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Sun Tung Luk - new 3* - what to eat

Well as a horrendous follower of Michelin fashion I just booked Sun Tung Luk for supper this weekend having just noted it got 3*.

As part of my continuing education on Chinese food I thought I would ask if anyone has any specific recommendations for what to eat there. I've already had a quick look at Peech's post but he went for dim sum.

Any thoughts?

Tom

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  1. Where can I find the new stars issued?

    1 Reply
    1. Really, I guess Michelin must have watched TVB's program, ha. The new Sun Tung Luk in TST has been shown on TV and magazine quite a few times. Going to Sun Tung Luk, you of course has to try their shark fin, the 百花脆皮豬 (roasted suckling pig skin with shrimp mousse) and the 燒汁牛肋骨 (Beef rib with special sauce).

      46 Replies
        1. re: TomEatsHK

          Hello TomEatsHK! Or, you can round up a few friends and do a full blown splurge by ordering their $4000 per person set menu?! Still cheaper than the Thomas Keller $5888 dinner!! Ha!

          1. re: Charles Yu

            Hey Charles, actually the most expensive set menu at Sun Tung Lok is $8000 per person, but I think if one orders a top abalone there, it already cost much higher than $5888 per person just for that abalone ?!

            1. re: skylineR33

              Yes! I just checked out their set menu! 6 header abalone!!

            2. re: Charles Yu

              4000 or 8000 hkd meals. Retarded. I would rather fly to France and catch my own oysters for the same price.

              That is a retarded price for a set menu. The food would have to unbelievable or coated with gold. And scattered with diamonds. With caviar on top.

              1. re: TomEatsHK

                Chinese food can be really expensive. I don't think you understand how much a abalone can cost. It works just like caviar. I won't call it retarded, there are as many and certainly many more people rather have a $$$$ Chinese meal at Sun Tung Luk or Fook Lam Moon or Ah Yat than flying to France to do what you mention. So I am not sure who is retarded here, there is certainly a demand for that.

                1. re: skylineR33

                  Hello TomEatsHK,
                  skylineR33 is right!
                  Actually, with casino magnate Dr. Ho spending US$330,000 to acquire a 2.2 Kg white truffle during a recent auction, I would use that to compare with the top grade Japanese Kippin Pao-Yoshihama abalone rather than caviar. US$3000 for one of this Japanese delicacy is not uncommon. Cooked and execute correctly, this is my most favourite food on earth!! Period!! The aroma, the texture, the taste!!!
                  BTW, I did not even mention those controversial supreme grade sharks fin which can also run into the thousands per serving!
                  Now, if one also add to the menu, bloody 'bird's nest', superior sea cucumber and fish maw, the price for a banquet table could be astronomical!
                  In fact, Fook Lum Moon once offered a banquet table for 10 people incorporating all the aforementioned exotic ingredients for HK$ 250,000!!

                  1. re: Charles Yu

                    Speaking of Fook Lam Moon, what happened to the Wanchai branch? They seem to have lost a star. I definitely agree they're not innovative or creative by any means, but their cooking is so solid and consistent I can't believe they only have one star.

                    1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                      Fook Lam Moon are having big family issue. The brothers who manage the restaurants, brother no.5 and brother no.7 as well as their sister are suing each other...but not sure if that impact the quality.

                      1. re: skylineR33

                        Wow! You must have special connection to those tabloids! Ha!

                        1. re: skylineR33

                          Yep, I know they've been feuding for what must be at least a year now, but I don't think the quality has been affected at all -- which is why I'm shocked they were downgraded. In fact, after all these years, I still think the cooking is extremely consistent, and whether you're getting the signature dishes like roast suckling pig or more modest selections like egg stir fried with char siu, the food is always good. The same is true for their dim sum, which in my opinion is second to none for traditional items.

                      2. re: Charles Yu

                        European food can be really expensive if you take the attitude that expense is an driving basis for food. I've been to restaurants for white truffle menus and just found it an overly ostentatious approach to food. Same with caviar.

