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My HK plan: please advise

This is a follow-up to my last post. We have 3 nights in HK. I've calculated that we can do 13 meals, including 3 breakfasts/dimsum. The first meal will be a late dinner after a long flight from London with a toddler, so may have to do with something covenient near our hotel, which is the Salisbury YMCA in Kowloon: would Spring Deer be a reasonable choice (peking duck)?

I do not speak any Cantonese/Mandarin, cannot read Pinyin. I have 6 months to try and pick some up but the intonations in Cantonese scare me. I don't want to ask for chicken and end up with a prostitute! So please let me know if any of my choices are a complete no-no without the requisite Chinese language skills. Please let me know if I need to make reservations at any of these places, would rather not, as we are new to the city and will be negotiating the streets with a toddler in stroller. I've made a list of places I would like to try, please help me tailor my chow itenerary if I have not chosen correctly. Please let me know if any of the places I chose is really expensive, because I might have to ditch that.

Dimsum: With a toddler in tow, sometimes it is pretty late in the morning before we can get our act together. So perhaps late morning dim sum would be nice instead of breakfast. I've picked the following

Lock Cha Tea Shop in Admiralty for vegetarian dimsum

Star of Canton in Causeway Bay

Luk Yu (mixed reviews, should I avoid?)

Lin Heung: the experience here sounds fairly stressful. maybe I should avoid it?

Please recommend some more places you think would be suitable !

Cantonese:

Chung’s Cuisine, Causeway Bay

Yat Lok, New Territories. Recommended for roast goose (apparently better than Yeung Kee) and roast suckling pig.

Leaving out Yeung Kee as have read quite a few negative reviews.

Noodles:

Mak’s Noodles: are both branches equally good?

Tsui Wah Restaurant, Wellington Street, Central: Wonton noodles and Hainan chicken Rice

Seafood:
Lamcombe Seafood Restaurant, 47 Main Street, Yung Shue Wan, Lamma Island.

Any recommendations for Lantau? Didn't see anything that caught my eye.

Char siu:

Looks like a toss-up between these 3: Joy Hing, Lung Moon and Fu Sing. Looking through the threads, seems that Joy Hing's char siu sauce is really good, whereas Lung Moon is the only place to roast their meat over charcoal and Fu Sing has the best quality pork. I am more of a lean pork girl needing a small amount of fatty pork to keep some moisture in and lubricate the rice. I would love to do all 3 places, as I am a total char siu fanatic, but my hubby will get a bit annoyed if I turn our little trip to HK into a char siu fest. So please recommend which one I should go to if I only have one choice. Apart from the char siu, any other things we should definitely order at these places? I will hit all 3 for char siu if I can!

The last dinner will have to be at the airport, terminal 1. It's a choice between Maxim's, Hang Heung's Kitchen, Taiwan Beef Noodle and Ah Yee Leng Tong. Have read some stuff about all except Hang Heung's Kitchen. Any recs would be appreciated.

Also, Chiu Chow cuisine remains a mystery. I am not a fan of food served at room temp/cold, which I am told a lot of Chiu Chow dishes are served as. Any advice on Chiu Chow, or is it too much to tackle both Cantonese and Chiu Chow on a 3 day visit?

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  1. Of course you know that in Cantonese the phrase to "order chicken" is the same as to ask for a prostitute... =)

    In general I think your plans are too ambitious, especially since some of the places you mentioned are actually very far away and not that easy to get to. In particular Yat Lok in New Territories and Lamma Island, and forget about Lantau. You'll kill too much time just commuting to/from these places.

    Surprised that for dim sum, you left out Maxim's at City Hall, Victoria Seafood and Fu Sing.

    Tsui Wah has a number of branches so don't need to stick to the one in Central.

    Why does the last dinner have to be at Terminal 1? Why not check in earlier at Airport Express and do something at the Elements Mall upstairs? Perhaps Lei Garden?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Peech

      Thanks Peech. I had the notion I might be taking on too much. I am not familiar with the area. We thought we might spend one day on the ferries, going out to Lamma Island and Lantau. But if it's not recommended, will rethink. Or maybe go out there, but eat in HK/Kowloon. Will take on Fu Sing as a dimsum rec, also Maxim's and VIctoria Seafood. Anything in particular we should order at these places?
      Our flight leaves at 23:40 hrs and we want to check out from the YMCA before noon to avoid paying extra, so have nearly 9-10 hours to kill. Would the best option be to dump our luggage in a left luggage facility at the airport and head back into town for some more sightseeing/eating? What is Airport Express?
      Thanks for the tips. I have this big wishlist but haven't really thought out the logistics! Also need to sightsee and shop!

