# Saturday, 06 March 2010

When I saw Kin's Kitchen (留家廚房) being mentioned in michelin guide, I was not really that surprised, yes, it is located at a rather ugly street under a highway bridge, but they do have something special, well, don't get me wrong, they may not be as good as the guide says, and not even having that many great dishes, but for me, having one very special one is enough for me to say something good about it.

OK, it is all about the smoked chicken (留家煙燻雞), this is a dish which not many restaurants can prepare well, some would even smoke the chicken to turn char, or too dry or too smoky in smell, but Kin's Kitchen does it so well that the chicken is smoked to the right extent, the meat would remain tender and juicy, and the smell and taste are also very unique. At lunch hours they even offer a one-man set that includes soup of the day, a nice vegetable in soup dish, and a free dessert.

The owner of the restaurant Mr. Lau Kin Wai (劉健威) is a famous columnist in a local business newspaper, I read his articles regularly, and I think he really knows about food in depth, more than an year ago I  treated an important guest at Kin's Kitchen and dine at the second floor, which is a home-style dining environment we called 私房菜, which literally means Private Kitchen, most of the food were good though I am not totally amazed by everyone (and the price was very high too), but the smoked chicken left very big impression indeed. Unfortunately, that was a very important guest and it was inappropriate to take pictures.

So this is another eatery in Tin Hau that you should try out, and nearby you can also find an Indian food restaurant named Palki (皇轎) that many say are good, since I am not fond of Indian food (I tried only once when I travelled in London a few years ago), I really can't give any comments.


Palki (皇轎) - The indian restaurant

Kin's Kitchen (留家廚房)
Address in Chinese: 天后清風街9號
Address in English: 9 Tsing Fung Street, Tin Hau
Tel: 2571 0913

Saturday, 06 March 2010 14:12:00 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Friday, 30 October 2009

I once thought I would have my first hairy crab (大閘蟹) meal this season at East Ocean, but unexpectedly it turned out to be Shark's Fin City restaurant instead. Just by chance anyway.

The set is simple, without too much fansy stuff, soup, a traditional chinese wine to offset the supposed "cold" elements from Hairy Crab, a ginger dessert that serves the same purpose, and of course, the main character - hairy crabs!

There are two hairy crab dishes aside from the 2 medium size steamed hairy crab:


The hairy crab paste Xiao Long Bao (小籠包) is unexpectedly good, the skin is not bad, the meat stuff tasted fresh, but the amount of paste (crab soup) inside is too little.


The crab paste + bread roll is ok, although not as good as the Crab paste garlic toast (蟹粉蒜茸飽) from East Ocean (東海海都), the amount of crab paste provided is bigger in quantity (not as great as that from East Ocean but ok too)

Now the crabs, there are 2 crabs, and they serve the next only after you have done with the first so all crabs can be eaten hot, the services were quite good and I am satisfied. The quality of the crabs are ok too, not super super but very good already, they have the true crab aroma which I failed to experience last year, it may be true that the overall quality this season has improved, I believe so as the lungs of the crabs are clean, a sign that they were grown in clean environment.


First crab


Second crab


Other stuffs

A good meal for HKD 490!

Friday, 30 October 2009 22:43:32 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Friday, 04 September 2009

Finally, I was able to find time to have a Yellow Oil Crab meal at East Ocean, the HKD 398 set is a very good deal, although the crab is far from perfect, the set all together is very satisfying.

The menu: http://www.eastocean.com.hk/OCrabSets.html

The Yellow Oil crab (黄油蟹) feels bigger and richer than the one I had at SuperStar, but the crab quality may be a little bit "rougher" in comparison, the crab aroma seems stronger, but some part of it is too dry, and the yellow oil is rather concentrated instead of being distributed into the whole body (which may not be a bad thing for me).

yellow oil crab

I think to be fair one should not expect to have the highest quality yellow oil crab from a set at this price range, therefore I would say that the one I had from East Ocean is good for the value already, besides, all the other items are very good except the "wor tip" and dessert, which being ordinary, would become even less attractive at a time when I was already very full.


