Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Shung Hing: Classically Teochew!



Alright, time to wrap up the Hong Kong trip! The beauty about food haunts here are that so many of them had a long legacy of their own, easily passing on to the third/fourth generation by now. While some may have waned in quality, most faithfully stick to their precious recipes and continue to satisfy Hong Kongers' stomachs!



Located in Sheung Wan, Shung Hing is one of such old-school restaurants, whipping up classic teochew dishes for decades. Menu was rather minimal (so was the decor), but the experienced elderly employees surely knew their stuffs, easily making recommendations and suggesting serving portions to you. You know that your meal was in good hands!



Pig Stomach Soup, Duo of Seafood Meatballs

Boiled with white pepper and salted vegetables, the soup was warming good with a homecook feeling. Starts the stomach running for what follows after! The duo of prawn balls and crab balls were pretty much similar to 虾枣 in Singapore, but with higher seafood to flour proportion, making them more meaty than starchy. The crab ones were a notch better with finer texture and flavouring.



Oyster Omelette, Minced Pork and Oyster Porridge

Another similar dish, but this time round I preferred our local ones, with the version here being thinner, drier and with smaller oysters. The porridge, on the other hand, was very soothing with the broken rice and water absorbing all the natural sweetness of poultry and seafood.



Braised Large Intestine, Braised Goose Liver and Meat

Of course, we got to try out their braised specialities! The large intestines were wonderfully soft and chewy, and very thoroughly ridden of stench. As usual, I enjoyed the beancurd slices that had soaked up the tasty braised sauce!

Chinese foie gras? Not quite! The goose liver were thick, solid and juicy, much better than chicken/duck liver but unlike its melting french cousins. Goose meat wise, I felt that the ones at Ah Hung was slightly better in terms of tenderness and fats level, but they were really quite good already!


Yam Paste

And how could you not end off with this in a Teochew restaurant? Served piping hot, the paste was thick, smooth and very rich in yam flavour. Paired with topping of soft ginko nuts, it was just perfect!

I think the bill for three was about HKD500, that's considering the amount of food we ordered! Unpretentious and sincere, Shung Hing is the kind of place you want to go for comfort food with your family and buddies. Let's hope they keep it that way!

Shung Hing Teochew Restaurant
29 Queen's Road West, Sheung Wan, HK Island
Tel: 2854 4557
Note: You might be confused as to which one I'm talking about, as you will realise there are three identically named Shung Hing along the street. Don't worry, its not some sibling rivalry, but really the same one spread over three shopfronts!

Taken with Nikon D70
Monday, June 28, 2010

Niji Bistro: Lunch Sets for Office Warriors!



Having lunch in Hong Kong can be a very exciting affair. Armies of hungry co-workers poured out of office lifts for their well-deserved break, welcomed by dozens of eateries all fighting for their patronage. Chinese fast food, burger joints, exquisite cafes, take your pick!




Located at the commercial/shopping complex of Harbour City, Niji served Japanese-Western dishes and was recommended by a friend working nearby, being her regular place for get-together lunch. Decor was simple with a touch of elegance, while service was speedy and efficient with crew brisk-walking to and fro the kitchen and tables. They knew that you only got a precious hour to spare!

If you are wondering about the word "gifts" on the first photo, that's because they use and sell the premium brand of Noritake kitchenware. Reminds me of our Royal Copenhagen tea lounge!



Daily Salad, Clear Onion Soup with Croissant

4-course lunch sets are priced at an affordable range of HKD58+ to HKD108+ (Notice the singular +? No GST in HK!), depending on the 5 attractive options for mains. My mom and friend had the salad for appetiser, very light and refreshing with the drizzling of sesame sauce. OLs would want this!

My soup was nicely littered with onion and carrot bits and I particularly welcomed the pairing of warm, buttery mini-croissant instead of the usual bread slices. Off to a good start!