    2. i think Maxim [for dim sum] is better in your case. i've never been there though, just can't get past Lin Heung.

      you can already check in early in the day. the same place where you take the Airport Express to the airport. one of the things i like about flying out of HKG.

      1. One of our fellow 'Master Foodie' chowhounder 'klyeoh' just finish a few days of eating spree in HK. He re-confirms my HK preference for great 'value for money' Cantonese food - ' Fu Sing'. It is one of the 'must try' dim sum/dinner place in town!! Dinner was even better than the Michelin 3* Lung King Heen!

        In general, I do agree with CHer Peech that your itinerary is too ambitious, especially with toddler in tow. I would cut down on the trips to outskirt Lamma and Lantau islands Don't forget it'll be quite hot and humid by the time you get to HK! Could be quite uncomfortable for Londoners!

        If you don't mind the 45 minutes journey time, taking the ' Air conditioned' train to Tai Po for Yat Lok's B-B-Q meat could be a fun and relaxing outing. Along the way, there's also 'Fung Lum' in Tai Wai, just across from the station. that serves up ultra delicious and moist roast pigeons and HK's best Fried live sea prawns with peppered salt. ( very addictive )

        For noodles, just stick with Mak's or Tasty. Arguably the top two won-ton noodle places in town. Tasty's Fried rice noodle ( ho fun ) with beef ( Gone Chow Ngau Ho ) is also awesome! Seconded by Peech, no doubt! Ha!

        Be warned, at lunch time, the 'old school favourites' such as Luk Yu or Lin Heung will be packed with noisy dim sum patrons. May be a more spacious and less noisy place like the Star of Canton might be a better choice for your 'toddler gang'! Sharks fin city in the food complex next to Time Square in Causeway Bay is also a good, less noisy and reliable place for dim sum lunch

        For Chiu Chow cuisine, Pak Tak in Causeway Bay near Lee Garden would be a nice choice, even though all the top notch expensive ones are located around Queen's Road West in Sheung Wan. If you are planning to try out their famous cold crab. Make sure to check the daily price. It could get pretty expensive! However, the traditional dishes like the marinated herbed soya goose, the sauteed chicken morsels with szechuen pepper corn, the oyster egg pancake etc are all reasonably priced.

        Finally, on your last day, Peech's advise of an early check-in and dinner at the Element's Mall is a great idea. Otherwise. I would pick Hang Heung's kitchen amongst all your choice. Large selection and very good quality. Surprisingly good noodle dishes too!

        Have fun and Enjoy!!!

        7 Replies
        1. re: Charles Yu

          medgirl, if you're staying at YMCA in Tsimshatsui, you can take a MTR subway train from Tsimshatsui East station (15 minutes walk away from your hotel) - it's 4 stops from Tai Wai, perhaps 15 minutes on the train. Fung Lum's definitely worth the journey - been around for decades.

          Else, a taxi ride will cost you less than HKD100 (USD12) door-to-door.

          -----
          Fung Lum
          45-47 Tsuen Nam Road Shatin Hong Kong

          1. re: klyeoh

            Ah klyeoh!! I was just wondering when you'll back me up on my Fung Lum rec.,, Ha! And lord and behold, voila! Foodies mind do think alike!
            Couldn't wait to read your side-by-side comparison of your Fu Sing vs Lung King Heen dinner!

          2. re: Charles Yu

            Am eagerly waiting for klyeoh's report on his latest HK eating! I left out Lung King Heen as it seemed expensive but not so outstanding when it comes to food. Also, taking a 2 year old to Four Seasons might not be the greatest idea! Thanks for the toddler-friendly suggestions. I think now Fu Sing, Star of Canton and Lock Cha might end up being the 3 for dimsum. Lock Cha was highly praised by Helen Yuet Ling Pang on her blog.
            Is the Tasty you mention the Tasty Congee and Noodle Shop on King Kwong Street in Wan Chai? I think we will definitely try both Mak's and Tasty's and leave out Tsui Wah.
            Will have to do some more reading to decide about delving into the Chiu Chow cuisine.
            Will post a revised a much more realistic eating plan after going through all the suggestions on this thread. Thanks so much!

            1. re: medgirl

              Tasty's is the one in either Happy Valley or Hung Hum. 'skylineR33''s favourite too!

