I’m back in the motherland once more to attend yet another friend’s wedding. Trips to Hong Kong mean a few things to me: eating, drinking and shopping. It is the city that never sleeps and during all hours, you are able to find some tantalising cuisine to satisfy any kind of appetite.
First cab off the culinary rank is Sunday brunch. Sunday brunch in Hong Kong is a bit of an institution whereby you meet up with a bunch of friends, eat, drink and catch up on news. I did some research on where to go and decided to try Whisk at The Mira. The spread was impressive. Buffet of appetizers (cold seafood, 3 types of caviar – accompanied by Skyy vodka, salad bar, cold cuts), BBQ station (suckling pig, grilled prawns) and dessert bar. On top of that there is a 3 course menu selection, cooked to order which includes egg, soup and a main dish. But wait, there is more, free flow Verve, wines, cocktails and soft drinks/juices are all included in the package price. I was a bit carried away that day and all I managed was 1 photo!
Beef brisket noodle is something which I always go back for. In my last post, I went to Sister Wah but due to sibling rivalry there is a similar shop next door Tai Lee. We thought we would try this one and compare notes. The broth did not contain the strong beef flavour as Sister Wah and even though compared to Sydney standards the beef brisket is tender, Sister Wah’s was more melt in your mouth. I ordered dry egg noodles as egg noodles in Hong Kong are something which I treasure, they are much thinner than what we get in Sydney and it retains a chew when in soaked in soup.
October is big gate/hairy crab season in Hong Kong and I was super excited that I could try it this time around. The crab is considered a pest species in Northern America and Europe as they destroy local native wildlife and are quite resilient in any environment. The origins of this crab are from Shanghai in the Yangcheng Lake and it is considered a delicacy due to the extraordinary amount of roe contained within.
We venture out to Lei Garden (North Point) which received one Michelin star and it is there, our own little crab degustation begins.
To start hairy crab Shanghai little soup buns/dumplings. It contains a combination of crab meat, crab roe and pork. One bite into the bun and the sweetness from the crab meat juices oozes out. I pause to think, the ones we get back in Sydney does not contain as much crab meat as they do in Hong Kong.
Next on menu is stir fried shark’s fin with crab meat with broth. I usually have shark’s fin in soup but not stir fried. Stir frying the shark fin really showcases the skill of the chef as shark fin is really delicate. Verdict? I loved it! The shark fin was chewy not gluggy and I loved the char on each individual fin.
Halfway through the meal, we reminisced the crispy roast pork we ate last year and decided to order it. The crispy roast pork comes in a cute little square with bite sized pieces (like a checker board). The pork does not contain any layer of fat and it is pure succulent meat and crackling.
For the grand finale, the crab! We ordered the smallest one as we weren’t sure how we were going to fare with all the rich dishes. The waiter asked if we wanted to cut it open ourselves and we politely declined. A few minutes later the following arrived.
I scooped up all the roe and savoured every little morsel. The roe was rich, buttery and I could feel my cholesterol climbing by the second.
Randomly read up on what locals eat and found Lan Fong Yuen in a laneway, nestled in between market stalls. It is a really old school style HK style cafe whereby they serve up HK style milk tea. HK style milk tea is traditionally Ceylon tea brewed and pulled through a stocking. The pulling of the tea allows the tea leaves to loosen and infuse. It is then topped off which carnation milk and gives it a really silky finish. Hungover and determined to make the most of my limited days of eating, I dragged Mr Dough. Walking in, the place was packed after lunch with a mixture of locals and Taiwan tourists all wanting a cup of milk tea and mixed dry instant noodle.
Within minutes of ordering, the dish came. I looked at it and thought, this is really simple but it is often the simple things which are the best. The chicken is pan-fried with the skin on, spread on top of Nissan Instant Noodle, garnished with green onions and ginger. There is not much sauce accompanying the noodle and it has light drizzle of sweet soy.
Mr Dough had wedding duties and I ventured out to try Butao King. They are famous for their ramen with pork bone broth. They use 35 pig’s heads a day plus pork ribs to produce a velvety, rich pork broth. The queues here are legendary and I purposely went out of peak hour to minimise the wait. A waitress hands out a menu so you can order your noodle and once seated, your noodle arrives. It was all in chinese and because you can choose the soup base, thickness of noodle and the chewiness in noodle, I thought this would be an interesting experience as I randomly circled items.
My noodle arrives and ended up with the Red King which uses the pork bone broth, but the chef adds into the soup mature miso and hot spices. A reddish-orange miso ball is placed in the center of the bowl, which immediately reminds one of the sun.
Verdict? Even though you can’t tell with all the spices but the broth is ridiculously rich with the pork collagen. The red colour is highly deceptive and is not at all spicy. The miso ball in the middle consists of meat which reminds me of dan dan noodle. The soft-boiled soy egg is soaked overnight so maximum flavour permeates through the egg. When mixed through the broth, it enriches the broth.
My last meal in Hong Kong was hidden at the back of apartment buildings in Tin Hau. Make shift restaurant with tables and chairs sprawled out in the laneway, they only serve runny egg rice with various toppings. It is essentially runny egg omelette on top of boiled rice. The egg being halfway cooked means you can use the egg juices as sauce for the rice.
Tak Cheong Noodle
5/F, The Mira, 118 Nathan Road, Tsim Tsa Tsiu
G/F, 15 Electric Road, Tin Hau
Lei Garden Restaurant
Block 9, City Garden,North Point
Lan Fong Yuen
2 Gage St, Central
G/F 40 Tang Lung St, Causeway Bay