Saturday, July 24, 2010

36 Hours in Hong Hong (Part 2)

As we trekked up and down the slopes of Hong Kong, we were careful to dodge the air con water dribbles but were unfortunate to be caught in the rain. The best comfort for feeling wet and miserable and to feed some late night munchies was found at another da pai dong – Yuk Yip Dessert, opposite the current Man Yuen Noodles, also the original location of Man Yuen Noodles and from what I understand still has some linkage to the original stall. Confusing? A little bit but the small bowl of noodles, without argument, good.

An alternative to slurping a slice of history at Man Yuen would be Mak’s. Over-priced for pre-war sized portions? Perhaps. The bowl size is quite odd. As someone I dined with over dinner puts it, “one is too little and two sometimes feels like you are over doing it”. Order more and share or if you are solely in Hong Kong to eat, treat it as an amuse bouche, just don’t think too much about it. Have the obligatory bowl of wanton noodles, the broth has good depth and umami, their noodles have an amazing texture and the shrimps are crunchy. Other than that, something that I like having is the noodles with shrimp roe and oyster sauce.

We weren’t expecting to get a coveted table at the The Chairman Restaurant that opened to rave reviews at the end of 2009 but we thought we’d try, and hey, who knew, they could sit a table for three, so we jumped it.

Their philosophy using on artisan and local ingredients and homemade sauces, sounds ambitious and grandiloquent but there are plates and diners who will testify that it isn’t just all talk.

We started with century eggs with homemade young ginger pickle, where the waiter kept stressing on the fact that the only use the young ginger, highlighting the use of seasonal produce and also the best ingredients. The pickle came through, the brightness of the ginger without the heat that you get with the old ginger.

crisp small yellow croacker fish

Then we picked up the perfectly fried to a crisp small yellow croacker fish that crunchy and airy to bite and then drizzled with the sweet tart balsamic dressing this got a nod of approval from everyone. The appetizer we had, pork chin with Chinese premium soy sauce served with crispy tofu, I understand what they were trying to do with the contrast in texture but was ok and paled in comparison against the croacker fish.

Steamed Fresh Flowery Crab with Aged Shao Xing Wine & Fragrant Chicken Oil

Their signatures are excellent. Steamed Fresh Flowery Crab with Aged Shao Xing Wine & Fragrant Chicken Oil, the individual elements on their own were very good - sweet fresh crab meat, mellow and inviting and (let’s face it) flavourful chicken fat. And to mop up the sauce, silky rice rolls to swish about sauce, here in Hong Kong they aren’t shy about the fat.

The Chairman’s Chicken

The Chairman’s Chicken, also a house signature, is a good demonstration of what this restaurant is trying to do. Classic and seemingly simple but executed on a higher level by concentrating on the basics of good cooking – good ingredients and homemade sauces that provide stamp their originality. The dish looks deceptively simple and the taste is has a long finish.

braised layered bean curd with morel and Chinese mushroom

The vegetarian dish, braised layered bean curd with morel and Chinese mushroom, was unexpectedly awesome. The ribbons of bean curd was stacked on top of one another to form a soft brick and coated with brown sauce which stood up against the bigger earthier mushrooms. Clean and clear tasting.

The food here is good. I like the idea of it – eat local, eat fresh and eat well, it is friendly gourmet.

Last stop before we hit the tarmac, Tai Cheong Egg Tarts, where flaky pastry meets silky custard, two dozen to go, ok, now we were good to go.

Yuk Yip Desserts
2 Elgin Street,
Central, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2544 3795

Man Yuen Noodles
68-70A Hollywood Road,
Central, Hong Kong

Mak's Noodles
77 Wellington Street,
Central, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2854 3810

The Chairman Restaurant
18 Kau U Fong,
Central, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2555 2202

Tai Cheong Bakery
35 Lyndhurst Terrace,
Central, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2544 3475



Anonymous Nenna - Ovens said...

Looks wonderful. Great reading your post as well.


6:34 PM  

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