BEP Vietnamese Kitchen

BEP Vietnamese Kitchen

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Tsung Wing Ln, Central, Hong Kong
Visit the Website +852 2522 7533
Luxe for Less
Area: Hong Kong Island
As anyone who has ever visited Hong Kong can attest, this little speck of land on China’s southern coast is heaving with great places to eat. It’s not a stretch to state that Hong Kong, in culinary terms, is in a league of its own. 
 
That is not because it is saturated with great restaurants. There is a sprinkling of über-eateries, though only Richard Ekkebus’s two-Michelin-star Amber, located in the Landmark Mandarin Oriental, makes it onto the 2017 list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. 
 
No, Hong Kong dazzles because it caters to every conceivable taste. If you cannot find what you are looking for on, say, Hollywood Road and Staunton Street, two of the island’s more bacchanalian thoroughfares, you aren’t looking hard enough. 
 
Asian fusion, classic highbrow European, Aussie surf-and-turf, beer-battered fish and chips, fiery dishes from Sichuan and Hunan, great Argentinean steak and deep-south ribs-and-wings, sumptuous sushi and Korean bibimbap, it’s all here in spades. And that’s before you factor in the thousands of Cantonese noodle shops, or the aircraft-hangar-sized eateries that cater to Hong Kongers who gather together to wolf down dim sum from little steamer baskets.  
 
In this super-competitive environment, it’s hard to stand out (as a provider of great or fascinating food), and just as tricky to decide what you or your group might want for lunch or dinner.
 
So it’s nice when the decision is taken out of your hands. Wandering up the long drag of escalators in Central during a work trip to Hong Kong, this writer found his attention grabbed by a colourful exterior a few steps from Staunton Street. 
 
BÊP, it said on the outside, the circumflex perched atop the ‘E’ in an almost jaunty manner. Vietnam Kitchen, it added, helpfully. This writer’s mind, clouded by a mild hangover, started ticking over. Pho soup, fresh lime sodas, perhaps some little fish cakes – what could be wrong with that? Nothing, as it turned out. The BÊP in Central is one of three outlets – there’s one on Wellington Street (nearby) and another on Hoi Ting Road in West Kowloon (a short hop across the harbour on the Star Ferry). And they all seem to be flying. 
 
Which is not a surprise – fans of Vietnamese food, and this writer is squarely in that camp, will extol its attributes until Hell ices over. But what the guys at BÊP have done well is the basics. Too many Vietnamese restaurants in Hong Kong are either atmospherically stifling, with their ponderous circular tables and heavy pink tablecloths, or small, pokey, and in some cases, nasty. 
 
BÊP avoids that binary blunder. It’s all open-plan, with tidy little tables for four and two and a low bar seating singletons. The chefs - all women, all young and capable and determined-looking - buzz around the kitchen impeccably in their whites, dunking chicken and fish in steaming bowls of pho, frying tiny fish cakes, and slicing – tok-tok-tok – huge slabs of crispy, crackling pork that they lay on circular beds of glutinous rice. 
 
The menu is big but not overwhelming: this correspondent, keen to assuage his hangover with a proper meal but wary of walking out with a belly full of sleep, opted for the Cua Lot Cuon, soft-shell crab rolls with cucumber and napa slaw, and Bun Rieu, a hearty favourite from north Vietnam, rich with tomato, dried shrimp, diced crabmeat and rice noodles. It was really good, and at HK$221 ($28.2, £19.8, €22.8), didn’t break the bank. I’ll definitely be going back. 
 

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Establishment Type
Restaurant
Vietnamese
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Luxe for Less
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