February 14, 2013

The girl who (finally) ate

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I'm back in Hong Kong after stuffing myself with mom's cooking in Taipei, and instead of taking a break from eating as I should have been doing, I was out for another feast.  Susan was meeting up with Robyn of The Girl Who Ate Everything, and invited a couple of us to come along.  A table was booked at Manor Seafood Restaurant (富瑤海鮮酒家), and I can't really say "No" to that!

Robyn was invited to come to Hong Kong - along with a couple of others - by the Hong Kong Tourism Board.  She literally arrived on Lunar New Year's Eve, which is a really odd time if you ask me…  While the people at the Board may have wanted them to see what happens in Hong Kong during Lunar New Year, I think it is actually a terrible time to visit when it comes to food.  Many of the traditional and local places would be closed during this period.  Their food itinerary left us scratching our heads, and included places like Zuma, Nha Trang and Peak Lookout…  OK, so I can see why they were taken to the Peak Lookout, but… WTF was the Hong Kong Tourism Board thinking?!  Why fly people half way around the world to Hong Kong, then feed them non-Chinese food?!

Anyway, Manor seems to be the place where Susan entertains foodie literati from out of town, and certainly has a few special dishes we all enjoy.  I was glad to return after a 4-month break.

Eggplant with salty egg-yolk (黃金茄子) - this is always yummy, as the fluffy and airy cubes of eggplant has soaked up just enough oil to be yummy without being too heavily greasy, and the coating of salty egg yolk gives them their rich flavors.

Roasted suckling pig (天下第一豬) - don't you just love the modesty here?  Well, it's a yummy pig, but I wouldn't put it at the top of my list.  The skin is pretty thick and no longer completely crunchy, but ever so slightly soggy.  It's impregnated with so much fatty goodness that with the slightest pressure, oil oozes out onto your tongue and releases even more flavor.  In a way it's similar to the skin of the roast duck at Soong Kitchen (宋廚菜館) in Taipei.

The meat on the pig was pretty good, too.  It's certainly a lot less salty than the pig at Fook Lam Moon (福臨門).

Roasted "gold coin" chicken (懷舊金錢雞) - aka the cholesterol sandwich.  A little disappointed that we only get one for each person, as I definitely could have had two of these, especially given that the size shrunk a little tonight.  I thought the chicken liver was particularly tasty tonight, but of course we mustn't forget about the char siu (叉燒), bacon fat, and the little bit of taro that none of us seemed to have picked out.  That honey glaze is da best.

Baked salty chicken (古法鹽焗雞) - not bad.  The chicken was tasty, and there's plenty of yellow oil on the plate from the chicken fat to testify as to its quality.

Chinese lettuce in pot (啫啫唐生菜煲) -with plenty of prawn paste that overwhelms your olfactory senses, this is a delicious dish that you can smell from a few tables away.

1985 Hospices de Beaune Mazis-Chambertin Cuvée Madeleine-Collignon par Bouchard - made the mistake of double-decanting in the office, and by the time we got to it at dinner, I felt it was a little past its peak.  Still some black fruits and a little animal.

We wanted to introduce Robyn to some local desserts, so we headed to Yuen Kee Dessert (源記甜品專家).  There's always a line here, especially after dinner time, and tonight was no exception.  Luckily we didn't have to wait long to be seated.

I used to get the black sesame cream (香滑芝麻糊), but decided to have the walnut cream (清香核桃露) tonight for a change.  Very nice.  Full of roasted walnut flavor, and you can still feel the slightly grainy texture.  They used to have a stone mill on the premises to grind the sesame and walnuts by hand, but these days the mill is nowhere to be seen…

The sponge cake (全蛋雞蛋糕) is a perennial favorite, but I'm not a real fan.  Honestly it's a little dry, and I'd take the Japanese castella (カステラ) any day.

It was good to be able to meet Robyn, who is much younger but has been writing about food for much longer than I have.  I hope we were able to give her a little taste of Hong Kong, and look forward to welcoming her back in the future.

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