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A great "2013 Annual Hong Kong Chowmeet of International Chowhounders" at 'Above & Beyond'

Charles Yu | Mar 13, 201304:51 AM

The first Hong Kong Chowmeet was conceived over 6 years ago. Held in a Wan Chai Private Kitchen, the meet was attended by a small group of 7 total strangers. The only common thread was their mutual love for food and their Chowhound Handle.

Subsequently, seven years and over half a dozen of luncheon and diiner chowdowns later, this event has blossomed into an annual International event attracting both local and overseas foodies.

This year, after a short 2 years hiatus, the annual chowmeet resumed once again, attended by local core members such as HKTraveller, Peech, e_ting, Uncle Yabai,..etc and international members such as Fourseasons, Asomaniac and Steve ( all 3 made special trips to attend! ). As well, there were a number of new addition such as NYC chowhounder Kobetobiko and 2012 chef of the year - David Lai....etc

The group selected the new and chic 'Above & Beyond' as our chowmeet venue. This restaurant had received rave reviews and numerous accolades since it opened and has been one of the hottest table in town for quality Chinese fine dining.

With the help of some of our esteemed members such as Susan Jung, Senior food & wine editor of SCMP and Chef Lai, a pre-arranged multi-course tasting menu was put together with input from Chef Tse of Above & Beyond.

The menu is as follows:

- Chinese Specialty Platter
(B-B-Q Suckling Pglet, Crispy 5 Spice Sliced Angus Beef Brisket, Smoked Egg with Oolong Tea Leaves and Black Truffles, Suckling Pig Knuckles in Abalone Sauce)

- Wok-Fried Crystal King Prawns with Honey Glazed Yunnan Ham

- Double Boiled Chicken Soup with Fish Maw and Coconut

- Wok-Fried Canadian Scallops with Black Truffles and Sea Urchins

- Wok-Fried Spotted Garoupa Fillet with Yunnan Ham and Scallions

- Smoked Crispy-Fried Chicken with Oolong Tea Leaves.

- Steamed Coral Crab with Glutinous Rice

- Dessert ( Caramel Brulee, Baked Egg Custard Tartlet, Chilled Jelly with Wolfberry Osmanthus )

Accompanying wines included Piper Korset Champagne, Maximum Grunhauser 1983 Riesling Auslese and a rare Magnum of Hugel 1985 Gewurztraminer VT, Special Sake directly from Japan and a bottle of Cognac. White wines were so generously contributed buy Chowhounder Peech, the Sake by CHer Asomaniac and Cognac by Chef Lai.

With so many fine dishes savored, I am not going to go through them individually one by one! Rather, I will mention briefly some of my favorite highlights and let the photos do the story telling!

First off, I love the flavourful, fork tender semi de-boned piglet knuckles. Great to munch on! The King Prawns was crunchy and sweet. Good but IMHO not as great as Tim's Kitchen. Likewise, the Yunnan Ham wrap was also good but again not as great as Shanghai Fraternity's. Ah! The soup! So delicate and tasty and the coconut aroma and taste was so mesmerizing! The supposedly 'wok-fried' scallops was prepared as if it was cooked 'sous-vide'?!. Irrespective of preparation method, it tasted very good!. The skin of the Crispy Chicken was indeed paper thin and ultra crisp! However, IMO, the smokey aroma was the real selling point. Lastly, the winning dish of the evening has to go to the Crab rice! The crab roe fried rice was sooo delicious, I noticed 'Fourseason' sitting next to me gobbled it up before I could count to 3!! Ha!! I wonder how many of us needed Crestor afterwards to help reducing the cholesterol??!! Ha!!

Once again, the Chowmeet was a resounding success, thanks to the good food and wine and the enthusiastic participation of the attendees. As I have eluded many a time in the past, its not just the food, its the COMPANY that counts!!

Until next time!!! Happy Chowing!!

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