Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Reports on Hong Kong dining


Recommended Posts

Note that Fa Gau (fish maw) itself doesn't bear any taste. It is rather bland. It's all about texture. The taste is in whatever sauce it soaks up.

The sauce is not too hard to make. Some oyster sauce with five spice kind of flavor (e.g. lo shui) and some broth, plus cornstarch slurry to thicken.

Fa Gau works well with duck feet or goose feet in braising. I would first deep-fry the duck/goose feet to get the skin fluffy before braising.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
Link to post
Share on other sites
Note that Fa Gau (fish maw) itself doesn't bear any taste.  It is rather bland.  It's all about texture.  The taste is in whatever sauce it soaks up.

Are you sure it never has any flavor? The one time I had it, it was in a dish with lettuce (at least, those were the only two ingredients I saw) and some kind of typical-looking brown sauce. The maw (yu tou) had the most awful flavor... very reminiscent of a tropical fish tank that needed cleaning. I never tried it again, assuming that was a characteristic flavor. Maybe it's worth trying again...

Link to post
Share on other sites
Are you sure it never has any flavor?  The one time I had it, it was in a dish with lettuce (at least, those were the only two ingredients I saw) and some kind of typical-looking brown sauce.  The maw (yu tou) had the most awful flavor... very reminiscent of a tropical fish tank that needed cleaning.  I never tried it again, assuming that was a characteristic flavor.  Maybe it's worth trying again...

I am sorry that you had some bad experience. Fish maw (fish air bladder), like sea cucumbers, when done right (with all the necessary cleaning steps) should taste rather bland.

If all Fa Gau tastes like a tropical fish tank that needed cleaning, I don't think it would make it to the list of "banquet dishes" and is so expensive.

Edited by hzrt8w (log)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 5 Teaser Pictures:

We went to Shatin on this day. The main attraction was the Temple of Thousand Buddhas. But before we see the buddha statues, we needed to see about our own tommies.

Since we were in Shatin, I made a special trip to this famous restaurant:

gallery_19795_5424_12142.jpg

Lung Wah Restaurant (inside Lung Wah Hotel). They are famous for one thing. And we had discussed it in this very forum. I came to see if they are really as good as people say they are. (And they have been famous for that over the past 4 decades). And I was not disappointed.

What may this famous thing be?

gallery_19795_5424_7596.jpg

The main pagoda at the Temple of Thousand Buddhas, which is situated on a hill of thousand steps. Not exactly. But sure felt that way. Quite a climb.

gallery_19795_5424_12774.jpg

Right at the temple, there was a small store selling snacks. Tofu fa (silken tofu) and soya milk. Chilled! The tofu fa was really soft as silk, sweetened with ginger-flavored syrup. Perfect for a summer day. Or at least it felt like a summer day to me.

gallery_19795_5424_32993.jpg

After visiting the temple and the Museum of Cultural History (also in Shatin), we embarked the train at the Tai Wai Station. At the entrace of the station were all kinds of food stalls selling all kinds of small eats, crowded with hungry workers on the way home.

The stall sold a mix of different things. At the front it was "Gai Dan Jai" (little chicken eggs), a waffle like snack made of a batter made with eggs, milk and flour. In the back row, pan-fried minced pork baos, daikon cakes, and steamed baos of various kinds (e.g. sticky rice bao, laap cheung bao). In the metal round steamer in the front was some sticky rice with laap cheung.

For you, miladyinsanity!

No, that wasn't dinner. Just snacks...

gallery_19795_5424_31754.jpg

Dinner was at Chuen Cheung Kui Restaurant, Mongkok. They are one of the most famous specialty restaurant in Hakka cuisine.

The dish: Braised pork belly with preserved vegetables (Mui Choy Kau Yuk). The pork belly: melt in your mouth soft. Very rich flavor with the braising sauce (soy sauce base). Excellent dish! Couldn't have been done better.

gallery_19795_5424_24494.jpg

Another Hakka dish: Beefballs stir-fried with vegetables. The beefballs were bouncy and soft and kind of fluffy. Very nice too.

(Full report on Day 5 will be provided.)

Edited by hzrt8w (log)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
Link to post
Share on other sites
Note that Fa Gau (fish maw) itself doesn't bear any taste.  It is rather bland.  It's all about texture.  The taste is in whatever sauce it soaks up.

Are you sure it never has any flavor? The one time I had it, it was in a dish with lettuce (at least, those were the only two ingredients I saw) and some kind of typical-looking brown sauce. The maw (yu tou) had the most awful flavor... very reminiscent of a tropical fish tank that needed cleaning. I never tried it again, assuming that was a characteristic flavor. Maybe it's worth trying again...

