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Hong Kong: TOP END Chinese Food, price not an issue

I am starting this thread to continue my discussion with Asomaniac (based in Tokyo) from the Singapore Board.

Asomaniac recently was told by his Hong Kong friend, who tried the Michelin graded Chinese restaurants in Tokyo, that the top end Chinese restaurants in Tokyo , in terms of innovation and the best ingredients used, are even better than the top end in Hong Kong. Being a frequent traveler to Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Vancouver and living currently in Singapore, I was really surprised by his comment as I always thought Hong Kong is the best when it comes to Chinese cuisine. Despite being a frequent traveler to Tokyo, I have never even bothered to try the Chinese food there (with the exception of Nanxiang Xiao Long Bao in Roppong Hill).

Anyway, Asomaniac is coming to Hong Kong in June and requested me to provide a few top end names to share with his Hong Kong foodie friend (though I understand not the same one as above). I thought it is better to continue the discussion here to get more responses. So any native Honkies (HKTraveler, Peech.....), any frequent visitors (CharlesYu, klyeoh, skyliner33, kobetobiko....) or anyone else familiar with the Chinese scene in Hong Kong, we want to hear your voice. What is the top end Chinese restaurant (not limited to Cantonese, any Chinese will do even though I think Cantonese would be the dominant one) here when price is not an issue?

A few note, Asomaniac is a serious foodie, willing to pay top money for serious good food. A wine lover as well (Peech: your type of foodie), a frequent traveler to Hong Kong, he is not a typical tourist in search of guidance. What he is looking for is the very best, the top end Chinese food that would be nominated for Michelin list if ever it come out with a guide in Hong Kong. Again, price is not an issue. Any response?

P.S: Since the menu of most Chinese restaurants is so wide, I suggest to include your favorite signature dish from that particular top end restaurant, the dish that would wow any serious foodies out there.

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  1. Since I started this thread, let me start with my own favorite list of restaurants when I visit Hong Kong. For my own personal preference, ambiance and wine list are not important factors. I have written most of them in the past threads, so I will try to be brief and limit to just 5 recommendations.

    1. My favorite is actually hole in the wall Sheung Hing Chiu Chow Restaurant in 37-39 Queen's Road West at Sheung Wan. You don't come here for the ambiance; the owner has obviously not invested his profit in the interior as it look the same as it was 30-40 years ago. And you may misunderstand this is a cheap place by its appearance. It is also the most intimidating on my list for any non-Chinese visitor; English menu is not available or spoken here. Location is also not convenient. But it is a top notch Chiu Chow food. Price can be cheap or very expensive, depends on what you order. I had the best shark fin ( 紅燒潮州翅) here or anywhere else, very delicious cold crab (冷蟹), the best sauteed whelk (螺片). These three alone will probably set you HK$1,500 or more per person. The others would be much more reasonable: Chiu Chow braised goose (鵝片), oyster omelet (蠔仔煎).

    2. Next is Lei Garden at IFC. I previously went to its Wanchai branch but has since then gone to the IFC branch when it opened here. A top notch Cantonese restaurant, I usually go with a group of Hong Kong friends (6-8 persons) and provide a budget (average HK$700-800 per person; if willing to splurge, the captain will happily accomodate your wish for even higher budget) for the captain to arrange a tasting menu of seasonal and chef specialties of 7-8 courses. It never disappoint me. Lei Garden also has the best daily slow-cooked soup 老火湯 with herbal medicine and meat simmered for many hours that is traditionally very popular with Cantonese families. In winter time, don't forget to order 蠟味飯 preserved sausage over the rice clay pot.

    3. My third favorite is Da Ping Huo at L/G Hilltop Plaza, 49 Hollywood Rd at Central. This is a Sichuan "private kitchen", which means it is a fixed menu of 8-9 courses at HK$280 per person, extremely good value, in my opinion. Though it is a personal favorite, it is unfortunately not favored by most of my Hong Kong friends, and the main reason is the food is very spicy, even though the owner chef has toned down in recent years to suit the local taste bud. I think this is why the clientele tend to be Mainland Chinese and the expatriate population here. But it is better than any Sichuan restaurant I tried whether in Guangzhou, Shanghai or Beijing.

