Panda Peeks – Ren Ren Heping Restaurant
Living in Hong Kong is all about getting out of that comfort zone and exploring new areas to find hangouts to take fellow residents and visiting friends and family alike. While not so off the beaten track, North Point to some may still seem a little out of the way, but by sticking to the MTR just a few extra stops and having a wander around, there is dining aplenty to suit any mood you may be in. Head up the hill slightly and have a stroll down Fort Street to see where the locals have picked out the best spots for lunch and are happy to queue down the pavements to receive their afternoon fix.
Ren Ren Heping Restaurant is located at the Cheung Hong Street end of the road, close by to bus stops on the eventful King’s Road, allowing for an easy getaway after a hefty meal. You are welcomed into the classic Chinese canteen setting and if you are dining for one, will be sat on a long table near the back along with other likeminded solo eaters. The set lunch menu has affordable options that can be cooked up and propped on your table before you have a chance to unfold your napkin, however, I decided that my stomach was ready for a challenge and took a glance over the A La Carte folder to have a splurge.
Casserole of Fried Rice in Goose Sauce
My first choice was the Casserole of Fried Rice in Goose Sauce ($135 for large, $85 for small), which is brought to the table in a sizzling black pot. Even from a distance, there is no avoiding the twinkling shine reflecting off the crispy goose skin pristinely diced and stirred up along with grilled sweet corn, carrots, scallions and mushroom into the deep brown rice mixture. Even having ordered a modest small portion for myself, this restaurant definitely goes family style, and I had more than enough that could have been shared with the diners nearby.
Steamed Luffa or Eggplant with Dried Shrimps and Garlic
Wanting to get one of my five a day in, I whizzed through the menu to find the vegetable section and came across the Steamed Luffa or Eggplant with Dried Shrimps and Garlic ($72), and of course, not being totally confident I knew what luffa was, I chose that option. The tropical vine has a squishy centre, a firm skin and a rather modest but sweet flavour, which was accentuated through the minced garlic, julienned ginger and chopped spring onions sprinkled over the top.
Prosperous Velvety Melon Gourd
Never did I think that I could come across a plate of food with a more prestigious title than any person I’ve ever met until coming to Heping Restaurant and meeting the Award Winning “Prosperous Velvety Melon Gourd” ($188). With quite an established presence, this vegetarian dish certainly lives up to its name and prospers in not only its presentation but in a blend of textures, flavours and creative cooking. Luckily they let me get just a half portion ($108) as 4 of these stuffed pumpkins would simply be too many! Saying this, my wishes for a larger stomach could not be answered soon enough as the combination of chewy vegetables and the smooth bittersweet flavour of the pumpkin was just right to fill up my belly and conclude this epic meal time.
After my final serving had arrived, and my meal for one was starting to spread onto the mats of those sharing my table, I managed to catch the glimpses of awe at the choices I had made. My friendly neighbours joined me for a giggle at my over-ordering and I’d like to think they were fishing for an invite to try some of the masterpieces sat in front of me. While I had definitely gathered enough that could satisfy a group of four adults, my taste buds were left fulfilled and my wallet was still smiling. Filling and affordable food for the whole family at Ren Ren Heping Restaurant.
Ren Ren He Ping Restaurant
Address: Shop A, G/F, 6-8 Fort Street, North Point
Or order on foodpanda.