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Reports on Hong Kong dining


Sinbad
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To lure more readers to follow Rona to visit Hong Kong just to eat, I am posting the rest of the food pictures during my last November 07 trip to Hong Kong (as promised)...

Day 1: Lunch

We stayed at the Harbor Plaza Hotel in Hung Hom, which is very close to the tourist hot spot Tsim Sha Tsui. Got off the 16-hour plane ride at 6:30 am, we had totally lost our temporal orientation. Couldn't really sleep at the hotel after checking in at 10:00 am because of jet lag. What to do? Have something to eat, of course!

First meal: The "Haiphong Road Temporary (nothing temporary about it) Market" as mentioned by aprilmei and HKDave a few times. I used to live in a housing quarter provided by the "Kowloon Godown" in the early 60's, which used to be right where this food market is. The government has torn down the old housing quarter and built the Canton Road "bypass" in the 70's. These "dai pei dong" eateries used to be at the corner of Peking Road and Canton Road. They were moved to this present-day location and continued their businesses. I had seen how they used the big machine to pound on the beef to make "beefballs" since I was a kid. The trip to this dai pei dong eatery is a trip down memory lane...

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"Tak Fat" (name of the business): specialized in beefballs, beef organs, beef briskets. It happened to be around lunch time (12:30 pm or so). This place was very elbow-rubbingly crowded.

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The one and only stall with "Orange bowl, yellow spoon". Found it! A bowl of beefballs with rice vermicelli ("Mai Fun").

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And a bowl of beef brisket with rice noodles ("Ho Fun").

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Most of these eateries make their own chili oils, which are gems in their own right. Some make it really good. Some not. Typical: Chili, garlic, coarse salt and tons of MSG. Addictive!

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I wanted to have some varieties and tried to order a bowl of wonton soup. The operator scolded at me: "We do all BEEF only!"... pointing to their business sign (Don't you know any better?). All beef it is! Okay... more beefballs. Which I didn't mind cause they were really good. Chewy, bouncy (Cantonese say "bouncing off your teeth" kind of texture).

The temporary market is underneath the overpass at the corner of Canton Road and Haiphong Road. A hole-in-the-wall outfit.

海防道臨時街市, Haiphong Road Temporary Market.

Edited by hzrt8w (log)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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To lure more readers to follow Rona to visit Hong Kong just to eat, I am posting the rest of the food pictures during my last November 07 trip to Hong Kong (as promised)...

Aha! I was wondering what happened to the beyond-the-teasers posts! I thought maybe I had misunderstood, but now I know...you were just being lazy! :raz:

I have plenty o' time to kill at work for the next week, so I shall wait patiently (or no-so-patiently) for the rest of your posts!

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Aha!  I was wondering what happened to the beyond-the-teasers posts!  I thought maybe I had misunderstood, but now I know...you were just being lazy!  :raz:

Got hit with a cold and a nasty flu since coming back to the cold/rainy/misery NorCal climate from the warm subtropics. I didn't think anybody would miss it. :laugh:

Yes, yes. Mainly lazy too.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Day1: In between meals

Strolled along Nathan Road in the Jordan/Mongkok area in the afternoon. It is the main drag of Kowloon. Nathan Road is the equivalent of 5Th Avenue in New York City, or Champs-Élysées in Paris, Oxford Street in London, Orchard Road of Singapore...

There are many restaurants along Nathan Road. But most small eateries are not on Nathan Road because of high rents. If you walk along the side streets parallel to Nathan Road on either side (or the cross streets), you can find plenty of small shops selling all kinds of small eats.

One thing I like about Hong Kong is that there are plenty of drinks offered by vendors: not manufactured in factories and sold in cans or bottles (although there are plenty of those too), but prepared by small vendors.

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"Ma Tai Lo" - a Cantonese sweet drink made with water chestnuts, beancurd sheets and eggs swirled in. Sweet! Very refreshing! Haven't had one of these for ages!

