Saturday, February 22, 2014

What We Ate In Hong Kong, Part IV - The Pictures

As regular readers know from reading this this blog, I am not a foodie and do not photograph my meals.  However, the descriptions of the food we had in Hong Kong last month has led to requests to see what some of the items described look like.  Fortunately my daughter, Supertina, is a foodie and does photograph her meals.  So since she was on the trip, we do have photographic coverage on my Picasaweb page.  The pictures are at

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What We Ate In Hong Kong, Part III

Lung Hing Keen, Four Seasons Hotel, Central.  Needed to have somebody pull some strings to get us off of the waiting list for a reservation.  This was a definitely different type of upscale dining.  Tables widely spaced throughout the dining room, without the fuss or clatter typically associated with dim sum restaurants.  The look and the taste of the food was exquisite.  The steamed scallop dumpling came with a green wrapper and was almost creamy.  The gold leaf seafood dumpling in a brown wrapper was unique, though I can’t say that the gold had any particular taste.  We also had siu mai, pan fried beef buns (visually like Shanghainese shen jen bao), xiaolongbao (perhaps the most ordinary of the dishes), roast goose XO puffs, ha gow, abalone chicken puffs, crispy spring rolls with shrimp, mushrooms dumplings in a brown wrapper, XO rice noodle logs (incredibly delicate), egg puffs, poppyseed jello, steamed fois gras with abalone sauce and lobster fried rice.  Truly a meal to remember and surprisingly only $70 per person.

Pak Loh Chiu Chow, Grand Century Shopping Mall, Mong Kok.  The best shark fin soup I had ever eaten.  We also had the Chiu Chow appetizer plate (shrimp ball, crab ball, jellyfish and roast goose), gai lan, fried arugala with chicken, shrimp lettuce wrap, bamboo pith tofu casserole and two desserts, green bean taro and taro bars.  Not a Michelin star meal, but quite good, though at $70 per person (likely due to the shark fin) nothing close to Lung Hing Keen.

Aberdeen Fishball and Noodles, 242 San Yeung Choi St. S, Mong Kok.  Another random choice near the hotel.   The fish broth was by far the tastiest I had ever eaten.  The fish balls and noodles themselves were good, not great, in line with our previous experience of random Hong Kong restaurants. 

Tasty Congee in the Elements mall in the western part of Tsim Sha Shui.  We had fresh carp jook, shrimp dumpling soup, you tiao cheung fun, dark fish balls, gai lan and turnip cake.  Another excellent meal, though at $15 per person a little expensive for this category of food. 

Tsui Wah, 2 Carnarvon Road, in Tsim Sha Shui, another one of those restaurants with long lines of people waiting to get in.  Tsui Wah is a popular café chain and we had several favorites including curry beef brisket, milk buns, gai lan, vegetables with fish, mixed vegetables, tomato beef with egg, hot almond egg white drink, and Singapore mei fun.  Reasonably priced at $10 per person.

Other eats.  The egg tarts at Tai Cheong were fantastic.  But other bakery fare was a little disappointing.  In our last Hong Kong visit in 2009, I was impressed by the quality and variety of the buns and sandwiches.  But at least at the places I tried near the hotel it was like being back home.  I’m guessing that this shows that Los Angeles has closed the gap with newcomers like 85° Bakery and its imitators leading the way.   One morning I decided to drop by the neighborhood grocery store for a no carb breakfast, hoping to get some cold cuts.  Unfortunately they apparently haven’t heard of chicken or turkey lunch meat in Hong Kong.  Everything was pork except for chicken hot dogs, one from France, the other from California.The problem was that the French hot dogs indicated that they were uncooked.  While the California hot dogs made in Fresno had no indication that they needed to be cooked, could it be that Hong Kongers expected all hot dogs to be uncooked?  So having to choose between pork cold cuts or possibly uncooked chicken hot dogs, I chose the latter, guessing the California hot dogs were already cooked.  Fortunately, they were cooked.

Every scheduled meal was better than the food back in Los Angeles, so we finally achieved our desire to experience the superior brand of Chinese food.  Where Hong Kong excels is at the high end (there are no Michelin star Chinese restaurants in California) and the low end (who thought noodle soup or egg tarts could taste so good?).    Also Hong Kong has a superior variety and quality of fresh ingredients.    Otherwise there is a vast middle where the food is comparable to Los Angeles Chinese food.    In Hong Kong as demonstrated by the long lines outside of many of the restaurants we visited, the people know where the good food is.  But as the waiter at Ming Court, who had been a longtime resident of the San Gabriel Valley said, the Chinese food in Los Angeles is also very good, so Hong Kong’s advantage is in spots, not across the board.

Monday, February 10, 2014

What We Ate In Hong Kong, Part II

Our first venture onto Hong Kong Island and Michelin star restaurants.  

Kau Kee Restaurant, 21 Gough St., Central.  We got there 10 minutes before opening and there was a block long line waiting to get in.  The beef brisket noodle soup was fabulous.  The curry version not so good, though some people prefer that one to the plain.   Priciest of the street eats at about $7 per person.
Fish Ball Chong Chai Kee, 2 Kau U Fong, Central.   This was probably the least outstanding planned meals of the trip, perhaps magnified by the fact that we came here immediately after the fantastic noodles at Kau Kee.  The highlight at Fish Ball Chong Chai Kee was the fish balls that had a crunch (if that’s possible) unlike that of any other fish ball we’ve had.

