There is something about Hong Kong that almost forces you into never cooking. Small kitchens, the lack of ovens, the cost of supermarkets, the ease of eating out. The list goes on. As a keen, if somewhat unreliable cook, I was mildly disappointed at the thought of moving here and never getting a chance to show off my Jamie Oliver-esque abilities and slightly judgemental of those who confessed to not even owning a saucepan. So, one of the guiding restraints of my gruelling flat hunt was finding the perfect kitchen. No mean feat when most kitchens I viewed didn’t just lack ovens, but work surfaces, cupboards and more than one hob. In fact, I don’t really think a counter with just a sink and one hob should be allowed to qualify as a kitchen. However, somehow I managed the impossible and found an apartment with a kitchen that wasn’t only adequately sized, but had an oven, copious amounts of storage space and even a wine fridge! I sold the place to my husband by evoking images of us hosting fabulous dinner parties, with me being the domestic goddess whilst he suavely and effortlessly entertained our guests whilst topping up their glasses with perfectly chilled wine. What fun we were going to have cooking in our new kitchen.
Things started well. The first Sunday we were in, I put Martha Stewart to shame. I baked flapjacks and rock cakes and filled our home with the glorious, sickly smell of home cooked treats. Spurred on by this I decided that not only would our housewarming involve drinks, but that we would cater for our guests and lay on a Thanksgiving themed feast. But then the RSVP’s started coming in. 25 people decided to grace us with their presence. Whilst my ego was buoyed with the level of acceptance, my brain started calculating the level of effort required in catering for this number. Plus, the cost. If my weekly shop ends up costing a fortune just for two people, I dreaded to think of the cost of whipping up a full roast dinner for 25. So I started to consider the previously sacrilegious idea of ordering in. I sussed out a number of options and realised I was onto a winner.
There is a reason, beyond inadequately equipped kitchens, that people don’t cook in Hong Kong. Life is too short, catering options are a plenty and they’re tastier and cheaper than anything you could create yourself. After hours of thorough research I decided to go with the Langham’s Main Street Deli Thanksgiving delivery menu. For just over $2,000 we got pumpkin soup, Turkey, stuffing, sweet potato, brussel sprouts, beans, mashed potato, cranberry sauce, gravy and two immense and delicious pies (one pecan pie and one pumpkin cheesecake) delivered to our door, piping hot, at a time of our choice. The menu said this would cater for 16-20 people but I chanced my luck on stretching it out to feed 25. And they didn’t disappoint. Despite how delicious the food was and the fact that everyone went for seconds, if not thirds, there were still leftovers on hand for my lunch the next day. The food received numerous compliments and one girl even asked me how long it took me to cook it all. I toyed with the idea of appropriating the glory as my own, but decided honesty was the best policy (that and I realised the stack of foil trays in the kitchen may give me away!).
Main Street Deli changed my life that night. They allowed me to simply enjoy an evening with friends, they even pre-sliced the turkey on my request so that I never had to spend more than 5 minutes in the kitchen. For less money than buying all the raw ingredients, I had managed to provide a feast for 25 people (averaging a cost of $80 per head for a 3 course dinner) which tasted a million times better than anything I ever would have been able to create myself.
This review thus serves as a confession. I arrived in Hong Kong full of snobbishness and pretence that the residents of Hong Kong took the easy way out by never cooking and always eating out or ordering in. But I am now converted. Why cook when someone else can do it for you?! Next stop, deciding what night to host my Christmas dinner, atmosphere provided by yours truly, delicious Christmas meal courtesy of Main Street Deli! Their Turkey takeaway menu is available all through the festive period – so there really is no excuse not to!
Main Street Deli’s Christmas Takeaway options include the Turkey-to-go Combo for 6-10 people costs $1488, whilst a gigantic set for 16-20 people costs $2188. You can also order extra trimmings or the roast turkey with stuffing and gravy separately (6kg $1188, 9-10kg $1488).
Main Street Deli, The Langham, 8 Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, 2375 1133.