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Some vendors cooking up a cauldron of beef organs: tripes, briskets, lungs, livers, intestines, etc... they cut up the organs per your oder.

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Some skewers of this-and-that. Cuttlefish, octapus, pig intestines, to name a few.

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I found a street vendor selling some freshly made peanut candies. There were plain ones (peanuts only) or ones coated with shredded coconuts.

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We ordered one roll. Surprisingly - only like HKD10 (USD1.20) a roll. The vendor then sliced it up with a big cleaver.

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Chop, chop, chop... done in less than 5 seconds.

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A close-up view of a small piece. Hmmm... I have never tasted a peanut candie so good! Usually the ones we bought at the stores are hard and brittle. This one was so soft. When I held it up, it started to curl up. Must have been made only hours ago.

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More drinks: This one is mango juice with sogo pearls. The mango taste was so strong. Fantastic!

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I looked at the business sign and the menu on the wall... all kinds of fresh fruit juices and sogo drinks. You name it, they will freshly squeeze the juice for you.

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Can't help it. One more cup! Watermelon juice.

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Just when I thought I had enough, this caught my eyes... kiwi icey! Gotta have one. They mixed fresh fruit juices with shaved ice. Very nice!

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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"Ma Tai Lo" - a Cantonese sweet drink made with water chestnuts, beancurd sheets and eggs swirled in.  Sweet!  Very refreshing!  Haven't had one of these for ages!

For a second, I thought that was shark fin soup!

In any case, it looks really good! Any chance you know the recipe for it? :raz:

Taiwan is included in this same forum, as it is considered part of China.

Don't tell anyone from Taiwan that! :wink:

While it may be true that many mainland Chinese (including my parents) fled to Taiwan when the Communists took over; Taiwan can only be seen as part of China as interpreted by the Chinese government. The food, culture, language, etc. of native Taiwanese differ immensely from those of the mainland Chinese. In fact, the current ruling government of Taiwan seems intent on remaining independent from China, despite the wishes of China. As far as I understand, should China attempt to re-take Taiwan by force, the US have already pledged to come to Taiwan's aid.

That being said, this appears to be the appropriate forum for posting about our trip to Taiwan. Far be it for eGullet to address international diplomacy through the naming of their forums.

Sorry to ramble on off-topic. I just wanted to continue my string of being censored. :biggrin:

I think it can be said that Taiwan is closer to a specific region of China, i.e. Fujian (the language, the food).

Musings and Morsels - a film and food blog

http://musingsandmorsels.weebly.com/

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Day1: In between meals (more)

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There are some Singaporean and Taiwanese brand names setting up shops along Nathan Road to sell their snack food. I passed by this Bee Cheng Hiang (美珍香) (Singaporean based) outlet.

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The store offered free samples to visitors.

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Chilli pork jerkies. HKD$105 per 1/2 Kg. Roughly USD$13 per pound.

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I prefer beef jerkies over pork ones and bought some. After I came back from Macau and had tasted theirs, I found that these Singaporean beef/pork jerkies are much better. Thinner (Macau ones are quite thick). The flavor is much stronger. The BBQ charcoal taste is intense. More sweet. I love the sheen.

Edited by hzrt8w (log)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Day1: In between meals (more)

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There are some Taiwanese brand names setting up shops along Nathan Road to sell their snack food. I passed by this "Mei Zhen Hsuen" (my guess by Cantonese pronounciation).

Is this a Taiwanese brand? I never realised it, If I had thought about it, I would have assumed it was Singaporean for some reason - probably because Singaporeans are really into their meat jerkies!

Next time you go to Macau, on the return trip, stop by in the duty free shops - there are two or three, right after you go through immigration but before boarding the ferry. They sell this amazingly addictive crispy pork - it's thinner than jerky although the flavour is similar. It comes in packets, about four sheets of super thin, crunchy pork - so delicious.