The meat and chicken are very good, simple but good tasting


The Yellow Oil Crab (黄油蟹) Xiao Long Bao (小籠包) is at the same quality like I mentioned in my previous blog entry, the "yellow oil" is great, but the meat quality can still be improved


The Shark Fin Soup at Superstar is creamy and having a bigger serving size. This one from East Ocean is cooked in clear chicken broth, very nice too.


The abalone from East Ocean is also small as expected, but it tastes quite well this time. I know many from the west are terrified by having poultry feet as food, but goose feet in abalone sauce is one of my best favorite!


I like this vegetable dish, the dried scallop cooked this way is one of my favorite


The "wor tip" is too oily, and quality is not that good. The desert is also average, much better if they can subsitute this with something else

Since I ordered only 1 set, so there is no complimentary Sake (Japanese wine), instead, I got a glass of fruit juice. I had only a little of it, based on some side information, having too much vitamin C rich content along with Crab may produce "undesirable" condition inside our stomach, I am not sure about how true it is, but just wanna play safe. After all, I was already too full after eating all these.


The service at East Ocean also beats Superstar in some ways, they provide the full set of gears at the start, and the waiters responded faster, but from both restaurants there are good and poor staffs, there are two things that I am disappointed today with East Ocean: cold hand cleansing water, and slow in handling my payment.

Overall I would rate the set at East Ocean a better deal than that from SuperStar, not only that the price is lower, the crab and many of the items are having better quality, since the disparity is not that big, if you do not mind having two yellow oil crab meals, I would suggest that you tried out both, but if you want to have only one, may be you can consider East Ocean's first.

The branch I went to was again in Wan Chai Harbour Centre, please find the full list of East Ocean's branch at:
 
Friday, 04 September 2009 20:15:31 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Friday, 28 August 2009

I have been planning to have my first Yellow Oil Crab meal at East Ocean (東海), but just always couldn't make it, and by chance it was more convenient for me to eat at SuperStar today, so despite that the East Ocean set is more attractive to me, I decided to try out SuperStar (鴻星) first.

There are three sets for me to choose, I chose the least expensive one, not exactly because I want to save money, but I think the extra spending for the higher end sets do not bring in much value for me.

If you take a look at the menu, you would notice that they priced the crab alone at around HKD 325 (The crab in the set is around 190g, while the one that they priced individually is 228g, $65 per 38g), HKD 325 = USD 41.50, around the price of a Dungeness crab in US, but this crab is way much smaller as you can imagine from the weight alone, so you can see how expensive the yellow oil crab is. 

http://superstargroup.com.hk/setmenu/09_07crab/09_07crab.html

I don't see SuperStar as the best restaurant for Shark's Fin, therefore I won't order higher end set because of that, and in fact, I see the creamy Braised Shark's Fin even better than the Double Boiled Shark's Fin. The Bird's Nest for Almond Cream is also useless, as it can hardly be felt, the only good ones in the most expensive set is the Prawn, which indeed is a very delicious dish.

But my main target today was the Yellow Oil Crab, the rest were for added value only, so I thought that the HKD 568 set is the best deal, and I was right, the set has real good value.

I am not a big fan of SuperStar as I had a very bad experience there, exactly at the Times Square branch a few years ago, they missed orders and kept us waiting, and the staffs were so impolite in handling our complaint. But to my surprise, the service today is quite good, only one failed to respond to my request despite that she promised to help. I can feel that they do not have enough people to serve during peak hours.

Back to the main topic, the Yellow Oil Crab is fat and rich in yellow oil, but somehow I feel that the yellow oil is lacking the great aroma I used to experience last year, I'll see if I can get that same sensation when I try out East Ocean's.

In a way, yellow oil crabs are better than the much more famous Hairy crabs, and it is only produced in the Pearl river delta area near Hong Kong waters. A lot of people says that the quality of these crabs are better than the hairy crab, which are having contamination issues due to environment pollutions in the lakes of China. But the pricing of these crabs are really too high, hairy crab can also be expensive, but there are also low cost options with relatively acceptable quality, so people can afford to eat quite a lot of them. But for yellow oil crab oil, we really need to control our appetite because the production is limited.

