Friday, March 14, 2014

Hong Kong!

All I ever hear from evereyone about Hong Kong is:
1. "You'd love the food there."
2. "You're going to eat so much."
3. "The dim sum! ! !! !!"

And you know what?  It's all true.  It was hard to find a bad meal in Hong Kong no matter what!
I wish I could narrow it down to my favorite-favorite-favoritest thing but it's all really too delicious to even think about, so let's just start from the top.

THE GOOSE.


I never heard of roast geese before I came to Hong Kong, but apparently it's very much a thing, to the point where people even get them freeze-packed and bring them back to the States.

We ate up as much goose as we could from Yat Lok, a dingy little spot full of locals eating strands of beautiful rice noodles.

The most fun thing to get is the goose leg, because it's a gloriously large hunk of roasted meat propped on the plate.  You can get it on rice or in noodles.


That awesome, crispy skin.


Non-leg portions are meaty cuts of breast.  


What does goose taste like?

Like duck, but twice as meaty and just as succulent - in other words, pure poultry heavennnn.

Once I got half roast pork and half roast duck over rice.


The roast pork is sweet and nice, but just nothing really compares to that ever tender goose.


GOOSE.  I can't get enough. I love it. I miss it. I wish I could eat this everyday.


THE WONTON NOODLES.

Hong Kong is the mecca of wonton noodle soup.  The most well-known spot is Mak's Noodle, with a few locations around the city.  One of the family members of Mak's Noodle decided to open up his own space, called Mak Man Kee Noodle Shop, serving up the same type of noodles.


The noodles are thin eggy strands in a clean, tasty little broth with a few beautiful lumps of shrimp dumplings.



The dumpling wrappers are thin and slippery, wrapped around perfectly cooked shrimp.


And while people say Mak's is the best, I actually preferred a random spot we sat in on called Tsim Chai Kee.


The king prawn noodles come with rice noodles and three dumplings to a bowl for a little over two dollars.


The dumplings are heftier - chock full of meaty prawns, and if you're a shrimp lover, these are definitely the dumplings for you.


And every Hong Kong spot has a jar of chili oil on the table, and it's just the best goshdarn condiment to ever go with wonton noodle soup.  Don't forget to add it to your bowl and love life as much as we did!

THE SEAFOOD.

Everywhere you see fresh seafood in Hong Kong, especially near the night markets.


We tried to find a good sit-down spot near the night markets, and asked for recommendations from a nearby drugstore.  The gentleman was kind enough to write us directions in Chinese, and we ended up finding it a few blocks away.  To this day, we still have no idea what the name of this place is.  Only locals go, and they all order hot pot.  Since we were language impaired, and the menu is fully in Chinese, we ordered by picture (serious language fail).


The pictures did not deceive though!  The lobster pot was lightly flavored, fresh and beautifully cooked.


The mantis shrimp came topped with irresistible garlic chili crumble.


The shell is quite hard to pry with your fingers, so the dish comes with scissors to snip down the underbelly of the shrimp.  Creepy and fun.


THE MANGO DRINKS.

Hui Lau Shan is like the McDonalds of mango drinks in Hong Kong.  They have layered drinks of any type of tropical fruit with toppings like coconut cream, aloe and tapioca, and it's awesome!

I love how the ordering system works - the lady just wets the receipt and slaps it onto the plastic partition for the drinkmakers to work.


Our favorite was coconut, mango and tapioca.  Why is mango so good?  Why do I ask silly questions?


I think we drank one of these everyday when vacation calories don't exist !


THE SNACKS.

My eyes ogled so many snacks on the streets!

Pancake balls.


Regular cutie pancakes with red bean filling.


But it was the masterfully made crepe that stole our stomachs.




(And maybe the condensed milk that really convinced me.)


The crepe was so thin and crisp and held up well to the hot blueberry and condensed milk filling - such a fantastic little nighttime snack.


Later we saw this gent manning the clay pot rice station and wished we had room to eat this!


THE HONG KONG BREAKFAST.


We caught wind of the traditional Hong Kong breakfast and had to see what it was about.  The it place to go is Sing Heung Yuen, an open air restaurant in Central frequented by locals sharing tables and ignoring each other as they eat a delicious breakfast.


You start with a milk tea, so creamy and light.


Then you order a bowl of tomato macaroni soup.  The soup can come with egg, beef, ham and other fixings.  Ours is egg and ham.


And while you never conceived of eating tomato macaroni egg ham soup for breakfast before, it surprisingly really works - the broth is sweet and light, and the whole dish screams of absolute comfort.