                        Chinese food is no different in that approach with abalone/ shark fin.

                        I think the question is, is this a restaurant or is this a venue which serves expensive ingredients?

                        On my visit this Saturday it serves expensive ingredients cooked by waiters at your table. It is barely a restaurant though. No invention, no inspiration. A menu that was presumably drafted in the 1950s and not updated.

                        For example one dish was cheese and prawns, with pre cut carrots as though from a cheap Thai restaurant in a provincial town? Seriously?!? 3 Michelin stars. That is the kind of food my grandmother would have cooked in the 1930s.

                        It would make more sense to award 3 Michelin stars to the Harrods food hall.

                        1. re: TomEatsHK

                          PS it was the first time I have enjoyed goose feet though.

                          1. re: TomEatsHK

                            The best Chinese restaurant is now in Macau as Steve Wynn has Wing Lei Restaurant. six head abalone is HK$ 6,288.00 which is US$ 808.22. One cannot get two or four heads these days as each head is calculated by the kg as there is no one head in 1 kg these days. They were available in the 50 but not in 2010. They have the Venetian, MGM Grand and Wynn all have awesome restaurants than Vegas because the clientals are different. They even make more revenue than their own counterparts in Vegas. The rise and fall of the casino empire in US.
                            Western folks in general do not appreciate authentic Cantonese gourmet since they are focusing on wine and beer. The major ingredient to process Cantonese food is the so called premium soup where it is boiled, cooked by ham and old chicken and Chinese scallop. Furthermore, many seafood are priced by market price from various season and supply and the price is calculated by tael and kilogram. I would imagine Western folks would be just as happy to have a Peking duck instead of shark's fin soup as most of them find it is disguesting. There is a very good Peking restaurant operated by the Maxim's group located in the basement of Alexender House in Central and the price is very reasonable. If one would like to have real Cantonese seafood, go to Jumbo floating restaurant in Aberdeen or Sai Gon or Lai Yue Mun where you can hand pick your favour seafood.

                            1. re: 138ctf

                              Just because a Chinese restaurant has six head abalone available for its patron does not automatically renders it ' the best'!! FYI, six head abalone are also available, for those who ask and can afford them, in Forum, Fook Lam Moon, Farm House and even Yung Kee.

                              BTW, dried abalone size is calculated by 'catty or jin' and NOT kilogram!!

                              Jumbo restaurant is touristy, period!! They might have a wide selection of seafood choices, however, the execution of them by the kitchen are just not up to snuff! Any seafood restaurant that 'overcooks' a common 2 catty strawberry garoupa does not deserve to be recommended!!

                              1. re: skylineR33

                                Actually serious Hong Kong foodies are even by-passing places like Aberdeen, Sai Gung or Lai Yue Mun and head out to the outskirt island of Po Loy for great seafood! Fish of the day served in the evening are actually hand caught by the owner in the morning in his own boat. Different types of soya sauces specifically use for steamied fish, dipping, stirred fries...etc are 'house brewed' by the chef/owner!
                                This is like having really great Cantonese cooking at Tam Keung where the owner actually uses his own free range pigs and poultries from Yuen Long in his tasting menu!

                                1. re: Charles Yu

                                  Hey Charles, which good one are you referring to on Po Tai Island ? Looks like the only one in there has been going down in quality as reported by one of the most serious foodie in Hong Kong. Or did it improve it's quality ? For your reference :

                                  http://gourmetkc.blogspot.com/2009/07...

                                2. re: 138ctf

                                  Yes, Jumbo has improved quite a bit since the make-over but it is not even close to being best seafood in town. As some others point out, if you want fresh seafood and not something imported from Indonesia, go to Aberdeen's fish market or one of the out-lying islands.

                                  Tomokazu is average at best. If there is a top 20 list of sushi places in town, it probably would not be on it. Kenjo is the old-standby and it is decent. So is Toku, Tenzen, Ito, ..... Of course, none of this would compare to absolute top-end in Tokyo. And with what you pay for your Tomokazu meal, you may as well fly there.

