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A Canuck in HK


canucklehead
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During our little jaunt up to Shenzen - I had very little hopes for anything good. The population of Shenzen is already larger than HK's - but it feels so backward. But in the grand scheme of things this is the future of China - and it seemed a little grim to me.

What a skyline....

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However - just outside of the city is a very large park/reserve and by the lake was this incredible tea pavillion. My father knew the proprieters and they were nice enough to treat us to a tea tasting.

It was beautiful - and all of a sudden you feel like it was a hundered years ago. All this breathing room - peace and calm. Serenity.

It was the first time I saw my father truly relax and be at ease. He has not been well - so I was grateful to see him get some rest.

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The tea being brewed was over 10 years old - carefully aged and then stored and cared for. Each brewing bringing out a different complexity and note of flavor.

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We spent 2-3 hours there - sipping the tea, contemplating its taste and our surroundings. Probably the highlight of the trip.

Thanks for letting me post my pictures and being so indulgent with my food photos.

Egullet rules.

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Lee, what do you think about the breadth of Chinese food available in HK vs. Vancouver? I'm talking about the dishes that are available here in Vancouver, more so than the exact ingredients. Would you care to put a percentage number on it?

For example, the Japanese restaurants here in Vancouver barely scratch the tip of the iceberg in terms of what can be found in Japan. Is this also true to some extent with Chinese food? (Obviously, the larger Chinese population here in Vancouver should mean better representation...)

EDITED TO ADD: To put it another way, are there a lot of HK dishes that you just cannot get here in Vancouver?

So the breadth of food in HK is much higher - simply a function of higher demand therfore more niche markets. HK people are very very food oriented - so they are always looking for new things to eat. This sometimes results in odd food (like the HK Style Western food thing). But what we do have in Vancouver is of a suprising high standard.

Have you tried the new Sushi place in Aberdeen mall? It seems very authentic to me - but I am always curious about an expert's opinion.

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This tea looks a bit watered-down.  Is the look deceiving?  How's the taste?

Looks are decieving in this case - the flavor was perfectly strong - lots of base notes but lifted by floral and grassy flavours. Really nice clean finish - cleansing tanins and a lingering jasmine flavor.

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Lee: Have you gone to Po Lin Temple during this trip? Have you noticed the new cable car station and towers near the Chek Lap Kwok Airport? It is supposed to be near completion but not sure if there is delay.

Also, did you go to Yuen Long / Lau Fau Shan / Sheung Shui?

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Lee, what do you think about the breadth of Chinese food available in HK vs. Vancouver? I'm talking about the dishes that are available here in Vancouver, more so than the exact ingredients. Would you care to put a percentage number on it?

....

EDITED TO ADD: To put it another way, are there a lot of HK dishes that you just cannot get here in Vancouver?

So the breadth of food in HK is much higher - simply a function of higher demand therfore more niche markets. HK people are very very food oriented - so they are always looking for new things to eat. This sometimes results in odd food (like the HK Style Western food thing). But what we do have in Vancouver is of a suprising high standard.

As a former Vancouver resident living in HK for the last decade or so, I'd rather eat in Vancouver, even for Cantonese food. Hong Kong restaurants are dominated by their insane rental costs, so to keep prices down they have to compromise on everything else - like what's on your plate. And the quality of fresh meat, seafood and produce here is no match for what you can get in North America, unless you're buying flown-in imported stuff at 3x North American prices.

There's nothing surprising about the high standard of food in Vancouver. Good cooks from all over the world (including Hong Kong), great ingredients, not-too-insane restaurant rents, and a large, discerning, diverse foodie community. I can't wait for my next visit.

Hong Kong Dave

O que nao mata engorda.

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As a former Vancouver resident living in HK for the last decade or so, I'd rather eat in Vancouver, even for Cantonese food.  Hong Kong restaurants are dominated by their insane rental costs, so to keep prices down they have to compromise on everything else - like what's on your plate.  And the quality of fresh meat, seafood and produce here is no match for what you can get in North America, unless you're buying flown-in imported stuff at 3x North American prices.

