Monday, August 31, 2009

The old colony did us proud (part one)

What a difference a week makes? While there are still a few places on our fine earth where the culinary diversity on offer never fails to amaze, a city where wonder and delight is almost expected, Hong Kong always does it so well.
Having just returned from a 7 day whirlwind trip, where amongst many other things, I dined in a collection of eateries from simple dai pai dongs to Michelin starred joints, and everything in between - revisited two favourite restaurants I'd been to before, and had I think 8 meals in places for the first time. No two the same, all utterly fantastic, so many flavours, so much inspiration....

The week kicked off in a restaurant I had been to before, in fact where I've eaten quite possibly the best crabs in my life (possibly until Tuesday that is) but this time round all I wanted was steamed rice, steamed fish and vegetables. Anyhow, these amazing black bean and chilli clams weren't on the original agenda, but thank heaven they made it in there due to this place doing Chiu Chow style food so so well. It was great to have properly steamed fish, rice that held together in a way that it can be dragged through a little sauce on the end of your chopsticks without losing its way en route to your mouth, and great steamed green vegetables to balance it all off, but the clams stole the show.
Day two went from a great but simple dim sum lunch, to an amazing 10 course Michelin starred Chinese dinner, one of the highlights if I had to choose one was the very first course of thinly shredded chicken leg mushrooms fried with chilli, and devoured with great champagne - awesome, and may have been eclipsed by the curried crabs which were inspired by the sikh cooks the chef used to allow to take over his kitchen once a week back in the good old days. I could write about this meal for way longer, and would love to show photographs but sadly none that night - although here was the 'simple little lunch' from earlier in the day - lovely fresh har gau, pork filled cheong fun, turnip and dried shrimp cake (lo bak go) Chazhou dumplings with peanut, pork and chives, braised squid, more vegetables and a great meaty fried rice, which was as delicious as it was unnecessary...


The third day began with one of the best macaroons I've had in an age, then on to noodles, and it still staggers me how I held off till the 3rd day for noodles... Proper, hot, busy and noisy - at the peak of the lunchtime demand, no better place to be, and queuing outside for a table not only confirms you're in good company, but gets the appetite turning cartwheels in anticipation. These noodles were just perfect, bouncy and resistant with a hand mashed fish ball, some gorgeous tender braised beef and a super fresh prawn wonton - a splash of red vinegar and touch of red chilli oil fire, and I'm in lip smacking heaven.




I'm stuffed just recalling a few bits and pieces... more to follow soon...