                                  Alexandra House's Peking duck is OK but too greasy. I reckon best one in town now is probably Shatin 18.

                                  BTW, no need to attack everyone here, your recommendations already speak for themselves. Think there are lots of new and better places for you to try next time you are in town. You may come here 3 weeks out of the year, but there are some of us who actually live in this city and eat out everyday.

                                  1. re: 138ctf

                                    I did not realize, for authentic Hong Kong Won-ton noodles, there are old school and NEW school? All I know are outfit that cut corners and outfit that apply every single detailed steps and try to come up with the ''perfect package' of broth, won-ton, noodles and condiments'!

                              2. re: TomEatsHK

                                Maybe Chinese food is just not for you. Or are you using the way "Michelin" used to use to judge ? It is not French food or whatever food you like with "invention", sometime food good does not require change, it is better off to keep the tradition. The best wonton noodle of HK, they use their recipe more than 50 years ago, same with many chinese regional food such as Chiu Chow or Hong Zhou cuisine, the best are always the one which do it in a traditional way. Not only Chinese food, this also happens to Japanese food, if you like to reference Michelin, there are 3 stars sushi and kaiseki place in Japan which do thing only in a tradition way with no "invention".

                                Also, abalone is not only expensive, cooking abalone is a very complex process (as already mentioned by Charles) in case if you don't know.

                                1. re: TomEatsHK

                                  Hi TomEatsHK:

                                  I understand from your past posts that you have tried hard to understand the dining scene in Hong Kong, with particularly on Cantonese food. I am impressed with your effort but to be honest, high end Cantonese food that specialize in Shark fin/abalone is something you certainly have not really have a grasp on. It is not ostentatious approach as per your description. White truffle and caviar require no complex cooking; they have natural aroma to impress the foodies. Shark fin and abalone, however, like what skyliner33 wrote, require complex cooking process, and the difference between a good and an excellent one is a huge gap, not just marginally improvement. And true, this dishes are not reachable by the masses, and quite frankly, not an easy dish to be appreciated by beginners or even foodies, which is why Westerners and even Michelin judges would have trouble understanding them. It requires an acquired taste, one who is very familiar with the subtle taste, the texture to really appreciate the dish. Very few in Chowhound even have such expertise and Skyliner33 happened to be one who understand the steep culture in this niche. It is one that is more commonly discussed among food critics, very serious foodies and the well to do. STL, FLM, Sheung Hing are some of the places that are well known for this niche for decades, which is why many called them the Tycoon clubs. They are places that serve and excel in very high end traditional food, not places where you want to find innovative modern food.

                                  P.S: good that you like goose web; it is a good beginning to understand the higher end of Cantonese cuisine.

                                  1. re: FourSeasons

                                    First, "retarded" was a bad choice of word by me in my earlier post as it invoked an image that I have negative attitudes towards Chinese food. It was more intended at the horror of such prices as I take a "democratic" approach to food.

                                    Second, I must admit I find this whole area of educating one's palate, regional tastes and the cost of food (intermingled with Michelin madness) particularly interesting.

                                    That now said, I think there are two things going on here:

                                    HK Michelin Frenzy:

                                    It is relatively undisputed that Michelin does not function effectively as a judge of non European food. Sun Lung Tok is not a Michelin 3* in a classic sense. For the guide to suggest such is rather disappointing and a marginalisation of those chefs who have striven (in accordance with the admittedly Euro-centric guidelines) to achieve 3*. If I was a chef who had worked in keeping with such guidelines and came to eat in Sun Tung Lok (or Yung Kee, MIST etc,) I would be deeply saddened.

                                    Now obviously 3* restaurants are no longer only located in European and have expanded to the US and Japan etc. but they are all primarily focused on a style of high end, white table clothed dining which seems, at times, ill suited to Asian, often familial based, traditional dining.