Another special thing about Yellow Crab Oil is that it is usually boiled with wine, the reason is that to avoid losing the yellow oil, you can't let the crab struggle too much during cooking (the feet may fell off and leaking yellow oil), and have to use wine to make it drunk before cooking it. Sounds like a humane way of feasting. Well, life is full of paradox, having to kill a creature for another creature to survive is a bad design of the world we are today, I don't like it and such a thought is truly annoying when thinking about eating great food...

A few things to ask for when ordering yellow oil crab in a restaurant:
1.  Gears for eating crab, since the crab is small, you need them for picking up the crab meat in the legs. The Superstar stuffs did not get that for me today.

2. Hot water with Lemon for washing hands

3. A small spoon for picking up the crab paste

Always remember, what you go for in a yellow oil crab is the yellow stuffs (paste, oil) there, unlike the Dungeness crab, the crab meat is so few that it is mainly a by-product. This reminds me a funny experience in Seattle, I had Dungeness crab twice there and in both occasion, they served me crabs without the paste (not sure how this thing is called in US), I guess they treat these as waste, well, the crab paste of Dungeness crab is indeed not so good, no wonder it is not valued, but not for the yellow oil crab.

One characteristic of the yellow oil crab is that the yellow oil will flow to all parts of the crab's body, a reaction from the heat of the sun.


For the rest of the dishes, all are quite good, so as far as food value is concerned, this set is worth the money.

 

The abalone is just average (I did not expect much from an "abalone" from a set), surprisingly though, the side dishes that come with the abalone is quite good


 

花彫 is a chinese rice wine originated from Shaoxing (紹興) of Zhejiang (浙江) provinces, not bad to have some after a crab meal.


 

Well, the dessert (almond cream) is just ok

Address in Chinese: 銅鑼灣時代廣場食通天10樓1005鋪
Address in English: 1005, 10th Floor,Times Square,1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay
Tel: 2628 0886
 
SuperStar has quite a number of branches in Hong Kong, there are rumors that the one at TST (Tsim Sha Tsui) is the best,  the address list of SuperStar's branch an be found at the following link (but only in Chinese version):
 
Friday, 28 August 2009 21:10:01 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Tuesday, 21 July 2009

I have tried Shark's Fin City Restaurant (魚翅城酒家) a couple times more after my last blog entry on this restaurant (http://www.biginhongkong.com/2009/06/04/SharksFinCityRestaurant.aspx), it is really a good choice with good value for the money, only caveat is that some of their staffs did not serve well, I have been served cold food twice (while they should be hot), in one case the staff took it and heated it for me without saying much, but during the other time, the waiter questioned in a very unpleasant way, while some other staffs performed well, some just fail to perform under heavy workload. But for the environment, this restaurant is very good, not very noisy and spacing is fine.

The food, however, is really good value, I tried again the set I mentioned last time:

Pictures for the set:

Very rich and creamy shark's Fin Chicken Soup!

 

 

 

 

This is Bean Curb dessert (豆腐花), should give it a try, you can control how much Syrup you want to put in

 

Aside from the set, the dim sum and dishes are also great, below are the recommended ones!

 

 

Most friends from western world may not like to eat internals, but the beef stomach (金錢肚) on the left is really good, and their Crispy Pork (燒腩肉) is also nice, though not as good as that of Fu Sing (please see http://www.biginhongkong.com/2009/03/07/FuSingSharkFinSeafoodRestaurantPartII.aspx)

 

The Taro Puff (蜂巢芋角) is also excellent!

 

This specially favoured fried chicken (南乳雞) is spiced up by Fermented Bean Curb, truly a delicacy!

This is a restaurant that you should not miss, I really wonder why it is not mentioned in the Michelin Guide.