You're not the only one to have had an unpleasant experience with fish maw. I've had some that were good, and some that tasted awful.

The bad one I ate had a stale, musty odor, not fishy though. I put it down to inferior quality maws that were probably fried in re-cycled oil.

Link to post
Share on other sites
We went to Shatin on this day.  The main attraction was the Temple of Thousand Buddhas.  But before we see the buddha statues, we needed to see about our own tommies.

Sorry. The temple's name is Temple of Ten Thousand Buddhas, not just a thousand. I mistyped it just by a factor of ten. :laugh:

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 6 Teaser Pictures:

Day 6 was a hiking day. We challenged the second tallest peak in Hong Kong - Lantau Peak (or "Phoenix Peak"). Over 900 m (3000 ft).

gallery_19795_5425_42135.jpg

We were on a time budget that morning trying to get to the trailhead before too late. Brunch was eaten quickly at one of the "tea restaurants" in the street of Tsim Sha Tsui.

A dish of pan-fried egg omlette, Chiu Chow style. Usually this dish is made with baby oysters. We opted to try a shrimp version. Shrimp, mixed in with the egg batter which is made from eggs and flour, pan-fried. Excellent!

gallery_19795_5425_59058.jpg

A plate of Singaporean style rice vermicelli. (Sing Chau Mai). I don't know if any of this resemble the fried rice noodles from Singapore... but the name was stuck for decades.

gallery_19795_5425_4607.jpg

From the St. Anna Bakery shop in a subway station, bought some snacks to eat on the trail. This one was a chicken pie. Very pretty. And very tasty too!

gallery_19795_5425_13609.jpg

Trailhead was behind the famous Po Lin Temple in Lantau Island. We needed to take a bus up there from the Tung Chung subway station. Unfortunately the new Cable Car in Lantau had been halted because of some accidents a few months ago. I was disappointed for not having the opportunity to ride on the cable car for the first time.

This was the famous giant buddha statue outside of Po Lin Temple.

gallery_19795_5425_10097.jpg

The trailhead was behind Po Lin Temple. From there it was a short (distance-wide) hike, only 1.0 km or so, up to Lantau Peak. The climb was about 500 m (1500 ft). But this hike was extremely challenging because the trail went straight up with no place to rest. The locals called this trail "stairway to heaven" for a reason.

From the peak, you can have a 360 degree view of the island. You can see the Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok Airport underneath. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate.

gallery_19795_5425_35270.jpg

When we got back to Tung Chung subway station, it was already 7:00 pm. Tired and hungry, we were not too choosey. Just ate at an international food court near the station. They were okay, but not great.

A bowl of Singapore style laksa.

gallery_19795_5425_27259.jpg

The Indian Tandoori Chicken was a bit disappointing. The flavor was not strong enough. The curry sauce was okay.

(A full report on Day 6 will be provided.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 7 Teaser Pictures:

Day 7. Museum day.

gallery_19795_5426_1047.jpg

Made it to the famous Victoria City Restaurant in Causeway Bay mentioned on this board (and many others). It is indeed great!

One of their house specialties: pork/vegetable dumplings (choy yuk bao) covered with sesame seeds.

gallery_19795_5426_1642.jpg

The crust was very flaky to the bite. Thin. Lots of fillings, which was a mix of minced pork and vegetables. Full of flavor. I have rarely seen it done so well.

gallery_19795_5426_24059.jpg

Another one of their house specialties: Fried cheung fun (rice noodles) with XO sauce. The brown, curly shreds on top was dried scallops, the main ingredient of XO sauce. This was superb! Never had any fried cheung fun done so well! A sweet sauce condiment was provided.

gallery_19795_5426_3993.jpg

Another house goodie: Xiaolongbao with hairy crab roe. On the outside, it looks like a regular xiaolongbao.

gallery_19795_5426_12828.jpg

But on the inside... once you bite into it... you would notice the difference. The added hairy crab roe added an extra dimension to this tasty treat. Rich, eggy taste.

If you are ever in Hong Kong, go and try out Victoria City Restaurant and you won't be disappointed.

gallery_19795_5426_40796.jpg

Hong Kong's Museum of Defence History. A British tank shown at the entrance. There were plenty of exhibits explaining the history of Hong Kong, once a British colony and all, since the Opium Wars.

gallery_19795_5426_7683.jpg

Since we were in Shau Kee Wan, we got to pay pilgrimage to the famous On Lee Restaurant for their fish balls and fish cakes. Yes, with pictures of celibrities posted outside and all. The lines were long during peak hours. We dropped by during "off" time at 5:00 pm. So, no waiting. The fishballs (and rice noodles) indeed tasted great! I was disappointed that they went out of fish skins. The owner explained: fish skins usually got sold out before 2 pm. Each day they use only so many fish to make their fish balls, and thus only a limited quantity of the fish skins. Lesson: next time, go to On Lee early.

gallery_19795_5426_18502.jpg

Just strolled along the Shau Kee Wan East Main Street, one can find plenty of eateries offering all kinds of eats.