              1. re: Charles Yu

                Yes, agree with Charles the wonton noodle at Tasty Hung Hum is good, but it is not a convinent location if going there by subway. Tasty of other locations are more easy accessible.

              2. re: medgirl

                Trust me when I tell you to skip Lung King Heen... was just discussing this topic today with friends.

                Tasty has another location in IFC just above the Airport Express HK station. Easier location to get to.

                As much as I like Fung Lum, don't think the trek is worth it for you if you only have 3 days and want to stroll around and shop. Better stick to Tsim Sha Tsui, Central, Wanchai, Causeway Bay...

                1. re: Peech

                  That's right, I have an expensive banquet style dinner at Lung King Heen, whereas the quality is nowhere bad, the dinner itself is quite forgettable. People go there for the view and service besides food with the money they spend.

            2. Yeah, I agree that your list is too way ambitious for a 3 days visit.

              For the choice listed under "Cantonese cuisine", I will definitely skip Yat Lok, there are tons of great cantonese restaurant in HK island and Kowloon. The roasted goose at Yat Lok is not much better than Yung Kee and there are places that are better than it if you are really willing to travel for a goose in New Territory. But I will just skip if you only have 3 days, you won't have enough time just to browse through HK and Kowloon.

              For noodle, I will definitely skip Tsui Wah. Wonton noodle there is mediocre at best. Tsui Wah is popular because it has a hugh menu that one can always find something there but nothing stand out.

              For char Siu, Fu Sing seems a great choice if you only have 3 days because you can "one stone kill 2 bird" by doing dim sum and cha siu there at the same time.

              Both Mak’s Noodles (Central and Causeway Bay) are good.

              7 Replies
              1. re: skylineR33

                Medgirl: totally agree with skylineR33 on FuSing = kill two birds with one stone. It's a great place for dim sum and char siu. The "abalone mushroom" is nice too but you may not like cold dishes.... Joy Hing is a rat hole and not a comfy experience, you may not want that on a 3-day visit.

                1. re: golfess

                  Thanks for seconding the recommendation for Fu Sing. And also for telling me that Joy Hing is not great for ambience. I'll have a small child with me, so it's good to know what to avoid as well !
                  Is abalone very expensive? I have never had it, sort of worried I might spend so much and not be thrilled with the experience.

                  1. re: medgirl

                    no problem, glad to be of help.

                    i was referring to abalone mushroom. which is just mushroom. this is a cold dish served at fu sing. i like it but your dislike of room temp / cold food might put your off.

                    as for abalone itself - if you end up at a seafood restaurant, you can try some small fresh abalone steamed with soy sauce. not cheap cheap but won't break the bank. texture is a bit chewy, but if done right, not rubbery at all.

                    dried abalone (slow cooked always) can be very expensive and my humble opinion is that you don't have to try it, as it seems like you've got a lot on your plate already. taste and texture is a lot more flavourful because the abalone absorbs all the goodness from the ham / chicken etc etc that accompanies the cooking process.

                    Joy Hing is located very close to Fu Sing. You can buy a take-out char siu rice there if you want.

                    Enjoy!

                    1. re: golfess

                      Right, Joy Hing is very close. Actually medgirl, if you are still full, you can get $10 or $15 (HKD) cha siu take-out (meat only) from Joy Hing ! You can specify for "thin", "half thin/half fat" etc cha siu, but mostly they don't follow exactly what you ask for ...

                      1. re: skylineR33

                        Hmmm...that is tempting!
                        Do the staff at Fu Sing and Joy Hing understand and speak English? I have no knowledge of Cantonese. Or if you tell me what the pinyin for 'lean' and 'half lean/half fat' char siu is, I can try my luck!

                        1. re: medgirl

                          At Fu Sing, someone probably can speak English, but I doubt you can use English at Joy Hing.

                          Just ask for "和哥叉燒" - "War Gor Cha Siu" at Fu Sing, their special version. No need for specification.

                          For Joy Hing :

                          Lean Cha Siu = Sau Cha Siu
                          Half Lean/Half Fat Cha Siu = Boon Fei Sau Cha Siu

                          Good luck !

                          1. re: skylineR33

                            If you are going to Fu Sing there is no need to go to Joy Hing for Cha Siu. It's a bit overrated and not the extra effort and time if you only have 3 days.

                            Just stick with Fu Sing for dim sum and cha siu (and their baked cha siu buns!)

              2. For the last day, it would be very convenient to have dinner at Lei Garden in Elements Mall after checking in at the Kowloon Airport Express, as suggested by Peech.

