I didn’t intend for this blog to get updated only once a month, but somehow, that’s become the format. I honestly would have written sooner had I not been inundated (in a delightful way) with friends and family from out of town. Having visitors always means an excuse to try new places, and since I had two sets of aunts/cousins come through from the Mainland, they were more interested in trying the local Hong Kong standouts. Here’s the best of our eating adventures:
Sweet on the outside, sweet (and savory) on the inside
I met my two aunts for early morning yam cha at the Tao Heung in Maritime Square in Tsing Yi. I’d actually heard about this chain from my HK colleague C/G, but never had an opportunity to try it. The quality of dim sum is nearly as high as – if not equal to – that of Tim Ho Wun, IMHO. Only, instead of the deep fried cha siu bao, Tao Heung specializes in pineapple cha siu bao, which has the outer consistency of a pineapple bun, and the inner filling of sweet cha siu. A must-order! The ha gao were also plump and juicy, and the chen pi niu wan, or the beef balls with soybean sheets (better-tasting than it sounds, I promise) were also winners. The best part about the whole experience was the price – the three of us ate for around $150, and we had a feast!
Bodacious beef balls
I also went to Tao Heung in Wan Chai with my other aunt and cousin. The quality stayed consistent, only they didn’t have pineapple cha siu baos on offer. Maybe it’s just a weekend thing? The decor at the Tsing Yi branch looked more modern, but for some reason, the atmosphere at the Wan Chai store seemed more “Hong Kong”. In addition to the good food, you can hobnob with all the elders reading their newspapers over their dim sum. How’s that for authentic?
Shop G04, G/F, Maritime Square (Tsing Yi)
2/F, CNT Tower, 338 Hennessy Rd. (Wan Chai)
Cost: ~ $50HKD/person
YUE KEE RESTAURANT
The most savvy Hong Kong foodies know the best roast goose can be found in the village of Sham Tseng, in the Tsuen Wan district. I had the privilege of getting in on this secret when my aunt and cousin visited. Apparently, when they came to Hong Kong in 1999, their local friend insisted on taking them to Yue Kee but, due to various circumstances, they never made it. Since then, my poor aunt has been waiting ten years to try this legendary roast goose.
You're adorable! Too bad we came to eat you.
I was determined not to let her down, and we set off to Sham Tseng, with little idea of where we were going. Getting there turned out to be surprisingly simple – take the Tsuen Wan line (red line) to Tsuen Wan and take minibus 96M (get on underneath the parking garage opposite Tsuen Wan station). A short (and curvy) ten minute ride will take you to the restaurant district. There are about a dozen roast goose establishments in the area, but since Yue Kee has been there the longest (since 1958) we made a beeline for it.
We've waited ten years for this goose!
We ordered a set lunch: at $208, it included a portion of the goose, choice of two dishes, and goose soup. It was more than enough for us three ladies, and we were glad we’d decided against getting a half order of goose! The bird was indeed yummy, as it was chewy, but not overly so, and perfectly complemented by the crispy skin on top. It was especially good paired with the apricot-ish glaze/dip that was put on the table.
Eggplant just like Mom used to make
My favorite out of the two dishes we ordered was the yu xiang qie zi, or stir-fried eggplant. It was served in a clay pot, which kept it warm throughout our meal. The eggplant wasn’t too soggy and oily, as is easy to do with this dish, but firm without being too tough.
At the end of the meal, my aunt declared the food was worth ten years.
Yue Kee Restaurant
9 Main Street, Sham Tseng San Tsuen, Sham Tseng
Cost: ~ $70 HKD/person (for lunch)
A staple in the Wan Chai area for decades, Kam Fung always has a line a thousand people long when I leave for work in the mornings. No doubt they’re queueing up for one of the cha chaan tang‘s signature pineapple buns or piping-hot egg tarts. I went for a sit-down breakfast with my aunt and cousin last week and was not dissapointed.
Just part of the breakfast sets
First off, be warned that their breakfast sets are big. My cousin and aunt both got a set and each got a bowl of noodles with accoutrements (ham for my cousin, preserved veggies for my aunt). They also each got a pineapple bun, fried egg, and a slice of ham. A drink was included – all for $28 HKD. I got a pineapple bun and a cold milk tea, and was more than satisfied. The crust of the pineapple bun was crispy, sweet, and flaky, and the inside was fluffy, almost like a croissant. It was definitely filling, and tided me over well past lunchtime.
I pine for this pineapple bun
My favorite aspect of the place is the way it feels like it’s been there forever. And my favorite waiter is an old, short, balding man who looks like he’s been there since the start. He knows I don’t speak Cantonese but on the instances I try, he jokes back in Canto, and I just have a gut feeling he’s making fun of me.
On a side note, the first time I went to Kam Fung, my friends told me to order the chicken tart, and egg tart, for which they’re also famous. I forgot what they taste like, but if my memory serves me, the egg tart wasn’t the shortbread crust like the Tai Cheong variety; rather, it was more flaky, the layers of dough peeling off delicately in your mouth. Try both tarts and the pineapple bun when you visit!
Kam Fung Restaurant
G/F, Spring Garden Mansion, 41 Spring Garden Lane
Cost: ~ $28 HKD/person for a breakfast set, or $12 HKD/person for a pineapple bun and beverage
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