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Is this a Taiwanese brand?  I never realised it, If I had thought about it, I would have assumed it was Singaporean for some reason - probably because

I thought it is Taiwanese. But I might be wrong. In any case, they do a pretty good job.

Edited by hzrt8w (log)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Years ago I passed by the outlet of Hsin Tung Yang (新東陽) on Nathan Road who sold very similar food products. That one was definitely a Taiwanese brand new.

http://www.hty.com.tw/

aprilmei: you are right. I searched on the net and Bee Cheng Hiang (美珍香) is a Singaporean brand new, setting up shops in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Thank you. I have corrected my earlier post.

http://www.bch.tw/

Edited by hzrt8w (log)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Day 1: Dinner

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The first dinner, my second brother treated us. The Leung's brothers/sister reunion. Venue was set at "Chao Inn" Restaurant on Nathan Road. It was supposed to be a Chiu Chow (Teochew) specialty restaurant. But I found that their offers were not really all that different from Cantonese. My brother ordered a "half size" banquet-style dinner. (Note: a "full size" banquet dinner is always set for 12 people. "Half size" is for 6. They charge half the price.) Their food tasted okay though I must say not the top ranked.

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First course: some Chiu Chow style braised ("Lo Shiu") goose slices and eggs. Quite good!

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A customary condiment for Chiu Chow braised goose: some white vinegar (diluted?) mix.

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Braised "yee fu mein" with shrimp in a creamy sauce. I didn't think this was quite a Chiu Chow dish.

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Shark fin soup with some fish maw (the big piece). Shark fins are so small that I needed to look very closely into the soup to see them.

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Stir-fried snowpeas with squids and conches.

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Stir-fried "dou miu" (pea sprouts) with shredded dried scallops.

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Fried chicken. Very similar to the Cantonese fried chicken. Except: no shrimp chips. Instead, a Chiu Chow touch of placing some deep-fried chili leaves.

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Braised goose feet with baby bok choy and straw mushrooms.

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Cantonese steamed fish (with green onion shreds on top). I had no idea what species. I didn't ask my brother and these fish look all about the same after steaming. :laugh:

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Some "eight treasure" sticky rice at the end. Eight "treasures"... right! They all name these dishes as such. But who's counting?

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Drinks? Budweiser! I didn't order it! I swear! My brother's idea! I didn't say a thing! (I would have preferred Tsing Tao.) It's the first time I saw a Budweiser bottled in "large" size (22 oz bottle) though.

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Here came dessert: steamed "Lai Wong" bao (sweet creamy egg (??) filling). One per person. Perfect!

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As we were leaving the restaurant, I saw them show-casing these interesting, "peculiar" thing, Jars of pickled (I think) fruits (mostly apples but there might be other fruits). Jars and jars of them. I have no idea about this custom or its origin or how people consume (in what occasion) them. Anybody who knows please enlighten us. Is this a Chiu Chow custom?

Chao Inn Restaurant, Nathan Road, Mongkok, Kowloon

Tel: 2780-8193

Edited by hzrt8w (log)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Day 1: Dinner

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Is that a snake head- and if so, how does it figure into the menu? Great trip report and thank you so much for sharing with us.

Not a snake head. It's a rock crab. Half of the crab got cropped out so perhaps it looked like a snake.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Ah Leung, fast-forwarding a bit, what was the famous dish you had at the Lung Wah Hotel in Shatin? My friend lives in Shatin, and I'm trying to figure out where to take her and her husband for a thank-you dinner or lunch (since I'll be staying with them, and since my friend is "ABSOLUTELY game for eating 24/7" with me :biggrin:).

I've been going through this topic, and I have 3-A4 pages of stuff already, and that doesn't even include the info in your teaser posts. I'm waiting for the full posts till I glean info from your trip (which gives you two weeks, Ah Leung! Get to it!).

