October 30, 2016

Pen Stay(ca)tion: Damn tasty XLB

Pin It

A few days ago, Hello Kitty informed me that she had booked us a couple of night's stay at the Peninsula Hong Kong.  Unlike some of my friends, I'm the type of cheapskate who never splurges money on staycations, so this was a really nice surprise.  So we packed our bags and checked in to the venerable Pen - the grande dame of Hong Kong hotels.

We asked for a lunch table at Spring Moon (嘉麟樓) upon check-in, and this being Sunday and all, they were only able to squeeze us in shortly before the time for last order.  We didn't mind a late lunch, so we showed up around 2pm when quite a few tables had already cleared out.  We would pick a few dim sum items as well as a few classics.

Having been here only once in the last 15 years or so, I had forgotten about the customized chopstick rest.  Such a cute little detail.

We were kinda hungry by now, so we nibbled on the candied walnuts while we waited for the food to arrive.  Always a nice start.

Baked wagyu beef buns (酥皮和牛飽) - these were Hello Kitty's request, and came as "Mexico buns (墨西哥包) / conchas"...

The filling turned out to be pretty spicy from lots of black pepper. Hello Kitty thought that the taste reminded her of Taiwanese pepper buns (胡椒餅).

Sliced barbecued pork (蜜汁叉燒) - these were pretty nice, and the left side was definitely very tender with a good amount of tasty fat.  Hello Kitty was more critical, and thought that some pieces on the right side were a little on the tough side.  She also complained that the pork didn't have as much flavor.  As for me... I'm happy as long as I can taste the pork fat.

We asked for some X.O. sauce to go with our dim sum, but mostly I just ended up eating it on its own.  There's a lot of kick here...

Baked crab meat with cream sauce in shell (白汁焗釀鮮蟹蓋) - this is one of the classic dishes that I enjoy trying in different restaurants.  There were two different types of sauce available, and I opted for the "white sauce".

There was a reasonable amount of crab meat here, along with plenty of onions providing sweetness.  Not bad, but I think I still prefer what I get at Fook Lam Moon (福臨門)... especially the layer of crispy breadcrumbs on top.

Golden fried crab claw with hairy crab coral and shrimp mousse (蟹粉炸釀蟹拑) - another dish I was curious about, for comparison with other restaurants like Lung King Heen (龍景軒).

I hadn't been reading the menu very carefully, because I only realized that there was hairy crab coral inside after I took a bite.  There wasn't a lot of it, but it was enough to change the flavors and make it a little more interesting than the "normal" version on the menu.  The actual crab claw itself was modest in size - which wasn't unexpected - and covered with a layer of shrimp mousse.  Pretty decent.

Steamed minced pork dumpling with hairy crab coral (蟹粉小籠包) - how can I not try their version of hairy crab coral xiaolongbao?!
This wasn't bad, but unfortunately seriously paled in comparison to the one I had at Lung King Heen just 4 days ago.  For a 10% premium I could get a significantly bigger dumpling with a more refined filling that is much more tasty and satisfying - at the place with 3 Michelin stars.

Steamed Sicilian shrimp and minced pork dumpling (紅蝦小籠包) - I had never seen anyone make XLB with red prawns, so of course I had to satisfy my curiosity.

O-M-G.  This was damn good.  No, this was FUCKING good.  For the same price as the one with hairy crab coral, I'd choose this 10 times out of 10.  The soup inside was basically shellfish bisque, and I absolutely love any kind of shrimp head essence or shellfish soup. If we weren't so full (and if we hadn't passed the time for last orders) I'd ask for another 2 of these!

Poached leafy amaranth with salted eggs and century eggs (金銀蛋莧菜) - there was a confusion with the waiter about which preparation of leafy amaranth I wanted, but I wasn't too fussed about it when this came.  But we were already pretty full, so we ended up leaving half the dish.  I do like the combination of the two types of eggs, though...

We were too stuffed and couldn't handle any dessert.  Besides, we were about to meet some friends for the famous Peninsula Afternoon Tea in 1½ hours...

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map