When I first moved to Hong Kong, I noticed this city was infatuated with Japanese culture. But in recent years, I’ve noticed people shifting their preferences to Korean dramas, K-Pop, Korean fashion and even Korean technology. So it’s no wonder why the Korean restaurant chain, School Food, has been so popular ever since it opened its first store in Hong Kong.
School Food is not your typical Korean restaurant, so don’t expect to find BBQ hot plates or rows of side dishes (banchan) at this place. So what type of Korean food do they serve? Their brand concept:
With the motto of “We Provide You with Dream in Your Mouth”, School Food has created a new trend of modern Korean cuisine combining the concept of a restaurant and casual Korean street food. – School Food
Opened up in the newly renovated 13th floor of Times Square, you can always find a queue outside their door (they don’t take reservations). There was no exception when we decided to go last Saturday. Knowing the restaurant opened up at noon, we decided to arrive around 11:50 to try our luck. To my disbelief, there was already a queue. We decided to queue up anyways, and I swear it was our luckiest day, because we were the last 2 to be seated in the restaurant! I felt a bit bad for the couple just behind us.
We first tried the Spicy Pan-grilled Butter Bibimbap with Pickles. Served in a hot pan, this rice dish was wrapped with a creamy egg dome with marinated beef and their signature pickles, Jjang-A-Chi. This was my favorite dish of the meal.
Since I absolutely love spicy food, there was no way I wouldn’t try the Street Topokki, which are traditional Korean rice cakes commonly found from street vendors. The rice cakes were sticky in texture and were drenched in the sweet and spicy sauce. I usually have no problem taking the heat of Korean food, but I did struggle to finish off this dish because it was so spicy. Hubby thought it was too sweet for his liking, I didn’t mind the sweetness too much but, I wasn’t very impressed with this either.
We also tried their signature Mari’s, which is similar to a sushi roll. We ordered the Spam Mari 2, which is filled with spam and Jjang-A-Chi pickles wrapped around in nori, mozzarella cheese and a thin layer of egg. The combination of ingredients used in this roll seemed interesting, but I didn’t think it was particularly special. But, $62 for 10+ pieces, you do get your money’s worth.
On their menu they had a page for Athie drinks (blended fruit with soda), and because the photos looked so refreshing, we ordered a pitcher of their Ruby Orange Athie. I got to say the mocktail looked better than it tasted, as the drink tasted a bit watered down. Nonetheless, we gulped the entire pitcher down as we ate the spicy topokki.
The stylish decor with a punch of color here and there really complimented the style of food they served, hip and trendy.
Overall, I thought the dishes were unique, the portions were generous and the prices were reasonable (dishes range from $60-$90). For these reasons I could see this brand being popular with the younger diners. However, personally I thought the food was mediocre and really not worth 2 hours of queue time. That said, if I were looking for an affordable bite in Times Square and if there were no queue, I would definitely try School Food again, perhaps a few different dishes.
Lunch Total = $320 for 2 persons
Address: Shop 1302, 13/F, Times Square, 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay / Tel: (852) 2480 3666