Curry Udon with Kurobuta Pork Slices, Curry Rice with Chicken

Being the Japanese type of curry, it was thick and flavourful without the spiciness. Mom's choice of udon was smooth and bouncy but with a slight powdery aftertaste, while I loved the tender, marbled slices of the prized black pig.

The curry rice was nothing much to shout about with decent Japanese round-grain rice and chunks of thigh meat, but I was having a craving for curry rice that noon so it suited me just fine!


Duo of Cheesecake

Desserts was two delightful cubes of classic cheesecake (with a layer of jelly whose flavour I couldn't figure out) and Oreo cheesecake. Nothing fascinating, I wouldn't be surprised if it came from an external vendor, but still adding a very nice touch for the sweet tooth!


Brewed Lemon Tea

And rounding it all up with a nice cup of coffee or tea! Overall, Niji offered very value-for-money lunch options that were popular with white-collars. After a round of satisfying food and casual gossiping, its back to the office for them and more shopping for me! I know I should quit gloating.. my time will come!

Niji Bistro
Shop 3208, Gateway Arcade, Harbour City, 17 Canton Road
Tel: 2175 0203

Taken with Nikon D70
Saturday, June 26, 2010

Yung Kee Restaurant: King of Roasted Goose!

Note: I have sub-categorised my overseas entries. Easier to search now!


Photo Credit: http://www.hongkongnese.com/

I don't think this place needs much introduction. Hong Kongers love and are proud of their roasted food. Among the char siews and suckling pigs, I thought the most priced one would be roasted goose, and no other restaurant could make it as celebrated as Michelin One-Starred Yung Kee!



Occupying a piece of prime land in the bustling CBD area of Central, Yung Kee is one of the few remaining restaurants to proudly own an entire building (with their own lift and lift lady!). There's a rumour saying that the higher floor you dine on, the more expensive the bill would be! (I do know that the top floors are really VIPs-only rooms)


Century Egg with Liquid Yolk

Being another signature dish, this would be automatically served unless you told them not to. I think that century eggs have an acquired taste, while I loved the chewy white and creamy yolk, my dad could not stand the strong sulphur odour, neither could his Caucasian clients when he brought them to Yung Kee!

Psst: The eggs here do not come cheap, but I do know where they get their supply from, which the supplier did retail sales of similar quality eggs at reasonable prices! Let me know if you want the address!



Roast Goose, Thick Vermicelli in Soup

The sight of this was enough to make me drool! Moist, tender meat hidden beneath a layer of crisp, fatty skin, drizzled with fragrant peanut sauce and of course, a little of its own oil. I'm sorry Chicken, you stand no chance. Duck? Well, at most a passable stand-in!

The most local way to pair it is not just any rice noodles, but the thick springy vermicelli. Beats me why!




Stirred Fried Beef Slices, Vegetables with Fried Fish, Braised Tofu with Prawns

With the aid of meat tenderiser, the beef slices was almost too easy to be chewed and lacked its natural beefy taste, further masked by the usage of ginger and onion. Boneless meat from fresh grouper fish were used for the second dish, wrapping the succulent chunks with a delightful layer of batter. Braised in thick starchy gravy, the tofu was a hit with the grandparents for its silken quality and the prawns being reasonably crunchy.

Bill for five were on the high side, about HKD900 after taxes. While the other dishes were done reasonably well, I didn't think they warrant as much a die-die-must-try status as the roasted goose. That being said, I do remember Yung Kee serving good dimsums during lunchtime (That was a couple of years back). Otherwise, a quarter goose, one century egg and 2 bowls of thick vermicelli will do for me!

Yung Kee Restaurant
32-40 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong
Tel: 2522 1624
Note: If you are intending to make dinner reservations for weekends, do call one week in advance! Else it could easier be a hour plus walk-in wait!

Taken with Nikon D70
Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sakae Teppanyaki: Foie Gras On a Budget!