There's nothing surprising about the high standard of food in Vancouver.  Good cooks from all over the world (including Hong Kong), great ingredients, not-too-insane restaurant rents, and a large, discerning, diverse foodie community.  I can't wait for my next visit.

Dave - glad to hear from you.

I agree that Vancouver does have a very high standard - but given the sheer size of HK, you have access to the best cuisine if you are willing to pay for it. There are places in HK that you know you are having something that is the best in the world. Again the caveat being you must be willing to pay for it.

I have heard people say that you can eat better in Richmond than in Hong Kong on a day to day basis (the curry brisket is better at Mui Garden than places in HK). I think that the differences in quality are there - though subtle, between the two cities.

Still at the end of the day - I am grateful for what we have in Vancouver. But I still think that economies of scale do give you better choices in HK.

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Lee:  Have you gone to Po Lin Temple during this trip?  Have you noticed the new cable car station and towers near the Chek Lap Kwok Airport?  It is supposed to be near completion but not sure if there is delay.

Also, did you go to Yuen Long / Lau Fau Shan / Sheung Shui?

Did not see any new cable cars and did not go to any of the temples this time. We did make it out to Yuen Long - but we only had so so dim sum (none of the famous roast goose). My mother bought some 'wife cakes' though and they were quite good.

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As a former Vancouver resident living in HK for the last decade or so, I'd rather eat in Vancouver, even for Cantonese food.  Hong Kong restaurants are dominated by their insane rental costs, so to keep prices down they have to compromise on everything else - like what's on your plate.  And the quality of fresh meat, seafood and produce here is no match for what you can get in North America, unless you're buying flown-in imported stuff at 3x North American prices.

There's nothing surprising about the high standard of food in Vancouver.  Good cooks from all over the world (including Hong Kong), great ingredients, not-too-insane restaurant rents, and a large, discerning, diverse foodie community.  I can't wait for my next visit.

Dave - glad to hear from you.

I agree that Vancouver does have a very high standard - but given the sheer size of HK, you have access to the best cuisine if you are willing to pay for it. There are places in HK that you know you are having something that is the best in the world. Again the caveat being you must be willing to pay for it.

I have heard people say that you can eat better in Richmond than in Hong Kong on a day to day basis (the curry brisket is better at Mui Garden than places in HK). I think that the differences in quality are there - though subtle, between the two cities.

Still at the end of the day - I am grateful for what we have in Vancouver. But I still think that economies of scale do give you better choices in HK.

I agree with pretty much with Lee on this one and my opinion is based trying out many different kinds of food in all price ranges. There are exceptions of course but the key is identfying the right restaurant for the type of food you are eating. This is where having foodie friends who live in HK is a big help.

The wife cakes "lo po piang" in Yuen Long was awesome and I don't even like them and the roast goose in Sham Tseng Yue Kee Restaurant was great.

Alex

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So the breadth of food in HK is much higher - simply a function of higher demand therfore more niche markets.  HK people are very very food oriented - so they are always looking for new things to eat.  This sometimes results in odd food (like the HK Style Western food thing).  But what we do have in Vancouver is of a suprising high standard.

Have you tried the new Sushi place in Aberdeen mall?  It seems very authentic to me - but I am always curious about an expert's opinion.

Thanks for the comments, and for HKDave's as well. Disregarding the quality issue, I can imagine that there are a ton of dishes available in HK but not here in Vancouver.

I haven't tried the new sushi place in Aberdeen mall yet, although it sounds very promising.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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Great series of posts Lee, thanks for the photo tour. Last and only time I was in HK was many many years ago when I was 8 so needless to say, I have a lot of impressions without any specifics in my memory.

The "bare" brisket and the sticky rice stuffed chicken wings are calling out to me, perhaps we can find a place that does them in Van. All those prawns looked not too shabby either.

