(Last updated: November 8, 2023)
Kapok Cantonese gets high reviews among those in the know so who am I to buck the trend? While both of my appetizers disappointed, the mains were so good that I’ll look the other way. Of course, it is quite possible that both the Fried Tofu with Spicy Salt ($30) and Chicken Feet with Sea Blubber ($45) were prepared just how the locals like it, but neither dish played to my palate.
The tofu was extremely bland and needed some kind of sauce to go with it, while the chicken feet with sea blubber was an interesting excursion into the land of weird.
I mean, just the name itself is downright strange, as was the texture and the inordinate amount of salt they drowned the dish in.
The mains though turned the whole meal around and were excellent, and ultimately why the restaurant gets 4.5 stars overall.
It’s possible Kapok does the best Crispy Roasted Pork ($40) and Grilled Spare Ribs ($73) in town, so be sure to try them when you’re there.
A couple of tips, just pair the spare ribs with rice and get that party started, while just one serving of pork might not be enough.
(Update: Expect the dishes above to cost twice as much as listed here. This visit was from 2014.)
Kapok was doing a brisk business the morning I was there and is no doubt a favourite of locals who live in the area. A fine looking restaurant, it makes good use of wood and simple Chinese motifs to provide a warm dining environment.
The male staff are dressed in tuxedos and the women in nice white uniforms and their service was extremely welcoming throughout.
Prices are great too, as my bill ran only $292, and that included $60 for two glasses of orange juice. If I’d just stuck to tea like the locals do, it barely would have cracked $200 Mops.
Located in Taipa behind Hotel Altira, Kapok’s biggest knock is its location and the main reason why it’s not better known to tourists. If you’re staying at Altira however, it makes for a much better choice than their Cantonese restaurant Ying, especially in terms of portion size, price, atmosphere and overall quality. I’ll definitely go back if I’m in the area.
I visited Kapok Cantonese again for lunch in May 2018, dining with my good friend Huang Ping. Unlike my first meal there where I went off the rails with a couple of dishes, Huang Ping kept everything on track, selecting two dim sum, my favourite pork (once again), and two kinds of fish.
The showstopper was the cod, which was absolutely perfect and a must order if you go there. What sauce, what texture, what finish, just flawless and sublime!
The two dim sum (shrimp dumplings and beef ball) were both top notch as well, as was the other fish selection, a clean simple dish served with celery, cabbage and red peppers.
Hong Kong seems to be the benchmark for Cantonese dining in this part of the world, and Kapok definitely holds its own when compared to restaurants in that city. The only problem, as noted above, is the location, which is not tourist friendly at all.
I’m sorry that I can’t tell you the exact prices for each dish, as the receipt didn’t list the individual names. Here’s my best guess though: Shrimp Dumplings ($92), Beef Ball ($60), Pork ($62), Fish with Vegetables ($130), Cod ($155).
More visits and more dishes, this time from October 2023!
More solid selections here, with the bean curd probably a touch better than the stuffed green pepper.
A touch spicy, I thought the green pepper would have been better without it, while the serving size was smaller than I expected for the price. Not a horrible dish by any means, just one that I probably wouldn’t order again. In general in Cantonese restaurants like these, just stick with the dim sum, roasted meats and seafood, and you should do pretty well.