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Ah Leung, fast-forwarding a bit, what was the famous dish you had at the Lung Wah Hotel in Shatin?  My friend lives in Shatin, and I'm trying to figure out where to take her and her husband for a thank-you dinner or lunch (since I'll be staying with them, and since my friend is "ABSOLUTELY game for eating 24/7" with me :biggrin:).

Lung Wah is famous for their pigeons for over 50 years. Their roast pigeons (which we ate for lunch) are pretty good. They have all sorts of pigeon dishes, plus other Cantonese stir-fries.

Their location is really out of the way these days (because of the railroad). I would not recommend to make a special visit there because many restaurants make roast pigeons which are pretty good too. But if one is in the Shatin area, it may not be too bad. Taxi drivers can drop you off somewhere across the railroad but you need to walk up the pesdestrian overpass to get to the foothill where Lung Wah is. Kind of hard to find (especially if you don't speak/read the language). If you desparately want to go, PM me and I will draw you a map. :smile:

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Ah Leung - did you have any roast goose in Shatin?  Or is Yung Kee in Central just as good?

No I didn't have any roast goose in Shatin. Only roast pigeon. I wouldn't know where to go for that.

Years ago the roast goose in "Sum Tsang" (the "deep well" - a little bit northwest of Tsuen Wan) was quite famous. The roast goose at Yung Kee is probably the (or one of the) best.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Thank you very much for all your kind words. I will just keep going... :smile:

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For those who are interested...

One bowl of wonton noodle soup, beefball noodle soup, etc..

Going price, as of November 2007: HKD$17.0, which is about USD$2.25.

In the United States, the going price for a bowl of wonton noodle soup, about USD$4.50 to $5.00. Though the bowls (portions) are probably 40% bigger.

In London, a bowl of wonton noodle soup now is about 7 pound (???) (is my guess based on my visits). I just remember the price was about twice that of the USA.

I have no idea how much a bowl of wonton noodle soup would cost in Australia or Japan or other European countries (but it would be interesting to know).

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Day 2: Lunch, a dim-sum experience

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We went to Maxim's Palace in the City Hall, Central, for lunch. This place is famous for their dim-sums. It is located on the 2/F of the City Hall facing the Victoria Harbour.

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Normally this place offers a gorgeous, close-up view of the Victoria Harbour right from the dining room. Unfortunately, as you can see, the government is working on a construction project. They have torn down the old Star Ferry Terminal and Queen's Pier right outside the City Hall and are building a harbour-front pesdestrian walkway very similar to the one outside of the New World Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui. The construction work would probably last for a couple of years. Meanwhile, what we saw was the close-up view of cranks and barges outside the dining room.

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You can order items from the menu. Or...

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They push the dim sum carts around with Chinese name tags. The waitstaff speak some English. I saw a mix of local Chinese and foreign visitors. Sight-seers, friends' gatherings, power lunches in suits and ties... a big mix.

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The item that almost universally used as a representative of dim sum: "Har Gow" (shrimp dumplings).

There is an old Chinese saying that says: if you want to know whether a restaurant makes good dim sum, all you have to do is to taste their Har Gow. If they make this item well, you can eat there with confidence. This item is not too hard to make, but hard to make well. The chef's mastery shows.

The dim sums at Maxim's Palace are indeed very good.

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I always avoid eating spring rolls in Chinese restaurants in North America, especially at chop-suey style places. But I love the Hong Kong style spring rolls (egg rolls). The skin is thin and crispy. The fillings are usually shredded chicken, black mushrooms and bamboo shoots.

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Mini "Nor Mai Gai" (sticky rice and chicken wrapped in a lotus leaf). They make these Nor Mai Gai smaller and smaller over the years. When I was small, one order contained only one wrap - but the size was huge. These days, they shrink the Nor Mai Gai to half-palm size. The taste was pretty good though. I could taste the true lotus leave flavor in the rice.

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"Cheung Fun" - steamed rice noodle sheets with shrimp filling in a pool of diluted, sweetened soy sauce.