BTW I love the "Don't Eat Us" dogs and bears, especially the fact that they are bilingual.

Edited by BCinBC (log)
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^ :blink:

Stuffed chicken wings with sticky rice. I've died and gone to heaven! I need to try to make these!

I have to agree with achiu and canuckle - chicken in HK is so much tastier. Looking at these pictures brings me back to Bo jai Fan with chicken in it where the chicken is so juicy and flavourful. I'm not sure what it is about chicken's in HK...

"There are two things every chef needs in the kitchen: fish sauce and duck fat" - Tony Minichiello

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Hi, Lee, I am new to the forums, but I left a message regarding your fantastic pictures in the Chinese in Vancouver forum. You provide very appealing pictures of the fantastic food you have tried or witnessed. The photos seem to be a lot of work, but they speak a thousand words for those of us who cannot experience the same stuff first hand.

Like a previous post mentioned, I have also not been back since I was a child (6 1/2years old) and for one reason or another I have not gotten back, so seeing these pictures is a special treat!

I grew up in NY's Chinatown, but unfortunately, I live in the suburbs and do not get to go out much. I have some solid places I frequent in NY Chinatown, but nothing with as much variety as I have been reading in the Vancouver/ HK forums.

The Flushing area in Queens, NY may actually have more of the varied food (Taiwanese, Malaysian) but I am not as familiar with it. Though I was recently introduced to a first rate Malaysian restaurant there.

We are visiting in April (the Vancouver area). Hope to get your recommendations for some top-notch places to go to, Shanghai River, Shanghai Wind, and Sea Harbour? It would also be fun to have a meal with the members from the forum. Then we would not feel like we are just in a city with total strangers.

Again, thanks for your efforts and generous sharing of your culinary experiences!

Edited by rlr222 (log)
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Hi, Lee, I am new to the forums, but I left a message regarding your fantastic pictures in the Chinese in Vancouver forum.  You provide very appealing pictures of the fantastic food you have tried or witnessed.  The photos seem to be a lot of work, but they speak a thousand words for those of us who cannot experience the same stuff first hand. 

Like a previous post mentioned, I have also not been back since I was a child (6 1/2years old) and for one reason or another I have not gotten back, so seeing these pictures is a special treat!

I

First, let me welcome rlr to the Chinese forum. :smile:

And ALL the new members who who joined in the last while.

Second, I want to echo rhr's comments about being able to partake, vicariously, the wonderful cuisine of HK as Lee has depicted in his delicious pictures.

I came to the Canadian prairies 40 years ago and have not gone back for a visit. So, until I do, please, all you frequent HK flyers, continue to entice with your descriptions and pictures!

Thanks, Lee, and all for the "trips to HK".

Edited by Dejah (log)

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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rlr222: Welcome to eGullet!

Lee: Have you been to, during this or past trips, a small restaurant named "Law Fu Kee" in Central? It is blogged in Cha Xiu Bao's webpage:

http://chaxiubao.typepad.com/chaxiubao/200...fish_table.html

It is a tiny restaurant and very crowded. To me they are one of the best in wonton noodles and in particular their specialty of "deep fried dace fish balls" with the fermented raw clam condiment. They are excellent!

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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This is the most amazing picture. An array of fish tanks keeping alive the precious live seafood. I can see the hugh Australian lobsters, geoduck clams, various groupers, and... wait... are those 3 round things live abalone??? They are hugh!

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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rlr222:  Welcome to eGullet!

Lee: Have you been to, during this or past trips, a small restaurant named "Law Fu Kee" in Central?  It is blogged in Cha Xiu Bao's webpage:

http://chaxiubao.typepad.com/chaxiubao/200...fish_table.html

It is a tiny restaurant and very crowded.  To me they are one of the best in wonton noodles and in particular their specialty of "deep fried dace fish balls" with the fermented raw clam condiment.  They are excellent!

I have heard of it - but did not have a chance to go. Next time...

