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Hong Kong Dining Recs!!! :)

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  • chinese cuisine lover from NY Nov 12, 2005 02:15 AM
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My husband and I will be in Hong Kong for couple days. Last time I was there was in 1996 and it's my husband's first visit. I've been telling my hubby that Hong Kong offers mind blowing Chinese cuisine experience! Could you recommend four to five fantastic Chinese restos (including Dim Sum restos) that are not tourist traps? We are more interested in the food quality than the hip/trendy atmosphere. Thank you so much in advance!!! :)

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  1. stay away from chinese restaurants in any hotels, those are definitely tourist traps. west villa in causeway bay is great for dim sum. lei garden in wanchai is good. there're two great restaurants on lockhart road (tell the taxi driver it's near the 'goose neck bridge), one is a seafood restaurant and the other a chiu chow restaurant...don't know the english name though but you'll see locals lining up outside. extremely good. don't forget to try the shanghai hairy crabs if you're visiting before dec. they're in season now and are superb! do go to the vintage hk cafes for the experience. they are all over the place...have fun and enjoy :)

    4 Replies
    1. re: ruby

      Lei Garden while pricey is good for Dim Sum. Maxim is also good for Dim Sum.

      Ruby,
      Do you have the addresses of the two restaurants on Lockhart Rd?

      thanks,
      ChowAlf

      1. re: ChowAlf

        just called and checked, chiu chow place is 405-419 lockhart road, the seafood place is right next door, you'll see all kinds of seafood displayed in the tanks and in plastic buckets on the floor, can't miss it...there're almost always people waiting in front of the restaurant too

        1. re: ruby

          Ruby,
          Thanks alot for getting the info.
          What are the noteworthy dishes in both restaurants?

          ChowAlf

          1. re: ChowAlf

            you're most welcome :)
            at the chiu chow place
            fried pig's blood pudding; cold crab; goose meat; duck with taro; fried oyster pancakes; oyster porridge; crispy fried noodles with sugar and vinegar; just to name a few regional specialties
            seafood place
            they are very famous for the chili crab, beware as it is very hot but i almost ask for a very mild version; razor clams steamed with garlic; deep fried soft bones of chicken; snails steamed with wine; there's a kind of seafood which i don't know the english name for, the direct chinese name is the 'peeing prawns'...just about any kind of seafood really, ultra fresh and tasty
            enjoy!

    2. I really strongly disagree with the post below - I have lived in HK for 33 years and some of my favourite cantonese food is at the Holiday Inn Golden Mile in TST at the Loong Yuen restaurant - and it is DEFINITELY not a tourist trap - you only see local faces there and not hotel residents (considering most hotel residents to be of European/American persusasion).

      Wan Loong Court in the Kowloon Hotel is good too - but yes there are definitely mind blowing meals to be had outside of Hotels.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Wiley

        Wiley,
        What are the noteworthy dishes at Loong Yuen?

        thanks,
        ChowAlf

        1. re: ChowAlf

          Loong Yuen has wonderful dim sum for lunch (it is not brought out to you in carts - but ordered from a list/menu) But some of the tastiest har gow, siu mai, dumplings, steamed rice rolls, etc.

          During dinner time - they have some of the freshest steamed fish (garnished with hot oil, and spring onions, ginger, etc). The kitchen creates some of the best fried rice out there. The roasted goose, crackling pork, char siu are good. They make some of the finest cantonese food in HK. There are a couple of tasty Szechuan dishes on there menu as well (shrimp/prawn in chili garlic sauce).

          I agree with one of the other posters that Yun Yan in the Miramar has some incredibly tongue tingling szechuan food (great dan dan mein/noodles), crispy orange beef, spring onion cakes, steamed bread.

          MMMMM I can't wait for lunchtime tomorrow I am craving some nice szechuan food talking about it.

          Enjoy HK food during your travels.