Gyu Jin,  a hotpot restaurant in the iSquare vertical shopping mall in the Tsim Sha Shui district.  The Gyu Jin hotpot was all you can eat, with the price depending on the particular grade of beef chosen.  Ours came to $40 per person.  There were also serve yourself items consisting primarily of vegetables, fish balls, and tofu and noodle items.  The broth was very flavorful and much better than what is typically found in Los Angeles

Seaview Food Shop, 72 Bute St., Mong Kok.  Another random eatery by the hotel.  Jook was quite good.  Cheung fun wasn’t. 

Tim Ho Wan, MTR Hong Kong Station, Central.  Though it’s a one star Michelin restaurant,  it was not a fancy place with a fancy menu, indeed being located in the shopping area of a transit station.  Very tasty, though common dim sum items.  The selections included fried beef rolls, beef balls, ha gow, chicken feet, the star-of-the-show a baked cha siu bao that looked like a biscuit, tofu wrap, egg roll, lotus leaf chicken rice, turnip cake, spare rib, ham sui guk, beef cheung fun, siu mai, malay cake, spinach shrimp dumpling, preserved vegetable with ground ground pork, lettuce and gojiberry jello.  Despite the lack of exotic varieties, the Michelin star was well deserved and many of the common items were the best versions we had.  Cost about $10 per person.

Under Bridge Spicy Crab, 421 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai.  On the menu were black bean clams, their signature crab, seafood soup, fried rice, mantis shrimp, egg soup, steamed turbot and shrimp in the nest.  By far the highlight was the deep fried garlic served with the crab and the mantis shrimp.  That garlic was totally delicious.  Particularly popular with tourists.

Lan Fong Yuen, 36 Nathan Road (inside), Tsim Sha Shui.   Another long line.  The menu at Lan Fong Yuen, a Hong Kong style café, is quite compact.  When we asked a waiter about  vegetable dishes he said there weren’t any.   We had all of their signature dishes–chicken on a bed of ramen, both with ginger sauce and also in lobster sauce.  Hong Kong style milk buns, and Hong Kong style French toast.  All of these items were terrific.  They only dish that wasn’t very good was the pork chop rice. 

Ming Court in the Langham Place Hotel, Mong Kok.  Two star Michelin.  The traditional Cantonese dinner at Ming Court was outstanding.  The Peking duck was the best I’ve eaten, with a delicious pancake wrapper (as opposed to the Mantou buns that we Californians are used to), as was the rest of the duck with pine nuts in lettuce cups.   The other entrees were all winners, steamed minced Australian waygu beef with tangerine peel, crisp vermicelli with minced waygu, tomato, and egg; and tofu with wild mushrooms in black truffle sauce.  The complimentary shrimp balls were also excellent.   About $40 per person.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

What We Ate In Hong Kong, Part I

Mission accomplished!  Every meal planned by our hosts was better than the food back in Los Angeles, so we finally achieved our desire to experience the superior brand of Chinese food.   This is the first part of our trip.  

Won Ton Noodle King, 208 Sai Yeung Choi St. S., Mong Kok.  One of our few unchoreographed meals by the hotel.   The restaurant had a large selection of noodle soups pictured on the wall.  Prices were dirt cheap, ranging from about $1.50 to about $2.75.  My fish dumplings with rice noodle soup was fantastic, while everybody else was also pleased with their selections.  After so many ordinary meals at random Hong Kong restaurants in prior visits, we finally had a winner. 

Yamm buffet in the Mira Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui (118 Nathan Road).   We’ve never had such a high quality buffet before, though for a base price of $80 per person the quality better be high.  Top selections included fresh Maine lobster tails, seared foie gras, lamb chops (amazingly not gamey) accompanied by a delicious mint sauce, salmon, duck confit,  lobster noodle, uni, and oysters.  The sushi was high quality and there was an interesting array of desserts.

Australian Dairy Company, 47 Parkes Street, Jordan.  I was surprised to see a half block long line of people waiting to get in.  As it turns out, long lines don’t necessarily mean long waits, particularly at limited menu eateries like this one.  The scrambled egg and ham on toast was outstanding–I don’t know how they make scrambled egg so delicious.  And the ham macaroni soup was also good.  But we were in and out in probably 20 minutes, as our food arrived almost immediately, and the meal itself wasn’t that extensive.  About $4 per person.

Mak Man Kee Noodle Shop, 51 Parkes St., Jordan.  Mak’s Noodles is a famous noodle chain in Hong Kong   Mak Man Kee Noodle is a ripoff of Mak’s Noodles (which was two shops further down on the same street and which has a branch in Vancouver), but it’s better.  The noodles and wonton were outstanding.

Cheun Kee Seafood Restaurant, Sai Kung, New Territories.  (Pictured in previous on-scene post.) Greatest display of live seafood in tanks that I have ever seen.  The choices we had for dinner were phenomenal.  We had nine courses consisting of live boiled shrimp, salt and pepper mantis shrimp, razor clams in black bean sauce, individual sized South African whole white abalone, whole scallops served in the shell with glass noodles, geoduck sashimi style, geoduck jook, stir fried geoduck with celery, and steamed tiger fish.