Thanks for pointing out an interesting blog. There was an entry about the crazy bun festival in Cheng Chau. It is were there is a race to climb to the top of a huge structure that is covered in buns. My father's company actually has the contract to build the underlying steel structure holding the buns - and rock climbing equiptment is used to keep the climbers safe.

Also - there is a bun mafia on Cheng Chau - and everyone MUST buy there buns from the same vendor. It costs something like HK$150,000 for the buns for each structure. Here's the link Cheung Chau Buns

HK is so full of these crazy food related stories.

Oh yeah - those tanks of seafood... it was crazy.

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I meant to ask you: how was the price at Chuen Kee Seafood Restaurant? Would you give us some idea? How does it compare to a comparable meal in Vancouver?

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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I meant to ask you:  how was the price at Chuen Kee Seafood Restaurant?  Would you give us some idea?  How does it compare to a comparable meal in Vancouver?

It was about C$ 400 for about 8 people and alot of left overs. We did not go over the top with seafood (we had a whole roasted suckling pig) and no shark fin. So about $50 a head, tax and tip included. It would be more expensive to have a meal like that in Vancouver - the seafood would cost more. A set meal for 10 with a high amount of seafood would run about C$550 tax and tip included. However, the surroundings and services levels are much better the Vancouver restaurant that I have in mind.

The Tung Bo meal upthread was about HK$600 or less that C$100 for feeding 6 adults and 1 child - very good value. In fact - even at the expensive places like Farmhouse and Victoria Harbour - lunch is always an excellent deal - never breaking C$100 for four adults. The restuarant market is still very competive in HK right now - with alot of specials on offer after years of an economic slow down.

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It was about C$ 400 for about 8 people and alot of left overs.  We did not go over the top with seafood (we had a whole roasted suckling pig) and no shark fin.  So about $50 a head, tax and tip included. 

Thanks for the info. Unless it has been changed recently, in Hong Kong THERE IS NO SALES TAX!!! LOL. How about that?? Most places typically charge a "customary" 10% gratuity though. :biggrin:

Edited by hzrt8w (log)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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It was about C$ 400 for about 8 people and alot of left overs.  We did not go over the top with seafood (we had a whole roasted suckling pig) and no shark fin.  So about $50 a head, tax and tip included. 

Thanks for the info. Unless it has been changed recently, in Hong Kong THERE IS NO SALES TAX!!! LOL. How about that?? Most places typically charge a "customary" 10% gratuity though. :biggrin:

There's still no sales tax in HK. There's usually a 10% 'service charge' on restaurant bills, which goes direct to the house, not the staff. Staff get whatever gratuity you leave in addition to that.

Great post, Lee. Makes me feel guilty about not posting more about HK. I'll have to borrow a camera and get busy...

Hong Kong Dave

O que nao mata engorda.

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The 10 per cent USUALLY goes to the house but not always. At some of the restaurants I worked at here (as a pastry chef) the 10 per cent was divided between non-management FOH staff. Unfortunately, though, that's an exception.

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Lee: Have you been to, during this or past trips, a small restaurant named "Law Fu Kee" in Central?  It is blogged in Cha Xiu Bao's webpage:

http://chaxiubao.typepad.com/chaxiubao/200...fish_table.html

Cha Xiu Bao has another update on his blog on "Law Fu Kee" and mudcarp fish ball and wonton just today! I think he is watching our forum! :biggrin:

http://chaxiubao.typepad.com/chaxiubao/2006/01/index.html

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Oh this stuff looks great.

I just got into HK two days ago, with one other vegetarian co-worker. So that makes two other Canucks in HK. The seafood looks fantastic in the photos. I'm often so depressed looking at similar tanks on the mainland. In the north the fish are usually already dead or close to it. Had really dissappointing seafood in Shenzhen... Maybe I'll get out to SaiKone to grab a bite.

Oh.. and we overloaded with Indian food in the last two days, and now hoping to find some other veg-friendly places for my friend. He's a Thai nut, but I don't understand how without fish sauce.

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