I've avoided Vietnamese food for some time since my visit to Hanoi in January. When you've spent enough time in a country and expect a certain quality to the local food, to eat it in another country sometimes can mar your experience and make you lose a little perspective on what to expect. 2 months later and in a place like Hong Kong, which has many residents of Vietnamese origin, it's probably not an unwise choice of cuisine. And with the competition, the queues at Rice Paper don't lie. While I would not classify it as the best around, it offers a pretty decent selection and at reasonable prices too.
On this occasion, I went to the Harbour City location. It is my favourite mall in Hong Kong and after a few hours of shopping, Rice Paper is a fairly comfortable and vibrant place to settle into for a light dinner.
I like the noodle dishes. For seafood lovers, the crab meat noodles are good and deceptively light despite its robust colours.
While the beef noodles are better, I had the chicken on this occasion for health reasons (too much red meat and certainly not because I want to dice with the avian flu syndrome)! The broth is clear and not oily, which is nice.
The crispy pancake is not as thin and light as in Hanoi, and nothing spectacular. The fresh vegetables and scattered pieces of shrimp did nothing for me, although I could be severly biased because of the rampant presence of deep fried shallots, which masked the taste of the fresh ingredients. I did like the fish sauce and lime laced honey dip, even dipping my chicken pieces from my noodles in it. Maybe that's why there wasn't enough to go round... sshh...
But the real reason we come to Rice Paper is for the dessert. The banana cake with honey ice cream topped with a honeycomb brittle is one of my favourite desserts. The warmed cake is spongy but dense enough to put up a good defence to the melting ice cream and the honeycomb bits are of course, pure bonus! Always a happy ending!
Rice Paper has an extensive menu and is worth going to for something different yet reasonably healthy. Reservations are essential at peak hours.
Shop 3319, Level 3,
Gateway Arcade, Harbour City,
Tsim Sha Tsui
Tel: +852 3151 7801
Tel: +852 3151 7801