Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hong Kong: Buono Italiano

I think I have mentioned it before but I view the statement that Hong Kong is a multicultural city largely as a myth... Unless mainland-Chinese are seen as another culture. The fact is, in Hong Kong as a whole, there's only about 4% of the population that is non-Chinese (let's leave the maids out of this as they don't really factor in the argument), probably less than 1% non-Asian. And most of that non-Chinese population lives/works in very specific areas (HK Island, West-Kowloon, Disco Bay, etc...).

In Kowloon, where we live, on last count, I believe there's less than 0.5% of the population that's non-Chinese. Compound that with the fact that the median income is about HKD $10,000/month, this gives you a mono-culture with relatively low-income levels. In that context, the restaurant goers are mostly price sensitive and mostly exposed to Asian fare.

Having lived in truly multicultural cities (Ottawa, Montreal) got me exposed and craving for a wide variety of food from all around the world. Not that it is impossible in Hong Kong, but it is typically on the pricey side to go to restaurants for anything but Chinese food.

So, I am using this roundabout way as a background to express my delight when some inexpensive and decent non-Chinese place opens up in my neighbourhood.

I'd say that Buono Italiano is such a place. Tucked behind the stalls selling all sorts of junk in Mong Kok's ladies' market (Tung Choi street), Buono offers a good variety of dishes in a casual environment, at a reasonable price.

Finding the place is a bit of a challenge; it's hidden behind the stalls.
Seared tuna salad. Nicely done.

Pasta with clams. Quite nice as well.

Penne in tomato sauce. Pasta were a bit too chewy (should have cooked for an extra 2 minutes) but the sauce, fortunately, was not sweet, like many pseudo-Italian do in Hong Kong.

HKD $246 for two, with wine.
Buono Italiano
10 Tung Choi Street,
Mong Kok, Kowloon

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