[Hong Kong] Butao Ramen

As many people may know already, a few years ago, the ramen wave started in Hong Kong. These ramen places have popped up all over the place in Hong Kong with Ichiran becoming one of the most popular ramen places with constant queues. I was not a big ramen fan before but I was intrigued as to what makes people go crazy over these bowls of noodles in pork broth.

I have passed Butao Ramen on Wellington Street in Central for countless times and have only made my first ever visit last Friday. We got there just before 6:30pm and there were still seats available as I did expect there to be some queuing since it was reaching peak dinner time. We were seated at the bar table just in front of the open kitchen and could hear the chefs tending to the orders left and right.

We were given a glass of water and the menus with two order forms. As I flicked through the menu, I was immediately taken with the ‘Black King’. It contains black sauce made primarily from black garlic and squid ink are immersed together with their original pork soup stock to create a black soup base. Well why not try something new and black, right? Once you choose your soup base out of the four options, you can add / adjust the level of spiciness, garnish, etc to your liking before choosing the texture of your noodles. I picked ‘hard’ noodles as I prefer to chew the noodles.

When our order arrived within 5 minutes, I was really excited to try the ‘Black King’. As I added some spicy beansprouts from the table which is self service and sprinkled some sesame seeds over my bowl, I was ready to begin. I picked up a part of the black ball in the middle of the bowl and tried it without hesitation. It was minced pork but coated with black sauce. The taste was not strong but very unique and in the end you can taste that it is indeed pork. I then started to dig into my noodles swimming in my bowl of black soup. The texture was perfect and the soup base was amazing. You can taste the pork broth but also a hint of squid which gives it a bit of a seafood kick. The slices of pork were cooked to perfection and I was left feeling very satisfied with the meal.

I would definitely recommend the ‘Black King’ because it really is so tasty and everything about it is spot on. The next time I come back here, I would like to try their ‘Red King’ which are their spicy noodles. Butao Ramen currently has four locations in Hong Kong and we went to the one in Central. Staff are friendly and the restaurant, although not big, has a nice atmosphere but not one to stay long in, so just eat your noodles and go.

[Hong Kong] AMMO Restaurant

So when you hear a restaurant is located in a former explosives compound site, you immediately become so intrigued that you rush off to make a visit… right? Actually we stumbled across AMMO which specialises in pasta dishes, through a friend who knew we were looking for a comfortable but unique place to have lunch. We had never heard of AMMO and was surprised that it is located just opposite the British Embassy up in Admiralty on Justice Drive.

As we stepped inside the entrance leading to the restaurant, there was an outdoor seating area with cushions and a grass border on the right side of the pathway. The restaurant itself is not big but contains a bar with high chairs which you will see just as you walk in with dining tables next to the windows and sofa seats with low tables on the left hand side. Because of the high ceiling and windows, the beams of natural light gave the restaurant a lift, complimenting the small lights hanging from the staircases above.

We were a party of four so we ordered everything to share amongst us. For starters, we ordered the pan seared tuna salad, the Japanese scallop carpaccio and the marinated black cod. We had the Boston lobster spaghetti and the crab ravioli as the mains and the apple tart and chocolate passion fruit crème as the perfect ending to our lunch. While most people may have thought that five dishes would not be enough to share for a party of four given the fact that the portions were not big – think again, the food was spot on and perfect for the four of us as we shared and was content with tasting each dish. Not to mention that they gave us each bread and olive oil to begin with before the food arrived, which probably already made us half full.

The apple tart took around 10 minutes to prepare which gave us plenty of time to digest and take a breather before the final round.

The apple tart along with the vanilla ice cream was a perfect match and you can actually taste the passion fruit within the chocolate crème. Both desserts were satisfying and we were all very full by the time we finished devouring both of them.

For the price and service you get at AMMO, in my honest opinion, it is worth the money to give it a go. We had kind staff serving us and given the location and the setting of the restaurant, it is not difficult to come here. AMMO seems secretly hidden up the hills of Admiralty but if you are looking for somewhere unique with good food then here’s your next place to try.