“I’m going to be late guys, I’m terribly lost.” I texted my group of girlfriends last night standing in front of the Peninsula hotel trying to get my Google maps to work. “Head North.” Yeah, thanks, iPhone. I know exactly where North is.


My friends and I had been planning this dinner for 3 weeks. It had already been put off twice. Now it was about to happen and I was lost.  The funny thing about Tsim Sha Tsui, is that it really has such a unique style to it. It’s nothing like Central or Wan Chai and it most certainly is nothing like Sha Tin or the further reaches of the New Terrirotires. TST is like its own city. You almost feel old worldly- the classic hotels, the alley ways, the hundreds of different shops and restaurants.


Finally, bumping into one of my friends who was also late, we found the right route to the restaurant. However, our venture there was slowed down as we were harassed every few stops, “Copy watch?” “Copy Handbag?” Eventually, we arrived at Hancham Korean BBQ.


Located on Prat Avenue, you go up to the first floor and are welcomed by little Korea. Wooden tables with a grill in the middle of them. A smoke suction device above each table. TV screens playing K-Pop videos and a range of rather strange game show-style props scattered around the restaurant.
We started the evening with my first-ever taste of rice wine.  This came as part of a creamy Lychee cocktail in a jug. We were given bowls to drink this from which was a lot of fun. It pretty much tasted the same as a Pina Colada. Needless to say, I finished the jug all by myself. My friends, however, opted for the classic Korean rice wine.
I tasted this, which had a very similar taste to vodka but with a citrus flavor to it. Nervous to try more of these shots, I stuck to my creamy drink while my friends gave me a lecture on the different types of rice wines around Asia. We all laughed at the fact that Japanese rice wine is called Sake, Korean rice wine is called Soju and in China it’s…rice wine….
We ordered marinated pork short rib, beef short rib, chili tofu soup, sirloin, and honestly, I do not have a single complaint.  The food was so good! I’d have to say as a recommendation, I would suggest ordering the marinated pork short rib. It had the best texture and flavor. Simply mouth watering.
I’m not sure if it was because we were a multi-cultural group or because we were the only English speaking table, but we were the only table at which the waiter actually cooked our food for us. Top this with fantastic quick service and we were very happy. For those who have never experienced Korean BBQ, the whole concept is you order raw meat and you cook it at the table. May seem strange…paying to cook your own food, but it actually heightens the feeling of sharing amongst friends.


What was rather funny was that three times during the night, the music would stop and this thumping song would suddenly blare out from the speakers. Out of the kitchen would explode waiters cheering with what can only be described as a K-Pop wedding cake. Well, from afar that is what it looked like. It was actually just a seriously over the top cake stand with a rather small cake on top. This was accompanied with party hats, flashing lights, cocktails and a box full of instruments such as tambourines….”Should we pretend it’s one of our birthdays?” It was actually really festive, and everybody was a having a good time, especially the table at the back which was just one guy with eight girls. “What a gangsta!” My friend commented.


If you go to this restaurant and you have a friend in your group who isn’t brave enough to try the food- why bother coming?- they have that covered, too. They offered us food from their neighboring restaurant which was a fried chicken and chips place in case we didn’t find anything we liked on their menu. I found this quite amusing.


After a lot of laughter, analyzing the androgyny of K-pop stars and feeling rather stuffed, we took a walk to Chimney Ice Cream. Once again, I just kept thinking about how different TST is. At one point, I was actually reminded of being in London as we headed down a cobblestone street surrounded by brick walls.


Just a tip; if you are going to get a Chimney ice cream, bring someone with you to share it! This is a circular pastry/bread stuffed with very creamy ice cream, a sauce of your choice (we chose caramel) and then a topping (we chose popcorn). For those with the sickliest of sweet tooths, this is definitely something you should try!

Alright, I’m off to explore more of Hong Kong!

Kat Coetzee