Arguably the biggest exporter of popular culture in the last decade, Korea has seen the proliferation of many of its cultural aspects including its cuisine. While slightly lagging behind its counterparts such as music and drama, Korean food is slowly but surely hitting the main stream in Hong Kong, with the emergence of the likes of street food-focused eateries like Seoul Bros, or those towards more of the other end of the spectrum such as MOMOJEIN. What’s still relatively scarce in Hong Kong is the presence of Korean drinking culture, something very distinctive and pervasive in Korea, so we were very excited when we heard that K-Pocha is helping to fill the void.
The Buzz and the Vibe:
Pocha means “tented wagon” in Korean, and refers to street bars commonly sighted in trendier districts around the country, using only a plastic tarp for walls and ceilings. They are popular among Koreans of all backgrounds and offer the opportunity to sit back and wind down after a day’s work with some hearty and simple food coupled with delicious alcohol. K-Pocha strives to capture the essence of this historic culture but with a modernised twist.
You won’t find plastic stools or gas pipes at your feet, or off the roof noise levels. What you’ll experience is the same level of casualness and comfort but in a spacious, modern setting with neon signs splashed across the walls, big TV screens playing K-pop or dramas and a designated entertainment area (look up to the ceiling and you’ll see hints of the architecture of tents) complete with electronic dartboards and beer pong tables. If this doesn’t scream fun to you, they’re even introducing popular Korean drinking games that are quite sure to get you wasted – instructions are printed on the menus.
K-Pocha serves authentic and popular Korean street food and family dishes that are heftily portioned and great for sharing. They’re certainly good, but nothing extraordinary or mind-blowing. We particularly liked the Seafood Dukboki ($180 / for 3 – 4 persons), which are Korean rice cakes flowing with pungent kimchi and seafood flavours that pack a pretty spicy punch. They offer the rice cakes in original, seafood and soy sauce flavours, but we recommend the seafood version because of its rich umami that you can taste even from the chilli sauce.
The Korean-style pancake (seafood / kimchi) ($90) was delicious too. It's nice and chewy and paired with a wonderful homemade chilli dipping sauce, although it could use a crispier crust.
The K-Pocha Fried Chicken ($188 / whole chicken) was crispy and juicy, and the pickled radish that came with it was a good touch to offset the heat from the chicken. It comes with three different dipping sauces depending on your tolerance for spiciness.
K-Pocha specialises in soju-based cocktails made with fresh fruit directly flown in from Korea, and boy are they good. The K-Pocha ($120) adds freshly muddled lychee and pear with soju and is finished with yoghurt to create a fruity, sweet concoction that leaves a velvety feel in your mouth.
The Gangnam Beach ($120) is a mix of soju, cranberry juice, peach and orange, and is incredibly refreshing and zesty, with a strong orange undertone that exudes a wonderful summery scent.
Mind you though, these cocktails are cunningly easy to drink and could have you tipping over the edge before you know it. Non-fruit lovers can either look towards their extensive list of soju to be drunk neat, or try their signature housemade Makgeoli ($150 / jug), a type of Korean rice wine with a milky texture.
Cool vibe, chic interior, good food, better drinks. This fun time party bar is a great option if you’re looking for something new and something quirky for a night out. Cocktails are certainly on the pricey side, so savour every sip while you’re at it and try their other moderately priced drinks too to avoid burning a hole in your wallet.
7th Floor, Ho Lee Commercial Building, 38-44 D’Aguilar street, Central
Tel: 2770 0611