The first “pop-up” I remember experiencing was in 1998 when Berkeley’s Chez Panisse restaurant came cross country to Ithaca to cook in my residence hall for the creative and performing arts (Risley also happens to be the same residence Christopher Reeve and Andre Balazs lived in when they went to Cornell). The second? When Taipei’s famed dumpling shop, Din Tai Fung came to New York and cooked at the Sheraton La Guardia East Hotel. Oh, how I’m happy to live in a city where we have 2 Din Tai Fungs! (Read my other blog for restaurant favorites in Hong Kong)
I love the idea of a good pop-up. Bring me something amazing in small doses: good enough for a treat, not enough to spoil me.
In the past 2 years Hong Kong has started to see its fair share of pop-up shops and restaurants including American Apparel, Shanghai Tang and California’s In-n-Out. With ridiculously high rents, barriers of entry, loads of commercial spaces sitting half empty, and a market of expats who rarely eat in the same place twice in a month, it’s the perfect environment to test the market, feed the frenzy and make some quick cash.
Did I really miss the In-N-Out pop-up?
I did. Apparently they had a pop-up in Shanghai where they shared some of their authentic burgers and conducted “soft market research.” It just so happens it coincided with their lawsuit against an In-N-Out clone in Shanghai… But after Shanghai they came to Hong Kong on January 15th for a 4-hour-pop-up, then sped off to Sydney to do the same. I’m going to pout now.
Are food trucks viable in Hong Kong?
I love food trucks and dream about them often. They’re plentiful in the states and the range of what you get is amazing. Unfortunately with Hong Kong’s already crowded and narrow streets, the chance of a good food truck coming to Hong Kong is pretty unlikely.
Singapore Takeout - 1 mobile kitchen, 9 global cities, 10 celebrated chefs and 365 days. But putting this “food truck” out in Cyberport? No wonder I never heard about it… Check it Singapore Takeout’s last leg in Sydney March 12-14, 2012!
Mr Taco Truck is not a taco truck but a counter designed to look like a taco truck. I give them some credit for creativity, though their tacos are only so so. Still, they’re enough of a rarity in Hong Kong that Mr. Taco Truck has opened its second location in LKF. Quarry Bay – 22 Finnie Street (MTR exit B), +852 2590 6911; Central – 15 Wo On Lane (MTR Exit D2), +852 2810 0888
What about other tacos in Hong Kong?
Taco Tuesday at Yardbird - The team behind Yardbird and LC Library CAFE gave Hong Kong something they’ve been missing…an official “Taco Tuesday” via Yardbird x HECHO. What’s HECHO? A pop-up to be located at the Shake ‘Em Buns on Lyndhurst Terrace. But with one time event on March 6th with 300 tacos only and a line around the block means I’ve missed yet another good pop-up. 33-35 Bridges Street, Sheung Wan, +852 2547 9273
Heirloom – I always get excited when I hear about new restaurants opening in Sheung Wan, especially when they feature the rare taco. But while Heirloom is a well-designed and intimate, and owned by Corner Kitchen’s Vivian Herijanto, I’m repeatedly turned off by the thick smell of cooking grease each time I visit (and that was with the kitchen open to the outside!). I’ve gone back with hopes, but it’s been wishful thinking each time… 226 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, +852 2547 8008