Hello Fellow Foodies, hope delicious festive food is keeping you contended and warm in this winter season. We too have been travelling and gorging on sumptuous delicacies from around the world. On a recent trip to Hong Kong, we had lunch at Chilli Fagara– a Szechuan place that had been repeatedly recommended to us by friends and family members as if it was another tourist destination! When so many unrelated people vouch for the same place, you should definitely not miss it. Being an avid foodie, I had instantly added it to my HK places -to-visit- and eat list!
Why the name Chilli Fagara?
Fagara , as the restaurant points out is a kind of Szechwan pepper that is so hot that it not just burns but causes numbness. The menu is broadly constituted into three culinary levels of heat- Tang, Ma, and La .
Tang is the mildest and in their dictionary a neutral level spice which is just enough to set things off!
Ma represents burning and is next in line to put your tongue on fire..
La is numbing , it numbs your senses while bringing tears in your eyes and making your nose leak! 😛
Chilli Fagara is perfectly located in the SoHo (South of Hollywood Road) district of Hong Kong on the Graham Street. The Graham Street extends from Queens Road , cuts through the Hollywood Road and ends on the Staunton Street. Chilli Fagara is towards the Staunton Street end of the Graham Street slope. As we walked up to the Graham street we crossed Hong Kong’s oldest continuously operating street market. The street is narrow but it does have stalls on either sides that sells fresh food like seafood, vegetables, meats. As we “climbed” up, we did question the possibility of any restaurant on that street but soon we crossed an exotic patisserie, which was good enough to get hopes back! The street names were properly marked and that helped us in finding the place. We had to literally run to be able to get to the place before it shut down post lunch hours.(Timings: Open everyday from 11:30 am to 2:30pm and 5pm to 11pm). We called up in advance so they accommodated us even after 2:30 pm and let us place our last order by 3pm.
Hong Kong , being high density , tight squeeze city has relatively smaller units. It had been tough for us to find addresses in Hong Kong since the units have very small entrances that make it easier for you to skip numbers! But, this place had glaring hot orange-colored flame designs on its entrance ( aptly encapsulating the theme of Chilli Fagara) that can not easily go unnoticed. So, we were there… Finally!
As soon as we entered this place, we were a little taken aback by its size, it appeared too small and cramped for a ‘Michelin star restaurant’. We were lucky that the place was nearly empty (only 5 other people other than us) otherwise I am sure it could get a lot louder and chaotic. The ambiance was dim-lit, cozy and was done up with dark wooden furniture. The bamboo sticks on the ceiling just added to it oriental feel while the chilies and peppers hanging from the walls endorsed the name and the theme of the place. The moment we were seated, the red napkins were laid out on the table along with chopsticks and dark ceramic bowls.
Thanks to our Indian faces, as soon as we got comfortable, we were asked if we were vegetarians! We were pleasantly surprised to know that there was a separate green menu for vegetarians. The prices were higher than usual with every dish costing over 130 HKD ( INR 1000 approx) and soups within 70-100 HKD (INR 500-750). We were also reminded that we just have limited time to order (considering we reached a li’l after 2:30pm :(). We initially ordered for Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup! We were satisfied by the quantity since we ordered 1X2 portion. The soup bowls came with cute wooden soup spoons that made every sip and nibble truly Chinese.
The soup was hot and delicious, but it was only after the few sips that we felt its real heat (spice). Soon, we required those red paper napkins, to wipe our flowing noses. Both , me and Ashim took pleasures in noticing each other’s reactions while enjoying every sip! The after taste was nothing but a burning sensation on our palette, something we were craving for months. The soup was thick and filling. Next, we ordered a Veg Sichuan Rice. The quantity was a little disappointing for the price.
Needless to say, that the rice was spicy. It had chunks of red chilies that hits your palette in every bite. Soon, we had to request for water because we had our tongues on FIRE! The experience was truly HOT AND SPICY, something that we both really needed not only because we both relish overtly Spicy Oriental food but also this is something we do not really get to enjoy in Singapore. We were even told that gloves are provided with the food , eaten by hands so that the spice does not directly come in contact with skin. Being part of our first Anniversary trip, this experience came just at the right time! If you are ready to shelve HKD 500-600 (INR 4000) for a meal for two ( without drinks), we would recommend this place to all the foodies who love spicy food and otherwise. Make sure you take out time to visit this place whenever you are in Hong Kong next! Visit: http://www.chillifagara.com/ for details on non-veg food.
There are many websites that vouch for this place. We could capture the picture of just a few of the many endorsements they had.
Hope this post tantalized your oriental loving taste buds. If not immediately fly to Hong Kong, it at least made you book a table at the local oriental diner or order a spicy bento box. From our end, we would soon try to assuage your hot and spicy appetite with the spicy Vegetarian Tom Yum Soup ( recipe to follow soon)!
Keep yourself warm and binge on good food!