Saturday, October 8, 2011

Hong Kong Food Tour

You know, just some of the things we ate during our 48 hours in Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong Eating Tour ("HKET").  With only 48 hours in Hong Kong we had to make the most of this city known for shopping, food, and finance.  We quickly eliminated the need to do any shopping or any finance, focusing all of our time and energy on the food. And it was a food extravaganza. Below is our whirl-wind eating tour of Hong Kong. A photo whirlwind of (almost*) every single thing that we ate in Hong Kong.

We started it off with a 12-course set menu at Da Ping Huo Restaurant.  For 12 years a husband and wife have have run this Sichuan-style private kitchen.  With only a handful of tables, an impossibly difficult to find entrance, and the promise of the wife's live opera singing at the end of the meal Da Ping Huo seemed an excellent place to start the eating tour.

Course 1 and 2: The meal started with a Chilled Cucumber in Soy dish (left) and a Sichuan Salad (carrots, celery and bean sprouts) in a spicy sesame sauce.  Both were good, but we were not blown away by the first two dishes of our first night in Hong Kong.

Course 3 (Not Pictured):  Sichuan Glass Noodles with Soy Nuts.  This was very good, but again not amazing.  As for the photo, you can see one here.  This was definitely the best of the apps, and the combination of silky noodles crunchy nuts was too distracting for me to delay even 1/60th of a second to take a photo.  Sorry!

Course 4: Mouth Watering Chicken.  And indeed, it lived up to its namesake.  This chicken was outstanding.  A reason to come to Da Ping Huo.  Marinated with ginger and soy, covered in peanuts and spicy goodness, this was my favorite dish.  In fact, it was presented much more attractively, but I remembered to take my photo only after I devoured my half (so what you are seeing is Jesse's piece). 
Course 5 (not pictured):  Minced Chicken & Vegetable Soup.  The soup was too plain in my opinion after the incredibly flavorful Sichuan glass noodles and mouth watering chicken.  It had a delicate taste that I can only enjoy first thing in the morning.  Otherwise bring on the big bold flavors please.  See a photo here.

Course 6 and 7: Pork with Pumpkins and Chili Beef.  The pork was on the bone, and super tender.  The flavor was not as porky as I expected though.  It was good, and I ate it all, but not amazing.  The beef dish was a disappointment.  Most of the meat was on the bone and pretty tough.  A few pieces were fork-tender, and quite good, but on the whole it was just OK.  

Course 8: Ma Po Tofu (not pictured):  This was a real winner.  Silky tofu marinated with ground beef in spicy chili sauce and green onions.  Yum.  The tofu was exceptional, and I usually don't rave about a tofu.  This dish made us recall our time in Shanghai ten years ago when we used to eat this all the time because it was one of the few Chinese dishes we could pronounce!  See a photo here.
Course 9: Vegetable Soup (not pictured): Boring.  This was bland and given that it was the 9th course, I gave it no time or space in my belly.  See a photo here.

Course 10: Sichuan Dumplings:  These were Jesse's favorite dish of the night.  Spicy and oily with a thick chewy noodle and nice ground pork inside they were another winner of the night.  (Also, I got 1.5 of these because Jesse was too full at this point - despite that it was her favorite dish.  I know, she is a little soft...)

Course 11: Tofu & White Fungus Sweet Soup Dessert (not pictured): A chilled concoction of tofu, white fungus, palm hearts, diced apple and pears in a sweet soup is not my kinda bag, baby.  It wasn't that it was bad per se, it just the texture, appearance, and whole idea of it was so foreign to us we didn't really enjoy it.  Also, we were stuffed.

I don't know where I missed a course, but oh well.  Maybe this was the 12th course....


