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Qiao Tei (橋底辣蟹) is one of several places on Lockhart Road in Wan Chai that is famous for their chili crab, not Singaporean chili crab, but rather a Cantonese chili crab that is completely different. My friends in Hong Kong recommended this place as they said it’s their favorite one out of the bunch.
It’s a pretty rowdy place (I loved the atmosphere) that is super crowded and has lots of people happily eating and drinking. It’s definitely not an upscale place, but rather a no-frills type of place to eat some great food and have a good time with friends. The service was fine, they were pretty nice, but they are running around a lot since the place is very busy.
Let’s get to the food:
- Chili crab: this is going to sound like a bit of a bold statement, but this is single handily one of the best dishes I’ve ever had. As much as I like very refined food, my favorite foods are generally much more low key foods that are delicious and this is a perfect example. Its crab fried that is covered in a huge amount of fried crispy garlic, scallions and peppers. This garlic is weird because it’s super crispy and it’s not nearly as strong as regular garlic cloves, so you can eat a lot of it, I was literally eating spoonfuls of it. The crab meat has such a good sweet flavor and combined everything else is just so good. I just can’t say enough about how good this was.
- Spare ribs: I don’t know what this was called in Chinese b/c I didn’t order anything (big group of like 8-9 people and I let my friends order since they knew more about the food there then I did). These were awesome. They were battered and fried and then glazed with a sweet and sour sauce, but these were different than jing du pai gu as they were less sweet and brownish as opposed to red, there were some pineapples in the clay pot as well. The meat was nice and tender, the sauce wasn’t overly sweet. Overall, just really awesome dish.
- Braised fish head: this is the one thing I ordered, I showed up a little late so they had already ordered, but I saw fish head soup on the menu and it looked good. The guy told me they ran out, but he had braised fish head that was very good, so I said okay. This was awesome. It was chunks of fish head braised in a sort of spicy soy sauce with chilis and scallions; similar to a hong shao preparation (red cooked). The meat on the head was so tender, not fishy at all and the sauce tasted amazing with this dish, super good.
- Spicy clams: my friend ordered this, another “wow” type of dish. Clams stir fried in this brown spicy sauce, so flavorful. The sauce was amazing, wasn’t heavy or goopy, not too salty just really good. The clams were very fresh tasting too.
- Chili mantis prawn: same thing as chili crab with mantis prawn, really good. I forgot that mantis prawn can be really good if you cook it right, tastes like a slightly sweeter lobster, another huge winner.
Overall, I really like this place a lot. If you happen to be in Hong Kong, I highly recommend going here, it’s a lot of fun and a great restaurant.