January 10, 2019:
I had heard all about this “deliciously addictive” salted duck egg snack and was eager to try this out. I love, love, love eating fried fish skins and the fact that these were going to be coated with salted duck egg made me think I would enjoy these very much. (Every post I had seen on Instagram of foodies talking about it raved about it.) For sure, I had put Irvins Salted Egg snacks on my to-buy list when visiting Hong Kong.
At first, I thought this salted snack was available in any or at least high-end grocery stores, but a Google search told me that this Singapore-based snack was only available for sale in specialty stores.
There were three Irvins Salted Egg specialty stores in Hong Kong. I visited the one in Tsim Sha Tsui at the Harbour City shopping complex. (Every shop in this plaza is the higher-end pricey types.)
When looking for the Irvins Salted Snack shop on the third floor, I felt as excited as the time I was looking for the Laduree macaron shop in Paris, France. The excitement was palpable!
When I spotted it, I was like “Yay!” 😀 The shop was monitored by two females and a little further down the shop, there was a photo booth decorated with the Irvins mascots too.
I approached the counter immediately and looked at their offerings. The females were ready to serve us, but I realized the menu was pretty self-explanatory. In addition to the much-talked-about salted duck egg fried fish skins, there were also cassava chips and potato chips, both salted with duck egg. Yummy! Each bag was available as a small size ($55 HKD) or a large size ($110 HKD) (about $9 in Canadian dollars for a small bag — not cheap for a bag of chips).
I spotted there were canisters of samples and asked the attendants for trying. The female used the tongs to grab a piece of the salted egg fish skin from the canister for my mom and I. I despised that she used the tongs to swish around the canister to look for the smallest pieces to give us. Ugh. I could see several larger pieces in the canister, but the attendant blatantly ignored these to search for the smaller pieces. The sample tasted good, but honestly it was so small that I couldn’t really savour the taste. -_-
I did ask also to try the cassava chips and this time, the sample size was bigger and I could distinguish the taste more thoroughly.
While I was curious about the potato chips, I hated the way the attendant served the samples — it was like we were begging for food. Thus, I simply decided to purchase the salted duck egg fried fish skins and leave. I knew I wanted to purchase them anyway.
After the purchase, I posed with the bags in the photobooth area. 😀
I wish the staff were more warm and courteous here. Perhaps this brand of snacks is so sought after (a limit of 7 bags was enforced) that their staff is a bit snuck up knowing they will have constant sales; that they need to ration their samples and not have a need to “sell” to the customer. In either case, I can’t wait to enjoy these salted snacks back home.
Update: I opened a bag of the salted egg fried fish skins to try. Verdict: The fish skins are super crispy and exactly like regular salted fish skins in terms of crunchiness and size. The small bag has a good two to three handfuls of fish skins, I’d say. It’s good to enjoy by yourself or with a partner but not enough to share with more than three people (assuming you are all fans of this product).
I have to say I was a bit disappointed with the taste. Perhaps my expectations had been placed on a pedestal after hearing so much about it from fellow foodies. The salted egg brings a slight sweetness to the snack, which doesn’t interest me at all. The back of my throat felt a bit of heat too from some of the chili. Overall, still a good snack but I think I prefer the regular salted fish skins.