How could we pass by a batch of "hot, hot, hot - right off the oven" egg tarts without buying/eating some?

gallery_19795_5426_39244.jpg

In a different store, a worker handled a big, round, flat pan-ful of pan-fried pork/vegetable baos (choy yuk bao). Hmmmmm.... just something gotten casually on the street, almost just any street in Hong Kong, better than any of the Chinese restaurants I have tried in the USA!

Spatula? Who needs a spatula while I can handle these baos with two putty knives? Shook, shook, shook... You see?

gallery_19795_5426_17088.jpg

The night scene of Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour was indeed very beautiful. To top it off, now they run a light show every night at 8:00 pm. Laser beams and blinding spot lights were bouncing around, synchronized to the music. The best place to view it is along the harbour-front pedestrian walkway outside of the InterContinental Hotel. Get there early! It's very crowded!

(A full report of Day 7 will be provided.)

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
Link to post
Share on other sites

gallery_19795_5426_7683.jpg

Since we were in Shau Kee Wan, we got to pay pilgrimage to the famous On Lee Restaurant for their fish balls and fish cakes.  Yes, with pictures of celibrities posted outside and all.  The lines were long during peak hours.  We dropped by during "off" time at 5:00 pm.  So, no waiting.  The fishballs (and rice noodles) indeed tasted great!  I was disappointed that they went out of fish skins.  The owner explained:  fish skins usually got sold out before 2 pm.  Each day they use only so many fish to make their fish balls, and thus only a limited quantity of the fish skins.  Lesson:  next time, go to On Lee early.

Great pics, ah Leung. I thought On Lee was very good, although I'm not a huge, huge fan of fish balls and fish cakes.

As for your previous post about the cable car being out of commission, Ngong Ping has been having all sorts of problems ever since it opened.

I have to admit, you have crammed a lot of places to visit during your vacation. I for one, have never been to most of the places you have been to. The only place I've been to in your travels so far on this trip is Sai Kung, and that's just to play golf. Well, Lamma Island too, but that's just to go to the Airport or the Convention Center. I'm more like a typical urban dweller in HK; we just find places to eat and shop and that's it. It's either Kowloon or HK Island for us. Boring, I know.

Looking forward to the rest of your trip report! It might inspire me to try different places.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I have to admit, you have crammed a lot of places to visit during your vacation.  I for one, have never been to most of the places you have been to.  The only place I've been to in your travels so far on this trip is Sai Kung, and that's just to play golf.  Well, Lamma Island too, but that's just to go to the Airport or the Convention Center.  I'm more like a typical urban dweller in HK; we just find places to eat and shop and that's it.  It's either Kowloon or HK Island for us.  Boring, I know. 

Thank you bethpageblack. We used to do some cloths and misc stuff shopping in Hong Kong. But we don't do that any more. The main reasons are: 1) in most shops you cannot try the cloths on. You can only shop with your eyes and your fingers to feel the fabrics. 2) no refund. Once you pay at the counter - before you even stop out of the shop, the merchandise is yours forever. 3) style difference between Hong Kong and USA. May be we (USA) are lagging or old fashioned. But... why buy something that we only rarely wear? Our shoppings now are distilled to only on food items. I would love to have brought back some beef jerkies and the likes. But... US Custom rules...

When one lives in a place, one typically doesn't pay as much attention to the places of attractions in the area as visitors do. Visitors have limited time, they tend to maximize on the use of their time while being in once place. During this trip I had visited many places that I didn't normally visit (like museums) while living in Hong Kong.

I had been all over the NT when I was a boy scout. Going back on some of these trails was a way to relive my teenage years. But now they are much more demanding physically. I almost gave up going up to the Lantau Peak, but I am glad I finished it. If not now, it may be never. Decades ago, we used to rely on maps and compass to find our ways. My high-school buddy said to me: nowadays all you need to do is look at the high-rises. You won't get lost. He's right. Everywhere you go in Hong Kong, you can see high-rises somewhere (except in Sai Kung Peninsula). You won't get lost! With the well-marked trails along the Wilson trails and MacLehose trails, and signs telling you which way to go, how far, how long it takes... you don't even need a GPS. Except for those who are stupid enough (like me) to walk on these trails well after dark without a flashlight... :laugh:

And always buy a few snacks and bring with you to the trails! They are very conveniently sold in every subway station now.

