# Friday, February 19, 2010

I noticed that in recent years there are more tourists around the neighborhood, I guess that's mainly because of the few hotels nearby, Tin Hau is a special area that has several advantage, it is only a few minutes away from Causeway Bay, but is relatively quiet and not crowded, it also offers big convenience in transportation, you can take MTR (Tin Hau station), bus (there is a bus terminal beside MTR station with routes to airport - E11 - which is slower though), plus another bus station for riding to famous destinations such as Stanleys, and A11 to airport, which is faster than E11), taxi (there is a taxi station at Electric Road) or even the slow moving tram (The station going West is just in front of MTR station). All these transportation options are close to each other, within a few minutes walk away from the MTR station, and L'hotel is the most convenient one as it is just on the opposite side of the station.

So I am happy to live in such an area, and if you live in L'hotel, I think you would find the area ok, but regarding food option, I think Tin Hau offers more for local people than for tourists, my favorite is Sister Wah (Wah Tze)'s beef noodles (華姐清湯腩), it is consistently good, but I am not sure if foreign visitors will find the environment fine, as this small eatery will expect quick turnover, and try to pack as many people as they can, so if you really wish to try it, find a time when few people will be eating there, avoid lunch hours especially.

My favorite - I like to have it this way, noodle separated from soup (牛腩撈麵)

Beef Noodle in Soup - 清湯牛腩麵 - nice

This Marinated (滷水) beef is one of the best in town

Address in Chinese: 天后電氣道13號A地下
Address in English: Ground floor, 13A Electric Road, Tin Hau
Tel: 2807 0181

There is also a restaurant just beside MTR station (Viking seafood), I actually treated my relatives there during this Chinese new year gathering, honestly, I chose it not because of anything except easy booking and convenience (near my home and it was raining, plus my relatives parked their car nearby), but as expected, there are always something from them to disappoint me, and this time was the chairs, well, yes, they ran out of chairs, and one waiter had severe foul body odor that was extremely offending, the food was average to below average as I have known all along, so I think unless you are facing the same situation as I did (bad weather, no time), try others, in fact, if you are willing to take a short ride, you can find much better dim Sum restaurants in either North Point or Causeway Bay.

Friday, February 19, 2010 4:31:05 PM (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Thursday, January 21, 2010

Din Tai Fung (or Ting Tai Fung - 鼎泰豐) is a very famous Taiwan chain restaurant known for its Xiao Long Bao (小籠包), it used to have branches in Hong Kong but only in Kowloon side, recently (in December 2009) they opened a branch in Causeway Bay, and as expected, it becomes a hot restaurant with crowds going there everyday, it took us 30 minutes to get a table.

Are their Xiao Long Bao (小籠包) really that good? The answer is yes, thin skin and juicy, although I would say Crystal Jade (翡翠拉麵小籠包) and Modern China Restaurant (金滿庭) offers equally good quality Xiao Long Bao, Din Tai Fung has other varieties beyond the commonly available Ordinary ones or crab paste ones (蟹粉小籠包), I also tried the Taro version (荔芋小籠包), and they are excellent, just sweet to the right extent, very special!

Taro Xiao Long Bao  (荔芋小籠包) - It is so attractive that I can't ask my guests to wait for my photo taking (2 taken out of 6 immediately)

Other recommended dishes:

紅燒牛肉麵 Braised beef noodle soup - Great!

蒜茸油麥菜 Yau Mak Choi - Not having it at home before, it is good!

蛋白蝦仁炒飯 Fried rice with eggs and shrimp - My kid likes this very much

蝦仁餛飩麵 Shrimp and pork wonton noodle - My favorite!

乾拌麵 Dry noodle with special sause - Very simple but tastes great


But not everything is great there for everyone, there are things that does not work for me too:

擔擔麵 Taiwan style Dan Dan noodle (Noodles mixed in sesame and Peanut) - I don't like Dan Dan noodle as peanut + noodle is not a combination working for me, my guests likes Dan Dan noodle but they were not excited by this one either. However, this one is very popular and we could be wrong. If you love Dan Dan noodle there is no reason not to try them.

