13 September 2008

Hong Kong City - Colonial Park

Overall Rating: Good
Highlight: Variety of Food
Lowlight: Not a fancy dining room
Veggie Note: There are three very different types of cuisine on this menu, so you have to fumble through it to find all of the vegetarian options available, they are not all collected in one place or designated with a symbol. But there are lots of choices.

We were doing a little late evening shopping and were looking for a good option for take out dinner to bring home with us.

Hong Kong City is a fairly standard looking Chinese (American style) restaurant that probably does about 50% of its business in take-out (that was about the average while we were sitting there waiting.) The nice thing here is that they not only have a pretty complete menu of traditional Chinese-American dishes, they also have a small Thai section and a nice sushi bar menu. It's a very plain dining room (although they do try with the typical cheesy decorations). We weren't looking to sit down and eat, so I didn't give it much thought. It's not a fancy restaurant by any means. It was very clean and bright however, I'm not trying to say you shouldn't eat-in there. We walked up to the register to place our order. We were told it would be about 20 minutes, and that was pretty accurate.

We had the following:

  • Nothing complementary came with our take-out food, but I did see a couple eating-in that had crispy noodles and duck sauce on their table, I am assuming that they were served complimentary.
Off the Chinese Menu Section:
  • Szechuan Style Bean Curd - one of a couple tofu/bean curd dishes available (there was also Hunan style and General Tso's style.) It was spicy, but not too spicy (could have been spicier really). We noticed after ordering that there is a little place on their take out menu that you can check off for how spicy you want your meal. We'll remember that in the future. The tofu was cut into long strips, almost like chicken stir-fry pieces, instead of just being cubed and fried. It was nice to see a detail like that. It makes you feel like they spent time thinking about and preparing the dish. Overall this was a pretty good dish.
Off the Sushi Menu:
  • Vegetable Maki Combo - listed as three "vegetable rolls" on the menu, mine was prepared with an avocado roll, an avocado mango roll and a roll with avocado and sliced up pieces of inari (sweet tofu pancake) inside. I love avocado, but this was actually a bit of overload for me. On a positive note though, the avocado was at its peek of ripeness, so buttery and delicious. I had no problem finishing it all in the end. The combo meal also came with miso soup and salad with ginger dressing. Much like my experience at Mikado on 2nd, the dressing here was really chunky and ugly colored on top and then super watery at the bottom. It looks so unappealing. I have had much better looking ginger dressing in my lifetime, but so far I have not found it here in Harrisburg. I will say that while we were wandering the aisles of Costco recently, I noticed a big jug of similarly ugly-looking ginger dressing on the shelf - coincidence? There was no Costco near where we used to live, hmmmm...
  • We also ordered some a la carte Inari and Tamago, our two favorite seaweed minimal sushi varieties for my seaweed-averted partner. They were good, as usual. I was reading the specials from the sushi bar, and one of their fancy rolls of the day (The Yellow Submarine) was yellowfin tuna rolled in a yellow soy wrapper. We have seen these fancy alternative sushi wrappers before (and bought a variety pack at Wegman's once). If we could talk the sushi chef into using those wrappers on some veggie rolls, that could really open the door to sushi for the seaweed opposed, and add a little fun to the very green appearance of most veggie sushi.

Just a few other notes:

To give you a rough idea, since the menu is not available online, other vegetarian options included a vegetable choice in all of the standard Chinese-American dishes (lo mein, fried rice, moo shu, egg foo young, etc...). They also had a couple other veggie dishes listed with the bean curd ones (a broccoli dish of some sort - sorry these details have left my brain now). They had Pineapple Fried Rice on the Thai menu (I'd check to make sure this is definitely meat free). The Pad Thai and other Thai dishes did not have veggies or tofu listed as an option, but I'd be willing to bet they would do some substituting for your here. There were not too many other veggie sushi options available. I asked them if they ever have sweet potato tempura rolls as a special and they said yes. I think they were pretty open to special requests here as well. In addition, they had edemame in the appetizer section of the menu.

I feel with any restaurant being managed by folks for whom English is not necessarily their first language (and even in some cases where English is the only language your server has ever spoken) the word vegetarian does not always translate perfectly. Be really careful with dishes marked "vegetable" but not necessarily "vegetarian." Ask questions, be specific, and peek inside your dish before you start chowing down. We had no problems here at Hong Kong City.

Final Thoughts: Trying to not compare Hong Kong City to the fancy, sit-down Asian style restaurants we have been too, this is a really nice place. For take-out or a quick eat-in meal, this is definitely a really nice place. Our food was all very delicious and we had no shortage of vegetarian choices to make. This will definitely be a place we will consider returning to when we're in the mood for take-out.

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