Where: 7/F, 31 Hollywood Road
Plug sockets: Yes
Price of espresso: HK$48
Open: 5pm – late
Privacy points: 3/5
The most sought-after joints in this densely packed spit of land are those that are best hidden; ideally down rat-infested alleyways, behind mirrored doors or high up in incognito buildings. Fu Lu Shou fits the bill: on the seventh floor of an unprepossessing building, you need a door code to enter (though you don’t need to be James Bond to find it).
Up in a classic Hong Kong lift, rickety and groaning, you emerge into a small space faced by the trio of gods, all drooping moustaches and robes, after whom Fu Lu Shou – happiness, prosperity and longevity – is named.
Inside is the buzz of muted conversations, laughter and tittle-tattle. Clubbers, bankers and first daters rub shoulders easily enough, over tables made from mah-jong tiles. Better still is the tiny outside area, with swing chairs andthe heady pollution and built-up urbanism that is part of the deal. It is busy, but as testified by low-level murmuring, private too. A signature joh san cocktail (think very potent tom yum soup) on a balmy night seals the deal.
The food gains more points for chutzpah than culinary excellence. The style is Chinese cuisine as it is served abroad. So think gloopy sweet and sour, San Francisco-style paper lanterns, neon-coloured sauces and generous sprinklings of cashew nuts. In other words, kitschy – but one hell of a crowd pleaser.
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