October 4, 2022

The best suckling pig gets better

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Here in Hong Kong, we are slowly emerging from the deep winter that is the Covid pandemic. One impact has been the reduction of gatherings with the MNSC boys, resulting from factors such as social distancing measures as well as quarantine requirements leading to prolonged absences by some of us. So it is that tonight would be only the second tasting of the current "MNSC year"... As I wasn't feeling very inspired to come up with a lineup, Curry very graciously offered to host.

I was pretty happy when I learned that dinner would be at Moon Bay Chinese Cuisine (灣悅 賞 • 中菜). I have heard some rave reviews from friends, especially regarding the roast suckling pig that used to be the centerpiece of many of my meals at Seventh Son (家全七福) and Fook Lam Moon (福臨門).

Barbecued suckling pig (皇牌大紅乳豬全體) - well, of course we would start with the pièce de résistance. One always does in a place like this.

The crackling was ABSOLUTELY GLORIOUS! These were a little thicker than I remembered from most of the times I had it at Seventh Son or Fook Lam Moon. The smoky flavors were more prominent, and the combination was just so, so satisfying. Given there weren't many of us and I didn't want these to go to waste, I ended up having at least 5 pieces... maybe 6.

The pancakes seemed thicker tonight, definitely more 'rustic'.

Sizzling diced lobster with spring onions, onions, and deep fried shallots (三蔥爆龍蝦球) - pretty different from the version I used to order at Fook Lam Moon. The pieces here seemed bigger, and while they were also scored, the pattern wasn't as fine. That, however, did not mean the Australian lobster tail wasn't tender. This was very, very delicious. The fragrance also came from the fried "three spring onions".

Deep-fried garoupa fillet (吉列斑塊) - WHITE GIRL FISH! Sankala would surely love this! Although I have to say that she would not have enjoyed the mild muddy flavors of the fish, which was a real surprise to me.

Served with corn sauce (粟米汁), and just classic.

Also very nice with sweet and sour sauce (甜酸汁). In fact, tonight I found myself preferring this over the traditional corn sauce...

Classic stewed beef brisket (柱候牛筋腩煲) - this was THE SHIT. I always knew that Curry likes these classic Canto dishes more than the fancy stuff, and I'm always happy when I see him ordering them. This was rich and flavorful thanks to the Chuhau (柱候) sauce, and the flavors of tangerine peel (果皮) was pretty prominent. Needless to say, the tendons were very, very nice and coated our lips with plenty of collagen.

Poached chicken spiced, conpoy (瑤柱貴妃雞) - this was a nice surprise. Served cold, this was pretty damn tasty. Not sure about the conpoy (干貝) on top, though...

Stir-fried spinach shoots with garlic (蒜蓉炒菠菜苗) - really, really tender and delicious.

Tossed egg noodles, barbecued pork, ginger, and spring onion (叉燒薑蔥撈麵) - unfortunately the alkaline taste of the noodles were still strong in spite of the sauce. I really wish they would rinse the noodles after cooking...

We were a little light on the wines tonight given the small turnout. That did not mean our host was any less generous.

2011 Arnaud Ente Meursault - very, very big nose of toast, buttery and fat on the palate. Lovely wine.

First flight:
2017 Burlotto Barolo Acclivi - decanted for 6 hours, then another 1½ hours in bottle before serving. Very sharp and alcoholic nose. Second pour after 30 minutes was better, but this never really opened up for me. 91 points.

2017 Mugnier Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Fuées - opened without decanting 7½ hours before serving. Much more open and lovely, very fruity with lots of cherries, dried herbs. Still beautiful 30 minutes later with floral notes of roses. 96 points.

Second flight:
2006 Henri Bonneau Réserve des Célestins - decanted for about 6 hours, then in bottle for another 2½ hours before serving. Plenty of leather, a little rubber. Amber rim, which was surprising given the age of the wine. 94 points.

2006 Sylvain Cathiard Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Aux Reignots - served 3 hours after opening without decanting. Elegant and soft, sweeter on the nose. 94 points.

Third flight: decanted half the bottle for 3 hours, then the other half was poured into the decanter another 3 hours later, before going back to the bottle immediately. Another 3 hours or so in the bottle before serving.
2005 Margaux - very minty, smoky, definitely left bank and drinking very nicely. More than 9½ hours after opening this was really showing very well, fully open. 97 points.

2005 Latour - a bit smoky, more concentrated fruit, but not overly sweet. 94 points,.

I gotta make a return visit here, and soon. Need to get that suckling pig fix again.

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