The only thing that is disappointing is the Steamed shrimp and pork dumpling (蝦仁燒賣), very expensive but so so only - it has good looks, but does not taste great. The Cantonese style dim sum will do better for this one.

The restaurant is excellent but the crowds can be an issue, if any nice Xiao Long Bao (小籠包) and noodle soup is fine for you, you can consider  alternatives such as Crystal Jade (翡翠拉麵小籠包) or Modern China Restaurant (金滿庭) if the queue is too long, but if you can get there early (get there at 11:30a will be helpful) Din Tai Fung would be an excellent choice. By the way, it is located at Regal Hotel, so if there are too many people there, you can try the other restaurants there, Regel Palace is on the third floor (I have a review for Regal Palace at http://www.biginhongkong.com/2009/06/08/RegalPalace.aspx, and I think Fu Sing also opened a new branch there as well.

Another great thing about them is the service, the attitude and service quality is not what Crystal Jade or Modern China can offer, in fact, I just had a bad experience in Crystal Jade branch in Causeway Bay World Trade Center, in contrast, Din Tai Fung's stuff were very polite and considerate, they even have nice eating ware for kids! And for efficiency purpose, they would provide a order form to you while you are waiting for table.

Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐) is as good as it says it is, but wonder how many other similar restaurants the New York Times writer had tried and compared.

Official Din Tai Fung Web Site (Taiwan): http://www.dintaifung.com.tw

Address in Chinese: 銅鑼灣怡和街68號地下
Address in English:G/F, 68 Yee Woo Street, Causeway Bay

Tel 3160 8998

Thursday, January 21, 2010 3:09:28 PM (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Sunday, July 12, 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, July 12, 2009 1:21:42 PM (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Wednesday, July 8, 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, July 8, 2009 6:22:15 PM (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Thursday, July 2, 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, July 2, 2009 9:07:34 PM (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Thursday, April 23, 2009

Two days ago I blogged about "Dim Sum" (譽滿坊) in Happy Valley, a few minutes walk away from it you can find the other eatery mentioned in the Michelin guide - "Tasty" (正斗粥麵專家), here I like to share a comparison between the two.

Personally I would choose "Dim Sum" (譽滿坊) over "Tasty" (正斗粥麵專家) if I can only choose one, not because "Tasty" is not good, but because of the uniqueness of "Dim Sum", both has the special deco that western visitors would look for (and may be that's why they were both selected in the Michelin guide but not the other great eateries in Happy Valley), however, the items that "Tasty" offers can be easily found elsewhere, without much quality difference, and that they have a few other branches in areas such as Hung Hom and Central as well. "Dim Sum" (譽滿坊), on the other hand, has no branches and offers items not found elsewhere, "Dim Sum", however, does NOT offer noodles nor congee.

There are many specialties in "Tasty", I think the dim sum there is only average, but the congee and noodles are worth trying, I also believe that the Michelin recommended braised goose webs should be good, actually, most top class chef in Hong Kong can cook that very well as it is truly a delicacy. Talking about food using the feet of poultries as ingredients, I remember what one of my former boss used to say when we eat together: "You can order anything you want, except Chicken feet", well, he was from New Zealand, and he knows that Chicken Feet is one of my favorite.

The soup noodles from "Tasty" seems to be rather too salty and oily, I preferred their congee better, in fact, if you like the famous Wanton Noodles, I would say that the other restaurants such as Mak's Noodle, Wing Wah and Yeung's Noodle are even better choices, though the three eateries do not have the type of deco and environment that "Tasty" offers.

The noodle shown here is Sui Gau Noodle (水餃麵), which is rather strange in the way Sui Gau (水餃) are usually defined, it looks and eats more like a wanton (雲吞) in Sui Gau (水餃) shape.

And the place is a little crowdy too if you have to take the round tables, the waiters are ok but there are too many of them packed in a small area like that, I felt more at ease elsewhere.

Tasty Congee & Noodle Wantun Shop (正斗粥麵專家)

Address in Chinese: 跑馬地景光街21號地下
Address in English: G/F, 21 King Kwong St., Happy Valley 
Tel: 2838 3922

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

Thursday, April 23, 2009 5:59:38 PM (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)