While I had been writing plenty of overseas entries lately, I didn't stop exploring places in Singapore either! Let's take another break from foreign indulgence and look at the Sakae Teppanyaki within reach!




Admittedly, I had been opting for other brands over Sakae Sushi in the recent years, but I was rather curious about their teppanyaki branches, with a particular item in one of their sets that interested me the most!

The branch at Bugis Junction was about 3 counters full on a weekday, but I felt that they could have spaced out a bit more as it was rather cramped when more food arrived. Service were efficient and prompt, while I actually liked the stylish black utensils with sakura pattern!



Tomato Salad, Miso Soup

Girlfriend and I shared the Seafood Set ($18.99++) and Beef Set ($17.99++), with both of the above items served before the teppan dishes. Salad was rather appetising with cold, sourish tomato slices and the soup was well, as ready-made as it could be.



Bamboo Clams, Prawns

Fried with garlic bits (in fact most of the dishes were), the clams were thoroughly cooked while retaining a juicy texture. Apologies about the blurry prawn shot, it came in generous sizes but was unfortunately not fresh enough, with the meat being damp and soften.



Beef Cubes, Cuttlefish

I wasn't expecting any well-marbled beef, so the lean ones here were still acceptable that did require more chewing. Cuttlefish wasn't marinated beforehand, thus the thick pieces were rather bland within. While they tend to be a little rubbery, it was still better than eating slimy, undercooked ones!



Foie Gras, Half-shelled Scallops

Now this was the reason why I'm so keen on trying the beef set! Foie gras at this price? Got to try it out! While it was thin and slightly overcooked, I'm quite happy with the cheap thrill of buttery aftertaste. They could do less with the sweet teriyaki sauce though.

The scallops were probably the frozen type and shrunk an awful lot after pan-frying, still it tasted alright for us with the same teriyaki sauce.




Assorted Vegetables, Garlic Fried Rice ($2.50), Chawanmushi ($3.99)

Vegetables were nicely done, while we topped up one of our plain rice to fried rice, satisfied with its fluffy texture and garlicky taste. However, the additional order of chawanmushi was not value-for-money at all. Though I did like its smooth egg custard, the serving was really small and easily finished within a few spoonfuls.


Frozen Strawberry and Cream

Finishing off the meal with bite-sized desserts! Used to love them at Mos Burger, somehow the novelty had worn off now.

Bill for two was $51.17 after taxes. Nothing spectacular, but a decent meal if you are looking for something different. I feel that unless you know the chef well, teppanyaki is better enjoyed among two person, else it could be really difficult to shout across the table with all the actions happening in the middle!

Sakae Teppanyaki
Bugis Junction, #B1-05
Tel: 6884 4624

Taken with Nikon D70

This post is supported by OGourmet, check out their range of pate foie gras!
Tuesday, June 22, 2010

泉章居: Good Ol Hakka Food!



In Hong Kong, restaurants rise as quickly as they disappear. With vast number of competitors, you really have to be good at something to capture the stomach of Hong Kongers. While I liked exploring new hot dining spots, some had withstood the challenge of time and prompted me to make obedient return visits year after year. One of such places was 泉章居!



Briefly mentioned in an entry last year, I think it deserved a more thorough write-up! With multi-storey outlets on both islands (Causeway Bay, HK and Mong Kok, Kowloon), 泉章居 is a 30 years household name, serving Hakka dishes with a homely touch. There might be plenty of seats, but you still have to wait up to an hour on weekend peak hours!


Deep fried Pork Intestine

While this could be easily found alongside street snacks, I would say they did a much cleaner job here by removing most, if not all of the porky stench. Served with sweet sauce, it was delightfully crispy on the outside, moist and chewy on the inside. Have a piece of juicy cucumber to keep the taste refreshed!



Winter Melon Soup

Hollowing out the insides, the clear broth was served whole in a huge winter melon with diced ingredients like winter melon, dried scallops, asparagus and roast duck. With very good 火候 (control of fire, literally), it was the kind of unassuming soup that was simple, heart-warming and definitely delicious. Not exaggerating to say that 9 out of 10 tables ordered this!



