Second up on the Hong Kong food tour: Aziza Egyptian restaurant.
Located in Kennedy Town at one of the most westerly points on the island, Aziza is, like BlackSalt a very small restaurant. Again, 25 people at a push! It’s really impressive to me to see these restaurants killing it with such tight spaces – especially when Beijing seems to be focused on large spaces and cramming as many staff in as possible at the same time. Walking up without any reservation around 8PM on a Saturday evening, we were told that there would be a table ready in less than 10 minutes even though it was jam packed. Sure enough, 10 minutes later, we were warmly welcomed and seated.
A family-run restaurant, Aziza serves up Egyptian cuisine with dishes that also come from other Arabic countries (the origins of hummus is debatable). We made our way through as much of the menu as we could – all for you, dear reader! #selfless
We started with a few small dishes: the babaganough, zabadi and grilled halloumi. All of them left me wanting more.
The babaganoush was smooth and creamy (though not as smoky as I like), the zabadi was laced with garlic and citrus and inspired me to learn how to make it myself and the haloumi was gorgeous like always. The dish that really stood out and left a lasting impression is definitely their zabadi – it’s a lot more garlicky than I expected and that’s a good thing! Both the babaganoush and zabadi came with a home-made pitta bread, served warm right out of the oven!
Onto the mains: We ordered the lamb shank and a tagine with beef and okra.
While the lamb shank was tender and covered in a nice gravy, it probably didn’t need both portions of mashed potatoes alongside a bowl of rice. Our initial thought was to save the rice for the remaining sauce in the tagine, but actually the tagine was served with a side of homemade couscous (even better!).
While we waited about 30 minutes for our tagine to arrive (they had forgotten that we ordered this one too), we sipped on Fenugreek tea made from Fenugreek seeds, which has a somewhat bitter taste and the fragrance actually reminds me of traditional Chinese medicine. But taste aside, this herbal tea boasts an incredible list of properties and health benefits relating to your gut, lungs, and inflammation. Quite unique in flavor, I can honestly say that although I didn’t love it at first, it grew on me as I continued to sip on it and turned out to actually be a great drink to help us to pass the waiting time.
The tagine was rich in flavour, but it wasn’t overly generous with the beef quantity. We counted only 4 pieces of beef in the entire dish so this one was a disproportionate amount of okra to beef. But it’s also very possible that perhaps this was just an accident of circumstance and we just got spooned a relatively meatless portion. No hard feelings considering my insatiable appetite for okra.
To complete our dining experience, I had to try one of their homemade desserts. Our choice pick was their Kounafa as soon as I saw that it was made with ricotta cheese. It’s a really interesting combination of melted cheese and the sweet pastry. If you like baklava, you should enjoy this too! It certainly surpassed our expectations!
While we certainly enjoyed our meal at Aziza, there were a few things to note –
- One – there is no alcohol on sale. Haram apparently! We were slightly baffled at first because literally every table in the restaurant was drinking beer or wine. On the plus side, you are free to walk round the corner to one of the local alcohol stores and buy some wine or beer to accompany your meal. So that we did.
- Two – service was friendly, but haphazard. It didn’t bother me that they didn’t write down our order as we didn’t order that many dishes, but they probably should make a habit of doing so as they forgot one of our main dishes (the beef and okra tagine) which left us waiting quite a while.
- Three – again size. With such limited seating, it isn’t going to be the easiest to get a table here. On the plus side, the turn-over of tables was pretty quick so most people who turned up without a reservation had to just wait about 15-20 minutes. And if the wait is longer than you can accept, then you’re bound to be able to walk around the corner and bump into 2 to 3 other good options – one of the perks of eating in Hong Kong!
Overall, Aziza serves all your classic Middle Eastern and North African dishes for very reasonable prices (for Hong Kong). Innis way it’s a typical Egyptian restaurant. While you’re not going to find anything revolutionary here, this family-run business is all about comfort and quality. On the plus side, you can also make the most of their BYOB rules!
Aziza Contact Details:
- Address: Shop D, G/F 28 Hau Wo Street, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong
- Tel: +852 3462 2844
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kristen Lum has an accomplished background in PR, communications and events in China. Born and raised in California, Kristen has been based in Beijing since 2006 and is founder of the lifestyle blog called LumDimSum, covering mostly restaurant news and reviews alongside upcoming events around town that relate to Beijing’s muti-faceted, quickly-developing creative industries like art, music, film, health and fitness, fashion, nightlife, charity events, and travel tips.