                                    Back to Sun Tung Lok – this would not meet traditional 1* Michelin standards but that is no bad thing. I have had meals in Asia which will stay with me till I die and I would rather have had than L'Ambroisie (for example).

                                    Regional Food Tastes:

                                    Let me take an analogy. When I was given my first glass of wine by my parents at an early age (about 11) I hated it. I thought I would spend the rest of my life avoiding wine like the plague and drinking coke and Ribena. How wrong. Wine was a learning curve but one well worth it.

                                    I can see the same is true with Chinese food/ Asian/ American etc. food or basically anything you didn't grow up with.

                                    So I accept that the education of one's palate and flavours is very important. I have been striving to learn this since coming here. However, I also think it is important to approach food rationally and to use the international food perspective one can bring if you come from outside a culture. As much I accept that perhaps I don't get abalone or sharksfin… there is also the possibility that charging HK$10,000s etc. for meals based solely around abalone or sharksfin is a touch over the top. Indeed, it is, as with caviar and truffle, as much about status as taste.

                                    Italian food may revere truffle, but it is a glint or a glimmer in a good dish. Not the dish.

                                    Turning back to my wine analogy. Good wine is good. Expensive wine is sometimes good. But not always.

                                    As for the professionalism involved in cooking sharksfin and abalone, I haven't done my research (eating or cooking) on abalone enough to comment. I have done a fair bit on sharksfin though. And will probably try and cook it at home soon.

                                    And, as aforementioned, it was cooked by a waitress beside my table at my last meal not a chef. Things cooked by waitresses, which involve a broth reconstituting desiccated or frozen sharksfin, does not equal high level cooking to me. Perhaps this view will develop and mature as I continue to sample and try but perhaps not.

                                    For me, really brilliant cooking is experimentation, innovation, and technique. Sun Tung Lok might cook 2 dishes well – abalone and sharksfin (which I did actually rather enjoy) – but everything else would have been as was in the 1950s. Some of the other dishes I wouldn't be surprised to eat at Tai Ping Koon or some other soy Western venue. They were provincial in level. If I was in the UK I would say the kind of food a Londoner would eat in Birmingham and wince.

                                    High level cooking is something beyond and above that.

                                    As to the comparison to Japanese food. They too have an obsession with certain ingredients such as fatty tuna. However a good sashimi restaurant would not make the grade by doing fatty tuna alone. A 3* Michelin sashimi restaurant would take you through a gambit of textures and tastes before leaving you joyous at the end.

                                    Finally, to wontons and street food as I think it catches the same point. Many are indeed using the same recipes they have done for 50 years. They are great one dish places to eat food but not great restaurants. I think it is difficult to compare a kaiseki restaurant which will vary food based on sourcing, seasons and the chefs whim to the rather glorious simplicity of wonton noodles.

                                    So, consider me still learning. I, and I freely admit it, can't appreciate the full subtlety of abalone and sharksfin yet but I still also think it is not wrong to hope for more from a restaurant and a cuisine. My bad experience of Sun Tung Lok is not as simple as Chinese food just not being for me. Perhaps it is also Sun Tung Lok is a touch of a relic and whilst dishes may be good, the "meal" isn't?

                                    Very very finally, where should I go for a proper example of what abalone should be, done at its best? Hopefully where it won't mean that I have to eat bread and water for a month.

                                    1. re: TomEatsHK

                                      Hi TomEatsHK:

                                      I have never tried STL thus I am not able to understand your bad experience. Perhaps it was indeed a bad meal, perhaps it was an isolated incident...whatever it is, you have the right to be unhappy.

                                      As to your argument charging about HK$10,000 is "about status as taste", yes it may be true it is over the top. But if that is the market price, and someone is willing to pay for it, what can we say? Back to your wine analogy, just like Lafitte, Petrus or Romanee Conti, that each glass is worth just as much as HK$10,000, but there are always willing buyers queuing to bid for those bottles. So the value is in the eye of beholder.

