A Culinary gathering of Chowhounds in HK
A couple of weeks ago, a group of fellow chowhounders converged in HK from all four corners of the globe and had a delightful 'meet, greet and eat' gathering. A first in HK I berlieve?! The venue was held in Wan Chai's Charisme Pavillon, aka 'Ming Moon', an upstairs private kitchen specialising in Cantonese haute cuisine - abalone, sharksfin etc.,. The participants were HKtraveler from HK ( who was so kind as to brought along a bottle of red wine- Pinot Noir? for the event ), Fourseasons and his wife from Singapore, Ki-Kinoi from Toronto, Jenny from the Big Apple and her sister from San Fran., and myself. Unfortunately,Klyeoh was tied up in San Francisco and could not make it.
For food, the group selected either the HK$368 or $468 multi course tasting menu. ( Depend on Abalone size and sharksfin quality, the menu goes up to a HK$1780 per person and beyond!! ). In case some of you readers read Chinese, menu detail is posted on their website www.hohomei.com/charismepavillon Though some of the entrees were different between the two menus, all of us ended up sharing the food anyways.
The meal started off with your usual Cantonese amuse bouche of pickled ginger and thousand years duck eggs. The duck eggs all have perfectly runny yolk, which was a good sign. ( not as good as Yung Kee's though)
Appertizer was an individual small bowl of diced fresh fruit salad with prawns in a mayo dressing. Refreshing but nothing special.
Then came the highly anticipated ' Braised goose feet with abalone and Chinese greens'. We were all 'wowed' by it! The gelatinous goose web was off-the-bone-tender and the abalone well prepared retaning much of its distinct flavour and aroma. However, the high light was the pool of heavenly sauce! Pity they did not provide us with French baguettes to mop it up!
The sharksfin were served piping hot in small individual clay casseroles. The broth delicate and delicious. Could have more sharksfin though!
Main entrees, served in big communal plates for sharing, included:
- Stirred fry giant garoupa fillet with broccolli spears. The fish was fresh and firm/chewy, Pity most of us were engrossed in deep conversation that we savoured the dish warm rather than piping hot. Still, the dish was delicious.
- Deep fried 'house secret' pork spare ribs. The ' hard to describe crunchy' giant morsels were very tender and delcious with well balanced unique spice seasoning. Great with beer and TV. Ha!
- Stirred fry free range chicken pieces with ginger, shallots and whole preserved black beans served in a cast iron pot. Very, very tasty. Should have sized it up.
- Braised Nappa cabbage with dried prawns. A welcome delicate veggie dish. Nothing too special though!
- Individual serving of baked Yang Chow fried rice wrapped in lotus leaf. A tasty carbohydrate finish to the meal.
Dessert, which was never a forte in Cantones cuisine, were a choice of pan-fried water chestnut jello pudding or ground almond tea with tapioca. The water chestnut dessert was surprisingly delicious.
Overall, the meal was very good but not spectacular, with a few really stand outs as well as a couple of mediocrities. However, what matter most was THE COMPANY!! We had such a nice time exchanging stories, ranging from hole in the wall outfits to Michelin star establishments in NYC, SF, HK, Tokyo, Singapore.....etc. no one wants to leave! After the meal, we did not scattered but march down to a nearby bakery for some egg tarts!! A bunch of real foodies we were!!!!!
Fellow participants, feel free to add any comments! Once again, THANK YOU AND NICE MEETING YOU ALL!!!
Charles> Thank you for organizing and it was a great evening. The best part of the evening was definitely the company. Food was OK and I especially liked the gooseweb. But I think the other dishes can be improved upon. Let's find a time and place for the next get together the next time you are in town.
You are most welcome!
My next HK trip will most probably be around mid- February next year. I would definitely love to participate in another HK chowmeet. Before HK, I'm planning to pay Singapore a visit first. Hopefully. KLyeoh, Fourseasons and myself will have a 'mini' Singapore chowmeet there!
BTW, Peech, for our next HK chowmeet, we'll definitely keep you in mind! The more 'chowhound participants' the merrier!
Well, time to go thru the latest HK tatler food guide and search for potential venue for our next meet! May be a hole-in-the-wall place like 'Cho-choi-guoon' for some really yummy traditional home-cook dishes?
Meanwhile, Happy Chowing!
re: Charles Yu
Yes, I'd definitely look forward to catching up with you if you're down in Singapore, Charles. Singapore's dining scene is in a constant state of flux, but set to improve with the opening of the Integrated Resorts (Singapore-speak for casinos) in the near future. The maitre'd of L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon HK told me that Joel Robuchon is interested in opening an outlet in Singapore's Marina Bay resort. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
Wish I was at your Chowhound meet in HK, I was stuck in San Francisco & had to console myself with Ozumo (Embarcadero Centre) the same night you're all enjoying Charisme Pavilion's goosewebs.
Thanks Charles for organizing this event.
Absolutely agree that THE COMPANY was the highlight of the dinner. Amazing that we could talk about restaurant scenes all the way from Toronto, NY, SF, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Thai, Malaysia, Singapore all the way down to Jakarta. We are glad to have joined the dinner!!!
Maybe I was distracted by the company, but found the food just mediocre for the evening.
Agree that Yung Kee has the best duck egg. Most of the talk on Yung Kee has been its legendary roast goose, which I find not as good as before, but I still love its duck egg!
I have a different opinion about the deserts in Cantonese cuisine; I actually like them.