An insider's guide to dining in Hong Kong's Chungking Mansions: curry, chicken kebab, an African rice dish to fight over – a food tour with refugee turned banker Innocent Mutanga

Asia's Tech News Daily

Chungking Mansions, Zimbabwe, Ghana Locals, Anthony Bourdain, a type of flatbread, kebabs, mango

“Do you want curry?” asks a South Asian man handing out fliers to anyone approaching the famed Chungking Mansions in Hong Kong.

Many like him linger at its entrance, promoting restaurants and shops within the complex – famed for its cheap accommodation, goods and food – on Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui.

Some Hongkongers have never ventured into the large complex that opened in 1961 and includes five blocks of 17 storeys. For others, Chungking Mansions is home.

People from across South Asia and various African countries live and work in the complex.

Chungking Mansions, Zimbabwe, Ghana Locals, Anthony Bourdain, a type of flatbread, kebabs, mango

Bismillah Kebab House at Chungking Mansions. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

For Innocent Mutanga, Chungking Mansions was a refuge. After he fled Zimbabwe in southern Africa in 2013 during Robert Mugabe’s rule as president, he came to Hong Kong, which he was able to enter without a visa.

“The immigration officer asked me, ‘Where are you going to stay? Which hotel?’ I didn’t really know,” he recalls. “I think she was just like, ‘Oh, are you going to Chungking Mansions?’ But, for me, I didn’t think I could afford a mansion. When I arrived, I was like, ‘Oh what a mansion. It’s a very different type of mansion.’”

Mutanga was only able to afford a few days’ stay in the complex and was homeless for a while. After he received a student visa, he studied at the Chinese University of Hong Kong to become the first asylum seeker in the city to get a diploma. He now works as an analyst in an investment bank in Central, on Hong Kong Island.

He also keeps himself busy as the founder of the Africa Centre, a social enterprise based in Tsim Sha Tsui that promotes African culture and teaches drumming, dancing and cooking. The centre gives guided tours of Chungking Mansions to schools and corporations interested in learning more about the complex.

Mutanga is still a frequent visitor to the mansion’s restaurants, such as Ghana Locals on the ground floor. It’s a stall run by Tess Karl Buah and has three tables. “It’s hard to generally describe Ghanaian food, except that it is usually served in one dish, making it a complete meal,” he says.

Chungking Mansions, Zimbabwe, Ghana Locals, Anthony Bourdain, a type of flatbread, kebabs, mango

Jollof rice (with chicken stew, beans and plantains) at Ghana Locals. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

The menu includes dishes such as goat meat soup, yam with egg stew, and fish with banku, a kind of dumpling made from fermented corn dough and cassava dough.

The most popular dish is the jollof rice with beans, chicken and fried plantain (HK$70, or US$9). A large order of this might include two chicken legs, a generous spoonful of black-eyed peas in a sauce, a heaping mound of fried rice and fried plantains.

The fried chicken is hearty and not dry, and the fried rice has a hint of spice. Simmered in sauce, the beans have a slow, lingering spice burn. The fried plantains add some starchiness to the dish and a subtle, sweet banana taste.

Chungking Mansions, Zimbabwe, Ghana Locals, Anthony Bourdain, a type of flatbread, kebabs, mango

Mutton curry from Sher-E-Punjab. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

The rice dish, which dates back centuries, is made by cooking tomatoes with chilli, onion, red pepper and garlic and then adding rice with water. While it’s not too difficult to make, the claim to bragging rights for the best iteration can lead to arguments.

“It’s very quintessential in West Africa. People fight over jollof rice – get a Nigerian and a Ghanaian and just say ‘jollof’ and you start seeing them literally fist-fight over this, which came from the Wolof Empire [a West African state that ruled parts of Senegal from 1350 to 1549] in the past,” Mutanga says. “It’s more based in Senegal; Gambia, Nigeria, Ghana and some of the countries around, jollof is the main thing. They love it.”

Chungking Mansions is also known for its South Asian restaurants, and Mutanga’s preferred go-to – one where the late celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain dined during his 2018 trip to Hong Kong – is on the first floor.

Chungking Mansions, Zimbabwe, Ghana Locals, Anthony Bourdain, a type of flatbread, kebabs, mango

Mutanga (left) has a soft spot for Sher-E-Punjab because of when he first arrived in Hong Kong. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

Sher-E-Punjab is a small space and the menu covers an entire wall. The kitchen can cook up dozens of dishes, such as dosa, chicken garlic tikka, vegetable korma, aloo gobi and vegetable biryani.