                                      As to your argument that some street foods are "great one dish places to eat food but not great restaurants". One dish comfort food may look easy to cook, but at the same time, it is perhaps the most competitive marketplace in the food industry. Just look at wonton noodle shop itself, in every street corner in Hong Kong, there is always someone selling that dish, so we are saying there are literally thousands of chefs doing the same thing. One who is simply regarded as the best in this niche would no doubt took a lot of skill to perfect his cooking, and that takes up a lot of experimentation and technique in itself. And back to the analogy of kaiseki chefs, who would include a plate of sashimi as an appetizer as part of the course. Now no matter how good or brilliant the kaiseki chef is, that plate of sashimi would never match or even be close to the same sashimi standard offered by the best Sushi chefs. Some things may look simple, you may call it "glorious simplicity" but ask a Michelin chef to make the perfect wonton noodle or the kaiseiki chef to make the perfect sashimi, I will tell you that they will not be able to do so.

                                      Well, the other restaurant that is famous for its sharkfin/abalone is Fook Lam Moon at Wanchai. I would think you would have better experience there. The Dim Sum is top notch; dinner is pretty consistently good with traditional Cantonese food even if you don't order those 2 dishes. But again, it is traditional classic Cantonese food, just like in some French restaurants you would only find classic French Parisian food, so don't expect innovative modern Cantonese style there.

                                      P.S: Yung Kee is a good restaurant despite the complains you and others had. The main problem is Yung Kee is never consistent and it does not treat every guest equally (which again is unfortunately a common problem with restaurants in Hong Kong, especially those who have been in business for decades like YK, and I suspect, perhaps STL too) and I suspect the treatment maybe even worse to tourists group. For regular guests or those who are knowledgeable and ready to splurge, YK can offer top notch food. This is an intangible issue that will even complicate the rating in Michelin Guide.

                                      1. re: TomEatsHK

                                        Last time I dined at Sun Tung Lok was 20 years ago at their old location, I too not sure it's quality now but from what I heard, it is a solid traditional Cantonese restaurant, worthy of 3 stars ? I think probably not but hey, Michelin gives Lung King Heen 3 stars too. So why take Michelin so serious ?

                                        I think we all agree a restaurant is not just its' ingradient (eventhough ingradient always play a important part), either it is a shark fin restaurant, sushi restaurant whatever. You said 'Italian food may revere truffle, but it is a glint or a glimmer in a good dish. Not the dish.". Well, I can tell you once again, it is certainly not the case with "dried" abalone, it is not a glimmer. If you cooked it bad, it is like eating rubber and you waste money on a $$$$$$ item. Well, for sure it is not something which can appreciate by everyone with its high cost, which is the same with Wagyu beef, otoro or other luxurious items.

                                        I fully agree with FS's point on the "one great dish" place. The way you think what a brillant cooking should be (experimentation, innovation, and technique) tells why certain Chinese cuisine may not be something you appreciate. Chinese cuisine is a huge family of cuisine and many of it does not really work in the "experiment" and "innovation" part. A Chow Chiu restaurant is not a restaurant doing experiment and I certainly do not want to be part of the experiment. I hope they keep the tradition. Their food and cooking variety is big enough (menu usually has more than 100 items in it). To excel in all the items and then pass on to the younger chef is already too much. Same with wonton noodle places or other hole in the wall eateries in HK, do you really think they only has one item (or only one good item) in the menu ? No, their menu is certainly much bigger than the tasting menu you see at Thomas Keller's Per Se. I am not using them to do comparison, but rather to show their differences.

                                        I remember once I saw a article about some top chefs from China having a tasting menu at French Laundry, which is considered as one of the best world restaurant. They all do not quite enjoy the meal there, disappointed and question on the cooking technique on the dishes. And obviously not "A 3* restaurant would take you through a gambit of tastes before leaving you joyous at the end." for them. So a 3 stars French restaurant in US, Paris or anywhere does not mean it is enjoyable for all people on this planet.

