August 22, 2009

Fatty and fried foods taste best

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I was wandering around Causeway Bay looking for a place to have dinner, and I found myself stepping into a new place called Fan Tang (飯堂). Someone had mentioned this place to me, so I thought at least I would go in and check it out. We stood at the reception and waited until someone noticed us. Someone who looked like the manager came over, and I asked to look at their dinner menu. She handed me the menu, informing me that they were already fully booked for the night. What bothered me, though, was her totally lack of courtesy. She looked at us with disdain as if we were a nuisance, and just wanted us to go away so she could go back and talk to her staff/customers at the table she was sitting at. None of the "I'm sorry we are full tonight, but please come back another time" that I would have expected from any decent restaurant manager. She left us as quickly as she came. I guess she really didn't want our business, so I shall oblige her by not giving her any. The two of us eventually ended up at Harakan (原澗) for some Japanese. My last meal here was reasonably good, and I thought I'd come back and see if the quality of the food was consistent. It was. Fresh soybean skin (掬い湯葉) - this Kyoto specialty was really nice. Delicate, thin layers of tofu skin stacked together, with a little bit of dashi (だし) and a small dollop of wasabi for flavoring. The soft tofu skin was so silky on my tongue, although I wish there was a tad more dashi for taste. Grilled Manganji green peppers (万願寺唐辛子串焼き) - these giant pimento-like green peppers are a special cross breed from Kyoto. The sweet, thick outer layer was nicely grilled and topped with a pile of finely shaved bonito. Yum. Okinawa seaweed salad (沖縄海草サラダ) - there were five different types of seaweed here, including the sea grapes (海葡萄) which are native to Okinawa. Also bits of agar sprinkled on the plate. Minced chicken skewers (つくね) - I'm partial to this yakitori, as it mixes in bits of chicken cartilage and makes it a bit crunchy. Deep-fried Yonezaka porkchop (米沢豚とんかつ) - I really enjoyed this on my last visit so I had to order it again. Totally yummy, with a nice strip of fat running down one side of the porkchop. I loved this soooo much...apply a little pressure in your mouth, and a bit of fat starts to ooze out and coat the tip of your tongue. Fatty and deep-fried foods taste best, and this one has both elements. Sea eel tempura (穴子一本天婦羅) - another favorite from last time. I love being able to have the whole eel as tempura... Grilled Hokkaido sweet corn (北海道とうもろこし) - the corn was very sweet and delicious, but on reflection this was damn expensive at HK$ 130! Japanese fish porridge (魚スープ雑炊) - surprisingly nice. The milky fish broth was very yummy, with chunks of fish and mushrooms. Given that my tongue didn't dry up afterwards, I don't think they used any MSG... I definitely ordered a little too much food, but everything was pretty yummy. The highlights, though, were definitely the fried stuff. I think I'll be going back for some more porkchop... We were stuffed, but after a while we stopped by Sogo before closing to pick up some Mochi Cream. I just looooove these things... and it was Caramel Custard and Sweet Potato for me today...

1 comment:

Eric said...

Unfortunately, restaurant service in HK lacks in all but a few cases. Absentee owners, frequent employee turnover, etc all seem to contribute.

I'm the Manager's take was "well, if this one closes, I'll go work down the street".

The food is not always up to par, but I find the Philipino/Nepalese managers at many Soho restaurants are much more accomodating. Even giving us a drink (FOC) while we wait for a table. Makes it easier to make the decision when we're in the area with no booking...

Love the blog Peter...keep up the good work!

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