The recipe is a family secret though - the balance of canned and fresh tomatoes and lots of love.  We have tried to make versions of this at home since the trip, and while we come close, nothing tops the original!


Other specialties include condensed milk toast.  There's a couple versions including one with fluffy toasted bread with huge slabs of butter and condensed milk.





The other with pandan spread, condensed milk and butter toasted on bun.  I'd recommend this one for the better balance of fun and flavor, though who could resist the above bread with all that buttuuuhhhh.


And of course, you know it.

THE DIM SUM.


The must try for most people is Tim Ho Wan, the cheapest Michelin star restaurant in the world.  Tim Ho Wan has a few locations in Hong Kong, and all purportedly have long waits.  You just have to grab your number from the hostess, gawk at everyone and what they are eating, and wait kind of patiently.

Luckily, we only had to wait 15 minutes at the Hong Kong station location.  The menu comes with pictures and English translations which is helpful.  Look at the size of the phoenix talons!



The most unique dish is the petal cake - gelatinous cubes with bits of flowers and herbs inside. 


It tastes kind of medicinal but is completely refreshing - a terrific palate cleanser between other dim sum bites.


Tim Ho Wan's most popular dish is the roast pork buns.



They are exquisite little affairs, an aerated, crispy shell wrapped around moist, roasted pork.


Turnip cake was tender and creamy - I wished they were a little more crisped up, but the flavor was subtle and good.


Shrimp rolls came unadorned, and you top it with soy sauce at your preference.


But you gotta top it with soy sauce.  Look how much better that looks!  And tastes!  The rice noodle wrappers and shrimp were perfect.  This is always my favorite dim sum dish.


Until this guy came along.  Steamed egg cake.  The softest, most tender, and lightest cake to ever touch my lips - I gotta bring out the dramatics for such a surprisingly tasty treat!


Beef ball with bean curd were especially thick and meaty.


Dumpling teochew style had a medley of mayhem inside - peanuts, dried shrimp, pork, chives and more.


Shrimp dumplings were adorable - thin chewy wrappers with lovely shrimp nestled within.



The shu mai were bite-sized beauties of pork and shrimp.


The pumpkin soup was warm and sweet


with soft little tapioca pearls hidden at the bottom.  A simple sweet treat to round out the meal.


And true to its reputation, Tim Ho Wan was cheap - about $18 bucks for this whole feast.  Worth the visit?  Definite yes, if not for those roast buns, the petal cake and the steamed cake alone.


My favorite dim sum spot though was actually One Dim Sum in North Point.  Lunch wait was only 15 minutes, and the staff was so nice.


Roast pork buns come soft and glistening.


The pork filling is always sweet and tasty.


The shrimp dumplings were ace.


The special, scribbled on the wall behind the cashier, is a must-get - a soft roll of mango dipped in coconut.


The rice rolls are better here than Tim Ho Wan, with chewier wrapper and snap peas (what a differentiator!).


The roast pork and chive rolls were so fun and flavorful.


The shumai, cragglier versions than Tim's and full of porky shrimpy goodness.


And honestly, the whole reason we came here was because of this guy.  Sesame balls.  My other absolute favorite thing at dim sum (I'm totally the girl that cries favorite at dim sum).


Except.

These sesame balls have BLACK SESAME FILLING.


Did you just hear those angels sing when that photo unleashed on your computer screen?

Ugh.  I loved these too much.  Chewy, crispy, sweet and gooey.  Oh One Dim Sum, teach your ways to the rest of the world - we need this everywhere!

Hong Kong, I hate you for ruining me for dim sum for life, and I love you for showing me how good it really can be.

Now I'm going to eat a boring bagel for breakfast.

----

The Hong Kong rundown:

For goose: 
Yat Lok
G/F, 34-38 Stanley Street, Central, Hong Kong

For wonton noodles:
Mak Man Kee Noodle Shop
G/F, 51 Parkes Street, Jordan, Hong Kong

Tsim Chai Kee Noodles
Shop B, G/F Jade Centre, 98 Wellington Street, Central

For mango drinks:
Hui Lau Shan 
Multiple locations

For Hong Kong breakfast:
Sing Heung Yuen
2 Mei Lun Street, Central

For dim sum:
Tim Ho Wan
Shop 12A, Hong Kong Station (Podium Level 1, IFC Mall) , Central, Hong Kong

One Dim Sum
G/F, 18 Shell Street, North Point, Hong Kong

4 comments:

  1. this is all so glorious. i still cannot get over the black sesame filled sesame balls. BLACK SESAME FOR LIFE.

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