Mutanga’s favourite meat is mutton. The mutton curry (HK$80) we ordered is accompanied by a chapatti (HK$10) and roti prata (HK$10), a plate of thinly sliced cucumbers, carrots and red onions, and coriander sauce (HK$20).

“Chapatti [a type of flatbread] is delicious. It’s one of those dishes that is really going across the world,” Mutanga says. “Even Africans from Burundi and Kenya think chapatti is theirs, but I’m like, ‘Sorry, Africans. This is actually Indian.’”

Many people have the idea that curry is all heat, he adds, but this version – which has whole black peppercorns floating in it – has an initial sweetness that is followed by a lingering spiciness. It isn’t fiery hot, but the chunks of mutton can be overcooked and tough to eat. Diners might prefer to stick to the flavoursome sauce, mopping it up with hand-torn bits of chapatti and roti prata – another type of flatbread.

Mutanga has a soft spot for Sher-E-Punjab because of when he first arrived in Hong Kong with HK$200 in hand.

“I have very fond memories of prata,” he says. “You just order prata, usually about HK$10 and then sometimes the restaurant staff gave me some free sauce. Prata and sauce, and you’re good.”

Chungking Mansions, Zimbabwe, Ghana Locals, Anthony Bourdain, a type of flatbread, kebabs, mango

Bismillah fried chicken kebabs from Bismillah Kebab House. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

Near Sher-E-Punjab is a Turkish restaurant called Bismillah Kebab House, established in Chungking Mansions 14 years ago. It serves halal lamb and chicken kebabs, doner kebabs, northern Pakistani dishes and pizza – and it’s the latter that Mutanga goes for.

Other items on the menu include beef koftas, meatballs with biryani, lamb chops with chips, chicken burger with chips and Turkish garden salad.

Behind the restaurant’s window, guests can see thick chunks of chicken on giant skewers, while a large cylindrical chunk of chicken meat (later carved in thin slices) sits on a vertical rotisserie for the doner kebab (HK$79).

Chungking Mansions, Zimbabwe, Ghana Locals, Anthony Bourdain, a type of flatbread, kebabs, mango

A display of food in Bismillah Kebab House. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

The roasted chicken meat is thinly sliced and garnished with chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, onions and coriander. Then it is tightly wrapped in pita bread, served warm and sliced in half. Mutanga likes to come here not just for the food, but for the staff at this restaurant as well.

“They are very friendly, they are always willing to show you their world when it comes to their cuisine. They take you inside and show you how they make their food, and that level of transparency is really something that stands out.”

Chungking Mansions, Zimbabwe, Ghana Locals, Anthony Bourdain, a type of flatbread, kebabs, mango

Mango juice at Bismillah Kebab House. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

Also on offer are chilled bottles of refreshing, sweet mango juice. Those who order it are advised to shake the bottle before drinking.

Mutanga, however, doesn’t have time to succumb to a food coma with us – he’s had to rush back to the Africa Centre for a cooking class that he is organising, and scampers off down Nathan Road.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related


Young entrepreneurs are popularising native pickles, ingredients — all for the love of food and home

© Provided by The Indian Express Pickles are the easiest way to elevate everyday meals. Commonly found in most households across a majority of states, families have coveted recipes, handed ... Read more »

Have A Taste Of Baked Beans With Chef Kaviraj Khialani

Baked beans originate in Native American cuisine, and are made from beans indigenous to the Americas. The dish was adopted and adapted by English colonists in New England in the ... Read more »

Crystal Group's founder Kenneth Lo leads honours at the 2021 DHL-SCMP Hong Kong Business Awards

Kenneth Lo, the textile magnate who incorporated the gender equality best practices and anti-sexual harassment awareness into the employee care programme of the world’s largest clothing producer, has been awarded ... Read more »

Tea Board warns against adulterated tea; experts share tips to ensure it is authentic

© Provided by The Indian Express For many, their day begins and ends with a hot cup of tea — black, white, masala or its many varieties. But how does ... Read more »

Huawei underlines EV ambitions with plan to develop luxury SUV with Seres

Chinese telecoms giant Huawei Technologies Company will develop a luxury electric sport-utility vehicle (SUV) with car making partner Seres. The SUV will be the first production model under the premium ... Read more »

Omicron in India: Maharashtra amends rules for passengers from "ultra-risk" countries

Maharashtra has announced mandatory seven-day institutional quarantine for passengers arriving from South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe as per amended rules of state government. This will also apply to passengers who ... Read more »

Chinese securities regulator in discussions over VIEs with Hong Kong watchdog, financial firms

