was despite the fact that the contents was a normal chicken pie. A bit of a culture shock for me, I overcame the weirdness by eating the filling first and then the pastry. I have to say that the filling was nice and gooey, it reminded me of a chicken pie from a fish and chip shop back home. However the pastry did ruin it for me. It might be nice if you are used to it but I can only judge things using my own tasted buds so this has affected the score. Never before have I had such different pies from one place.

These were cheap pies at 10.50 Hong Kong Dollars which weighs in at less than a pound. For the price this was a great value experience, even with the sweet chicken pie. Whilst I might not say it is worth a trip all the way to Hong Kong to get one, if you are changing flights it is very easy to pop and get one at Tung Chung which is a short bus ride from the airport. Hong Kong is also well worth seeing, with rugged mountains and some tranquil countryside. It isn't all skyscrapers as I was expecting.

Ostrich Pie - 6.26

Chicken Pie - 2.71


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