Showing posts with label oceanview. Show all posts
Showing posts with label oceanview. Show all posts

Lamma Rainbow 南丫天虹(Hong Kong)

Lamma Island makes for a great day trip if you’re visiting Hong Kong. After a short ferry ride, 20-30 minutes depending on the arrival point of the island, you’ll be transported out of the sky scraper metropolis onto a coastal island with rolling green hills and plenty of flora.

Which point of the Island you should arrive at largely depends on the time you’re visiting, when you want to eat, and where you want to eat. Yung Shue Wan is the busier portion of Lamma with little shops and a variety of restaurants (seafood, Italian, Thai, etc.). Whereas, Sok Kwu Wan is quieter, offering secluded beach areas (that could be populated by a pack of cute napping wild dogs) and waterside seafood restaurants.

Most tourists seem to go to the Yung Shue Wan portion of the island before making their way across Lamma to end at the other side for lunch or dinner. Since my husband and I like exploring areas without the crowds, we opted for the reverse itinerary. Arriving at Sok Kwu Wan, we decided to explore the small pier area, visit the tiny Tin Hau temple, and take in the calming views by the temple before stopping for brunch.

With so many ocean view seafood restaurants to choose from, we decided to go with the largest and most well-known: Lamma Rainbow (or formerly known as Rainbow Seafood Restaurant). 

Most reviews say the seafood is fresh and dishes taste good (the most attractive quality being no one has fallen ill after eating there), while most complain about the price (especially dishes that are “seasonal” where prices aren’t listed on the menu) and the mandatory tea and sauce charges ($16 a person), which are common in Hong Kong. Armed with the expectation we’ll be paying more, but to order dishes with menu prices to avoid crazy charges, we went in and sat down at a table by the railing.

During the week, especially in the morning, it’s very quiet. We took the opportunity to relax and look out onto the marina, filled with boats, junks, and small huts. Our waiter explained the buildings are relics of homes fishermen used to live in. Nowadays, everyone lives onshore and the huts are generally used to hold and sometimes raise caught fish until they are larger, which are later sold to Hong Kong establishments. Aside from the strong-smelling bleach aroma, it was a tranquil atmosphere; a nice respite after being amongst crowds of people and buildings for four days.

We’re spoiled in North America with our meaty sweet Dungeness crabs, one bite into the flower crab with honey and pepper ($360) and I knew we were better off with shrimp. The shell shatters and the meat sticks to it so there’s the painstaking process of spitting out all the small shell bits. Moreover, there’s little flavour from the crab itself, merely the sweetness from the honey and not enough pepper. 

The stir fried fresh sliced grouper with broccoli ($180) was decent – the fish much meatier than the frozen variety. The chewier texture isn’t necessarily bad, but does take some getting used to. As with most fresh seafood, the dish is simply prepared, stir-fried with salt and ginger, a smear of the oyster sauce makes it even better.

The sole non-seafood dish at brunch was the sweet and sour pork ($88). It’s pretty tasty, cut into large chunks with just a light dusting of batter, the sweet and sour flavours of the sauce nicely balanced. It just wasn’t crispy enough since the dish arrives covered in a dome – great for keeping everything sanitary - but causes the crust to get soggy.

Lamma Rainbow even has a private ferry that shuttles guests to and from the restaurant and the Central piers, if a reservation is made. A service we didn’t use, so unfortunately can’t comment on the experience.

Filled with sustenance we started the hike to Yung Shue Wan along the “Lamma Island Family Walk”. As the name implies, the trail is suitable for most ages and it’s relatively easy. There are plenty of signage so you don’t need to worry about being steered off course. The trail is also largely paved although there are some areas done with stone that did get slightly slippery when it started spitting.

After a filling meal, an hour long walk is the perfect way to help digest. Any incline is gradual so the walk wasn’t taxing and there are some great stops that branch out from the main path to rest and take in the beautiful views from Lamma Island.

As you make your way towards the “town” there’s a large public beach – a nice place to sleep off the food coma, if the weather’s warm. By the end of the hike, it’s actually nice to end in the busier area: there are various little shops, if you had made purchases you wouldn’t want to lug it around; and the bars and restaurants a great excuse to rehydrate with a drink.

So, while the seafood brunch at Lamma Rainbow was disappointing. The visit to Lamma Island, other the other hand, was a great way to spend the day. I declare it a success.

Overall mark - 6 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Lamma Island, Hong Kong
 Address: 23-25 Sok Kwu Wan First Street

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!