Cali-Mex is a new restaurant with a slew of locations due to come online in the next few months.  It’s Mexican food, similar to HK’s Little Burro which is trying to mimic Chipotles.  It has a prime location in the heart of the business district at 71 Wellington Street, easy access for the legions of white collar office workers.  The restaurant caters to the grab and go crowd so seating is minimal and you would be best to eat elsewhere as sitting on their tabletops would get in the way of those waiting for their food.

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To get a true feel for the menu items, you order the cheapest things available – if they can do this right then I feel more comfortable with their other offerings.  We ordered the beef burrito ($78) and grilled chicken burrito ($88), both burritos with black beans, salsa and medium spicy.  I did not pay extra for their guacamole as I make this on my own with relative ease.

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On first glance, the burrito has large amount of excess shell which is a bad sign.  Chipotle burritos are generally popping at the seams and require two hands to operate.  This one is the size of a corn dog and readily fits in my hand.  Great lunch option for a petite girl on a diet but a carnivore may need to seek alternate options.

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Let’s crack it open and see.  We have cold ground beef, yellow rice and some remnants of colour in the salsa.  It does not taste better than it looks but I do detect the lack of garlic, tomato, onions, cilantro taste in each bite.  What happen to my salsa?  Why is my beef cold?  Where is the colourful white rice?  Where is the cheese?  What about the sour cream?  Nothing.  Nada.

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The shell is cold, not steamed nor heated and the contents were cold as well.  This is not a good sign for Mexican food as it’s usually pipping hot with the ingredients being fresh.  I can’t guarantee the ingredients are fresh as the whole burrito is basically rice and beef.

Let’s take a look at the grilled chicken burrito.  Uh Oh.  No charring grill marks on my chicken.  How is a customer suppose to ascertain the contents of the order?

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I can confirm the appearance of cilantro in the grilled chicken burrito but notice the taste is not overpowering like similar salsa.

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Just rice, beans and meat.  I notice the skin of the beans breaking apart quite easily which is generally a sign of can beans.  Uh Oh?  I would skip this joint.  Tava and K-Roll make a better lunch option.   Little Burro is in Sheung Wan (10 mins away).  They should rename the restaurant HK-Mex as this is not a proper representation of Americanized Mexican food.  This is Hong Kong style Mexican food.  Line up was long and disorderly.  They should have spent more time testing the menu items and training the staff before releasing the product onto the market with hordes of hungry office workers during the lunch rush.  I won’t be coming back as the next time I am in the mood for Mexican, it’s off to Little Burro.  Chipotles, please come to HK.

Cali-Mex is a good option if you are not in a rush and if you have never been to North America.  If you have eaten at the Mexican restaurants, food trucks in North American or Chipotles, stay away from this place.  They should have made Korean and Mexican food rather than California and Mexico.  It will leave you disappointed.  An expensive waste of stomach space.  I could have put a better tasting burrito together using canned ingredients at parkNshop – beans, meat chili, white rice and tortilla.  Mexican food is nowhere near authentic, exorbitantly expensive and terrible quality.  Cali-Mex is on par with Mr. Food Truck except the portions are smaller.

I was so disappointed with the food I had to make my own burrito bowl using guacolmole, mango salsa, couscous and salmon.

Couscous and red onion

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Guacomole – 2 x$12//avocado, 1/2 red onion at $2, 1 red tomato for $1, 1 hot chilli pepper$1  (beats paying $18 for a small dab)

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Salmon fillet from Ikea’s frozen section, marinate using faijta spice.

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a generous dallop of guac on top of the salmon fillet

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mango salsa on top (mango salsa is 1 $35 spanish mango, 2 $2 tomatoes, $1 chilli pepper, 5 cloves of garlic, 1 shallot and 1/2 of a $2 red onion)

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Enough for 4 people for less than $100.

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  1. Brandie says:

    Ahhh mexican food in Hong Kong. . .that can never be good (this coming from a Texan ;-)) However, your dish looked far more appetizing. Cheers!

  2. dkatharine says:

    Thanks for your like recently on my Magnolia Gastropub post. Yes, Mexican food around the world tends to be disappointing esp for those of us from California or Texas. Coming from San Diego I always expect baja style fish tacos! Funny enough we found a decent one in Budapest at Arriba Taqueria. I loved that you mentioned KRoll. I miss the Koritto so much. Not sure if you are American or like BBQ but check out 85 South in HK if you have not. The owners are from N Carolina. We thought it was pretty solid and well priced. The BBQ at RoundHouse is good too but pricey and small portions. I miss HK and Young Master Ales. Cheers. Diana
    Ps. I will try to make your couscous bowl burrito. Looks yummy!

    • My only recollection of Roundhouse is being served stale Doritos!. 85 South is decent for burgers. It would seem the trick for HK is to make your own food. I love BBQ but sadly lack a patio in HK to bring over my big green egg.

      Your blog is awesome. Love your beer reviews.

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