Edited by hzrt8w (log)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
Link to post
Share on other sites

That sucks that US customs regs are so stringent now. I'm headed back to New York in February and I'm sure my mother would've liked me to bring some stuff back. Oh well - saves me some money. :laugh:

As for buying stuff in HK, I'm mostly regulated to being a valet (I carry the bags) with respect to clothing. I usually wait till I get back to New York to buy clothes because of sizing and style. I really only buy electronics and computer equipment in HK.

Yeah, I would never be able to bring the little lady hiking. The only hiking we ever do nowadays is visit farmland earmarked for development and factories in China, if you can call that hiking.

Looking forward to your next reports. Did you try any private kitchens this trip around?

Edited by bethpageblack (log)
Link to post
Share on other sites
Oh, isn't Victoria great? I once ate six hairy crab dumplings which was excessive - I felt ill afterwards.

Yes they are great! And thanks so much for your suggestion aprilmei!

Sorry to hear about that experience. But I can probably handle it. :laugh:

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
Link to post
Share on other sites
....  Did you try any private kitchens this trip around?

I looked into it. I was really tempted to try it. But unfortunately most of them (at least those that I checked) would not entertain parties of two. The minimum is like 4 or 6. There were only the two of us. The rest of my family are economic eaters and would never pay that price tag (e.g. HKD300 to HKD500 pp) for dinner. So... next time I will drag my high-school buddies along to try them. But then it might mean I need to treat them. :shock::laugh: The uncle from Gold Mountain they called me.

Edited by hzrt8w (log)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
Link to post
Share on other sites
Oh, isn't Victoria great? I once ate six hairy crab dumplings which was excessive - I felt ill afterwards.

Yes they are great! And thanks so much for your suggestion aprilmei!

Sorry to hear about that experience. But I can probably handle it. :laugh:

Oh, I wasn't so ill that it put me off ever eating them again; in fact I'm going to Victoria again this Sunday!

At On Lee, when you say fish skins, do you mean jah yu pei? I never even knew they sold that. Their beef ngau lam is very good too.

Link to post
Share on other sites
At On Lee, when you say fish skins, do you mean jah yu pei? I never even knew they sold that. Their beef ngau lam is very good too.

Yes, jah yu pei - fried fish skin. Very tasty stuff. Not available in USA (mostly).

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
Link to post
Share on other sites
...  next time I will drag my high-school buddies along to try them.  But then it might mean I need to treat them.  :shock:  :laugh:  The uncle from Gold Mountain they called me.
"Gum san ah bak" or "Gum san ah sook"? :biggrin:

Best Wishes,

Chee Fai.

Link to post
Share on other sites
...  next time I will drag my high-school buddies along to try them.  But then it might mean I need to treat them.  :shock:  :laugh:   The uncle from Gold Mountain they called me.
"Gum san ah bak" or "Gum san ah sook"? :biggrin:

They are of my generation. Some are even older than me! Really I should only be "Gum san dai low". :raz:

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
Link to post
Share on other sites
....  Did you try any private kitchens this trip around?

I looked into it. I was really tempted to try it. But unfortunately most of them (at least those that I checked) would not entertain parties of two. The minimum is like 4 or 6. There were only the two of us. The rest of my family are economic eaters and would never pay that price tag (e.g. HKD300 to HKD500 pp) for dinner. So... next time I will drag my high-school buddies along to try them. But then it might mean I need to treat them. :shock::laugh: The uncle from Gold Mountain they called me.

That's the beauty of Hong Kong. You can get a really good meal for 100 HKD without much difficulty. When I'm in New York we would go eat and spend about 50 USD per head for a standard meal and it's not a big deal. If I was in HK (let alone GZ) doing that, my gf would kill me. There are just too many options and price ranges - which is a good thing.

Ah Leung, does Gold Mountain refer to the Gold Rush in NorCal and the immigration of Chinese settlers in the late 1800s? Or is that just a nickname of some sort?

Link to post
Share on other sites
....  Did you try any private kitchens this trip around?

I looked into it. I was really tempted to try it. But unfortunately most of them (at least those that I checked) would not entertain parties of two. The minimum is like 4 or 6. There were only the two of us. The rest of my family are economic eaters and would never pay that price tag (e.g. HKD300 to HKD500 pp) for dinner. So... next time I will drag my high-school buddies along to try them. But then it might mean I need to treat them. :shock::laugh: The uncle from Gold Mountain they called me.