    4. 富聲魚翅海鮮酒家 Fu Sing at 1/F Sunshine Plaza at Lockhart Rd is a place where I come for 2-3 specific dishes. The chef owner was from the legendary Victoria Harbour Centre at Wanchai, which I recalled 1 or 2 decades ago was ranked by New York Times as one of the best restaurants in the world. I come specifically for its flower crab (花 蟹) on hua tiao (花雕) sauce, and then the chef will mix the remaining sauce on the noodle (伊麵) at the end of the meal. Another memorable dish is the 蝦子生菜煲 lettuce with prawn paste on a pot. If it is hairy crab season, don't forget to order the crab roe xiao long bao, which is the best xiao long bao I ever had, better than Ding Tai Fong or any place in Shanghai. If you come for lunch, don't forget the char siu 叉烧

    5. Chung's Cuisine at Times Square is the place I come for braised goose feet (紅燒鵝掌) mix with fish maw (花膠) (when on budget) or abalone (鮑魚) (when you want to splurge) in abalone sauce. The abalone sauce has such a delicious flavor that you can order a bowl of rice to mix the sauce on top of it to enhance the meal. The other dishes are also pretty good here and the ambiance is quite comfortable with an open kitchen concept. I have not been here for the last 2 years so I hope the standard is still consistent.

    On another note, one top end name that has been frequently mentioned by many is Foo Lam Moon, the legendary name frequent by the tycoons in town. I have gone there recently for Dim Sum, which is just average, but have not been back for dinner for a long time (like 15 years). I am told by a friend that unless you are a regular client or a tycoon/politician/celebrity, you are treated more like a 2nd class citizen, which put me off from visiting the place.

    14 Replies
    1. re: FourSeasons

      I'd be curious to know what anyone thinks of Bo Innovation, Alvin Leung's molecular gastronomy Chinese place.

      1. re: johnb

        I was just at Bo Innovation a week ago, and I really enjoyed it. Not a place if you're looking for traditional Chinese, but definitely if you're looking for an inventive experience. Highly recommended, and not a place most people will know about.

        I have also heard that Lung King Heen (4/F, Four Seasons Hotel) is one of the more amazing experiences for traditional, but quality Cantonese restaurant.

        Another experience I just had was at the Dirty Duck Diner, also/formerly known as Bebek Bengil 3 (5/F Broadway Building, Wan Chai). Even though the name may not imply it, the atmosphere is very nice, albeit not formal. Mind blowingly great Indonesian food, for mind blowngly great prices. They have one tasting menu that is about HK$250/person, but you get a ridiculous amount of food, all of it great. The nice thing (especially for foodies) is that the staff takes pride in each meal and explains each dish to you and is happy to talk about it. Highly recommended, even though it may not fit the classic definition of "high end".

      2. re: FourSeasons

        Hmmm.... I probably wouldn't consider the list posted by FourSeasons as traditionally at the "top" end of HK foodie's list... I think they are all good restaurants but not quiet Michelin-star worthy. Here is my list along with the blogposts from the last few months. I'm not plugging my blog...it's just easier for you to read the descriptions there.

        Fook Lam Moon definitely ranks somewhere near the top if you are looking for high end and money is no object. I was just there last Friday evening and did not even order shark's fin or abalone. But you need someone to book a private room and order all the good dishes for you in advance, as a normal walk-in to the regular dining room does not get the same level of service. Certainly the shark's fin and abalone are excellent if they are your thing. So is the suckling pig and fried giant pomfret. Here are the blogposts from my last two visits and you can see we ordered very similar dishes...but FLM has 3 branches in Japan so Asomaniac may be referring to his experiences there.

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

        I would also list a few other places at the top of Canto cuisine:

        4th floor of Yung Kee - the private club floor. They have amazing dishes that you don't get when you go to the regular dining room. Blogpost: http://chi-he-wan-le.blogspot.com/200...