Address in Chinese:
銅鑼灣勿地臣街1號 時代廣場 食通天 1102 號舖

Address in English:
Shop No. 1102, Times Square, 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay

Tel: 3102 9838

Google Map: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=114499201820180881946.000463d25b524e2ce06d1

Tuesday, 21 July 2009 20:07:48 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Sunday, 12 July 2009

There is another interesting place to visit if you are a fan of Xiao Long Bao (小籠包), Wing Lai Yuen - Yeung's Kitchen 詠藜園楊家菜 is located at Hung Hom, in a food plaza known as 黃埔美食坊, this food plaza used to be extremely popular but I feel that the magic has diminished, Wing Lai Yuen is the only special one there I would go for, the rest are either average or has branches elsewhere.

Is Wing Lai Yuen's Xiao Long Bao (小籠包) as great as those of Crystal Jade or Modern China Restaurant? Personally I think not, though they are still very good. But Wing Lai Yuen offers something else which attracts a lot of people, 擔擔麵 Dan Dan Noodles is a special Sichuan cuisine, the special thing about it are the use of spicy sauce, and the peanut flavors (there is a non-spicy version of it if you cannot take it). Although I am not a fan of Dan Dan Noodle, its popularity and word of mouth reputation make me believe that it fits the savor of many people, especially those who loves spicy food.

 

Xiao Long Bao (小籠包)

 

擔擔麵 Dan Dan Noodles, I suggest that you ordering one to see if it tastes great for you, it is extremely popular!

 

Wor tip 煱貼 (Potsticker)

Wing Lai Yuen offers a lot more than what I mentioned, especially Sichuan style and Yeung's Imperial style cuisines, but if these do not really ring a bell for you, I would not suggest that you travel all the way to Hung Hom just to try out Wing Lai Yuen, but it can be an excellent (or perhaps an absolute) choice if you happen to be there in the vicinity. It is a very special high quality restaurant with very reasonable pricing.

Wing Lai Yuen - Yeung's Kitchen 詠藜園楊家菜

Address in Chinese: 紅磡德安街7號黃埔新天地黃埔花園8期106-107號舖
Address in English: Shop 106-107, Site 8, Wonderful Worlds Of Whampoa, 7 Tak On Street, Hung Hom, Hong Kong 
Tel: 2320 6430

Google Map: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=114499201820180881946.000463d25b524e2ce06d1

Sunday, 12 July 2009 13:21:42 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Wednesday, 08 July 2009

I talked about Crystal Jade as a great restaurant for Shanghai style food, especially Xiao Long Bao (小籠包), but there is another one which is almost as good as Crystal Jade, I would say that 金滿庭 "Modern China Restaurant" is also definitely worth trying.

They feature a smaller Xiao Long Bao (小籠包), 8 pieces in an order, that can be easily eaten in one bite:

The chicken soup noodle is also a nice surprise, it first tasted too light for me, but gradually I can feel the richness of the chicken soup, and not being too heavy/salty or oily is good.


Address in Chinese: 銅鑼灣 勿地臣街1號 時代廣場 10樓1002號舖
Address in English:Shop 1002, 10/F, Times Square, 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay
Tel : 2506 2525

Google Map: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=114499201820180881946.000463d25b524e2ce06d1

Note: They are also located at Times Square like Crystal Jade, and they have another branch at Olympian City 2 (奧海城2期)

By the way, the decoration there is quite unique, and they offer good tea too, I also find their staffs polite and professional, and pricing is also reasonable, but there are always a lot of people there (like Crystal Jade), so better get there early to avoid long waiting time.

Wednesday, 08 July 2009 18:22:15 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Thursday, 02 July 2009
 #
 

Noodle is a great invention believed to be originated in middle Asia, in my world of noodles, I would classify my favorites into two: Cantonese noodles and La Mian (拉麵) - hand pulled stretch noodles, and the later are often served in Shanghai style restaurants.

And the flag ship food for most Shanghai style restaurants, 小籠包 (Xiao Long Bao), which can be described somehow as steamed pork dumpling (note: this is not Siu Mai - see picture please) is one of my great favorite, and the best I believe is served by Crystal Jade 翡翠拉麵小籠包), I like the freshness of the material and the soup within the dumpling is very delicious and rich, another good thing is that the skin is not too thick yet able to hold the soup within without easily being broken.

