Some experiences so far on this my 14th trip to Hong Kong.
Joy Hing, Hennessey Rd at Stewart (actually on Stewart) for some take-away roast pork that is probably the best I've ever had, with wonderfully caramelized outsides and some fantastic burnt edges. Mine was mostly lean, but I got no dryness, and the nice sweet soy sauce joined very well with it, and made the pork seem moister anyway.
Sang Kee, 7-9 Burd St, Sheung Wan. My favorite congee place, albeit I have not been to Fu Sing or the other (unrelated?) Sang Kee in Wanchai. A bowl of beef ball and sliced fish congee was wonderfully creamy, the fish fresh and cooking to perfection in the congee, the beef balls surprisingly flavorful. I even enjoyed the cold lemon water, which was like a lemonade toned down enough to be very refreshing.
Stall No. 3, Bowrington St. Cooked Food Center, Causeway Bay. There's a wonderful street meat/fish/product market right by here, so it's an interesting area to walk around. At Stall No.3, I had wonderful mutton curry and some pig's feet that had been touched with roast duck flavor. The place was recommended by Cha Xiu Bao, and I certainly second the recommendation. However, he had recommended mutton curry noodles, and either I was unable to convey that I wanted noodles with my curry, or they're not doing noodles any more, not sure.
Lin Heung (Wellington St). An old-style dim sum joint with a bustling atmosphere, customers chasing the steamer carts and waiters running around with giant kettles of boiling water to top off your personal giant gaiwan of good-quality tea. Go with a local if you can. Some dishes can only be obtained through dialog with the kitchen. Homey, satisfying food in an environment that's not quite like anywhere else I've been. Quite cheap.
Yunyan (4th floor, Miramar Centre, TST, take escalator to 1/F then elevator to 4/F). Still my favorite Hong Kong Sichuan, though I hope to try San Li Xou and Da Ping Huo on this trip, so that may change. They have a special mushroom-based menu now, so I went for a spicy dish of green turtle. The turtle itself was, like so many other Cantonese luxuries, a bland but interestingly-textured food. I certainly enjoy interesting textures, but at least half of the appeal of some of these Cantonese luxury dishes for me is in the high-grade preparation and accompaniments. In this case, some superb preserved duck dominated the dish, and the special porcinis were a real treat. Also hot and sour soup, which was not very good when I first went to this restaurant in 1998, but which is now terrific, great earthy balance of hot and sour. Their spicy eggplant is an entirely different dish from last year, but equally excellent, sharply tangy and slightly sweet and wonderfully spicy, with nice thin threads of chewy pork adding savor and textural interest. Very tasty cold chicken and noodles with sesame paste and chili appetizer, subtle and tasty. And of course the dry-fried chicken in its nest of chilis is fabulous as always.
Tung Po (Cooked Food Center, Java Road Municipal Building, right near North Point MTR Exit A1). My first jaunt to North Point, and a very successful one. This restaurant is located in one of those informal cooked food centers. It gets busy, so it's wise to book. They have at least one employee who not only speaks very good English, but is very friendly and seems to enjoy joking with Westerners. This was an extraordinarily good meal, in a group of 6 people, so plenty of different dishes. The razor clams with black bean were so much of a standout that I wondered if we'd hit the absolute peak of a season. Delicately flavored, with chili hotness somehow infused to the core, they were fresh and sweet and delicious, and we ordered a second plate. I'm not sure I can still enumerate the rest of the flood of excellent dishes, partly because those razor clams loom so large in my mind. Amazing crisp deep-fried pig's feet. Crabs with garlic. The only thing that I didn't like was a strange spareribs slathered with mayonnaise dish, but that's because there is no way for me to like such a dish. Under the mayonnaise, the pork was as excellent as everything else. The meal closed with some green fried dessert wontons that turned out to contain Durian. Yummy.
Tsim Chai Kee (Wellington St, Central). Two visits here, one for fish ball with yellow noodles, one for the big shrimp wontons with yellow noodles. As terrific as ever, maybe even a bit better than I remembered. Either the broth has gotten better, or I've gotten used to it. Once I ordered a plate of vegetables, but I won't be doing that again. They were soggy, and I don't know what the sauce was, some sort of fermented bean curd maybe, but I didn't like it, and thought of it as "vomit sauce."
Mak's Noodle (Wellington St, Central). Same as ever. Great soup, firm noodles, and bouncy fresh shrimp wontons. But, scallions --is anyone using yellow chives anymore?
Still a week and a half to go, so many wonderful dining experiences ahead.
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