        China Club - I used to hate the food at China Club until I sampled the special menu prepared by their chef. Again this is where you need to know people to get the chef to do something special. blogpost: http://chi-he-wan-le.blogspot.com/200...

        Yan Toh Heen at the InterCon - I have always loved this restaurant from when it was still Lai King Heen. They have a great view of HK if you can get a table by the window, and do excellent steamed fish along with very good sharks fin.

        Tim's Kitchen - a little private kitchen in Sheung Wan with an outpost in the Hotel Lisboa in Macau. Really high end stuff with giant prawns, giant crab claws, but also has homey dishes.

        Cuisine Cuisine in IFC - never thought much of it until my experence in January asking the chef to set up something special. Snake soup with sharks' fin is his specialty but this is prob a winter dish. blogpost: http://chi-he-wan-le.blogspot.com/200...

        1. re: Peech

          Hi Peech:

          5 Chinese restaurants in Tokyo are qualified in the Michelin list. Foo Lam Moon is not one of them so it is not the one Asomaniac's friend referred to. So if even the legendary Hong Kong's name is not even in that list, then there may be some truth that the top end Chinese restaurants in Tokyo are even better than those in Hong Kong, even though we are not sure if the standard of FLM in Tokyo is the same as in Hong Kong. Maybe someone who has tried both places can provide a review. But don't go to FLM for the Dim Sum, it is just so so average and not worthy of its legendary name.

          Unfortunately, my experience in Yung Kee in last few years was a big thumb down, even the roost goose was a let down and the rest unmemorable. But then I was not in the private club floor. Is that opened to the public?

          I had good experience in China Club, but I am not a member, so have to wait for a buddy who is kind enough to invite me there again.

          I have heard great things about the other three places but never had the opportunity to visit them. I guess they will be on my list on the next trip.

          Thanks for the recommendation.

          1. re: FourSeasons

            I had a disappointing meal at Yung Kee last night.
            The sauces of the roast goose and abalone dishes I had had cooled to the point of being gelatinous. The serving of goose itself was mostly skin, fat, and bones, with much less meat than I had expected (perhaps because I ordered a small serving, called "regular" on the menu, as opposed to a half or whole goose? I've never ordered goose in a Chinese restaurant before, but I have ordered duck many times, and this seemed to be much less meat than what I've gotten with orders of duck). The meat was delivered about 5 minutes before the rice.
            In the end I was left with the feeling of having paid a premium to eat like a tourist (and I don't mean that in a good way).

            If you do choose to eat here, and can't get an invite to the private club on the fourth floor, don't make the mistake I made of accepting the table at the entrance. The doors open every couple of minutes, letting a blast of cold air onto your food, at least during the cooler months.

            1. re: racer x

              I avoid Yung Kee like the plague and would only go to the fourth floor...

              1. re: Peech

                Hi Peech:

                How do you get to the fourth floor? Do you have to be a member?

                1. re: FourSeasons

                  I was invited by a friend but I think anyone can book. They just serve more 'high-end' dishes. I know I've got the manager's card somewhere...

                  FYI here's my blogpost from my only dinner there: http://chi-he-wan-le.blogspot.com/200...

                  I thought the char siu was awesome, the duck soup was amazing, and many other dishes were done very well. Of course I never saw the bill so have no idea how much it cost... =)

                  1. re: Peech

                    OK I just had one of the best Cantonese dinner in the last year (if not the best) at Yung Kee 8th floor. The menu was put together by Mr. Kam, the owner of Yung Kee. 7 of us spent around HKD 15k I believe. The steamed giant labird (蘇眉) was hands down the best steam fish I have had in a very long time. It just shows you what this place can do when you're prepared to spend a little more money.

                    Here's my blogpost on the dinner: http://chi-he-wan-le.blogspot.com/200...

                    1. re: Peech

                      @ Peech: Not just spend a little money: know someone who knows Mr. Kam.

        2. re: FourSeasons

          In particular to 紅燒潮州翅 - how do you compare this place (Sheung Hing Chiu Chow Restaurant) to Yaowarat - if I have been there? I am going to both HK and Bangkok, and 潮州翅 is the best way I like them to cook shark fins.

