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Your opinions on these HK restaurants, please

c
comedor Jan 31, 2008 07:14 PM

Hi, a California foodie here, about to visit HK for a week during New Years. I've gathered some restaurant names from various sources and would like to get opinions.

Anyone have experience with the HKTB pamphlet "Eat Your Way Around Hong Kong" and an opinion as to its recommendations? (I don't want to list all 50 of em!).

Do you have any thoughts on these places?
Luk Yu tea house for dim sum 24-25 Stanley St Central
Maxim Restaurant 3rd floor (for dim sum) City Hall 5 Edinburgh Place
Cafe Siam in Lan Kwai Fong
Hutong, Tsim Sha Tsui (worth the money?)
Wing Hop Shing 113 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan
Tasty Congee & Noodle Won Ton Shop 21 King Kwong St., Happy Valley
Lang Heung Noodles 15A Auston Rd Tsim Sha Tsui
Recs for claypot rice? (We're staying in Kowloon, but obviously will be getting around) Recs for around the midlevel escalators?
All suggestions are welcome!

Thanks in advance for your help.

  1. FourSeasons Jan 31, 2008 09:27 PM

    I have been to Luk Yu and Cafe Siam on your list. The visit to Lu Yu was 7-8 years ago but I have never been back there again even though I am a regular visitor to Hong Kong. In my opinion, there are many better Dim Sum places than Luk Yu in Hong Kong. I went to Cafe Siam 1 year ago, find it just mediocre too.

    1. k
      klyeoh Feb 1, 2008 03:25 AM

      Luk Yu offers a nostalgic peek into what a luxurious Hong Kong teahouse must have looked like in the 1920s - old-fashioned booths, brass spitoons on the floor (for show, I hope) & ancient waitresses bearing trays of golf ball-sized dim sum during early morning breakfast. After 11am (if I remember correctly), the dim sum menu becomes a la carte & more expensive. Waiters tend to fawn over the regulars & may ignore newcomers. Like FourSeasons said, there are better dim sum elsewhere, but a visit to Luk Yu can be an unforgettable experience.

      Maxim has branches all over the city - the City Hall one can be crowded & noisy - do avoid it if you can. I tried the restaurant nearly 10 years ago & the dim sum was great then. But a recent review by fellow Hound, Simon, wasn't too complimentary. Seems like the dim sum's overcooked - the greatest sin in dim sum preparation, which demands perfect timing in steaming.

      Hutong - fabulously hip restaurant with a killer view. The food's not cheap, but executed with aplomb. Try the crispy lamb ribs - you won't find a lamb dish like that anywhere else in the world, and it's superb. The last time I was there, I spotted TV chef Martin Yan enjoying the food.

      Wing Hop Shing's claypot beef rice is THE BEST!!! Melt-in-your-mouth slivers of beef & a raw egg atop rice - stir the whole moolah so the egg gets cooked by the heat retained in the serving vessel. The slightly-burnt rice crust at the bottom of the pot is delicious. But being Singaporean, I usually bring along a jar of chilli paste (sambal) to pep up the flavors though.

      Why Cafe Siam?! I don't find good Thai food in HK (too bland, lack of fresh coconut milk/native Thai limes & definitely not enough chillis), but if you still hanker for Thai, a safer bet would be Simply Thai at Times Square (Causeway bay MTR station).

      Tasty Congee & Noodle Wonton Shop - I go there for my favorite Chinese dish in the whole wide world - braised goose webs/feet in abalone sauce!! If eating goose feet (a Rolls Royce version of chicken feet) is not your bowl of Chinese tea, then go for their shrimp/pork wontons dumplings. My HK cousins swear by its beef hor fun - braised slices of beef on flat white rice noodles.

      Lang Heung Noodles - you're into beef tripe, I presume?! Coz that's what Lang Heung does best - most Hongkongers love it. I tried it once, but found it too rich for my taste.

      Mid-levels - I only frequent one place there: Staunton Bar + Restaurant. Great drinks!

      Other suggestions for a "typical HK experience":
      - try the roast goose, century egg/pickled ginger and braised garoupa tail/fin at Yung Kee;
      - "Swiss sauce" chicken wings & other British/Chinese fusion dishes at the historic Tai Ping Koon, HK's answer to SF's Tadich Grill or Sam's;
      - Wonton noodles at Mak's Noodles in Wellington St, Central. The locals call it Mak Aun Kee;
      - Lin Heung Bakery & Restaurant for HK "working-class" kind of dim sum;
      - Ning Bo Residents' Association (4/F Yip Fung Bldg, D'Aguilar St) for Shanghainese food;
      - M on the Fringe for Aussie/Mediterranean food (the pork & offal dishes are divine);
      - Peking Garden at Alexandra House for its unforgettable Peking duck.

      I could go on forever!

      2 Replies
      1. re: klyeoh
        c
        comedor Feb 1, 2008 06:29 PM

        What a great, frank, detailed reply... just what I was hoping for. Thank you!