Salt Baked Chicken, Braised Pork with Perserved Vegetables

While chicken has rarely been my choice of meat, its a different story here all together. Just look at that gleaming yellow skin and you could imagine how succelent the meat would be. Served with a thick, grainy ginger sauce called 沙姜, this signature dish was half the reason why I kept coming back!

And the other half? That would be its enticing braised pork! Initailly deep-fried to force out abundant oil, it would be steamed later in bowls (thus explaining its serving shape) together with preserved vegetables. Lean meat was tender and flavourful, while the remaining fats were less sinful and easier to stomach. Bring me a tub of rice to go with these!

Bill for three was in the HKD400 range, mainly because of the soup which should be enough to feed double the number of people! Dish varieties might be back-to-basic but with skilled quality and heartfelt homecook style, it always deserves a dinner spot in my stomach when going back!

泉章居
Mong Kok:
旺角奶路臣街33号依利大厦2楼及地下E号铺
Tel: 2396 0672
Causeway Bay:
铜锣湾轩诗道489号铜锣湾广场一期7-8楼
Tel: 2577 3833

Taken with Nikon D70 and Sony T70
Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sai Kung Seafood Street: Wonders Of The Sea!



Located at the North Eastern region of Kowloon, Sai Kung is a sleepier side of Hong Kong in which the locals travel there for mainly two things: Taking ferry rides to nearby islands for golfing, and the stretch of seafood restaurants!



Lower: One method of survival is to grow so big until you are too expensive to be eaten.

The keyword to eating seafood is freshness, and they were not shy at all to showcase what they could offer! With tanks of live fishes, crustaceans and whats-not, do take your pick, agree on its weight/price, indicate your preferred cooking method and wait for it to be served!


Old School Glass Bottled Coke

Somewhat similar to our East Coast Seafood Lagoon, the countless restaurants here were really just dominated by a few prominent names, each having branches separated by just a few blocks in-between. The one we patronised was Chuen Kee Seafood, with multiple storeys of clean, air-conditioned seatings.



Bamboo Clams with Capsicum, Deep Fried Cuttlefish in Salt and Pepper

Juicy and crunchy, the clams were flavoured with black pepper sauce and sweetness of capsicums, while the cuttlefish was chewy without being overcooked, nicely deep fried with a thin layer of batter.



Steamed Scallops with Vermicelli, Steamed Baby Abalone

Succulent scallops were topped with savoury garlic bits, but the vermicelli was slightly bland for my liking. I still think that abalone is over-rated with its rubbery and almost tasteless meat, would have added a lot more flavour in boiled soup though!



Crab Stirred Fried with Ginger and Spring Onion, Steamed Fish

I would say that Hong Kongers are more conservative when dealing with crabs, none of the chilli/pepper stuff we have in Singapore, but its simple cooking methods were good enough to savour the natural sweetness of meaty crabs.

I couldn't emphasis enough the importance of freshness in seafood, especially when it came to fishes. Steamed simply with a dash of soy sauce, smooth, white and mud-taste-free meat was what we got (I couldn't remember the breed though). Enough said!


Mantis Prawns in Salt and Pepper

While I had my love for tiny river prawns, now is the time for big ones! These prawns went by the chinese name of 濑尿虾, while one might be bothered if they really peed that much, I conveniently ignored that thought and was won over by its chunky size and rich roe. Give me more!

I'm not sure about the bill for 4, but I honestly suspected that it would be cheaper than in Singapore. After all, Hong Kong had its own fish farms, no GST and closer to China for more sources. A real good seafood fiesta!

全记海鲜菜馆
西貢海傍街53号
Tel: 2791 1195
Note: There really isn't much difference between the restaurants, price and quality are pretty competitive. Just take a stroll along the street and choose for yourself!

Taken with Nikon D70