          1. re: shengtang

            Yaowarat's sharksfin seemed more "chewy" (al dente?), but that's the way Thais prefer them.

            1. re: shengtang

              Have never tried Yaowarat, so not able to compare. But the sharkfin in Sheung Hing is the best I have tried in Hong Kong in recent years.

          2. FourSeasons and other posters,

            Thank you so much for your advice, and thank you FourSeasons in particular for starting this, that's really kind.

            1. The suggestions here are fabulous! But how about the classic, traditional and famous 天香樓 (Tin Heung Lau) ? May be this kind of long history, lack of decor, truly authentic place will never make to Michelin list. But I just quite like the food there eventhough it is quite expensive.

              It provides classic and pure Hangzhou cuisine, 杭州菜. The "crab yellow" shark fin (蟹黃翅) that is full of seafood sweetness from the crab meat, crab brain with sharkfin, the crab meat use are only the one from the body, not the leg, etc. Or the Dragon Well shrimp (龍井蝦仁), strong flavor from the dragon well tea leaf. For wine, the chinese Hua Diao wine 花雕酒 is also some of the best.

              Japan's chinese food probably is very high standard nowaday. But I think there are many kinds of chinese food/cuisine that are great in HK, but cannot be found in Japan. Like Fourseason's recommended Chiu Chow cuisine, or snake soup, Hangzhou cuisine, Claypot rice, chinese BBQ ... HK provides a wide varieties of Chinese food and great chinese food that just cannot found elsewhere IMO.

              7 Replies
              1. re: skylineR33

                Hi skyliner33:

                What a choice!!! Of all places, you select a Hangzhou place 杭州菜 as THE PLACE, ahead of all the other Cantonese places. I love your two dishes too. I used to be a regular customer to Snow Garden 雪园, a Shanghainese restaurant in HKG, from 90s to early 00s (for whatever reasons, the standard just collapse in last 5 years) and for just one occasion, we decided to order the hairy crab roe for the 蟹黃 during the hairy crab season. So with hairy crab roe on top and the braised shark fins below, that was like the ultimate dish. Even the captain was giggling with envy when we place the order. Obviously, it cost a bomb later but it was something I still can remember after these years, and even more memorable and delicious than the shark fin in Foo Lam Moon.

                However, in last few years, I have turned my focus on this cuisine in Shanghai instead since I go there like 2-3 times per year. There is this relatively obscure (at least in Chowhound as nobody ever reviewed it here but a favorite hangout place for my group of friends) and rather cozy reasonably-priced restaurant Sophia's Tea & Restaurant (at 480 Huan Shan Lu) with the above 2 dishes as their signature dishes. You may want to visit this place if you do go to Shanghai.

                1. re: FourSeasons

                  I absolutely agree with Skyliner on Tin Heung Lau. It's hairy crab roe on noodle is to die for! Especially when it is hairy crab seaon the roe is just insanely good! They serve the dish all year round but it is the best when in season.

                  They also have a lot of classic hangzhou dishes, like a snowy white fish balls (totally different from the Cantonese style fish balls) which are pillowy, airy, and ethereal. The wild smoked yellow fish ($600HKD per fish) is almost impossible to find anywhere now in Hong Kong and definitely the best. Even if you are not going with your fooide friend, you should definitely go on your own with any friends in Hong Kong! This is seriously a place worth visiting (albeit a much lighter wallet after the meal).

                  1. re: FourSeasons

                    Hi Fourseason, thanks for the recommendation.

                    I agree completely with you, kobetobiko, HKTraveler regarding the comments on restaurants in HK. There is already a great list of outstanding restaurant names in this thread that will probably be found in "Michelin HK" - Chinese Cuisine section, if there is one coming in the future. But I am afraid some real meat will be missed in there, restaurant like "Tin Heung Lau" that is truly HK in a way !

                  2. re: skylineR33

                    I have finally gone to Tin Heung Lau for the first time...after being in HK for more than 10 years... The yellow fish is TO DIE FOR. I haven't had anything that good in ages. The crab roe is good, but this isn't the best season for it. Will wait for the fall and go back for the good stuff.

