May 17, 2020

Beijing Sichuan Guangdong

Pin It

Hello Kitty was having lunch with Little Rabbit at China Tang (唐人館), and I was told that they would be having some Sichuanese dishes... which kinda boggled my mind.  What is an ostensibly Cantonese restaurant serving up spicy Sichuanese food?  Did I want to join them?  Well... not if it's gonna be all spicy stuff.  Then came the sweetener that closed the deal: we could order up the now-famous Peking duck if I joined them...

I've been to China Tang thrice over the years, although someone else has always footed the bill each time.  My three visits were also made with three different head chefs in the kitchen, and on this fourth visit there would be yet another chef helming the kitchen.

But what made this place a popular destination lately isn't even remotely Cantonese.  In a bid to drum up business during these difficult times, all of Uncle Peter's outlets have taken to offering large discounts of 30%.  I even had a bone-in ribeye at half price a few weeks ago.  Here, though, they decided to bring diners in the door with a loss leader - a roast Peking duck for all of HKD 198.  I can't tell you how many of my friends have taken advantage of this, and it keeps popping up on my social media feed.

So here I am... finally taking advantage of this incredible offer myself.  Little Rabbit had asked the chef to propose a menu for us, so all I had to do was to bring my appetite.

Marinated peanut sprouts (涼拌花生芽) - these are always fun... While we're used to having sprouts of soy beans or mung beans, peanut sprouts are decidedly less common.

Marinated tomato, mustard sesame sauce (胡麻醬拌鮮黑蕃茄) - pretty surprised at the quality of the tomato, which was very sweet.

Barbecued pork, honey sauce (唐人館叉燒) - not bad lah... These days my standards for char siu is pretty damn high, so you really gotta knock it out of the park to impress me.

Fire chicken 2.0 (火雞2.0) - apparently this used to be called "I am not crispy chicken 我不是炸子雞"... but now the chef calls it "fire chicken".  Well, it's not the ubiquitous deep-fried chicken with chili (辣子雞), but to be honest this was so much more interesting.  The smell hit us even before the waiter put the pot down on the table.  In fact, the smell of the chilis was so pungent that a neighboring table asked to be moved...

But this was some pretty nice chicken.  I don't have much interest in eating a chicken dish where all it accomplishes is to set my tongue my fire and overwhelm my taste buds.  This wasn't one of those dishes.  While the smell of the chili was strong, the flavors were just right.  Apparently the chicken had been brined in a solution flavored with lots of chilis, so the meat actually had pretty decent depth of flavors.  The combination of fresh, dried, and pickled chilis worked really well with the Sichuan peppercorns.    What made the dish even more interesting were the giblets... liver, intestines, (coagulated) blood, and gizzard.

Traditional Beijing roasted duck (老北京傳統烤鴨) - so... here it was.  The roast Peking duck that would cost us about USD 25.

So the chef first sliced off a bunch of crispy skin, then we got a pile of breast meat.

We were asked to take the pieces of skin on their own, without the paper-thin pancakes.  We could sprinkle some sugar on top of the skin, and just let it dissolve in the duck fat that oozes out of the skin when our teeth start to apply pressure...

For me, though, I generally prefer slices which come with skin, fat, and meat.  I wrapped these in paper-thin pancakes along with hoisin sauce and spring onions.  Pretty damn happy.

Stir-fried prawns with cucumber flowers in black truffle sauce (黑松露黃瓜花炒海蝦球) - not a fan.  These days I'm less interested in these giant stir-fried prawns, because in Cantonese restaurants they're often treated with baking soda to get that crunch that some people like.  Well... that doesn't taste natural to me.  I'm also not interested in the black truffle - showing up both as slices and also as a sauce.  I understand that some people think it's great to put black truffle in Chinese cuisine, but when the truffle isn't fresh or fragrant, this is just 莫須有...

The most interesting part of this dish was the baby cucumbers with cucumber flowers.  All of us gobbled them up greedily.

Spotted garoupa simmered with bean sprouts and sweetened tofu (豆花魚) - now THIS was really interesting.  First of all, I'm not used to seeing decent fish drenched in chili oil.  Usually 水煮魚 comes with some cheap crap because the chili oil is so overpowering one can't taste the flavors of the fish anyway.

Well, I guess that's not acceptable to Uncle Peter, so we've got leopard coral trout (東星斑).  What's interesting, though, is that in addition to the usual soy bean sprouts, this also came with deep-fried soy beans as well as a layer of sweetened tofu (豆花) at the bottom.  The sweetness from the tofu does a nice job of neutralizing the fire of the chili oil and the numbing from the Sichuan peppercorns.  Very nice.
Deep-fried duck, crispy garlic, peanuts, dried chili, spicy salt (七味椒鹽風沙鴨架) - this was pretty good, but I was already pretty full.  I wish I had more room in my stomach.

Four-colored noodles in duck bone broth (鴨骨濃湯四色麵) - pretty damn good thanks to the oily, flavorful broth.  Interesting that this came with what looked like Japanese somen (素麺) in four different colors - white, yellow, green, and red.

Little Rabbit would never pass up dessert, and I guess I could take a bite or two...

Cat and mouse game (貓捉老鼠) - the cat's paw was made with black sesame, and sprinkled with some kind of powder that reminded me of sakura (桜) or something with acidity.  The mouse was made with coconut.

Mango cream with bird's nest (官燕楊枝甘露) - very luxurious, very tasty.

Other than the prawns that I didn't care for, this was a pretty good lunch.  There was certainly a ton of food for the three of us, and it was good to get out of the apartment for a while and enjoy a nice meal out.  Many thanks to Chef Menex for showing us the non-Canto dishes...

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map