          1. re: Wiley

            Hey Wiley-
            Could you give an approximate US dollar estimate of how much we'll spend per person at Loong Yuen? Me and my boyfriend are on a bit of a budget, but that sounds amazing... We've got one night in Hong Kong, and I think it may be just the place for us.

      2. I totally agree with Wiley! In fact the majority of 'Top Notch' fine dining Chinese restaurants are located inside of hotels. Casing point, Intercontinental, Peninsula, Mandarin, Shangri-la, Miramar to name a few. One unique feature usually offers by Hotel restaurants is the 'whole package' ie., Food, wine, Service, Ambience.
        For recommendations, try exploring, floor by floor, the restaurants inside #1 peking Road, TST, Kowloon or Time Square in Causeway Bay over on Hong Kong side.
        Good Luck and Happy Chowing!

        2 Replies
        1. re: Charles

          I agree, there is plenty of good dim sum in the Tsim Sha Tsui hotel area in Kowloon. I travel to HK for work frequently, and we are regularly taken out to the Shang Palace in the Kowloon Shangri La. However my favorite place is the YunYan Szechuan restaurant in the Miramar Shopping Center at 132-134 Nathan Road. I wouldn't call it fancy, but if you like your food spicy...

          1. re: Mary

            Quite good dim sum at Very Good restaurant, in TST on Nathan Road next to Miramar shopping center, downstairs.

        2. I also disagree with with the earlier post about saying places to eat in the big hotels were tourist traps. There are great restaurants inside the Kowloon Shangri-La, Grand Stafford,
          Royal Garden, etc. They are not cheap but they are used by local residents and are reliable.

          1. In asia, most of the best (albeit expensive) are usually in Hotels...

            For Chinese food, Victoria Harbour Seafood Restaurant (One in Citic Centre near admirality, the other is in Sun Hung Kai Centre in Wan Chai) definitely takes the cake for me. Go there for amazing dim sum during lunch, and amazing dishes at night. It is a MUST for me whenever I head back to hk.

            1 Reply
            1. re: s0memale

              I havent been back since the mid90s. Does peninsula still have amazing afternoon tea? Where can you get the BEST fresh morning "you tiu" and "jeen diu"? Anyone have particular rec's for which street stall to hit up for "guy dan jai" and stinky tofu, etc?

            2. There are many "fishing village" experiences in HK. Here are two from our recent trip in November, both on Lantau island.

              1. Relatives picked us up at the airport and drove us to a place on a pier in Tung Chung. I can't really describe how to get there but you can see it from the cable car that goes to the Ngong Ping monastery (the Giant Buddha), the restuarant is by itself and a large boat is docked there. The pier projects into the bay/inlet to the left of the path of the cable car as it goes up, the highrises of Tung Chung visible in the background. Tables are set up in the restaurant and on the pier. Live seafood is displayed in tanks made from an old rowboat and we had delicious prawns, sushi-style sliced octopus, steamed grouper, and huge scallops in their shell with glass noodles and garlic sauce. Abalone, top shell and other snails, etc, were also available.

              2. Tai O. A fishing village comprised of houses on stilts, older than the British presence in Hong Kong, very charming and picturesque.
              You can take the MTR to Tung Chung, and go to the lowest level of the mall there and find a gorgeous Taste supermarket. Buy a couple bottles of white wine (we got an Australian sauvignon blanc and a nice, inexpensive Gavi).
              At the entrance to the Ngong Ping cable car you can buy a combo ticket for the cable car to the Buddha and bus from there to Tai O. Alternatively, buses go directly to Tai O from Tung Chung, or you can catch a regular bus to Tai O from the Buddha (bus stop signs are marked, I think it was #22 but check). We did the latter because the combo tickets were sold out.
              Once in Tai O you can wander the streets, shop for dried fish bladders and jars of shimp sauce, etc. Drop your wine at Good View Restaurant (before the bridge) for chilling. At the bridge (formerly a cable-pull mini ferry) look down and fishermen are selling seafood from the boats. We bought a huge fish, giant king prawns and two spiny lobsters. Then you can bring these back to Good View where they will prepare the food.
              Lobsters were simply split lengthwise, cooked, and served with garlic sauce. The king prawns were served in a starchy sauce and were amazing. Fish came two ways--the bony portions and head were served separately from all meat filet portions, delicious preparations. We also got cuttlefish balls (friend's uncle remarked that they are really good because they can bounce) with glass noodles, and a homestyle preparation of sliced melon (looks like a hairy cucumber) with dried shrimp.
              Excellent place!
              [One caveat, the lobster is local so make sure it is cooked thoroughly and avoid the green stomach contents, as delectable as they might seem, unless you eat it regularly!]

