April 5, 2017

Another private initiation

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When the Hungry Tourist told me a while back that he was coming back to town, the place that I wanted to take him more than anywhere else was my favorite private dining facility.  You see, like many tourists, he is a big fan of Lung King Heen (龍景軒).  Not that there's anything wrong with being a fan - since the restaurant certainly serve up some delicious food and delivers fantastic service - but as a "local", I sometimes tire of hearing tourists rave about the place.  Having claimed the title of the first Chinese restaurant ever to receive three macarons back in 2008, Lung King Heen has been the one destination that well-heeled tourists always hit when they're looking for Chinese food.  And sometimes it's their only stop.

So I took the opportunity to round up a few friends who have yet to have the opportunity to dine there, and asked the chef to set up a menu with several specific requests.

Before we start dinner, though, Birdie Golf very kindly brought us something special from Singapore at Hello Kitty's request.  This bag of Gourmet Salted Egg Yolk Potato Crisps from The Golden Duck was damn good!  There was, of course, plenty of powdered salted egg yolk, but also some kick from chilis... and best of all, beautiful fragrance and flavors from curry leaves.  Can't wait to try to bag of fish skin!

Crystal king prawn (玻璃大蝦球) - it always impresses the hell out of first-timers when this comes out first.  A whole plate of giant king prawns.

The prawns are beautifully scored, and seem almost translucent.  The texture is beautiful, too... with just the right amount of bounce and crunch as one bites down.  Lightly flavored with ham broth.

Deep-fried crab claws (椒鹽肉蟹鉗) - I don't often do this, but tonight we followed up the plate of king prawns with a plate of giant crab claws.  These were nice and fat.

I don't always order deep-fried crab claws elsewhere, but the chef does it so well that I don't find it a waste of good ingredient. One can really taste the sweet and savory flavors of the crab meat - something that the Chinese refer to as 鮮味.

Stir-fried tripe with mixed vegetables (七彩炒肚尖) - always one of my favorite dishes here, and tonight the execution was very, very good.  The tip of the pig's stomach had that perfect springy and crunchy texture.  The celery, Chinese celery, red bell peppers, yellowed chives, water chestnuts, and pickles - together with toasty Indian almonds - combined with the tripe to make each mouthful perfectly delicious.  And our bowls were pretty dry tonight... without a lot of liquid at the bottom.  A testament to the chef's skills to produce the wok hei (鑊氣).

Traditional Buddha jumps over the wall (古法佛跳牆) - ah yes... another favorite - without shark's fin, of course.  Tonight the pot looked a little empty, though...

And my plate certainly didn't look as full as I remembered from previous dinners.  Still got the dried abalone, which was tasty.  The spiny sea cucumber was pretty good, and the piece of fish maw seemed bigger than usual.  The goose web was good, and since the Hungry Tourist didn't want his, I ended up with two.  Yay!  Oh, and the shiitake mushroom, bamboo shoots, and pork belly were good, too.

Yes, we had some steamed rice to soak up all the collagen-rich sauce.  And I took the leftovers, which would make another delicious meal or two with more steamed rice...

Almond soup with pig's lungs (杏汁白肺湯) - a classic Cantonese dish.  It takes a lot of effort for a chef to properly clean the lungs before cooking, and I usually take a piece and nibble on it.  Always love the soup, which is made with a little ginger to neutralize the smell of the lungs, along with pork bones and pig trotters.

Braised garoupa fin in traditional style (古法炆斑翅) - I love this dish, and it seemed the Hungry Tourist did, too.  Lots of garlic and sliced mushrooms make for a rich "relish" covering the garoupa fins, which were deep-fried before being braised.  Yum.

Crispy chicken (脆皮炸子雞) - normally this is my least-favorite preparation of chicken here, but I know how much the Hungry Tourist loves this chicken at Lung King Heen, so I asked for this.  It's pretty good... although, as Hello Kitty remarked, there wasn't much flavor in the chicken itself since it's sourced locally.  Most of us were pretty full by this point, so the Hungry Tourist took at least half the chicken back to his hotel...

Choy sum in superior stock (上湯灼菜心) - even the veg dishes here are more delicious than elsewhere.

Sautéed rice rolls with minced beef, bean sprouts in satay sauce (沙爹牛肉炒腸粉) - I just loooove this dish... with that nice, spicy kick.  I always wish I could eat more of this at the end of the meal, but I almost never could.  So the Hungry Tourist - obviously still hungry - cleaned up.

Double-boiled ginkgo nuts and lotus seeds (銀杏燉湘蓮) - very yum.

A few of us brought along some wine for dinner, although we ended up drinking a lot less than expected.  Some of that, unfortunately, had to do with the wines I brought... which were not drinking as well as they should.

1996 Pol Roger Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill - a beautiful wine.  Nice and toasty nose.  Mature and smooth on the palate.

2004 Kistler Chardonnay Vine Hill Vineyard - the first bottle was very oxidized, with a really marzipan nose and a pretty flat palate.  The second bottle fared slightly better.

2001 Kracher Scheurebe Trockenbeerenauslese No. 9 Zwischen den Seen, from half-bottle -

1985 Hospices de Beaune Mazis-Chambertin Cuvée Madeleine-Collignon par Bouchard - this was again disappointing.  The first bottle was corked, while the second bottle was flat without giving much fruit.

2002 Numanthia Toro Termanthia - very minty, with dried herbs, lots of cedar, and sweet fruit.  Delicious.


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