Dineout Reviews: Hong Kong

One more Hong Kong post, this time in my Dineout Reviews format. Why should I apologize anyway? What has definitely been a “regret” of mine–because I can’t take a good experience as is and am intent on finding life bittersweet–was the dining out. There is so much more I want to do: street-style dining, really fancy HK-style Western, tea buffet at the Hyatt (esp after TFP’s post), etc.! But we did have some really great meals, concentrated in the last few days, funny enough. This really is just an excuse for a big-time photo post!

Oedo Japanese Restaurant

After being “on the road” for two weeks and having only all different manners of Chinese food, NPY and I were starting to crave Japanese food. It is good in Hong Kong but definitely doesn’t come cheap. NPY’s cousin was so sweet to seek out and give several suggestions from which I chose Oedo–didn’t have the energy to be very fashionable, it was in North Point which is my old “hood” in HK, and we could be guaranteed a table.

I can’t remember what the circumstances were but NPY decided to order just a tomato beef ramen. Meanwhile, his cousin and I flipped through the menu while also glancing at the set dinner for two with eight items and decided to go for the latter, adding a special sushi to ensure it was all enough for three people.

I’ve never before had omakase and this still did not qualify but at least it felt a bit like it–I wouldn’t know to order what we ended up getting but it was all very coincidentally suited my palate!

We started with a small sashimi plate with scallop, salmon, and shrimp. I got through the scallop and shrimp first, saving the best–salmon!–for last. We got more salmon in a marinated thinly sliced second dish. I can’t remember the flavour but it was light and really tasty.

The next two dishes were very meat. When I was younger, I hated green onions () and picked them out even when they were small pieces, much to Mum’s chagrin. She, like many Chinese mothers to be sure, said that if I did not eat my green onions, I wouldn’t be clever (聰明) because onions and clever (the first part) are homonymic. Now I’m all grown up and I learned that I’ll eat green onions if they are not completely raw and if they are wrapped with mostly thinly sliced beef and grilled to medium raw. Our other meat dish was the teppanaki foie gras served on baguette. It was heavenly.

Next a dish of some tempura vegetables and shrimp. Then another highlight in the form of an egg custard with a sea urchin. I very quickly removed what looked like cilantro contaminating my egg custard and enjoyed the delicate egg custard interspersed with nibbling on sea urchin. I still won’t order sea urchin but if it happens to come with my meal, I enjoy how it has the taste and texture a bit like lobster roe.

The final two set dinner items I did not partake in, so full I was. A wonderfully looking vegetable udon in pork bone soup, and a choice of ice creams from which we selected strawberry and green tea, both of which NPY ate. :)

The two dishes we ordered on the side we ended up sharing equally. I’m used to ordering tomato beef broth with my Taiwanese noodles but it was a first for Japanese ramen. It was so tasty and we suspected the secret ingredient was a healthy dose of MSG. NPY’s cousin thought it was the best dish of the evening. The other side dish was this innovative sushi of Wagyu-wrapped dynamite rolls. At our request, the beef was lightly seared which left it a very fragrant and meaty sushi roll.

Super Star Seafood Restaurant

I have a cousin in HK who lived in Canada many years, as it turned out, but I did not meet him until I moved to Vancouver and he very intermittently visits since he’s moved back to Hong Kong. I saw him once in 2005 or so and was quite nervous about seeing him only for the second time in my life, in 2010. It turned out to be no sweat and a very nice time, even though we waited about 30 minutes for a table at Super Star, around the corner from our hotel. You see, it was hairy crab (毛蠏) season and Super Star happened to be close and one of only a few restaurants serving it he thought worth bringing me to.

I could translate the menu but this post would be much later going out so I’ll try to navigate this by fast-fading memory.

The little dish of crispy fried anchovies/silverfish wouldn’t normally entice me–those black pepper eyes!–but I was hungry and discovered upon my first bite that their crunch and slight saltiness overrode any other anxiety I had. The meal started with a small cold platter of “Chinese ham” and a Chinese salad with tofu strings and a melon-like vegetable that did not appeal to me.

We were each presented with one Shanghai pork dumpling (小龍包). My cousin told me that some crab roe was used in the soup to flavour it and continue the theme of the meal.

When I saw the first two crabs, I felt a twinge of disappointment. I don’t eat crabs–being a lobster girl from the east coast–but I knew there couldn’t be much meat to the crabs only the size of my hand. My cousin taught me the steps to disassemble a crab but I cannot recall them now except to remove the delicate lung else ingesting it would make me very nauseated. We were only going after the roe in the big shell and kind of sucking out some leg meat for show. And I learned that there would actually be three sets of crabs: a pair of males, a pair of females, then a pair of males, each set bigger and better quality than the last. Now, that’s a meal!

As we were about finishing working on our third set of crabs, a congee-like soup was brought out. It cleansed our palates and was the most deliciously flavoured congee/soup. Balance was in order and I enjoyed the dish of stir-fried melons that followed.

Finally, we finished the dinner with a steamer of glutinous rice. The flavour was good and my cousin told me that it’s the perfect winter dish for the glutinous rice is warming–and I was thinking, like Hong Kongers really need warming! It was a memorable meal on so many levels.

H One

I may have been the most excited of the four of us that C2 spontaneously booked a Hong Kong trip and arrived the day before we left and stayed in the same hotel. And so it was with some anxiety when I selected a place we could brunch–show off Hong Kong to the C who hadn’t been to before, while also seeing NPY and myself off in style. It seemed like a safe bet to take us to a restaurant in one of the IFC towers although I didn’t know exactly what to expect in terms of the menu (the site is Flash-based, grr, and trying to research on my iPad was impossible).

When we were lead to our table, we walked by the long buffet bar so it was not too difficult to decide on their Sunday Lunch Experience which included a visit to their “Italian counter” buffet, select from a list of entrees, and a dessert for HKD$388.

From the sounds of “Italian counter”, we expected only the proscuitto, tomatoes, mozzarella, cantaloupe. So it was delightful to find mini quiches, pasta salad, ceviche, and sushi! I was also really happy that I had “copied” Cari and gotten the roast of the day because it was perfectly cooked and the sauce made it even better. We debated what “dessert surprise” could mean for the dessert item and thought it was the just the coffee and biscotti/cookie we were automatically served. But it turned out there was a dessert buffet. A made-to-order creme brulee was just too nice to pass up but otherwise, I was so full from our big brunch!

It was a perfect sending-off day and we strolled around Platform 4 of IFC that was about ten storeys above ground, a rooftop terrace with a clear view of Kowloon. It was  moment of perfection that I was so happy to spend with NPY and friends.

We also went to Yung Kee–an HK establishment famous for their roasted goose and we got the star treatment dining on their third floor–and Jasmine. Even though we had quite a nice dim sum set at Jasmine, it just wasn’t as interesting although I surely have the photos for commemorative purposes.

On this day..