        1. re: klyeoh
          FourSeasons Feb 1, 2008 07:53 PM

          Hi klyeoh: I also liked your favorite Chinese dish, braised goose web with abalone sauce. I have never been to Tasty but my favorite restaurant for this dish is Chung's Cuisine in Times Square. I would also order fish stomach along with the goose web, or when I want to splurge, an abalone instead with the goose web. Ching's Cuisine really did a good job on this dish, and the abalone sauce has such rich delicious flavor that I will just order a bowl of rice to mix the sauce in it as well.

        2. Charles Yu Feb 1, 2008 01:06 PM

          I agree with klyeoh's comment. For Dim Sum, stay away from Luk Yu and Maxim ( both highly over rated ). Would go to Fu Sing in Wan Chai or ( since you are staying on Kowloon side ), Zen in the Intercontinental or Tang Court in the Langham Hotel instead. Much, much better quality food. As for claypot rice, try Four seasons in Temple street ( Jordan/Yau Ma Tei area ). Also in the same locale, you can give 'hole in the wall' won ton noodle place Mak Man Kee in Parker street a try, One of the best in HK.

          9 Replies
          1. re: Charles Yu
            c
            comedor Feb 1, 2008 06:32 PM

            Thanks for specific suggestions to try instead.

            1. re: comedor
              k
              kobetobiko Feb 1, 2008 08:36 PM

              I agree with most of the posters' suggestions, especially those of klyeoh's, and will add my two cents here:

              For Luk Yu, while the dim sum isn't that great (it is similar to the dim sum you get in Manhattan Chinatown, which is bad...), their dinner is actually a lot better! Their chef is very skilled and there are some signature dishes that are hard to find else where. Examples are the Pig lung with almond soup (sounds weird but it is amazingly good), the stuffed crispy chicken with stir-fried sticky rice (it is $60 USD per chicken, but well-worth it), and possibly the best pan-fried salty fish in Hong Kong. I think going for dinner will be a much better experience than dim sum at lunch.

              My favorite place for dim sum is Farn House in Causeway Bay and Cusine Cuisine at IFC Central. Fu Shing in Wan Chai suggested by Charles is also a nice option. If you like Cantonese style seafood, Fu Shing does quite a good job during dinner.

              As for claypot, I will not recommend Four Seasons as it has gone way downhill. Wing Hap Shing at Sheng Wan suggested by klyeoh is way better, albeit the hole-in-the-wall decor. If you want a comfortable restaurant for claypot rice, West Villa Restaurant in Causeway Bay also does a decent job (and their chinese sauage and cured duck are very famous)

              Tasty Congee and Noodle is quite good (they also have a branch in IFC which is connected to MTR if that's more convenient to you). I will say it is definitely above average for both noodle and congee, probably better in noodle than congee. However, their wonton is not the best. Mak's (Man Aun Kee or even Yung Kee at Central are probably the best in town.

              For congee, I will suggest Sang Kee Congee shop at Sheung Wan. Their fish congee is so fresh and so wonderful, I wish I can have one every day!

              I am so glad that klyeoh brought up Ning Bo Residents' Association. It does serve high quality Shanghainese food. However, I am not sure if it is members only.

              Just like other said, you can skip Maxim and Cafe Siam.

              If you like the Hong Kong Typhoon-style stir-fried crabs, you should go to King Crab in Causeway Bay! It is very good and there are a lot of great dishes like pepper crabs (hong Kong style), fried shrimp balls, typhoon-style stir fried mantis shrimps, scallions and ginger chicken. It is certainly worth a trip.

              Just as a note, if you are going during Chinese new year, you may want to call these restaurants first as a lot of restaurants and stores are closed for a few days (some up to 10 days) during Chinese New Year.

              Have a fun trip!

              1. re: kobetobiko
                FourSeasons Feb 1, 2008 08:52 PM

                Hi Kobetobiko: I have been to Farm House at Causeway Bay a few times 3-5 years ago but I recall it is more well known for its stuffed chicken wing and baked crab shell rather than its Dim Sum.

                1. re: FourSeasons
                  k
                  kobetobiko Feb 1, 2008 09:07 PM

                  Their stuffed chicken wings and baked crab shells are their signature dishes, but their dim sum is of excellent quality! Definitely one of the few best dim sum places in town. In fact these two dishes are also offered during lunch time as "dim sum" which you can order by piece!

                  1. re: kobetobiko
                    FourSeasons Feb 1, 2008 09:24 PM

                    Then I must have missed its Dim Sum. We just ordered the two signature dishes, which I highly recommended, with the daily special soup, braised abalone & goose web and fried rice. For those who are familiar with the local celebrities scene, you do not want to miss the pictures that were taken on their visits that are on display on its entrance wall.