 

They have many branches in Hong Kong, the Michelin Guide recommended the one in TST, but I think the quality is quite consistent among all branches, as I have tried the followings:

Wan Chai:
Address in Chinese: 灣仔莊士敦道181號大有商場3樓301舖
Address in English: Shop 301, Tai Yau Plaza, 181 Johnston Road, Wan Chai 
Tel: 2573 8844

Wan chai branch Photos:

 

Causeway Bay (Times Square)
Address in Chinese: 銅鑼灣勿地臣街1號時代廣場地庫 B221A
Address in English: Basement B221A,Times Square,1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay
Tel: 2506 0080

Google Map: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=114499201820180881946.000463d25b524e2ce06d1

Aside from Xiao Long Bao, the noodles are great too, and if you happen to be in Hong Kong during Autumn season when the hairy crabs are available, their special hairy crab dishes are definitely worth trying, the following is a crab meat noodle I had in December 2008 (cannot recall if those were hairy crab meat though, but December is already off season).

 

Crystal Jade also offers luxurious dishes, like this Braised Shark's Fin soup with Chicken was excellent!


But if you like something nice and reasonably priced, you can also try the minced fish meat soup, which I regularly ordered too:

This is a restaurant chain that I would highly recommend! I think they offer the best 小籠包 (Xiao Long Bao) in town!

Thursday, 02 July 2009 21:07:34 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Sunday, 21 June 2009

龍皇酒家 Dragon King Restaurant in Causeway Bay:

This is quite a special restaurant that I tried last night, I had been there before but only ordered dim sum, which was quite good, this time I went there for an occasion of my in-law's, and had a chance to taste some of the best that they can offer, the banquet was very affluent, including abalone, lobsters, shark's fin and many others, I am happy with almost all dishes, so at least for this dinner, I would give high rating to the restaurant.

Nice view from some tables (ours did):

 

Impressive entrée, the fried curb bean cubes are excellent! The fried pork meat is not as great as Fu Sing's but still quite good.

 

I have 1.75 orders of this!

 

I wish I could have taken more pictures, but after all it is a banquet and taking too many pictures did not seem to be appropriate, but there was one that triggered many guests to pull out their camera....:

So they are serving something in a test tube! No worries, these are neither drugs nor some secret chinese potion, they are simply vegetable juices, while I had terrible experiences on vegetable juices, the red one seems to taste quite well, but one advice, don't try to mix them together, it would bring out the worst of both.

Anyway, it was a fun and good dining experiences!

Address in Chinese: 銅鑼灣告士打道 280 號世貿中心 12/F

Addess in English: 12/F The World Trade Centre, 280 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay

Tel: 28952288

Sunday, 21 June 2009 22:19:30 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Monday, 08 June 2009
 #
 

Regal Palace is a restaurant that I frequently visited in 2007 and 2008 with my family, but less often now as Jade Garden is now the preferred choice, partly for budget reason, I would not object the 1 star rating given to the restaurant by Michelin Guide, but if for casual dining, I think a few other restaurants can offer similar value with less spending.

What I like most about the restaurant is the environment and service, which is truly excellent, the food is great too though a little expensive, I think one of their dim sum which is the best in Hong Kong would be the Fried Taro Seafood pie, I just feel that it is much better than all other restaurants:


The fried crab claws is also nice, though many others can do as good as well.

The Shark fin soup dumpling is also great:


I recently tried a special dish that they were promoting, 佛跳牆 is a famous dish from Southern China, the term literally means that even Buddha would jump over the wall to taste it, although this seems to be a lack of respect religiously, I think the chef who invented this just wished to explain how great it is. The dish is an expensive one making up of abalone, Sea Cumcumber, Shark Fin and other good material, it is also one of my favorite dish.

But this one from Regal Palace is a little disappointing, the size is smaller than expected but it ok ok, the issue is the taste, while the soup base is fine, the material does not seem to taste good, and I am even a little surprise to find a piece of bone inside, which is not supposed to happen.

Anyway, this restaurant also has a few other famous dishes great for dining, but for dim sum and casual eating, may be I would not come as often as I want.


