It’s no wonder why claypot rice is such a popular winter staple, with the wait going up to several hours at famous shops during the cold season. Before the lid is even opened, the smell of the fatty meat attack your senses. Once the lid is removed, you’re surrounded with fast-moving steam and the sweet and toasty scent coming from the grilled rice. Dump in a generous amount of sweet soy sauce, and voila, a comforting mouthful of chewy, crispy rice, juicy meat and intense flavors. Here’s where to go for this quintessential Hong Kong winter experience.
One of the most famous claypot rice establishments, Kwan Kee has been serving the dish since 1985. Claypot rice has three main components: rice, grill and soy sauce, and Kwan Kee takes all of them very seriously. The rice is a blend of new and old rice to create the perfect texture and flavor, while the claypot is cooked on lava stones. The special soy sauce blend comprises of Japanese soy sauce, chicken stock, ginger and scallions. The menu offers over 25 toppings, and the most popular ones are eel, chicken, and duck. Since the claypot rice is prepared by order and can take a while, most customers also get a variety of side dishes and stews, so the meal is perfectly timed to end with claypot rice.
Shop 1, G/F, Wo Yick Mansion, 263 Queen’s Road West, Sai Ying Pun
Ranked No. 2 among Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2020, The Chairman is famous for their contemporary Cantonese cuisine using traditional techniques and carefully sourced ingredients. Every fall and winter, you’ll be able to find The Chairman’s interpretation of the claypot rice on the menu. One of the more unusual combinations is the claypot rice with preserved pork belly and sweet potatoes. The restaurant preserves their own pork belly, and adds in sweet potatoes for some soft texture and sweetness. You’ll also find a thick layer of crunchy rice crisp at the bottom, which is arguably the best part of the claypot rice experience.
18 Kau U Fong, Central
Open only during the day from 7am to 4pm, Wing Hop Shing is great as an alternative brunch option. Their claypot rice is cooked with a bread oven for a nice layer of rice crisp. The most popular combination is claypot rice with egg and minced beef. Remember to mix everything well with the rice before digging in! On top of claypot rice, the restaurant offers the typical cha chaan teng fare.
G/F, 360 Des Voeux Road West, Shek Tong Tsui
A traditional “siu mei” restaurant in a modern setting, Chop Chop is best known for their char siu rice with a fried egg. Helmed by Chef Dai, who’s among the “four greatest Chinese chefs in Hong Kong”, Chop Chop launches a seasonal claypot rice menu when the weather turns cold. The offerings are original and yet authentic, from traditional flavors such as salted fish and minced pork to contemporary interpretations like Japanese beef and egg as well as foie gras and morel mushrooms. More so, it’s convenient as a takeaway and delivery option. To celebrate the upcoming Year of the Ox, Chef Dai has come up with Poon Choi Clay Pot Rice, using auspicious ingredients such as abalone, fish maw and deep-fried taro. The Poon Choi Clay Pot Rice will be available from February 1st to February 25th.
Shop 3, G/F, 18 Wang On Road, North Point
A cha chaan teng by day and a claypot rice specialty restaurant by night, this North Point neighborhood diner offers over 20 combinations of the steaming-hot dish once evening rolls around. The claypot rice here attracts diners from all over Hong Kong for the fresh ingredients and perfectly executed roasted rice. The rice is aromatic and cooked to the perfect texture, with an addictive crispy layer at the bottom. This restaurant is popular — make sure to book a table! Due to current social distancing measures, the claypot rice is available for takeaway.
Shop C, G/F, Scala Mansion, 25-31 Tsat Tsz Mui Road, North Point
Located in a back alley in Shau Kei Wan, Cheung Hei sells up to 300 bowls of claypot rice a day during the winter season. The best-reviewed combination here is the claypot rice with eel. The eels are purchased fresh at the wet market daily by the owner daily, who insists on using eels from Taiwan for their superior taste. One of the last remaining restaurants to use a charcoal fire, the end results is aromatic rice that’s fully absorbed the flavorful oils from the fatty eels.
Shop 4A-5A, G/F, Sun Lee Building, 6-28 Ngoi Man Street, Shau Kei Wan