                  2. re: FourSeasons
                    Peech Jun 28, 2008 11:44 AM

                    Hmmm....having been a fan for Farm House for many years, my last visit was rather disappointing, esp the crab shell. I have stopped going back there.

                    http://chi-he-wan-le.blogspot.com/200...

                  3. re: kobetobiko
                    k
                    klyeoh Feb 2, 2008 04:17 AM

                    Ning Bo Residents' Association is open to all comers, so it's okay to walk-in.

                    1. re: klyeoh
                      FourSeasons Feb 4, 2008 12:57 AM

                      The MEMBERS ONLY Shanghai restaurants in Hong Kong are Kiangsu & Chekiang Residents Association (香港蘇浙同鄉會) and Shanghai Association ( 上海总会). Both considered top notch.

                2. re: Charles Yu
                  FourSeasons Feb 1, 2008 08:06 PM

                  I will second Fu Sing, a very good restaurant. I went there for dinner a month ago and wrote a brief review : http://www.chowhound.com/topics/474650 . I have not tried the Dim Sum there yet but it is getting rave review from serious foodies.

                3. skylineR33 Feb 1, 2008 02:49 PM

                  I have not been to Hutong before, not sure if it is good or not. But If you want to go to Hu Tong, as it is expensive, maybe you want to take a look at this first (just as a reference), it generally receives pretty bad comments from HK locals (most of the reviews are in chinese but some are in English, the first number is food taste score) :

                  http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr...

                  For clay pot rice, I strongly recommend 新翠華(New Chui Wah) at Causeway Bay. It really a "hole in the wall", shabby with loud noise from the strong charcol stoves, BUT has a long line up after 7:00pm everyday. They have an option to add floral tea to cook with the rice to give a lovely aroma of roses !

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: skylineR33
                    c
                    comedor Feb 1, 2008 06:22 PM

                    Thank you all so much for your advice! This is why I love Chow!

                    1. re: skylineR33
                      FourSeasons Feb 1, 2008 07:59 PM

                      Due to the favorable review in Chow, I tried to book Hutong on the last trip but it was full so you need to book early. But like what skylinerR33 said, my local Hong Kong friends do not think highly of this place. They feel it caters for tourists, expatriates and hip young crowd that appreciate the ambience more than the food itself.

                      1. re: FourSeasons
                        k
                        kobetobiko Feb 1, 2008 09:10 PM

                        Hi FS,

                        I agree with your assessment of Hutong. You will find mostly tourists, foreigners, and celebrities there. Not many locals.

                        1. re: kobetobiko
                          k
                          Kiedis Aug 23, 2008 11:44 AM

                          Agree that some items are forgettable at Hutong but there are some that are truly divine. The roast lamb is the crowd favourite and for good reason. Other notable dishes are baby geoduck sashimi on glass noodles, squid with urchin roe, and my personal favourite fried prawns with crab roe and salted egg roe. Each prawn is fried to perfection and coated with a sauce made from crab roe and salted egg yolk.

                          Unlike FS, my local HK friends like the place, though these are a bunch of well-travelled lot. Maybe its their perspective honed by culinary experiences worldwide that makes them more receptive to new ideas?

                        2. re: FourSeasons
                          k
                          klyeoh Jun 11, 2008 01:03 AM

                          Some pics taken at Hutong. The crispy lamb-ribs are divine!

                           
                           
                           
                          1. re: klyeoh
                            a
                            aquarella Jun 17, 2008 01:48 AM

                            How to describe the crispy lamb rib - think of it as a lamb equivalent of perfectly crispy Peking Duck. It's that good.

                            However, it *is* overpriced, and I don't really find other dishes memorable.

                          2. re: FourSeasons
                            Peech Jun 28, 2008 11:25 AM

                            I have never been to Hutong, because I can get the same food at Water Margin in Times Square and other restaurants serving pretty much the same food which have the same owner. You are paying extra just for the view.

                            1. re: Peech
                              k
                              klyeoh Jun 30, 2008 01:25 AM

                              I've always regarded Water Margin as a proto-type of sorts for Hutong, which is the owner's ultimate creation. Love both places - but agree with you: Hutong's got one of the best views in the world!

                          3. re: skylineR33
                            Peech Jun 28, 2008 11:23 AM

                            New Chui Wah is definitely one of the places for claypot rice. But the space is totally cramped and the environment not exactly the cleanest... Be forewarned!

                            1. re: skylineR33
                              e_ting Jun 29, 2008 09:38 PM

                              I'm disappointed every time I go to New Chui Wah - the rice is always good, but it comes with a pathetically teeny amount of meat (or whatever dish you ordered). i can only go SO far with just soy sauce! perhaps you guys have had more luck?

                              1. re: e_ting
                                t
                                twinsmum Sep 8, 2008 02:12 AM

                                touristy and overpriced but i would still take visitors to Hutong - the food is pretty good and the view is amazing - make sure to book ages in advance and ask for the window seat to see the lights show that comes on on HK island every day at 8 pm.

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