Written by Eddy
Nothing beats a good hotdog. There are those who talk about ribeye steaks from Australia or the freshest oysters from France, but give me a New York style hotdog any day of the week over them.
The challenge in China, however, can be finding one. The photos on a menu can often be very different from what arrives on your plate and even when your order looks like what you expect it to, it can still taste like something entirely different.
I had actually passed Mr. 吾Five Bites at Coastal City a few times before I finally went in. The restaurant was busy with local customers and the hotdogs they were eating looked like the real deal, but I had been hurt before and I didn’t want to give myself false hope. I needn’t have had any doubts.
It’s clear from the restaurant that there is a deep love of hotdogs at play here, from the traditional hot dog stand to the extensive menu of different hot dogs. Mr. Five Bites is also a clear ode to the city of New York, which can be seen in the pop art wallpaper and the bright color signage. The bustling young crowd sat outside only serve to add to The Big Apple vibe. It didn’t surprise me one bit when I later discover the owner used to live in New York.
Passing an eye over the menu, however, you quickly realize this is no place merely looking to imitate the classics. There is plenty of fusion and creativity going on here. Check out Tokyo Hot, mixing sole fish tempura, wasabi mayonnaise and teriyaki sauce with a hotdog. You can also give Crawfish Dog a whirl with its spicy crawfish and scallion, or the alluringly named Miss Hong Kong, which boasts scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, and a cheeky sprinkling of corn cereal.
The tastes are always rotating and I’m told that Mr. Five Bites have showcased over 80 signature dogs over the years. This relentless reinvention can be accredited to their Food Director, Sky. Sky cut his culinary teeth as a chef on The Bund in Shanghai before later coming to Shenzhen to work at Shark. He uses his experience to cram in as much originality into each hotdog bun as he can.
Sky’s abilities, however, are not limited to just hotdogs. Mr. 吾Five Bites serves plenty of other dishes too. There is the hearty Five Bites All Day Breakfast, a selection of pastas including Spaghetti Arrabiata, and six types of French fries.
But in the end, I have to admit that I’m a sucker for a classic. Sowhen the time comes, I order the classic New York style Five Bites hotdog along with a nice, cold bottle of Corona. After my first bite and a swig of my beer, I’m in no doubt that these guys are the real deal. And it’s while I am sitting back to enjoy my snack and beverage that something catches my eye.
A waiter approaches the door to go inside the staff-only area of the restaurant. He takes a quick look around to check if anyone is looking and then enters a code into the keypad. The door opens and the waiter quickly enters before the door shuts behind. Unbeknownst to him, this eagle-eyed writer was watching. I quickly follow behind and enter the same code. The door opens…
In one moment I am sat outside at a hotdog restaurant, the next I am transported to a speakeasy bar. The lighting is dark, but a video that stretches across three walls offers enough illumination to see the lounge seating surrounding glass tables loaded with vintage whiskeys, and the long bar stocked with enough spirits to make all manner of cocktails.
The bar is lively. Young couples huddle together at the corner tables while in the middle of the bar are groups of people in suits who look like they’ve come from a business dinner.
The soundtrack for the evening is hip-hop, the West Coast variety. While the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Tyler The Creator keep the night moving along, I take up a seat at the bar. I’m greeted by the bartender, Jean, and when I ask what’s good, a mischievous smile creeps on to her face.
There are plenty of endlessly inventive cocktails including the aptly named Cloudy Day In Shenzhen, made from osmanthus-infused tequila, blue cuarcao, lemon juice, homemade raisin-nut syrup, and even some cotton candy. If you are feeling like a walk on the wild side, why not try Kiss By The Green Devil. This deceptively potent concoction mixes absinthe with lavender syrup, lemon juice, and egg white. For something a little different, there is always the Breakfast Martini, which combines bacon-infused bourbon whiskey with olive juice, white vermouth, and original bitter.
The night goes by nice and slow. Just the way it ought to. No moment outstays it’s welcome. Every conversation is savored. I enjoy some cocktails, some solid beats, and most of all, good company. Not too bad of a night considering all I came in for was a hotdog…
If you are interested to know the secret code at Mr.吾 Five Bites, just mention Shenzhen Party for the latest password.
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Address: No. 288, 2/F, Coastal City, Nanshan, Shenzhen (深圳市南山区海岸城购物中心2楼天台广场288)