China’s securities watchdog has held discussions with the regulator in Hong Kong, as well as financial firms involved in fundraising deals in the city over variable interest equity (VIE) structures, ... Read more »

French-style live patisserie in Mumbai? That's what makes Cou Cou a must-visit

Are you in Mumbai and looking for a space to host, socialise, pause and indulge? Cou Cou got you sorted as the newest French-style patisserie at Jio World Drive, Bandra ... Read more »

Is this Singapore's coolest mansion? Peek inside Stiletto House, a crazy rich Asian home also called Jalan Seaview House, designed by EHKA Studio

Among the other houses along Jalan Seaview in Katong, Singapore, is an impressive building that looks more like a work of art than a home. Jalan Seaview House, better known ... Read more »

China's growing market for NFTs, metaverse could foster new money-laundering schemes, central bank official warns

An official at China’s central bank cautions against the country’s rapidly growing interest in non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and metaverse-related activities, warning that these could “easily become money-laundering tools”. Virtual assets ... Read more »

As Omicron rattles stock markets, is the panic warranted?

“The brains of humans contain a mechanism designed to give priority to bad news,” says behavioural psychologist Daniel Kahneman. “‘You’ve got to prepare for the worst’: World responds to new ... Read more »

Peng Shuai: will sponsor Adidas speak out on sexual assault allegation and ensuing controversy? The dilemma sportswear brands face as China's Winter Olympics nears

As Beijing’s censorship of tennis player Peng Shuai’s explosive sexual assault allegation against a former Chinese vice-premier reverberated around the world, the sport’s household names, from Roger Federer and Serena ... Read more »

China's carbon trading exchange struggles with unclear policies as it eyes expansion, say analysts

China’s new carbon trading market is riddled with policy ambiguities, say analysts, as it prepares to allow more sectors to participate in the new year. Following its launch in July, ... Read more »

8 highest-paid Korean CF stars, from K-pop sensation BTS to Blackpink's Jennie and Premier League football superstar Son Heung-min – so who nabbed the top spot?

South Korea’s hottest celebrities show their impact not only through their music and acting roles, but also through brand endorsements known as CFs or commercial films in Korea. As such, ... Read more »

Pasta, pizza and tiramisu? Italian food is so much more, say four chefs in Hong Kong who are redefining our understanding of the country's cuisine

Antimo Merone is sitting in the private dining room at his popular restaurant Estro, in Hong Kong’s Central district, trying to explain a seeming contradiction. On the one hand, Italy ... Read more »

Omicron variant: BTS set to miss out on 2021 MAMAs ceremony – K-pop boy band superstars will be in self-quarantine to comply with new South Korean rules for travellers

BTS will return to South Korea next week after four sold-out concert dates in California – and, because of new travel restrictions because of the Omicron variant, head straight into ... Read more »

Hong Kong stocks rise amid hopes of the city's borders reopening with mainland China

Hong Kong stocks rose for a second straight day on expectations of the much-awaited border reopening with mainland China, even as sentiment elsewhere has been affected by the new Omicron ... Read more »

George Calombaris ‘cried a lot' during ‘brutal' wage scandal

Former MasterChef Australia judge George Calombaris has opened up about the wage scandal which saw his world come crumbling down. In a candid interview on You Cannot Be Serious podcast ... Read more »

Macau casino junket operator Suncity sinks further after Alvin Chau steps down as chairman

Shares of Suncity Group Holdings, Macau’s largest casino junket operator, fell 16.7 per cent on Thursday after its controlling shareholder Alvin Chau Cheok-wa stepped down as chairman. Chau was arrested ... Read more »

EU companies worried by China's ‘state-centric approach' to technical standards-setting

Technical-standards setting has arisen as the new battleground in superpower rivalry, with challenges posed by China’s rise also a “wake-up call” for Europe, an EU business group has warned. In ... Read more »

Kaisa to meet offshore bondholders over repayment options, including notes that can be swapped with Sing Tao stock

Embattled Chinese developer Kaisa Group Holdings has agreed to meet its offshore bondholders and discuss ways of repaying loans, including selling convertible bonds that can be exchanged for shares of ... Read more »

Chip shortage risks becoming a glut in 2023 as fabs scramble to add capacity, say analysts

As semiconductor foundries scramble to add capacity to meet soaring demand amid a protracted chip shortage, some experts are warning that the demand-supply equilibrium will be reached in 2023, possibly ... Read more »

TEDx talks: 10 women speakers in Hong Kong focus on health, families, mindfulness and more to answer the question ‘What matters now?'

