My mum’s lamb korma was out of this world! And with the Festival of Sacrifice (Eid al-Adha) popping up on the Islamic calendar this month, my thoughts have drifted back to my mum’s sumptuous curry, laden with aromatic spices, tender, juicy lamb yearning to fall off the bone and the delicate fragrance of kewra water wafting in the air.
Well, I’ve stopped dreaming, because I reckon Hong Kong can deliver a lamb korma that competes very confidently with this authentic dish from my childhood. Step into the bustling setting of Bowrington Road Market in Wanchai, go up the steep steps (or take the lift) to the top floor of the Municipal Services Building, follow your nose to the cooked food centre… and make a beeline for Wai Kee, which supposedly started life as a pushcart in the street around 70 years ago. It’s named after the founder, who was called Wai, and today is run by Wai’s grandson.
What delights the eye is not the no-frills decor nor any attempt to “fine dine” – instead feast your eyes on Wai Kee’s two top-selling items: mutton curry ($48) and roast duck (from $38).
The curry is one of the best I’ve ever had, and my mother- and father-in-law have given it the thumbs up too, so there’s no messing around here! Thick and chocolate brown, the curry oozes with flavour and fat. This is a hearty dish that gets the blend of spices just right; the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, chilli and turmeric are beautifully absorbed into the sweetness of the caramelised onions, forming a sauce that lovingly caresses the tender morsels of mutton, leaving you feeling very happy as you mop it all up with a bowl of steaming rice. And it’s great value for money too!
Another showstopper is the succulent roast duck. Choose from regular, medium or large portion sizes (with rice or without, depending on your appetite), and a shiny, plump serving of roast duck bursting with salty juices will be efficiently served to you, considering that the place is usually teeming with hungry bellies. Amazingly, Wai Kee goes through 40–50 ducks a day!
If you’re after the curry, make sure you get there long before closing at 6pm or you may find the cooking pots empty...
Shop 5, Bowrington Road Cooked Food Centre, 1/F, Bowrington Road Market, 21 Bowrington Road, Wanchai, 2574 1131
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