11:15 AM - For breakfast we headed to Jade Garden, for Char Sui (BBQ Pork) in a shopping mall...
The char sui was good (how can it not be?) but not amazing.
This silken eggplant with sweet chili sauce was amazing.  Best eggplant I've ever had.  Easy. 
Plus delicious fried outside.  Plus sweet chili sauce.  Yum.
And a mediocre shrimp dumpling
Not so mediocre that I didn't scarf the first one before I remembered to take a photo, but you get the point.
3:48 PM and 4:05 PM - For a quick snack we headed to Ireland's Potatoes and a cool Hong Kong coffee shop
Fresh cut french fires with honey mustard sauce. 
You know, something light between our 11 AM breakfast and our 4 PM dumpling lunch...
A large iced coffee with lots of cream and sugar.
Have you guys heard of this place?  Starbucks?
Next up, Tim Ho Wan, the world's cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant - who deals only in dumplings (um, can you say dream restaurant?):  There are no reservations (there are only about 20-30 seats) and you basically show up, get a number and wait.  And salivate.  Saliwait?
The crowds just milling around the outside of the shop
We were number 189 (2 people). 
The waiting ticket is also the menu, which, after reading only makes the wait that much tougher...
And we are in.
Agonizing over the many dumpling choices. 
Man oh man, why did no one visit us here so we could have ordered twice as many dumplings?
4:32 PM - So the feast began:
Rice noodle (vermicelli) roll stuffed with BBQ pork.  This silky smooth noodle was very good, but needed more meat. 
I think it would have been better with shrimp.
DELICIOUS baked BBQ pork buns.  These were standouts of the whole eating tour.  Jesse was in heaven.
Can you see that crisp sugar top?  Like a donut?  With BBQ pork in the middle?  A little slice of non-kosher heaven.
Makes me want to go back to Hong Kong.
You have to shoot fast to get a shot of the inside of a baked BBQ pork bun. 
Luckily Fatty-D was up to the task.
See?  That is a happy lady.
And a personal favorite of the eating tour - the best steamed fresh shrimp dumplings (ha jiao) ever.
Seriously, these were amazing.  Top ten food items of the entire grand tour.
Each bite was a symphony of fresh shrimp, noodle and delicious broth in me mouth.
Deep fried dumpling filled with meat - how could this be bad?  It couldn't.
Though it was delicious, it was not a favorite.
Remember, deep fried dumpling filled with meat are hot!
Worst order at Tim Wo Hun's dumpling house: steamed pork ribs in black bean sauce.  Basically a bowl of rib bones, with tiny little scraps of rib meat on them.  Why?  Why did we do this to ourselves?  Oh well, because we ate so little of it, we ordered two extra dumpling dishes!
Steamed dumpling in chiu chow style.
Not sure exactly what was in these, and they were good, but not amazing.
Steamed pork dumpling with shrimp.  Also, very good, but not like the BBQ bun or fresh shrimp dumplings.
Tim Ho Wan was definitely worth the wait (in fact, we took our number and then cruised around the neighborhood, missed her calling our number, but then were placed in the front of the line when the next table opened up).  I am not sure if they do that for everyone, or just the good-looking people, but it was a nice way to not have to wait just standing outside the restaurant.

9:35 PM - Fu Sing Shark Fin Seafood Restaurant for (a second) char sui (BBQ pork).
They started us off with some crispy noodles.
But, wait, it looks like these noodles have little eyes.
Hey, these aren't crispy noodles, they're fish!
Yum, crispy fish.
Char Sui.  This is what I been waiting for.  This was SOOOOO GOOD.  Not really describable.  Perhaps the perfect food.
Better than shrimp dumplings (but not by much).  Outstanding.  Melt in my mouth goodness.  I loved this dish.
Loved it 1,000 times.
And look at this!  Greens!  Veg!  Whoa cowboy!
Fried bok choy with garlic.  Also delicious (but in a different delicious category from the char sui).
Some sort of mango pudding.  Not worth our time. 
Not with that char sui available as a dessert.
August 8, 2011; 4:43 PM - Still reeling from the gluttony of the day before the eating tour continued  with Mak's Noodles, who is a contender for the best wonton noodle soup in all Hong Kong.**

Not much to look at...
Good wontons, good broth, decent noodles. 
For me, though, it has nothing on Sammy's roast pork wonton noodle soup.
4:56 PM - And right next door to Mak's is the Australian Dairy Co, where they serve Hong Kong's best scrambled eggs (but we couldn't even consider eating eggs) so we went for their famous milk pudding and egg pudding.  Both were OK.  The egg had more flavor, but we both preferred the milk - perhaps because it was lighter and we had eaten about 12,000 calories over the previous 48 hours.
The Australian Dairy Co with its bowls of egg pudding (left), milk pudding (right).
And with that we headed to the Macau ferry to enjoy some Portuguese inspired Asian food, gambling, and all the other treats available in the Sin City of the East.  Stick around for the MET, the Maccau Eating Tour!

OVERALL WINNERS: All of these dishes were outstanding.
First Place: Char Sui at Fu Sing Shark Fin Seafood Restaurant
Second Place: Fresh Shrimp Dumplings at Tim Wo Han
Third Place: BBQ Pork Bun at Tim Wo Han [JLM Winner]

* Some small and delicious food items were not photographed because when they arrived I was a) too excited or b) too distracted by the food (or most likely both) to remember to take a photo before dropping the morsel in my mouth.  I was then filled with regret, but if the thing was especially good, sometimes I would order a second, just for the photo.  That is how much I love you, dear readers.

**  There may also have been a small (three-course) lunch for us, but it was western food and is therefore exempt from the HKET.


  1. Thanks for posting this on Yom Kippur.

  2. Sam - its all treyf what with it being roasted and BBQed pork, or succulent steamed shrimp...


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