August 10, 2011

Movable feast, interrupted

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I'm back in Hong Kong on a business trip, and I answered the call from a friend for a food crawl.  Felix from QLI is finishing up his stay in town, and this was organized to take him to some of the classic dishes in Hong Kong.  There would be four stops across Hong Kong and Kowloon, where we sample the signature dishes at each restaurant before moving on to the next.

The first stop was Luk Yu Tea House (陸羽茶室).  I've never been a fan of this place, especially since my last meal here ended with a disgrace of a fried rice, and service that told me the staff didn't want us there.  But this wasn't my gig and we were here just to have a couple of dishes.

Almond pig's lung soup (杏仁豬肺湯) - this is the signature here, and indeed it's one of the best in Hong Kong.  Nice, big chunks of lung along with some crunchy wood ear fungus (黑木耳) and veggie.  Almond flavors were very prominent, and the gang discussed the potential ways of preparation for the almond soup base...

Salt baked chicken (鹽焗雞) - this was very different from what I expected.  The flavors of the chicken itself was more noticeable, even with the heavy smoke flavors which were a nice surprise.

We moved on to our second stop - Manor Seafood Restaurant (富瑤酒家) - for the next couple of dishes.

Gold coin chicken (古法金錢雞) - the "cholesterol sandwich" has always been my favorite dish here... and tonight the restaurant just upped the ante.  What arrived before us must have been at least 1½ inches thick - definitely bigger than what we've seen from them before.  The glistening layers of pork fat, barbecued pork, chicken liver all covered in honey glaze was an unbelievable sight to behold.

Each of us eagerly grabbed our ration, and I had to resist the urge to shove the whole thing in my mouth.  Instead, it actually took me four mouthfuls... as I tried to savor the heavenly creation between my fingers.

Flower crab steamed with chicken fat and Huadiao wine (雞油花雕蒸花蟹) - another signature dish, but the restaurant only had one flower crab left for us.  The meat was just really delicious and sweet.  As usual, the magic was all in the sauce.  I scooped up the leftover sauce on my plate with my index finger and just kept licking - performing my best imitation of Mrs. Dyson.

Mud crab steamed with chicken fat and Huadiao wine (雞油花雕蒸蟹) - one crab for all of us wouldn't have satisfied our Crab Queen, so a mud crab was ordered alongside.  While the sauce was just as yummy, it was obvious to all that the meat just couldn't compare to that of the flower crab...

Something must be done with all the crab oil and chicken fat, and the solution was to have some carbs to soak it all up.  First was stir-frying some noodles with the sauce.  Pretty good as expected.  Legolas Jr played the part of the Boy Who Quenelled Everything, and quenelled the noodles as he served everyone.

The restaurant also served us with some pan-fried rice vermicelli (煎米粉).  This was really delicious, and drenching it with sauce was just perfect.

Baked buns with almond cream (雪影杏汁包) - while I liked the almond flavor, I didn't think much of the bun...

Deep-fried spring roll wrapper with coconut - this was interesting and very different from the usual classic deep-fried egg cuillers (蛋散).  The pastry wrapper was thin and crispy, and sprinkled with dessicated coconut, sugar and crushed peanuts.  Yum.

We moved on to Hing Kee Typhoon Shelter Crab (興記避風塘炒蟹), where we were joined by Mrs. Dyson.  Unfortunately I started to feel ill at this point.  I've been out of Hong Kong for almost a month, and I think I'm just no longer used to having aircon blasting everywhere.  I had showered and changed into a short-sleeve T-shirt with material which breathes, and apparently it was letting a little too much cold air in...  Since I had another full day of client meetings the next day, I decided that it would be best to bail and get some sleep.  I left the others to enjoy more crab and roast suckling pig...  Another time, amigos!

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