First day in Hong Kong
- Jeremy Osner
The rest of Guangzhou was pretty much of a wash eating-wise, nothing special, oh well...
Well here we are in Kowloon and I just had a great lunch! It was at Macao Restaurant on Lock Rd. just south of Haiphong Rd., let me tell you I will be seeking out Macaovian (?) cuisine when I return to New York, I hope it is available! The dish I had was like Indian food, but with all of it's (to my tastes) deficiencies corrected. It was, namely, a curried brisket of ox with potatoes -- a very very simple dish that sent me. Just meat, potatoes, and gravy, all the flavors in just the right harmony -- way better (to my tastes) than any curry I have had in an Indian restaurant. (But it was clearly an Indian curry, nothing like Thai or Malaysian or Indonesian cuisine.) The spicing was both delicate and powerful at the same time. Anyways I see I am having a hard time describing exactly what it was about this flavor that so thrilled me; I will ask you to take it on faith. To be fair, I did find two faults with the dish: the ox, a very stringy meat, should have been cut into smaller pieces so as not to get in the eater's teeth; and the potatoes should have been cooked a bit longer to achieve maximal falling-apart tenderness and absorption of sauce. These two complaints had no impact on my overall adoration.
Sounds like you had what we called Portugese Curry stew, although maybe I'm thinking of the Portugese Curry Chicken that has raisins in the sauce...Not sure.
If you like duck, there's a restaurant called Jio3 Hua1 Shan1 (meaning literally Nine Flowers Mountain) that offers a Duck Banquet. Here you may need Cantonese speakers to translate the name of the restaurant from Mandarin to Cantonese for the proper way of pronunciation.
The dinner opens with 8 cold appetizers, then nine duck-related dishes, then comes the duck dinner's main star: roast duck that's served with the crepes with scallion, and cucumber...(what we know as Peking Duck)and ends with a rich and milky(in color) duck soup.
If you don't have enough people to get a Duck Banquet going, the roast duck alone sounds like a must have from this place.
You are in a very very good place for food.......I'm sorry I can only come up with one place for you and only through research, not personal experience.....
If only I could recall anything, the vaguest landmark, one character in the name of the restaurant where, in 1994, after a remarkable trek from Beijing to Nanjing to Shanghai to Hakka villages in mountainous Fujian to Shenzhen to Hongkong, I consumed the finest chashao (barbecued pork) ever made. It is a three-story place in Wanchai, with a retail outlet on the first floor and two floors full of wooden booths crowded with older Hongkong gents above, men reading the newspaper and consuming very simple, absolutely delicious rice and roast meats. The rice was served in large aluminum bowls, with the main dish piled atop it. I glanced at the menu under the glass tabletop then made my attempt to communicate to the harried waiter--I was the only non-Hongkonger in the place, and maybe the first round-eye to enter in a while. But Mandarin wasn't working. I tried English. Even worse. The waiter rushed off and sent out the oldest employee in the place to take my order. Maybe he knew some Mandarin, maybe he didn't, but by dint of pointing at the characters on the menu and with some assistance from the bemused guys next to me in the booth, I was able to induce a dim spark of intelligence in the eye of my personal waiter. Off he loped. Ten minutes later I had taken possession of the most astonishing chashao ever to clear the gate of my teeth. And after the meal I bought chicken cookies from the shop downstairs--never had anything like them before or since, and they were flaky, slightly chewy, savory and unforgettable.
Wow, that sounds pretty awesome... I don't know what we'll be doing for food today, our last in Hong Kong, though I can state with fair certainty that it will be extremely informal. I just had a tasty "Portuguese" (not) breakfast at Macao restaurant (see my first post in this thread) -- sliced brisket of beef and luncheon meats with tomato and macaroni in soup, and a very good crispy buttered roll. Now I am topping it off with buttered toast and tea at ShadowMan, the cyber cafe a few doors down Lock Rd. Someone is doing very good things with simple ingredients in the kitchen at Macao.
re: Jeremy Osner
¢Ýops, spoke too soon; we got our second wind. Found one seriously recommensible (?) place and one that I'll mention even though I don't know that I would send people there to eat.
Serious business first: dinner tonight was at Java SE Asian Restaurant, on Hankow Rd. just south of Haiphong (just steps from Macao FWIW). This is a great place that deserves your business. I have never had really good Indonesian cuisine before (though the hostess was quick to assure me that the Singaporean, Indonesian and Malaysian nationalities are just the same, no real differences; but this food was a bit different from the Malaysian cuisine of my experience, and I am prepared to assume, contrary to her assertion, that Singaporean food is a third distinct specie.)
Started with Pergegel Daging, translated as "fried potato balls". My first impression was that they were a litlle weird, and I was prepared to dislike them; but as I ate a couple they came into line with my experience, and I started thinking of them as very light, airy latkes, and realized they tasted very good indeed. while I was working on them I was served rice and Opor Ayam, "chicken with coconut milk", which was similar to a Thai curry except very savory, with little heat. Flavors blended really nicely and left me contented.
The more ambivalent restaurant of the day was Cafe Deco Bar & Grill, where Ellen and I had lunch, at the top of Victoria's Peak. I would recommend making the trip up just for the spectacularness of the view -- it's exhilarating, to be up there looking down into the harbor -- but for food you might be better served by a picnic lunch... I'm not saying their food was bad; quite the contrary, it was very tasty. But it left me flat, no real reaction at all besides, "hmm... this is pretentious, this is over the top..." And very expensive, too.
re: Jeremy Osner
Thanks for your report.
The hostess who said that there is no difference between Indonesian and Malaysian food was either bullshitting or didn't know what she was talking about. Sure, there's some overlap, but there are real differences. Also, of course, Indonesia is so big in area and diverse that food in one part of the country is quite different from in another.
I can totally agree with your comments on the Macau Restaurant. Excellent-try the African Chicken -outstanding.
Can I suggest you catch a KCR line train to Sheung Shui(New Territories) and try the Taj Mahal for the best Indian lamb dish we have ever eaten. Very hospitable - Kamahl and Singh are great hosts.
The stop before Sheung Shui is Fanling. Walk across the overpass to the first restaurant which is run by a delightful lady called Har Pai Ng (maybe not the exact spelling). Outstanding food especially the Beef Soy Noodles and Chill Squid. They have a menu in English which most of the surrounding places do not.
Both places I have recommended are ridiculously cheap in price but outstanding in quality.