That's the beauty of Hong Kong. You can get a really good meal for 100 HKD without much difficulty. When I'm in New York we would go eat and spend about 50 USD per head for a standard meal and it's not a big deal. If I was in HK (let alone GZ) doing that, my gf would kill me. There are just too many options and price ranges - which is a good thing.

Ah Leung, does Gold Mountain refer to the Gold Rush in NorCal and the immigration of Chinese settlers in the late 1800s? Or is that just a nickname of some sort?

Hi bethpageblack, I can recommend the book On Gold Mountain by Lisa See, great history (with pix) of her Chinese-American family beginning in 1867. According to her Gold Mountain was the name used by Chinese for the USA (excuse me for butting in ah Leung :smile: )

Link to post
Share on other sites
[Hi bethpageblack, I can recommend the book On Gold Mountain by Lisa See, great history (with pix) of her Chinese-American family beginning in 1867. According to her Gold Mountain was the name used by Chinese for the USA (excuse me for butting in ah Leung :smile: )

thanks, insomniac. I will look it up. I actually have a couple friends whose families have been in the States since the 1800s, but they don't know anything about their history.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi insomniac! Really good to hear from you!

Re: Gold Mountain... Yeah, the old nick-name translation for San Francisco is "gau gum san", or old gold mountain. The name stuck. And in general, Chinese people refer to the whole USA as Gold Mountain, though the history started with importing cheap labor from China (mostly from the Toisan region) in the gold rush days.

Edited by hzrt8w (log)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
Link to post
Share on other sites

hzrt8w's recent megapost of Hong Kong food photos inspired me to start putting my own HK photos online. I'll be updating this thread as I get more of them up... Here's a few to start off:

Beef ball noodles @ Haiphong Road Temporary Market

gallery_57802_5525_83491.jpg

Mango pancake @ some food court in Harbour City

gallery_57802_5525_22136.jpg

"Sausage" pastry that is, of course, hot dogs @ somewhere near Tai Po Market

gallery_57802_5525_205445.jpg

Trip to Khyber Pass in Chungking Mansions. I couldn't find anyone with good first-hand knowledge of the desi restaurants in the Mansions, and several internet sources seemed to suggest that Khyber Pass was one of the better places. "Better" might just have meant cleaner or safer, because the place was rather clean and safe-feeling, but the food was a joke. Maybe if you're the right skin tone you get better food, but what we got was straight-up Fake Indian for Cantonese Tastes. There wasn't really much flavor to speak of.

gallery_57802_5525_255205.jpg

gallery_57802_5525_160140.jpg

Bhindi masala, chicken something, saag something, samosas with... ketchup?

gallery_57802_5525_50234.jpg

Downstairs in the Mansions, a guy selling sweets.

gallery_57802_5525_74646.jpg

A trip to the vegetarian prix-fixe restaurant at Po Lin Monestary (near the Big Buddha). The food was superb, and was really bursting with flavor without leaning too heavily on the salt + MSG + oil crutch that most tasty vegetarian restaurants tend to use. They really managed to crank a lot of flavor out without being too obvious about the seasoning.

gallery_57802_5525_281132.jpg

Some typical watery soup to start.

gallery_57802_5525_157801.jpg

Mushrooms and bak choy

gallery_57802_5525_80596.jpg

Peas, corn, and soft tofu on top of ho fun type noodly stuff. As someone who usually doesn't care for the peas & corn combination, I would say this is much better than it looks.

gallery_57802_5525_61060.jpg

Mushrooms, carrots, wood ear, fried tofu, some other soy product, and cabbage underneath.

gallery_57802_5525_199106.jpg

Fried spring rolls containing similar vegetables

gallery_57802_5525_145873.jpg

Stir-fried celery, firm tofu, pepper, zucchini, and my favorite vegetable, yook gua (jade melon).

gallery_57802_5525_66318.jpg

Yook gua in my bowl.

gallery_57802_5525_13019.jpg

After seeing the Big Buddha, we headed back to the Tung Chung MTR mall area and grabbed some surprisingly good po taat at KFC.

gallery_57802_5525_195967.jpg

Dinner at a fake-Sichuan-style-for-Cantonese place in the food court at Metro Plaza, Kwai Fong

gallery_57802_5525_87059.jpg

gallery_57802_5525_118647.jpg

gallery_57802_5525_126382.jpg

Fried fish paste

gallery_57802_5525_264780.jpg

gallery_57802_5525_61916.jpg

Of course, had to end the evening with some gai dan zai (egg shape waffles).

gallery_57802_5525_86702.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...