                But having done some reading about Lei Garden, it is a Michelin starred restaurant that looks quite fancy. Would they be ok with a 2 year old coming for dinner? He is not badly behaved but can get very excited and start exclaiming loudly if he sees prawns or roast duck. Would I need to reserve a table or would it be ok to just walk in?

                10 Replies
                1. re: medgirl

                  Do call ahead to reserve a place - Lei Garden is very popular. No self-respecting Chinese restaurant will ever turn away a small child :-D

                  1. re: klyeoh

                    Any thoughts on Pak Loh restaurant in Elements for Chiu Chow cuisine, or is Lei Garden preferable?

                    1. re: medgirl

                      Do not go to the Pak Loh in Elements! It's quite horrible! Lei Garden is much better, though the branch at Elements isn't as good as the one at Tsim Sha Tsui or Wai Chai.

                      There is a restaurant called Manor (Fu Yiu in Chinese) and their roast goose is absolutely delicious! It can beat today's Yuk Kee (which quality has declined in my opinion, particularly to tourists). Their abalone in claypot is also fantastic!

                      1. re: kobetobiko

                        OK, shall avoid Pak Loh. Where is Manor (Fu Yiu)? Is it in Elements? Do have an address handy?

                        1. re: medgirl

                          Manor (Fu Yiu) Sea Food Restaurant
                          Shop F-G, 440 Lockhart Road
                          Causeway Bay

                          Nothing in Elements is really worth eating, not even the Lei Garden there. Stick with the Lei Garden in Tsim Sha Tsui which is actually close to YMCA

                          1. re: kobetobiko

                            Hmmm....it was purely because it was near the Airport Express. Maybe we will head out to the airport and eat there. Hang Heung's Kitchen at the airport perhaps. I'm still stuck trying to decide about dinner the last day we are there (Thursday night). Our flight leaves for Australia at 23:40 hrs. We need to check out of the YMCA before noon. Maybe we should check in early at Airport Express to get rid of our luggage, then just head out till around 7pm and have dinner wherever we like, then get on the Airport Express. Any recs for a no-MSG dinner near Kowloon Airport Express that is NOT in Elements Mall?

                            1. re: medgirl

                              medgirl, you can get back to the Airport Express Kowloon station from anywhere in Tsimshatsui within 15 minutes by taxi, so you can still explore the good eating places in Tsimshatsui. My fave place to eat near the environs of YMCA is Ye Shanghai (Marco Polo HK Hotel, Harbour City). The food was absolutely DIVINE! HK-style Shanghainese food - hence lighter & more subtle than those you'd find in Shanghai itself. Not sure if it's MSG-free, but I do have a sensitive reaction to MSG & didn't remember experiencing any adverse MSG syndrome the last I dined there last year.

                              Chao Inn at One Peking Rd is another spot very popular with the locals. I don't have first-hand experience there.

                              However, if you do decide to dine at the airport, I think the 2 best restaurants there are in the Regal Airport Hotel: Rouge (Cantonese cuisine) which is superb, and Dragon Inn (Shanghainese, Yangzhou) whidh is also very, very good. I was once stuck at the HK airport for 2 weeks (staying at the Regal) doing an airport cargo operations review. Lunches & dinners were at all the different outlets there. Maxim's was good for some dishes (loved their seafood on crispy noodles) & some dim sum dishes. Hang Heung fared the worse in the couple of times I dined there.

                              You can forget about the other stuff in there, including in the vast food court located in the Transit Area inside. The Pak Loh outlet was simply awful!!

                              At the popular King's Palace Congee & Noodles - avoid their wanton noodles!! HKD50 for a bowl of flat-tasting noodles in soup. Their roast meats with rice looked more decent (one of my colleagues rather enjoyed it).

                              1. re: klyeoh

                                There's a direct linkway from the airport main terminal building (on the arrival level) to Regal Airport Hotel - very convenient. Both Rouge & Dragon Inn may require advance booking though - they are very popular amongst residents/airport workers since the food's quite good.

                                1. re: klyeoh

                                  I have tried Ye Shanghai and Chao Inn and Ye Shanghai is a few notches better than Chao Inn, albeit much nore expensive. Chao Inn is very mediocre.

                                  I guess it may be easier to eat at the Regal Hotel at the airport if you want to avoid missing the flight. However, just be aware that everything at the airport will be overpriced...

                                  1. re: kobetobiko

                                    klyeoh, kobetobiko, thanks for those tips!