August 2, 2010

China(town) Club

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Tigger's college buddy Witz is in town for a week, and a few of us are spending some time to show him the sights around town.  Tonight Tigger decided to take him to the China Club (中国会) for dinner.  I guess it's a typical destination to take a tourist.

I take pleasure in making fun of Tigger and his eating habits.  Here's a guy who pretty much sticks to 7 restaurants - 3 of them in his favorite Mandarin Oriental, which is practically his second home.  When in a Chinese restaurant, you can pretty much bet on a couple of dishes always showing up.  I can think of only 2 other friends who can take him on in the "creature of habit" competition.

Anyway... since we have an American visitor, and Tigger is ordering, we ended up with a pretty gweilo-friendly selection.  I immediately ask Witz whether he felt like he was in Chinatown.  OK, we didn't order General Tso's chicken, moo shu pork, orange beef or chicken lo mein, but the selection was definitely very "safe".

We started with a roast Peking duck.  It still baffles me as to why visitors always want - or we assume that they want - Peking duck when they are in a Chinese restaurant.  This in Hong Kong, and Peking duck is not part of the native Cantonese cuisine...  Witz mentioned that Peking ducks don't come to the table with their heads up in Boston.  Well, the duck was ok. 

I didn't feel like having soup, but the rest of the group all had the typical tofu soup (豆腐羹).  Instead of having some sort of double-boiled soup that local people would order on any given day, we gave Witz a bowl of starch with some egg drops and tofu.

The deep-fried crab claw (炸蟹鉗) came and Witz didn't recognize the puffy round things.  I jokingly told him they were mini corn dogs... which they definitely resembled.  The claws were pretty tiny, with little crab meat, and the whole thing was basically prawn paste coated with breadcrumbs and deep-fried.

To balance things out a little, there was a plate of braised tofu with mixed vegetables (紅燒豆腐) as well as some stir-fried choy sum (清炒菜心).  The rest of the duck came as stir-fried diced duck (炒鴨崧), which we wrapped in lettuce leaves and devoured. 

We finished with two other Chinatown-esque dishes: lemon chicken (香煎檸檬雞) and Tigger's favorite - sautéed shrededed beef with onion (中式牛柳條).  The lemon chicken was so-so.  I didn't get to the beef before it all disappeared, and was left with a plate of tomato slices and half-raw onions.  The onions together with the raw spring onions I had with the Peking duck made my breath smell minty fresh...NOT!

I brought a bottle of 1999 L'Arrosée for the casual dinner.  I asked the waiter to dunk it in an ice bucket and kept it there until I thought the wine was cool enough to drink.  It wasn't anything spectacular, but smooth and good enough to go with the food. 

I decided to have a bowl of sweet potato soup (蕃薯糖水) for dessert, which admittedly is odd for the summer.  I love this dessert, and they did a reasonably good job of it.  The chunks of sweet potato were soft enough but not to the point of mushy and falling apart.

We finished our meal, and the final insult arrived on a plate bearing fortune cookies.  This is the only place in Hong Kong I know of that serves them...  The Chinatown experience is complete.

With our bellies full, I took Witz on a short sightseeing tour on this Monday night.  We stopped at Sevva but decided to cross the harbor instead, and ended up having a drink at Felix.  Ever since I came to Hong Kong, Felix has always been THE place where I would take visitors, as it offers both a fantastic view of Victoria Harbor (and the Hong Kong side) as well as a very cool and trendy/hip atmosphere thanks to designs by Philippe Starck. 

I'm looking forward to Wednesday night, when I get to take Witz out and show him what Hong Kong dining has to offer - MY way.

1 comment:

Hong Kong & Macau Fine Food said...

Dear Peech,

Can't wait to see what you have in the pipeline to show your friends in HK !

I got some overseas friends coming over soon ~ need some ideas from you!

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