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

                    1. re: Peech

                      Hello Peech,
                      Do you have the address of the Tin Heung Lau you visited? Is it in HK or Kowloon side? My wife is currently visiting HK and I would love to have her try it. She was born in Shanghai and 'yellow fish' is her favourite Shanghainese dish! Many Thanks!

                      1. re: Charles Yu

                        Address is 18C Austin Avenue, which is a side street off Austin Road in Kowloon. Easy to go via MTR and get off at Jordan Station, Exit D and it's a few minutes' walk. Tel. 2366-2414.

                  3. Hi FS,

                    We met again! I have been to all the restaurants that were mentioned so far on this post, and while I like a lot of them (e.g. Fu Shing , Fook Lam Moon, Lei Garden (various branches), Tin Heung Lau my favorite), they serve good traditional food and there isn't much innovation about their food. They are most certainly not going to be qualified in Michelin stars because a lot of them lack the decor and service that go into the Micheline star rating system. Don't get me wrong, I think they have great service in the good old Chinese traditional way, but they are not the upscale fine-dining service that you experience in Western upscale restaurants or even Japan, if you know what I mean. (note: I don't believe in Michelin ratings on restaurants outside of France as I found their Manhattan and Japann ratings to be very pathetic...)

                    Anyway, back to your foodie friend. Based on the criteria of good quality and delicious food, innovation, and service, I listed a few restaurants for your consideration:

                    -Cuisine Cuisine at IFC - Agreed with Peech - quality is exceptional, service is hotel like, and quite a lot of fusion that actually works! Price is 5 star, of course, but I think it is worth the experience.

                    - Tong Court at Langham Hotel in Mong Kwok - This was selected as the top 100 restaurants in Food and Wine in 2006(?). Service 6 star, food is great, with some level of innovation.

                    - Yan Toh Heen at the InterCon - second on Peech's suggestion again. This place is very solid.

                    -Tung Lai Shun at Royal Garden Hotel basement in Tsim Sai Tsiu - This is something different as most of the restaurants above are Cantonese. This is Peking cuisine, with a focus on lamb and lamb hot pot (delicious soup!). It is hard to find a place to have hot pot in an upscale environment, and this place hits the spot. They are also linked
                    to the Cantonese restaurant right across the artificial pond in the basement, so you can even order food from there. Also, they serve dim sum which is a bit different from your normal Cantonese style dim sum

                    I will avoid Yuk Kee and Bo Innovation. The former is no longer offering the quality that they used to. The latter was what I considered as trying to be fusion and innovative but didn't work.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: kobetobiko

                      Hi Ko:

                      I was expecting you to be here!!! Thanks to you and others in NYC Board, I have completed my "must go" list in NYC this late June.

                      I think for most Asians, decor is on the bottom of the priority list when they dine out. Michelin Tokyo Guide has realized this difference, and has rated the cuisine standard separately from the comfort level of the decor. The decor of Sushi Mizutani and Koju, both Michelin 3 star that I visited in Tokyo, is rather minimal though the meals were incredibly impressive and awesome.

                      Surprised you did not include your old favorite Farm House. Even shock to learn that Tung Lai Shun in Hong Kong is rather upscale. I have been a few times to Dong Lai Shun 东来顺 (different spelling but same Chinese names) in Beijing, but its interior is typical traditional Chinese style, very mediocre standard catered for the middle class. (I wrote a review in Chowhound before, but as is the case for hot pot or nabe, it gets 0 response)

                      P.S : just wonder why you think the Michelin list in NYC or even Tokyo is pathetic. It seem that the stars were given to the same usual favorites of all "best" list such as Per Se, Masa, JG etc.

                      1. re: FourSeasons

                        Hi 4Seasons,

                        I like Farm House as a standard dim sum / dinner place, but it isn't innovative and the decor is just very ordinary. The food lacks presentation. I don't think it will pass your foodie friend's standard (in terms of overall experience)

                        As for decor, IMO it is different to have a minimal decor from no / old decor (which is what you find in a lot of the Chinese restaurants). The minimal decor in Japan is more Zen-like. It is still clean and quiet and provides a sense of purity. In Hong Kong, you are taking about red and yellow colors, noisy diners, and plates and bowls that sometime have chips on the edges. Servers are not necessarily courteous. Tin Heung Lau, while serving top notch food, is one of these restaurants. The restaurants that Peech and I listed are usually newer and located in hotels and hence the decor and service are much above average. I think the Chinese restaurants in Japan can earn 3 stars not because of the food alone. I think it is the SUM of the whole dining experience that got them the stars. IMO it is much harder to get the "whole package" in Hong Kong Chinese restaurants and hence I don't expect Michelin to apprepriate what Hong Kong has to offer.

                        The Tung Lai Shun in Hong Kong is located in a hotel and hence it is much more upscale. The service is very nice. Some of the food there is newly created by the chef just for the Hong Kong branch and receive awards. It is definitey for more upscale audience compared to the general hot pot places in Hong Kong.

                        Michelin - They might be fine in judging (contemporary) French restaurants in NYC, but their ratings for other cuisines, like Italian, ethnic, etc., are completely ridiculous. I don't think they can tell what good Italian vs bad ones are. They gave stars but the stars are not accurate. And the fact they gave one star to Vong and one star to Annisa is completely beyond my comprehension.

                        By the way, when is your foodie friend visiting Hong Kong and which restaurants in Japan did she visit?

                        1. re: kobetobiko

                          I agree with what you wrote. I would also add that the service standard, especially outside of hotels, to be rather inconsistent depending if you are a regular client or if you order shark fin or abalone. But generally speaking, I find the service standard has improved tremendously after the SARS crisis. There is a sense of urgency to improve the service standard since then.

                          Asomaniac seem to indicate he is coming in June. I recall he mentioned Reikasai as one of the Chinese restaurants in Tokyo that he was really impressed.

                      2. re: kobetobiko

                        there have been a couple of mentions on this board about t'ang court at langham - just wanted to clarify that t'ang court is at the langham in tst, while the one in mong kok langham is called ming court. i actually prefer ming court in mk - they do a lot of old-school canto dishes really well, e.g. braised pomelo skin with shrimp roe and various things with preserved olive leaves. i know a lot of people go there for the abalone, shark's fin etc., but they don't matter as much to me (rather ubiquitous in hk, i find).

                      3. I have only had a couple of bad experiences with Chinese food in Japan and normally avoid it like the plague. I find the food to be bland and uninspiring (even at some supposedly top notch places) though this is several years ago. Having chinese food would be at the very bottom of my list of food to eat in Japan! If you ask me, I think the best Chinese (i.e. Cantonese to me) food are in HK, Vancouver and Sydney.

                        For me, my top ones are the following. Problem is some of them, especially the more traditional ones, will be far short in the service and decor department to be anywhere close to getting a star. But then, I only really care about the good food!

                        - Tang Court. This would be the closest in my mind. Tops in food and service, the decor is above average (very good from a space perspective). I did notice that the quality of the food has slipped in the last 6 months or so.

                        - Lung King Heen. This is high up there as well though I usually go there for the dim sum as opposed to dishes.

                        - Lei Garden. The one in Wanchai is very good but I am not a fan of the one in IFC. Spacing is a big problem for me though since the tables are squeezed so tightly together. Food is excellent especially the crab.

                        - Fu Tong. In a hotel in Wanchai. Not great decor but very good food and I especially like the fried rice. Other food are solid as well.

                        - cuisine cuisine. Good food and has gained on me over time.

                        - One Harbour Road. Old stand-by though I haven't been for some time.

                        I have only really covered Cantonese food as I think that is what you are referring to. As for Bo Innovation, I will have to disagree with some others to say that I love the place!

                        -

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: HKTraveler

                          Hi HKTraveler:

                          shock that you put Sydney as one of the three best places for Chinese food. My experience was really bad 3-4 years ago. Can't remember the names but went to the top 2 best known ones but were terribly disappointed.

                          As to Vancouver, I think the standard has really declined. I go there every 3 years or so, and I was really impressed with the Chinese food there back in the 90s till early 00s. But in the last 2 trips, in 05 and 07, I was shock that the food was just mediocre at best. There was no more innovation, and the style and service standard was just like the way it was in the 90s in Hong Kong. On top of that, the expensive Canadian $ does not make it a bargain anymore. I certainly think that the Chinese food standard in Singapore has exceeded Vancouver's level in the past 5 years.

                          And don't forget Shanghai. Most of my visits there focus on Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Hunan cuisine rather than Cantonese cuisine. It used to be greasy and salty with very unrefined presentation but that is not anymore on recent visits in last few years.

                          Fu Tong is a new name to me; I like One Harbour Rd too but like you, have not been there for last 3 years and wondered if the standard is still consistent.

                          We actually refer to any Chinese food, so let us know your other top end favorites as long as it is Chinese food.

                          1. re: FourSeasons

                            Hi FourSeasons,
                            You probably went to Golden Century in Sydney - it's supposed to be THE Chinese restaurant in Sydney. I know - everyone would be gushing about how fantastic their giant Tasmanian crab (served 3 ways) was - and at A$300-A$400 per crab, it'd better be. I truly agree with you - Sydney Chinese food is terribly over-rated and one can be very disappointed.

                            BTW, I still couldn't understand why anyone would think that Chinese restaurants in Tokyo are good. Once, I was in Tokyo for 3 weeks (back in pre-Michelin 2005) with a Shanghainese colleague who was in Japan for the very first time. The poor chap couldn't stomach Japanese food, so for 3 whole weeks, I had to bring him to Chinese restaurants for dinner. Being a foodie, I sussed out top Chinese restaurants in very nook & cranny of Tokyo, from the Ginza to Shinagawa, from Ikebukuro Shinjuku. We even traipsed down to Yokohama on a couple of occasions.

                            Unfortunately, I didn't manage to find a single Chinese restaurant which I liked then. My impression of Chinese restaurants in Tokyo was that:
                            1. They are horribly over-priced - I paid US$450-US$500 for dinner for two every single evening;
                            2. Their food had been Japanised to suit local tastes - i.e. a lot of emphasis on starchy sauces;
                            3. Either too bland or else too plain for Chinese tastes.

                            But, of course, there's no competing with the Japanese when it comes to giving truly polished service & providing a sophisticated/elegant ambience.

                            I'm digressing here - we're supposed to be talking about HK's top-end restaurants, but unfortunately, I'm back in San Francisco till June, and left my food journals on HK's top restaurants back home in Singapore! Off-hand, I always thought of Fook Lam Moon & Yeung Koon-Yat's Forum as the twin peaks of HK's culinary Mt Olympus (and Ah Yat himself is probably the Zeus of the HK gourmet world). But then, their ambience will probably get the thumbs-down from the Michelin folks. Also, any anonymous Michelin inspector will probably be ignored by the waiters who tend to fawn over HK regulars & local celebrities. Service finesse is still something which HKers need to learn from their Tokyo counterparts.

                            1. re: klyeoh

                              Hi HKTraveler & klyeoh:

                              Just add one more point as maybe my introduction was misunderstood. I just need to clarify what Asomaniac's foodie friend meant was the TOP END, not the average, Chinese food that are ranked in Michelin Tokyo Guide are better than the top end in Hong Kong. And there are only 5 listed in that guide, so I guess we are talking about the top 5 vs top 5, not the average one vs average one.

                              1. re: FourSeasons

                                Is Asomaniac familiar with real traditional Chinese food vs Chuka-Ryori (Japanese-styled Chinese food)?

                            2. re: FourSeasons

                              My choice to put Sydney there probably has as much to do with the quality of the produce and seafood than anything else. When I was in Sydney, I just find lots and lots of great seafood at reasonable prices. I did like Golden Century as well especially for their crab and fresh steamed abalones. Can't say my experience there was extensive though.