That sent us running right out to the farther one.
We always pass by Hong Kong Roast Food Express on our way to pay our Meralco bills, and have read some blog posts about it, but we never have gotten the time to stop by until today. (Strange, when we live close to it. But I'm sure other people have had the same non-experience of not ever going to a place that's close by home or work.)
It's a quaint little place (read: not really big) although it has a second floor as well. We were the only ones who were there - which normally food writeups would have you believe means bad food hence no crowds - but I chalked it up to being in such an unusual location.
I knew from the reviews I've read that the BBQ Roast Pork Asado (single order, PhP 180.00) was one of the dishes you purposely visit this restaurant for, so of course, we had that.
It was good to finally have a place to order this dish that I know is popular in Hong Kong, and in Chinese communities everywhere. (My mom would order this from a place I now can't remember when I was younger, I must ask her this weekend.) The aroma that hits you once you bite into the almost caramelized exterior is heady, and the cacophony of tastes (savory, sweet, woodsy) makes you wish you could freeze time.
When we were handed the menu, Art's eyes immediately settled on Salted Fish Rice (PhP 120.00) so we proceeded to order that.
It was the surprise of that dinner: you could eat this on its own because the flavor was fantastic. I can tell that some people may not like the bits of fish meat that may be a little too salty, but I've had this dish in many other restaurants and my usual question with those has always been where's the fish? so it was pleasantly surprising to actually feel the texture of fish bits in this version.
We also ordered Celery Fish Fillet (PhP 158.00) which I thought would be a nice change of pace from the Steamed Fish With Garlic that seems to be in every Chinese restaurant now. (Not that that's a bad thing, but it can get repetitive to see it in every Chinese menu.)
As soon as it arrived, Art whispered "konti". I agree (though the picture makes it seem like it had more servings than it actually did). But taste wise, it was worth every peso: a light sauce, infused with the namesake vegetable (and the obvious large pieces) as well as ginger, it provided a contrast from the two previous dishes. (It was almost a palate cleanser.)
We also went for a noodle dish, Sate Beef Hofan (PhP 168.00 snack/PhP 240.00 heavy). I wanted to see their version of this dish (another "standard" Chinese dish). They weren't kidding when they said "heavy".
It had large and many pieces of beef, and the noodles were cut quite thick, although the dish was quite salty. I would suggest that they tone down the sodium level, which overpowered the savory quality of the dish.
When I saw the Horlicks on the drink menu, I had to have it (ode to a childhood snack), but unfortunately, they ran out of it. We settled for Wheatgrass Honey (PhP 75.00) and Cold Refreshing Boba Tea (PhP 75.00), both of which were refreshingly excellent.
The Wheatgrass drink was light, a perfect accompaniment to the dishes we had that evening. I had my tea drink in Lychee flavor, and the bits of apple and kiwi served to accent the sweet tea that was topped by these pink "balls" which "exploded" when you bit into them, and gushed forth a saccharine liquid.
Two more groups of diners had entered by the time we were about to finish our meal, and they seemed to be regulars since the wait staff already knew what they were going to have. A place like this will indeed inspire loyalty, owing to the great food and the unobtrusive service, and they have just gained two more loyal followers in us.
Hong Kong Roast Food Express
7467C Bagtikan Street, San Antonio Village