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Here are some dim sum dishes that are harder to find in the USA. This one was "Kwun Tong Gow", a dumpling, Cantonese style. It is kind of like Shanghainese style Xiaolongbao. But the size is huge. One big dumpling in an order.

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"Meen Fa Gai" ("Cotton" Chicken). They steam a few pieces of chicken with black mushrooms and a few pieces of fish maw. The fish maw looks like a piece of cotton. Thus the name.

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"Gai Zhut" (Chicken "bundle"). Pieces of chicken, crab meat (imitation), fish maw and baby corns wrapped by a small beancurd sheet and steamed.

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"Gai See Fun Gueon" (Steamed rice noodle sheets with minced chicken and some shredded cloud ear fungi.)

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This one is more common: Cha Xiu Bao, steamed bao with BBQ pork filling.

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This condiment was provided with the soup dumpling: red vinegar with shredded ginger. Many people in Hong Kong like to eat soup noodles with red vinegar. Besides the added flavor, they believe in taking in some acid (vinegar) to neutralize the alkaline (soda) used to make noodles, or else one would develop kidney stones.

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I couldn't pass up this opportunity and ordered some suckling pig. As you see, only skins. Hardly any meat attached. Crispy, fatty, very flavorful! Kissing all my diets goodbye.

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I found that there was a trend where many eateries (high-end, low-end, they all seem to do the same thing) provide plasma TVs in the dining room. Sometimes I found it odd. I mean... in a place like this, who would be watching the TV in the dining room anyway? Oh well...

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The restaurant was promoting all kinds of freshly squeezed fruit drinks. I couldn't pass this up!

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A combination of kiwi and watermelon. Very good!

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This one was grapefruit and mango.

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They push the dessert cart around with all kinds of gohs and sweets.

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I am normally not a dessert person. But I was attracted by their mango pudding.

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Very strong mango flavor. I love it!

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When you order dim sums from the carts, they stamp on the dim-sum card so that at the end, they can tally up how much you need to pay. 11 dim-sums plus the suckling pig! I felt like a pig myself!

When we arrived Maxim's Palace, it was 11:30 am. We got a fairly good seat close to the window. As we were leaving shortly after 1:00 pm, I saw a mob of people waiting outside the dining room - meal time in Hong Kong. The rush hour starts shortly before 1:00 pm.

Maxim's Palace, City Hall, Central, Hong Kong.

Edited by hzrt8w (log)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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UNFAIR!! Here I am living in the middle of nowhere and you show the most delicious looking dim sum. I have a serious craving now. I don't think I can get my husband to make the 800km round trip for some (although he did give in to me when a craving hit when pregnant with my first!! :shock: ).

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I really really want to eat dim sum! It all looks so good!

Ah Leung, how much did your lunch end up costing, if I may ask? Was all that food just for the two of you?

And of the "posh" dim sum places you went to, which was your favourite in terms of quality of food (flavour)?

And which dim sum place, posh or not, was your favourite over all?

Their location is really out of the way these days (because of the railroad). I would not recommend to make a special visit there because many restaurants make roast pigeons which are pretty good too. But if one is in the Shatin area, it may not be too bad. Taxi drivers can drop you off somewhere across the railroad but you need to walk up the pesdestrian overpass to get to the foothill where Lung Wah is. Kind of hard to find (especially if you don't speak/read the language). If you desparately want to go, PM me and I will draw you a map.

Thanks! But I think I'd rather have goose or duck than roast pigeon. My friend is gweilo (can I say that, or is that really rude?), but she can read Chinese OK (she can read Japanese very well, so although Chinese is different, she can usually figure meanings out), but her husband is HK-Chinese, and he lived in Shatin for many years, so he may already know about Lung Wah! I'll have to ask.

My list now has 31 pages, by the way, but it hasn't been edited or formatted (there are probably duplicate recommendations in there somewhere).

Ah Leung, I have been DYING for the rest of your trip photos, but feared it rude to hassle you about it!

No worries, I was rude for both of us! :biggrin:

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