January 10, 2023

Fun night with VVIP

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After staying with our northern brethren for almost 3 years, V finally decided it was time to come see us in Hong Kong. Our little gang wasted no time in arranging a couple of meals with him, and sought his input on where he wanted to dine. Wing (永) was one of the venues mentioned, and as the Candidate had also never visited the restaurant, the job of securing us a booking fell on the shoulders of our VIP friend The Film Buff. Sure enough, our table in the private room was confirmed in no time.

A few days later I received word that Gastronaut was coming to Hong Kong for a whirlwind eating tour, and he seemed hell bent on trying the crispy chicken at Wing - and we happened to have spare seats at our table - I invited him to join us tonight. This would turn out to be a good call on my part...

According to the 24 solar terms (二十四節氣) we are in "moderate cold (小寒)", so our seasonal drink tonight was eight treasure tea (八寶茶). Thankfully this version does not include tea leaves.

Crab meat • Tofu • Yunnan chili (蟹肉豆腐配雲南皺皮椒) - the Alaskan king crab was nicely balanced with the tofu and the sauce, while the chili peppers weren't really spicy.

Chili oyster • century egg (香辣生蠔伴皮蛋) - I always liked how the housemade century duck eggs looked with their tranlucent whites, and they taste good, too. The Japanese oysters were indeed a little more creamy, and the sauce was not too spicy but added enough kick to make things interesting.

Smoked eggplant • house made sour sauce (煙燻酸汁茄子) - this is always good with the tiny bit of sauce they give you.

Druken kuruma prawn (醉花竹蝦) - local tiger prawns were marinated in Huadiao (花雕) along with some spices, and those heads just soaked up all the marinade.

Fresh ginkgo nuts • salted pork (鹹白肉炒新鮮銀杏) - ginkgo nuts were OK, but the housemade salted pork belly - which has been air-dried for a month - was much nicer.

Stinky tofu tiger prawn toast (臭豆腐虎蝦多士) - this wasn't originally on the menu, and became an extra comped by the chef on the occasion of our VVIP's first visit.

The toast at the bottom was crispy as usual, while the combination of prawn paste with stinky tofu was pretty nice. I do like how this isn't really THAT stinky...

Hot and sour soup • crab meat • sea cucumber • lemon zest (檸香蟹肉遼參酸辣湯) - made with the juice of locally-grown citron (香水檸檬), and Chef Vicky shaved some of the zest on top of the soup with a Microplane. Gotta say the zest was really fragrant, so the Chinese moniker "perfume lemon" is very fitting.

These are the citron used in the soup, which is apparently similar to the cedro that Antimo brought back from his garden. The rind is supposedly not bitter.

Steamed threadfin • preserved vegetable (梅菜蒸馬友) - this weighed about 7 catties, so it was big and fatty.

Very soft and tender as expected. I didn't find this "fishy" like some of the others, but in any case the diced spring onions and preserved mustard greens smothering the fish would have done its job of covering that up.

Crispy pomelo pith • shrimp roe (蝦子脆柚皮) - while the rehydrated pomelo skin was still very soft inside, the additional thin layer of batter on the outside made it crispy and also a little smoky. We did find this a little bitter, though, and the abalone sauce with shrimp roe on top could only do so much to help.

Baby pigeon • cane sugar (煙燻蔗汁乳鴿) - so we got the pigeon, which is very nice, instead of the crispy chicken that Gastronaut really wanted to try... Still pretty happy to eat it, though. Oh, and I had two of the heads since no one else was taking them.

Green Sichuan pepper beef brisket in clear broth (藤椒清湯腩) - a good beef brisket is always a good idea, especially when it comes with beef tendons, radish, and some Chinese celery.

In this case it also came with a load of finely-chopped spring onions, and most importantly some green Sichuan peppercorns (藤椒). The latter delivers some of that numbing, tingling feeling on the tongue that gives the dish a different dimension.

Stir fry Japanese cauliflower • dried velvet shrimp (赤米蝦乾炒日本椰菜花) - these were... not cauliflower (椰菜花), but cabbage (椰菜). Very sweet and tasty, with dried whiskered velvet shrimp (赤米蝦) delivering umami.

So this is how to tell whether you're in the presence of a VVIP. When your friend laments to the chef that you didn't read the menu so you didn't realize that the chicken wasn't on it... and the chef brings out the chicken you wanted to have as an extra dish without charging you for it... 

Courtesy of The Film Buff
Signature crispy chicken (招牌脆皮雞) - here it is... the dish Gastronaut wanted.

Vicky customarily chops up the legs and serves them first.

Courtesy of the Candidate
Then the rest of the chicken is served and we can pick and choose which part we like. Someone called shotgun on the chicken ass.

Abalone sauce fish maw • morel mushroom rice (鮑汁羊肚菌花膠飯) - this was delicious as I remembered, with the fish maw delivering lots of lip-coating collagen.

Chestnut sweet soup (香滑栗子糊) - I was warned by Swiss as I sat down that Vicky was already informed about my presence tonight, so I should expect something with lots of gold. Well... I guess this would be it!

With little chunks of chestnut.

I did a comparison between "his" and "hers" to show the difference in the amount of gold foil...

Wing always serves up very nice fruits which have been carefully chosen, and besides the delicious pear and persimmon tonight, the kumquats (金桔) from Guangdxi Province were simply amazing. They were so, so fragrant, the flavors were so crisp and clean... without a trace of tartness or acidity but rather, a subtle, elegant sweetness which makes it presence known without having to punch you in the face.

Donuts with jujube cream (紅棗冬甩) - I'm glad that nowadays there is always enough cream in the middle.

Black sesame mochi (黑芝麻麻糬)

There is always plenty of wine with this crew:

2014 Ultramarine Heintz Vineyard Blanc de Noirs, disgorged Nov 15, 2018 - somewhat fragrant, a little caramelized sugar, nice mousse. More rounded with a decent palate.

2014 Ultramarine Heintz Vineyard Blanc de Blancs, disgorged Nov 18, 2018 - acidity was definitely much higher, a little more mineral, and more grippy on the palate.

1959 Hessische Staatsweingüter Kloster Eberbach Hochheimer Domdechaney Riesling Spätlese Cabinet Naturrein - classic nose oe petrol, very oxidized, very round and soft on the palate. After more than 2 hours this opened up and got better.

You know you are coming with a VVIP when the chef decides to comp you a bottle of Burgundy...

1964 Hospices de Beaune Meursault 1er Cru Charmes Cuvée Albert Grivault, par Bouchard - oxidized with some notes of straw, very soft on the palate.

2008 Roulot Meursault Les Tessons Clos de Mon Plaisir - good balance between ripeness with the acidity.

2010 Cecile Tremblay Vosne-Romanée Vieilles Vignes - served after opening for 2 hours or so. Really fragrant with some leather notes along with black cherries.

2019 Jérôme Galeyrand Bourgogne Aligoté Le Cran - flinty on the nose, some ripeness here.

This was a lot of fun. I'm glad to have good friends around me who aren't pretentious and don't have sticks up their asses, and we can talk about anything and anyone. We spend time with each other to enjoy food, wine, and each other's company, without having to tell the world how amazing we are as we don't take ourselves too seriously. I hope I can continue to have friends like these for a very, very long time to come.


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