October 2, 2023

Geruhage HK tour day 4: spring roll two

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When it comes to where overseas visitors would like to dine when they come to Hong Kong, 永 WING is probably the second-most requested restaurant after The Chairman (大班樓). For a long time since their opening, the restaurant was neigh impossible to reserve through their website, and only slightly easier when one contacted the restaurant to book one of the private dining rooms. I've been lucky enough to dine there on a few occasions, and I do find it interesting that Chef Vicky Cheng (鄭永麒) has flipped things around to cook Chinese cuisine by applying what he has learned through years of cooking French cuisine.

I found out a few weeks after booking the restaurant that Vicky would not be in town tonight, as he is in Taipei along with a few other chefs from Hong Kong for a series of 4-hands events there. I had thought about cancelling the booking and switch to another venue, but eventually I realized there were not going to be many other appealing alternatives. So despite the headcount dropping to just 3 people, I kept our table and apologized to Vicky.

We stepped into the restaurant to find that we have been provided one of the private dining rooms with a balcony. The evening was getting a tad cooler, and it was actually pretty nice to step out and enjoy a little breeze. We were also left in the care of the very capable Swiss Sung.

Our seasonal welcome drink was chuan bei, lily bulb, and pear tea (川貝百合雪梨茶).

Geoduck • Yunnan chili • bull kelp (象拔蚌配雲南皺皮椒及海茸) - I realized later than I translated geoduck wrong... The one being used is likely 浪貝 (as Geruhage correctly identified) or 白ミル instead of 海松貝. Regardless, this was pretty good.

Blanched pork jowl meat (白灼溫體豬肉青) - the pork was shipped to the restaurant right after slaughtering without having been chilled or frozen. Served with the restaurant's housemade Puning-style fermented soy bean sauce (普寧豆醬).

Tonkin jasmine • fox nuts (雞頭米炒夜香花) - I love Tonkin jasmine (夜香花), but how did I not know that fox nuts (雞頭米) are the seeds of prickly waterlilies?! Texture-wise there is a world of difference between them and lotus seeds, so I guess I didn't make the connection.

I also had no idea that the Chinese name for the prickly waterlily is 芡, and the reason why the Chinese term used to describe thickening food with starch is called 勾芡 is because the thickening agent originally used for this purpose was, actually, fox nuts ground into powder. Well... I guess you do learn something new everyday!

Mala iced noodle • housemade century egg (麻辣冰麵拌皮蛋) - we've still got the century eggs with a mala (麻辣) sauce, but...

... now comes with noodles... and crushed ice to make it refreshingly cool.

Salted raw crab (蒜醋鹹白蟹) - just as at lunch, I did not partake...

We are shown the ingredients for the next dish, which are matsutake (松茸) and local citron (香水檸檬).

Matsutake soup (松茸湯) - the chicken consommé had very clean flavors. The mushrooms come from Yunnan Province (雲南省), and the zest of local citron was shaved on top to add the lovely fragrance. I was a little surprised at this, as I thought the citrus fragrance would certainly have interfered with us enjoying the delicate fragrance of the mushrooms...

Steamed tomato grouper (蒸紅瓜子) - so the fish tonight was not the usual pomfret or tilefish.

Served with both shredded fresh spring onion as well as deep-fried shredded spring onion, plus some coriander.

Sea cucumber • spring roll • spring onion (蔥燒婆參春卷) - so... I have been seeing others' posts on this, and it was finally my turn to taste it for myself. Normally this is the time when Vicky comes out and do the cutting in front of us, but of course he's a few hundred miles away tonight.

We see that half the spring roll was taken up by a large chunk of braised sea cucumber, which was pretty impressive. There was a braised spring onion sauce (蔥燒醬) at the bottom, while the sauce was also available on the side and we were encouraged to stuff the spring onions into the remaining space in the spring roll.

Gotta say I was pretty happy with this. Of course I expected the spring roll to be crunchy, and it was. The texture of the sea cucumber was very tender as it should be, and the flavors of the classic sauce was pretty on point.

Fragrant chili Alaskan king crab • crispy cheung fun (香辣阿拉斯加皇帝蟹配煎腸粉) - so... instead of serving up the crucifix/flower crab, Vicky does it in style with Alaskan king crab.

I was a little surprised that the crab leg came with minced garlic sauce on top, but this is, of course, something very familiar with locals as it's often served with steamed shrimp or scallops. The sauce that came with the crispy pan-fried cheung fun (腸粉) was a sweet and sour one.

Baby pigeon • sugarcane (煙燻蔗汁乳鴿) - this was always pretty good, and the sugarcane juice that was brushed on the pigeon definitely made it noticeably sweet.

Stir-fried eggs with fish (魚汁滑蛋) - we got a second serving from the steamed fish using parts of the fish that weren't served to us.

The meat stuck to the bones of the fish were removed and stir-fried with eggs along with the soy sauce that was made for the dish. What came out was very fluffy eggs with bits of tender fish, and definitely a more luxe version of 滑蛋蝦仁!

We were served some 30-year-old Puer tea (三十年普洱茶). Much more intense than what we had at lunch.

Cauliflower • sour soup pot (酸湯椰菜花煲) - always important to have your vegetables in any Chinese meal.

Now we have salted and fermented vegetables which would, no doubt, aid in digestion...

Flower crab • white pepper noodle (白胡椒花蟹掛麵) - MORE CRAB! The carb dish took the form of noodles - our third of the evening if one counts the cheung fun - topped with crucifix/flower crab... making this also the third crab dish of the meal. The white pepper broth was kinda interesting as it reminded me of the white pepper crab at No Signboard Seafood (無招牌海鮮) in Singapore.

Almond sweet soup • 9 years lily bulb • bird's nest (九年百合燕窩杏仁茶) - so it finally came... the gold foil I had been expecting. A golden finale.

Always love the 9-year-old lily bulb, which we already tasted for lunch today.

Next up were the mignardises, starting with some fruits:

Persimmon - from Wakayama Prefecture (和歌山県) in Japan.

Pear - also from Wakayama.

Red Dragon star fruit (紅龍楊桃) - from Taiwan.

Donuts with jujube cream (紅棗冬甩)

Black sesame mochi (黑芝麻麻糬)

Vicky very kindly started us off with a complimentary bottle of Champagne:

2017 Bérêche Ambonnay Grand Cru, dégorgée juillet 2022 - this was very nice, good acidity with good depth on the palate, not boring at all. There was a little hint of Chinese preserved plum on the nose with a slightly savory profile.

1989 Maximin Grünhäuser Herrenberg Spätlese - slightly sweet on the palate, more rounded on the palate. The nose was nice and ripe, with some orange marmalade along with some white flowers.

We were so full by the end of the meal, but this was such a nice evening to come here. We had about the right amount of alcohol, and Tomo-chan enjoyed hanging out on the balcony for a little while. We left the restaurant very satisfied... and I was very much ready for bed, after taking CCdogcow for a walk, of course.

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