              1 Reply
              1. re: kenito799

                Great report!! I'll be in HK early January and will definitely try following your foot step. I'm a Riesling person, so I guess I'll bring along a semi-dry Riesling instead! Happy chowing!

              2. Kenito,

                Are these fishing village experiences something a non-chinese speaker can navigate? I don't imagine the fishermen speak english, although I have no problem pointing and pantomiming. How about the restaurant. I'd be ok with letting them decide how to prepare our purchases, but I'd hate to hand then a fish hand have them stare at me, waiting for me to tell them how I'd like it prepared.

                5 Replies
                1. re: poncho

                  I'd love to know whether or not this is the case as well. I keep hearing about great food experiences in HK and I always wonder if I'll be able to have them without having a native chinese speaker on hand!

                  1. re: alpha_ori

                    Hong Kong is used to english speakers. you might consider taking the ferry to Lamma Island (Yung Shue Wan), walking the trail to Sok Kwu Wan and dining at the any of the seafood restaurants. I'm partial to Rainbow Seafood but maybe that's because they'll pick you up for free at Queen's Pier at Central and return you at your convenience.

                    Lamma is pretty cool. you might want to consider checking out Deli Lamma, Island Bar and the pigeon restaurant.

                    lots to see/do. don't be timid.

                  2. re: poncho

                    While the grasp on English in HK is slipping somewhat, you can almost always get by in English -- and, this being Asia, if they don't understand you, they'll have no qualms about grabbing someone (even another person in line) to translate.

                    Go, do it... though I wasn't fond of Deli Lamma.

                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                      Back in 1997 I found using English (or even Mandarin) problematic. Sure, the places that catered to Brits, expats and business travelers happily accommodated English speakers, but not the places I most wanted to check out -- the small, local places that had the lines out the door.

                      1. re: Gary Soup

                        Really? I was just over in November and while there were occasionally some frustrating moments (one of which was when I forgot the words in Cantonese for how to make the minibus stop), usually they'd see Large White Guy and go get Designated English Speaker.

                        The only place I had a problem was one place up in the New Territories, where we ended up conversing in pidgin Vietnamese.

                  3. I'm talking about small hole-in-the-wall places, mostly in mid-Kowloon (where I spent most of my time). Beyond dim sum items, my Cantonese was zilch (still is). Fortunately, I found some Shanghainese-run places where I could make do with my "Yangjingbang". My other cheap-eats strategy (and I was always trying to shelter my stingy per diem for travel money) was to go to places like Cafe de Coral where I could point to a picture on the menu board.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Gary Soup

                      You know, for what it is (the Hong Kong equivalent of a Luby's), Cafe de Coral fails to suck... and it's cheap, and it's ubiquitous, and they all take Octopus so it's even easier than it otherwise would be.

                    2. as with most cities, speaking the native tongue opens doors. Most small mom & pop joints will have trad chinese only menus. Even if you can't read, a speaker can at least inquire about their specialities. That's usually the best way to order I find.

                      For a very authentic experience, try heading to Kowloon City. They have a great bunch of chiu chow restaurants. Also there's a street w/ various thai shops and restaurants.

                      It's not tourist infested as there's no mtr stop, plus you can check out the kowloon city park. Which is built partially on the grounds of the kowloon walled city.