Performer and fitness consultant Rachel Moon wants people to think more about infertility. She hopes that through sharing her own story she can lower the taboos surrounding the issue and ... Read more »

Hong Kong luxury home sales recover from Covid-19-induced slump, to hit record high this year

Sales of luxury homes in Hong Kong are likely to hit a record high this year, after activity slumped last year as buyers stayed on the sidelines because of the ... Read more »

Facebook removes Chinese network over fake ‘Swiss biologist' coronavirus claims

Facebook owner Meta Platforms Inc said on Wednesday it had removed accounts used by an influence operation originating in China that promoted claims of a fake “Swiss biologist” saying the ... Read more »

Oscars 2022: from Drive My Car to A Hero, Asia's 10 hottest contenders for best international feature film at the Academy Awards

The 94th Academy Awards are expected to take place on March 1, 2022, and the submission deadline has now passed for the best international feature film Oscar. A shortlist of ... Read more »

RESTAURANT REVIEW: The Tradewinds Restaurant and Bar, East Fremantle is a hidden gem

Hotel restaurants can be notoriously hit and miss: just scroll through a page of Tripadvisor reviews. Some are little more than a clinical space to pile crispy triangle hash browns ... Read more »

Vacant site on Guildford Road, Maylands to be revamped as Pizzeria Amore Mio

A historic Maylands structure is set to get a new lease on life as part of a gourmet pizzeria after being left vacant for about 25 years. Francesco Deiana and ... Read more »

Taco Bell already planning next Perth store

Mexican-inspired fast food chain Taco Bell will open its first south-of-the-river outlet in Canning Vale. After the successful opening of its first Perth store in September, which brought huge queues ... Read more »

6 people coming from 'at risk' countries test positive for Covid-19

A total of 6 persons have been found positive for Covid-19 travelling from ‘at risk’ countries on the first day of the operation of the revised guidelines for international travellers. ... Read more »

US rural carriers, scrambling to replace Huawei and ZTE gear, now face supply chain delays

Blue Mountain Networks, a regional broadband provider based in Oregon, received unwelcome news from its supply chain contractor a few weeks ago. The contractor, which helps make sure the company ... Read more »

4 passengers from UK, Netherlands test Covid positive, samples sent for genome sequencing

Four people who flew into Delhi from the Netherlands and the UK in the early hours of Wednesday have tested positive for COVID-19 and their samples have been sent for ... Read more »

New World-backed tech venture Turbidite enters pact with AsiaSat to expand data centre services in Hong Kong

Turbidite, the tech venture backed by property giant New World Development, has partnered with Asia Satellite Telecommunications Co (AsiaSat) to deliver new data centre hosting services in Hong Kong amid ... Read more »

Wealthy Asians likely to bequeath US$2.54 trillion to their heirs by 2030, report says

About 70,000 affluent Asians are likely to transfer an estimated total wealth of US$2.54 trillion by 2030, the third-largest amount after North America with US$10.6 trillion and Europe with US$3.58 ... Read more »

Why China is warning of yuan speculation when the currency looks so stable

In a meeting hosted by the People’s Bank of China, Chinese financial regulators’ warning against so-called speculation in the foreign exchange market has attracted much attention. Yet the Chinese currency ... Read more »

Health Aside, Here's Another Reason to NOT Eat Pizzas And Burgers

© Tanya Garg | Entertainment Desk Reduce your consumption of processed foods to help the environment. Do you need a new excuse to eat less ‘junk’ food? Aside from ... Read more »

This winter, strengthen your immunity with herbal tea

Keeping our bodies healthy and strong during winter can be a challenge! As much as one likes winter, the fact remains, it can take a toll on one’s health. Having ... Read more »

Amaury Guichon and 6 other chocolatiers you need to follow on Instagram

© Provided by Lifestyle Asia Every time the “food of the gods” meets artistic expression, sparks fly. Art enthusiasts with sweet teeth are bound to be both fascinated and inspired ... Read more »

China extends battle lines to manage capital outflows as Beijing doubles down on ‘economic security'

Police, prosecutors, as well as customs and financial regulators in China have joined forces to tackle all possible channels of capital outflow as Beijing scrambles to ensure the world’s second ... Read more »

Leading Chinese EV trio Xpeng, NIO and Li Auto post record month, triple-digit rise in November deliveries

China’s three leading electric vehicle (EV) start-ups posted a record number of deliveries for November, amid a surge in demand for premium EVs. Guangzhou-based Xpeng Motors delivered 15,613 vehicles last ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic