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Apr 13, 2009 10:28 PM

Hong Kong and Macau: favorite dishes

I am starting this thread due to the question posed by jindomommy. Most of the past threads have focused on the best stalls on specific dish (such as best wanton noodle) and the best restaurants (such as top end haute cuisine and best dim sum) etc etc. I don't recall any thread that ask what are the top favorite dishes of fellow hounds in Hong Kong/Macau, so I thought this would be an interesting topic.

I suggest fellow hounds recommend their top 10 favorite dishes in the city, and please include the names of restaurants as well.

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  1. I will start with my own list. I will have to think very hard for my top 10 classic dishes, but based on the latest recent 5 days trip on early March, the following will be the top 10 for just that trip (below not by ranking):

    1. Foo Lam Moon: 紅燒翅2兩 (braised shark fin),
    2. Foo Lam Moon: 杏仁茶 (almond tea-dessert),
    3. Yung Kee 4th floor : 椒鹽海參扣 (salt peppered sea cucumber),
    4. Yung Kee 4th floor : 清湯牛爽腩 (soong lam, a part of beef, in broth),
    5. Joy Hing : char siu (half fatty/half lean),
    6. 豆腐花 beancurd milk, a dessert item, an obscure stall next to 群記(don't even remember the name),
    7. Caprice: Scottish salmon,
    8. Caprice: Smoked vendeen pigeon,
    9. Caprice: wine and cheese pairing,
    10. Glenn's Kitchen: steam fish 方利.

    Surprisingly, 3 legendary famous dishes (Yung Kee's roast goose, Fung Lam's pigeon and 群記's 爽腩) did not make the list.

    4 Replies
    1. re: FourSeasons

      Hi FourSeasons, for these two dises on your top 10:

      3. Yung Kee 4th floor : 椒鹽海參扣 (salt peppered sea cucumber),
      4. Yung Kee 4th floor : 清湯牛爽腩 (soong lam, a part of beef, in broth),

      Do they both need to be ordered on the 4th floor of Yung Kee? Can anyone eat on level 4? I always get put on the ground floor or one time it was full I got put on the 1st floor. Do you just need to ask to go to level 4 or book in advance? I'm keen on trying the 清湯牛爽腩, is it just 牛爽腩 in soup, without any noodles?

      Thanks, Ed

      1. re: ey2006

        My friend arranged the dinner meal for us. I believed they are only available on the 4th floor, and require advanced reservation as well. The two dishes are not for solo diners though, just beware of that. Yes, no noodle on this dish.

        1. re: FourSeasons

          Actually, I think both dishes are available on the regular floors -- they're just not nearly as good as what you'd get on the 4th floor! As "a lady who lunches" once pointed out, it's the difference between getting the line cook and the head chef to cook for you -- the same dish can be wildly different.

          1. re: hong_kong_foodie

            Just got some 椒鹽海參扣 (salt peppered sea cucumber) as take out a couple of weeks ago. Literally walked into the restaurant and ordered from the counter to the left --- and it was REALLY bad. I just don't understand why this restaurant is so inconsistent. Sometimes the food is great, sometimes it's so bad I can't even finish it.

    2. Difficult to make a choice, but off the top of my head - my HK/Macau fave eats:

      Hong Kong
      1. Wonton noodles & dumplings (Mak An Kee)
      2. Bo lo pao (Mido Cafe)
      3. Egg tarts (Tai Cheong Bakery)
      4. Hoi sin lok yau pei/braised seafood with pomelo skin (Pak Loh Chiu Chow)
      5. Peking duck (Peking Garden)

      1. Pasteis de bacalhau (A Lorcha)
      2. Feijoada (A Lorcha)
      3. Galinha Cafreal/African chicken (Fernando's)
      4. Portuguese-style egg tarts (Lord Stow)
      5. Minchi (Litoral)

      20 Replies
      1. re: klyeoh

        Just a quick update: I'd change my #2 choice in HK from Mido Cafe to Fu Sing for Bo lo pao, the sort with char-siu filling - absolutely divine!

        And #4 choice - Pomelo skin with shrimp roe at Fu Sing knocks Pak Loh Chiu Chow's seafood version for dead!

        1. re: klyeoh

          Thats why Fu Sing claims their version of the ' Char-Siu Bo Lo Pao' the 'Number one bun under the sky'!!! Love the ultra juicy filling! A relative of mine from LA once gobbled down 10 just on her own!!
          Not for pomelo skin but Chiu Chow food. You should give some of the outfits in Kowloon City a try!

          1. re: Charles Yu

            Cha-siu bo lo pao at Fu Sing was smallish in size, light in texture, its barbecued pork filling was not sugary-sweet but very subtle, and which I noticed included shredded onion. Beautiful, simply perfect!

            1. re: M_Gomez

              Thanks for the photo! Now, you are making be salivate!!

              1. re: M_Gomez

                That's what they say: "A picture is worth a thousand words" ;-)

                Yes, I, too, also noticed that Fu Sing's bo lo pao with char-siu filling was not cloyingly sweet (like those we get in Sydney, London, San Francisco or even Singapore dim sum places). I guess, in place of sugar, they added onions - which I also noticed was a distinct feature in their char-siu filling - as a natural sweetener. I love onions, so that's a definite plus.

                1. re: M_Gomez

                  Hello M_Gomez.
                  Allow me to post a short 'observation remark'
                  I noticed you have eaten your way thru greater Asia as well as Hong Kong/China...etc. However, in your profile, all of your Top 5 favourite restaurants are in Australia!! Are Australian restaurants really THAT good?! Considering a lot of Hong Kong restaurants you wrote about have Michelin stars?!!!

                  1. re: Charles Yu

                    Really like Fu Sing's bo lo pao - better than that other signature dim sum walnut chicken pie which is also good.

                    Charles, as a former Sydneysider, have eaten at 2 of M_Gomez's Top 5, Tetsuya's and Pier. I'd say they beat most other Western restos in Asia other than the big names like L'Atelier. Tets basically created the confit of ocean trout that is much copied all over the world now (see pic). Pier is very much a fish specialist - they know their seafood and the waiter tells you to eat the fish on your plate from the thinner outside bit inwards because the latter is still 'cooking' on the plate. Both are quite unique and occupy their own niches.

                    1. re: mikey8811

                      I can also vouch for that ocean trout dish at Tetsuya. Blew me away when I had it! Definitely memorable. Ranks as my fav in Sydney along with the steam abalone at Golden Century!

                      1. re: mikey8811

                        Don't miss Fu Sing's fried cheung fun.

                      2. re: Charles Yu

                        Charles, I think mikey8811 and HKTraveler's responses say it all. I have a weakness for good Macanese-Portuguese food but I'll eat good food anywhere and everywhere. I've had good food in HK, Malaysia, Singapore and elsewhere. But none of them gave me the satisfaction and memorability as the restaurants in Australia. Down Under, dining out is a special event, people dress up for it, they put on their best behaviour, the restaurants staff make you feel so special, and the cooking is so very good. That's why my favourite restaurants are all Australian, I didn't mean for it to be that way. I didn't even realize that I had chosen all Australian restaurants until you point that out to me, in fact!
                        That said, I love Fu Sing, Lung King Heen, T'ang Court, Man Ho, Man Wah and many other superb restaurants in HK.

                        1. re: M_Gomez

                          I am probably the only one here that is not so high on Tetsuya. i know many think it is one of the best restaurants in the world judging from the San Pelligrino list. But if one is familiar with the food scene in Tokyo, it is simply not on par with the best offer there.

                          1. re: FourSeasons

                            Tetsuya Wakuda's food is best described as Mod-Oz with Japanese influences. When was the last time you tried his cuisine. He's a very talented but extremely humble man - soft-spoken, polite and totally personable. He's also very well-respected in his native Japan as well.

                            In fact, this year, Tetsuya was invited to Tokyo Taste, a world gastronomy summit held in Tokyo in Feb. The event was sponsored by the Tokyo Metropolitan Govt, 5 Japanese Govt ministries, plus All Japan Chefs Association, All Japan Culinary Schools Assoc, Japan Assoc for Training Colleges for Chefs, etc. He was the only chef from Australia invited.

                            BTW, Spain was represented by El Bulli's Ferran Adria, Arzak's Juan Mari Arzak, Mugaritz's Andoni Luis Aduriz and, incredibly - Herve This, the scientist who started molecular gastronomy himself! France was represented by Joel Robuchon, Pierre Gagnaire, Jacques Puisais and Tokyo-based Bruno Menard (L'Osier). UK was represented by (no surprises) Heston Blumenthal of Fat Duck. China was represented by Dong Zhen Xiang of Beijing's Da Dong Kaoyadian. Host Japan was represented by Ryugin's Seiji Yamamoto, Yoshihiro Narisawa (of Les Creations de Narisawa) and Kunio Tokuoka of Kyoto Kitcho.

                            1. re: M_Gomez

                              Hi Gomez:
                              I tried Tetsuya about 5-6 years ago. I recalled it was 4 appetizers, 4 main dishes, 3 dessert tasting course. I loved the appetizers and the desserts but felt letdown by the main courses.Yes, I agree he is a humble soft spoken individual. And the food is pretty good, that I agree. But many have ranked it as one of the top 10 or 20 in the world so that is a statement that I am not able to agree. Especially if one is familiar with the top dining scene in Tokyo that I don't think what Tetsuya offer is on par with that standard.

                              Tetsuya and Nobu are two Japanese individuals who have attained huge success with the western crowd by infusing Japanese way of handling natural and seasonal stuffs with western ingredients. Such style is rare in the West (at least 1-2 decades ago) and the formula brought instant recognition to their culinary skills.

                              I don't know if Tetsuya is well respected in Japan. Nobu brought his branch to Tokyo and the review is rather lukewarm: . The truth is when it comes to handling natural and seasonal ingredients, they are simply no match to the top chefs in Japan. Take for example Ryugin's Yamamoto that is on your list, his attention to innovationa and details are simply incredible, that I left his restaurant amazed and being stunned by every dish that was presented.

                              Anyway, this is just my 2 cents opinion. To each his/her own.

                              1. re: FourSeasons

                                Hey, we're supposed to be talking about our favorite dishes in Hong Kong & Macau - how did you people veer into Japanese & Modern-Aussie cuisine? Anyway, on that note: can someone tell me if Inagiku (at Four Seasons) is indeed the "best Japanese restaurant in HK" at the moment? If not, which would that be?

                                1. re: klyeoh

                                  Hello klyeoh! Check out Sherman's posting of her 'Autumn Kaiseki' meal at Inagiku on facebook. Food looked very good and impressive!

                        2. re: Charles Yu

                          I have to say, that Hong Kong really isn't the culinary hot spot that many locals think it is, the combination of exorbitant rents, and the fact that most Hong Kongers don't have the cultural openmindedness to tell good from from overpriced food leads to an unimaginative marketplace full of overpriced crap. Shenzhen is a more vibrant food city than Hong Kong.

                          1. re: j3yang

                            Apart from some traditional Cantonese dishes and may be slightly more diversify street/snack food, in which area does Shenzhen offers that excels that of Hong Kong's?! Surely, not high end dining and western cuisine?! Where in Shenzhen can you find better Italian than HK's Da Domenico or French that is better than Caprice? Even the best of Shenzhen's Won ton noodles is a clone of Hong Kong's and fall way short of those of HK's Tasty or Mak's!.
                            By making your un-substantiated remark, are you telling us fellow chowhounders that Shenzhen deserves more 'Michelin star' establishments than Hong Kong?!!

                            1. re: j3yang

                              This is sure to piss a lot of people off, which is a good indication that there has probably never been a truer comment on these forums. Congratulations.

                              1. re: j3yang

                                Wow, thanks for your 'deep' insight to indicate HK's food scene is full of overpriced crap and Hong Kongers lack of cultural openmindedness without any example, but guess what, last time when I was at "Ah Yat" and Tin Heung Lau, many 'big spender' in my surrounding tables speak mandarin.

                                1. re: j3yang

                                  Shenzhen better than HK? No way!

                                  I liked HK for its myriad offerings: from hole-in-the-wall eateries and quaint little cafes to posh, high-end eateries. When it comes to French, Italian, Middle-Eastern, American & other Western-style restaurants, HK far surpasses those we have here in Singapore.

                                  Shenzhen - not too sure about that. Its Cantonese food is very good, but the culinary scene as a whole felt rather provincial. Maybe you should just try and compare Shenzhen with Guangzhou - similar foods, culture.

                                  P.S. - Shenzhen's the only place where I found a mould of jelly on top of my Caesar salad!

                      3. My list is all over the place:

                        1. Strange flavour chicken from 'SoJit Fraternity Association', Hong Kong
                        2. Fried goose intestines with pickled mustard green and black bean sauce from the kitchen of the Chinese University campus, NT!
                        3. Fried live sea prawns with peppered salt from Fung Lam in Tai Wai.
                        4. Chiu Hau braised beef brisket and tandons from Mak Man Kee
                        5. Stirred fry pigs innards with ginger and scallions from 'Cho-Choi-Koon' in Kowloon.
                        6. Crispy skin garlic dusted Har-Gau from Star of Canton, Lee Theatre Building, Causeway Bay.
                        7. This dish must give both of you S'pore hound fit! - Boneless free range Hainan Chicken from Taipayoh, in Hung Hum. Ha!
                        8. Stirred fry 'Lun-Dun' garoupa fillet with yellowing chives from 'Chuen Kee' in Sai Kun seafood market avenue.
                        9. Yung Kee's roast goose! from the top floor club member level ( special attention paid? I wonder? )
                        10. Braised chicken feet with abalone in oyster sauce, Farmhouse, Causeway bay.

                        Fourseasons and klyeoh! Talk about Causeway bay. Looks like the DD's scampi with pasta did not make your list! Ha!

                        18 Replies
                        1. re: Charles Yu

                          Well, Charles - looks like I'd prefer Mak's wonton noodles over DD's pasta if given only one choice. Thanks for reminding us of Yung Kee's roast goose, although I actually go there for their century eggs & pickled ginger - simply the best in the world!

                          Another must-not-miss in HK: roast pigeon from Shatin (I go to Shui Wah)

                          1. re: klyeoh

                            Yup! Agree!
                            Hay! Fourseasons, we can try Shui Wah's roast pigeon, as suggested by klyeih, next year! Just next door to Fung Lam!

                            1. re: klyeoh

                              I used to go Shatin religiously for roast pigeon in the 80s, they had a farm there, and outdoors seating. I remember we had to park the car then walk on an overpass to get there. Last time I was there must have been 1991. Also famous for some fried tofu dish, either pei pa, or salt and pepper. Is that the place you are talking about? What is the name of this joint in Chinese?

                              1. re: K K

                                The place you mentioned is 'Lung Wah'. Used to be very very good. Used live pigeons and all. However, has gone down hill. Also, tendency to cheat by chopping up the whole bird in big segments and substituting some parts with smaller pieces!

                            2. re: Charles Yu

                              Hi Charles:

                              What about your wonton noodle? With your endless search for the best wonton noodle, I thought you would have placed one or two places among your top 10 favorites.

                              The above list is based on just my latest trip, which I did not try DD's scampi pasta this time. But it is unlikely I would include it as my classic top 10 either.

                              1. re: FourSeasons

                                Sorry! Fourseasons! No won-ton noodle since still searching for my elusive perfect bowl! Awaiting for the day that someone would combine the noodles of Mak's with the won-ton of Mak Man Kee and the broth of Ho Hung Kee!
                                No Chui chow food from you? Interesting?!

                                1. re: Charles Yu

                                  Just a 4-5 days trip this time so did not try Chiu Chow. I am still trying to figure out the classic 10, coming soon...

                                  1. re: FourSeasons

                                    Hi FourSeasons, I am sure you have a very hard time coming up with only 10 dishes !! Haha.

                                  2. re: Charles Yu

                                    I tried Mak Man Kee's when I was in HKG, and really, not the best...!! The noodles were SO HARD. I was quite surprised, and my mom said that it could be their off day... and yet the place was crowded with the lunch peoples. Really disappointed. The broth though was really clear and yummy. Love the chives.

                                    1. re: jennjen18

                                      Based on my rounds, I concluded and agree that Mak Man Kee's noodles are not the best amongst the 'big three or four'. Mak's or Tasty is definitely finer and more texture pleasing. However, I do love MMK's won-ton ( perfectly crunchy and nicely seasoned ), Penny hot sauce and most of all the Chui Hau braised beef brisket and tendons. For my next trip, I plan to buy some raw MMK's won-ton, freeze them and bring them back to Toronto! Custom would allow them in since they are all prawns!

                                2. re: Charles Yu

                                  Oh yes, So's in Central yes? And members only? (is that still the case)

                                    1. re: Charles Yu

                                      Is it in the building Manning House ? If its the same 'members only' place that I was fortunate enough to visit on my last trip to HK (Nov 08), I was actually a bit dissapointed with the meal! The only dish I can really remember, was the sticky rice cooked in a pumpkin (or squash - sorry I don't quite remember), this was definitely very flavourful.

                                      I had a much better feast at the Snow Garden in Causewaybay the night before!

                                      1. re: s0memale

                                        As with most 'members only' clubs, be it 'SoJit', Shanghai Fraternity Association, or HK Jockey Club, one needs to go with a member who is familiar with the forte of the kitchen and knows what specialities o order. Not ALL dishes are good but some can be outstanding. The rose essence top soy chicken of the Jockey club being a fine example. Likewise, when we had our chowmeet at the Shanghai association a month back, a few dishes like the honeyed Hunan ham with pancakes' and the drunken pigeon was very good. However, the sauteed crab with broad beans and fermented bean sauce was disappointing.

                                        1. re: Charles Yu

                                          What's food at Jockey Club like now? I think last time I was there was also 91. I used to be a member through my parents in the 80s when it was in by the Happy Valley racetrack (before they moved it up the hill), dim sum at the Six Furlong which I thought was mediocre (no cheung fun then) but they had a great cha siu rice with lo shui sauce and half decent salted fish fried rice with chicken..

                                          I may even have eaten at Shanghai Frat Association in the 80s....that name sounds soooo familiar (Sheung Hoi Leewn Yee Wui?) Where is it?

                                          What I recall being spectacular, in the 80s was a place called Far East (Yuen Dong), which I was told was also members only. We ate there very often. Then after 1989 when I was last there, I heard the chef relocated and opened up in Vancouver (any follow up to this). And I remember Wah Seung (Chinese club) across from IFC. Oh man I am sounding like an old fart now.

                                          1. re: K K

                                            Both Sha-Tin and Hong Kong's Jockey kitchen continue to churn out excellent food. Wok-hey stirred fry dishes are very good.

                                            Yes! Your interpretation of Shanghai Fraternity Association is correct.. Same location as in the 80's

                                    2. re: K K

                                      Is So Jit the same as the Ningpo Fraternity Club?

                                      1. re: mikey8811

                                        No! They are different establishments.

                                  1. Fun post. Cheating a bit here with 2nd options...


                                    1) Souffle (Nothing fancy like Robuchon's Chartreuse version but it's simple and scary good. If anyone knows a better souffle in HK, I'm there tonight) - Nicholini's
                                    2) Langoustine and sweetbread ravioli (or their lobster bisque) - Caprice
                                    3) Steamed turbot with black truffles and olive oil emulsion (pigeon breast with foie gras is up there too) - Amber
                                    4) Rice noodle roll with sesame sauce (or turnip cake) - Lok Cha Tea House
                                    5) Turnip cake - Golden Leaf
                                    6) Grilled beef filet with white asparagus and pesto (sounds boring but dead-on perfectly cooked piece of meat. Amazing by itself but with the delicate pesto - made me almost poop in my pants) - Angelini
                                    7) Soy sauce fried noodles - Under Bridge Spicy Crab
                                    8) Steamed ground pork with salted fish - Gum Dong Dai Restaurant
                                    9) Bird's nest steamed in Coconut Milk - Fook Lam Moon
                                    10) Teppanyaki sliced sirloin (rolled up with spring onions and toasted garlic) - Matsubishi


                                    1)African Chicken - Restaurante Litoral
                                    2)Crab porridge - Seng Cheong
                                    3)Roasted chicken (duking it out with garlic prawns) - Fernando's
                                    4)Chestnut soup (or black truffle tart) - Robuchon a Galera
                                    5)Goat cheese with honey and olive oil on homemade bread (sorry, have to mention their African chicken too but other than its color it has little taste resemblance to other versions) - Antonio's
                                    6)Egg tart - Lord Stow's
                                    7)Milk tart - San Hou Lei
                                    8)Beef and black truffles ravioli - Il Teatro
                                    9)Meat and cheese platter (simple yet one of the most enjoyable things I had in Macau) - A Petisqueira
                                    10)Pork chop bun - Cafe Tai Lei

                                    8 Replies
                                    1. re: archiek

                                      Hello archiek! Noticed this is your first posting! Welcome to Chowhound! Are you HK based? Looking at your list may be you would like to join us for our next HK chowmeet?!

                                      1. re: Charles Yu

                                        Thanks, Charles. I'm actually based in LA but head out to HK often. Yeah, I'm down for the chowmeet. When are you guys meeting next? I'll be back in May, hopefully just in time to catch Christian Le Squer at Amber and pasta dinner at Macau's Don Alfonso. Keeping my fingers crossed.

                                      2. re: archiek

                                        I know what you mean, archiek. It's really difficult to restrict oneself to a mere "10 most-favoured dishes" list where HK/Macau is concerned. But you know one thing: I can never, ever "get" Macanese pork chop. Try as I may, I just couldn't appreciate it - I just thought it was way too spartan, too straightforward, too simple, too dry. Maybe I should bring along my bottle of Maggi chilli sauce, or a jar of good vinegary-crunchy slaw to slather over the meat.

                                        1. re: klyeoh

                                          I had the same reaction when I tried the Kam Chung version. It was a bland, dry piece of cardboard stuck between two slices of stale bun. Fortunately, the one I had Tai Lei was pure greasy goodness. The meat was not plump by any means but it was moist and packed with flavor. With the rich meat juices buttering the bread no condiments were needed. Perfect comfort food with a tall glass of milk ice tea.

                                          1. re: klyeoh

                                            I tried the Macanese pork chop again last weekend - this time, from Estabelecimento de Comidas Portuguesa Porto Exterior. Nope, unfortunately, I still don't "get it". Serously someone should suggest adding a tangy, creamy slaw on top of the chop - it'll definitely taste a WHOLE lot better!

                                          2. re: archiek

                                            I also like the Teppanyaki sliced sirlon at Matsubishi ! However, it is not like the good old day that the toasted garlic is made from fresh at Matsubishi, they are prepared in advance.

                                            1. re: skylineR33

                                              Wow, I've never had that experience at Matsubishi. I was just there 2 months ago - still freshly toasted. Were yours just sliced in advance and dumped on the grill or were they pre-toasted. I would've cried bloody murder. Pre-made toasted garlic? Even a shitty ass-crack like Benihana serves it fresh. How hard is it to slice garlic and leave it on a grill until toasted.

                                              1. re: archiek

                                                I would be happy if it is just pre-sliced in advance, unfortunately, it was pre-toasted ! I was there around 3 months ago, and my family was there around 4 months ago. Both time it was pre-toasted ! The garlic is still good compared to the pre-toasted one I had in North America, which are really dry.

                                          3. Interesting topic !

                                            Here is my favourite (not by ranking) :

                                            1. New Chui Wah (新翠華) - Charcoal Clay pot rice
                                            2. Tong Kee (堂記) - Cha Siu & BBQ duck Cheung Fun
                                            3. Ah Yat (阿一) - Ah Yat Fried Rice
                                            4. Sheung Heung (尚興) - boiled plain whelk with chinese Ham (生灼螺片)
                                            5. Tin Heung Lau (天香樓) - smoked yellow fish (煙薰黃魚)
                                            6. Kam Fung (金鳳茶餐廳) - 'fresh baked' chicken pie
                                            7. Ah Lo seafood (阿佬) - steamed natural brownspoted grouper
                                            8. Typhoon shelter 'Hing Kee' (避風塘興記) - fresh Chives Flower on soy sauce (韭菜花)
                                            9. Tasty Hung Hum (正斗) - Wonton Noodle
                                            10. Lei Garden IFC (利苑) - pan-fried shark fin with fresh crab, clear broth on the side (高湯蟹肉炒翅)

                                            Cheers !!

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: skylineR33

                                              Nice list skylineR33. Have to talk to you about 'Kam Fung's chicken pie' tomorrow! Just love freshly baked ones!

                                              1. re: Charles Yu

                                                Right, let's chat tomorrow. The taste of the chicken pie is still lingering vividly in my memory !