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Tak Kee Chiu Chou Restaurant 德記潮州菜館 is a popular Chiu Chow (Teochew / Chao Zhou) restaurant in Western. It is a full family style restaurant as opposed to the Chiu Chow noodle soup and braised meat specialists that are very common in Hong Kong.
As I’ve stated several times on this blog, Chiu Chow food is one of my favorite types of Chinese food. It’s known for relying on the freshness of ingredients and tends to rely on lighter methods of cooking like steaming and braising. It’s one of the Chinese cuisines that would be easy to eat daily.
The restaurant is located in Kennedy Town in Western District; Kennedy Town is located fairly far away from the more mainstream areas of Hong Kong Island such Central, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and isn’t easily accessible via MTR (subway), so the restaurant is very “local” with few if any tourists.
The restaurant is a reasonably large room that while not having particularly exciting décor is very clean and isn’t a dive. The restaurant’s walls are lined with multi-colored banners that list various specials and there is also a display area showcasing their various cold dishes such as fish, crabs and braised meats; this is a common sight in Chiu Chow restaurants and I love seeing all the stuff they have to offer. I didn’t see an English menu, but I read that they do have an English menu. Any which way, I wrote the Chinese characters so you could order what I ordered easily.
Here’s what we got:
- Tofu and Pickled Vegetable: This was served as a complementary dish at the beginning of the meal. It was pickled cabbage (suan cai) and tiny pieces of fried tofu in a sweet chili sauce that was very slightly spicy. The combo of sour flavor pickled cabbage and the sweetness of the sauce was really nice together. Also the texture from the crunch of the cabbage and the fried tofu was great. While very simple, I thought this was really good. 8.75/10
- Vinegar Smoked Anchovies (Chen Cu Xun Feng Wei Yu 陳醋燻鳳尾魚): These were whole fried anchovies in aged vinegar (chen cu 陳醋) served at room temperature. The aged vinegar is fairly sweet with a thick consistency somewhere in between water and syrup. The fish is eaten whole and you don’t notice the bones at all. The texture is jerky-like, which makes me think they smoked then fried the fish. These were pretty tasty although a bit on the sweet side for me. 8.25/10
- Braised Goose (Lu Shui E 鹵水鵝): Braised meats are a staple of Chiu Chow cuisine; the braising style is called lu wei 鹵味, but Hong Kong they refer to it as lu shui 鹵水. This technique uses a master stock that is constantly re-used (i.e. they keep filling it up). I didn’t have any expectations of this, but it turned out to be some of the best braised goose I’ve ever had. The cut I got is the breast and it’s a fairly lean cut, so sometimes I find it can be a bit too dry, but here it was really tender and juicy with slight pieces of fat that were great. The braising sauce was outstanding; it was light with a good balance between being salty and having a slight sweetness to it. The vinegar cuts the fat from the meat perfectly. I actually thought it was better than the version I had at Hung’s Delicacies, which is a one star Michelin restaurant known for this dish. 9/10
- Baked Fish in Plum Sauce (Mei Zi Shao Wu Tou 梅子燒烏頭): I was going to order a steamed fish since that is traditional Chiu Chow style fish, but the waitress told me that the baked fish is one of their specialties. They took a fish called wu tou 烏頭 (crow head) and baked it in foil in a sweet plum sauce. The result was excellent; the fish was really nice and tender and not fishy whatsoever. The sauce was a bit sweeter than I was expecting, but still tasted good with the fish. Overall, this was a solid dish. 8.5/10
- Oyster Congee (Hao Zai Zhou 蠔仔粥): Chiu chow style congee is very different than Cantonese style congee. It’s very watery as opposed to Cantonese congee which is very thick. I believe Chiu Chow people say something about it being like mountains and oceans because of the rice popping out from the surface of the water. Also, unlike Cantonese they don’t call it zhou 粥, they call it mi 糜 (mue in Chiu Chow). The version here had oysters, pork and pickled vegetables in it. The ingredients were excellent; the oysters were fresh and clean tasting, the pork was tender and the pickled vegetables gave it a nice sour flavor. This was a very good version, but I prefer Cantonese style congee as I find it much more flavorful and like the texture better as Chiu Chow congee just feels like rice with too much water in it. 8/10
- Fried Oyster Pancake (Zha Hao Bing 炸蠔餅): This was another dish the restaurant was known for. It’s a fried oyster pancake with lots of chives in it. It looked really oily, but it was surprisingly not oily and was more airy than dense. The oysters they use here are very fresh and don’t taste fishy at all. It was served with vinegar that was similar to the vinegar for the goose; it was a nice compliment as it didn’t over power the flavor of the pancake, but cut the oil from frying. Overall, I thought it was pretty good although it was a little lighter in flavor than I was expecting. 8.25/10
This was an enjoyable meal and probably one of the better Chiu Chow restaurants I’ve been to in Hong Kong, definitely recommend checking it out.
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