富豪金殿 Regal Palace

Address in Chinese:  銅鑼灣怡和街88號富豪香港酒店3樓

Address in English: 3/F, Regal Hongkong Hotel, 88 Yee Wo Street, Causeway Bay 

Tel: 2837 1773

Google Map: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=114499201820180881946.000463d25b524e2ce06d1

 

Monday, 08 June 2009 23:03:02 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Thursday, 04 June 2009

This time I'll blog about a restaurant NOT on the Michelin Guide, but I can assure you, the food quality, service level and environment can match most of the best in the guide.


魚翅城酒家, Shark's Fin City Restaurant, as the name implied, specialized on Shark Fin dishes, but of course they also offer other great dishes, as well as dim sum, they have quite a few branches but I always go to the one in Times Square Causeway Bay (yes, there is a "Times Square" in Hong Kong)

Here are many of the food that I have tried:

Shark's Fin Dumpling

I would say that their Sio Mai is one of the best in town, the barbicue bun is not bad too

 

They recently offered a set which is a very good deal!

The menu in Chinese, 4 items plus a dim sum from the list on the right.

The Shark's Fin Soup is superb, very rich content! Good deal indeed! I can choose a type of dim sum as part of the set, of course I choose Ha Gau (Shrimp Dumpling), not only because I like it, but also because it is the most expensive one among the options.

The "fish belly" is the one with great value, not the noodle. Well, "Fish belly" may not be the right term, I'll probably need to do some research later, this one is very nutritious but not as good tasting as I expected though. 

This egg pie has bird's nest on it, would cost much more than the regular ones found on the streets, majority of HK eateries can prepare this one well, personally I do not see bird's nest adding much flavor or value to it, but nice to have one if it comes with the set.

The dessert, just ordinary stuff...

Their pricing recently is very competitive without sacrificing quality, very economical for us to have high quality food!

Address in Chinese:
銅鑼灣勿地臣街1號 時代廣場 食通天 1102 號舖

Address in English:
Shop No. 1102, Times Square, 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay

Tel: 3102 9838

Google Map: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=114499201820180881946.000463d25b524e2ce06d1

Thursday, 04 June 2009 23:41:57 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Saturday, 18 April 2009

Hong Kong Disneyland is probably the only Disneyland where you can find high quality Chinese food, although there are rich varieties of food choices in the park, if you not aiming for a quick meal and wish to have better dining experiences, Plaza Inn can be a good choice.

The dishes are quite expensive so I ordered better ones as it gives best value for the money, a nice surprise is the Crab meat soap (蟹肉榆耳羹), 蟹肉 = Crab meat and 榆耳 is a kind of edible mushroom, the combination is very nice and it is one of the best soup I had, what is special is that the flavor is  delicious but not as heavy as typical in Chinese soup, I think perhaps 榆耳 is what gives the soup the special taste.

I also ordered 遼參爆京蔥, 遼參 is an expensive species of sea cucumber, those from Hokkaido Japan are extremely expensive, so I assume that the ones we had are from China, but this dish is quite a bargain considering the number of sea cucumbers included. Fried with Thick Spring Orion, this one is a popular delicacy, and very good to be taken with plain rice, but this restaurant has not brought out the best of it yet, I feel that the taste is yet to be improved.

The crispy skin chicken (脆皮雞) is average, nice one to help stuffing everyone's stomach, also we ordered the Mickey Mouse shape dessert, HKD $39 for 3, just ordinary but ordered it for fun.

Located near the castle where you can watch the fireworks (not within the restaurant but standing outside), the restaurant is easy to find, the food is above average but the pricing is really high for the same class, considering a restaurant inside Disneyland it is expected, Plaza Inn is worth trying if paying a bit more is ok for you and dining in downtown is not viable for your timing (it would take 30 to 45 minutes for you to ride to Kowloon or Hong Kong island via MTR), in our case, we wanted to watch the fireworks at 8:00p, do dining there was a better arrangement.

By the way, if you live in one of the Disney Hotels, I think you can also try out the Chinese restaurants there, the pricing should also be quite high, I haven't tried them yet so cannot comment on the quality of food there.

Saturday, 18 April 2009 14:03:55 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)