                                        1. re: skylineR33

                                          I think the interplay between tradition and innovation that you have both pointed out is a very complex issue in Chinese food. I also think that analogy about French Laundry is very interesting (although I haven't eaten there) as I would presume would be using technique more than adequately.

                                          One thing which is noticable for me, is the intrusion of modernity into yum cha. I am afraid I can't judge whether high end traditional dining generally (outside of yum cha) has been impacted by new techniques as I don't yet have the knowledge. But, if you look at dim sum, it is evident that kitchens are definitely doing things they wouldn't have done, with ingredients they wouldn't have had access to etc.. now.

                                          In this area, the innovation is more than evident.

                                          I understand your points on abalone and will endeavour to continue my education in this area. However, whilst I am probably a bit of a post modernist I think the concept that value is in the eye of the beholder is a touch too blunt. If a restaurant in Moscow started adding ground diamonds to its food and newly enriched Russian oligarchs starting paying insane prices for it I would feel no conjunction in judging such a trend.

                                          As to street food, this is an area where, again, I think the innovation is apparent as customers are so fickle in Hong Kong. Things do change and trends do develop. Evolution is necessary otherwise pastiche develops. i.e. Tai Ping Koon.

                                          1. re: TomEatsHK

                                            When you are talking street food, you mean food you find on street, not a restaurant ? In this area, HK has it but is definitely lacking when compare to other cities in mainland China as well as Taiwan or Thailand. They are not haute cuisine, but many of these are having their own secret ingradients/recipe to make one successful out of the competitor and last for decades (as also mentioned by FourSeason in his earlier post). These are great food and people go line up for it as a destination spot. Do they actually need more innovation or we want to keep it the way it is ? Do we really want to see all the dumpling to have the de-composed version only but the best original version lost ? The most important thing, which taste better ? You know how hard it is to find a good "Har Gow" in North America ? Give you an example, Toronto is considered as one the best place for Cantonese food outside Asia. We can find some excellent cantonese dishes in Toronto even at par with HK, but there is no good "Har Gow" exist here. Ingradient, the skill, the form, the taste are all missing for Har Gow in Toronto. Yes, Har Gow is just a staple dim sum that can be found in any dim sum place, but to excel in making it is not as easy as one can think of.

                                            I do not mean there should be no innovation in Chinese cuisine and I don't mean innovation is bad. Certainly, innovative exist in many kinds of chinese food especially HK. Fook Lam Moon (traditional) and Lung King Heen (innovative), which one has better dim sum ? For dim sum places with creative dim sum, maybe some items taste good with a new attractive packaging, but many of these 'restaurants' cannot even make a great Har Gow. Of course, it also requires knowledge to tell between a good Har Gow and a great Har Gow.

                                            1. re: skylineR33

                                              For Hong Kong, dai pai dong is pretty much the definitive street food al fresco no nonsense dining experience (and capturing the essence and spirit of it all), deep rooted in HK food culture, history, and the collective memories of all current (and former) Hong Kongers past and present. I agree that variety wise, even Singapore and Taiwan have a much wider selection in terms of street food, but looking at the entire package as a whole, DPD's are still a unique experience, although slowly fading away as the numbers continue to dwindle. I still have yet to try a baked fish guts dish (old style) from Keung Kee in Sham Shui Po....it sounds awesome. And it has been too long since I had a jeh jeh chicken clay pot, another delicious dish made with cheap ingredients.

                                              Tai Ping Koon has been serving the same style Cantonese western (adopted for local tastes) for almost a century or more. Innovative? I suppose you could call it that, Ditto for multiple leaf blend HK milk tea when it came about in the 1950s. Or another iconic food item daan taat which was basically combining Cantonese style sweet egg custard dessert with British/Euro custard tarts. But many HKers see these as "old school" and not really new/innovative.

                                              Ha gow, wow are we lamenting that nobody makes a good ha gow anymore? I'm sad to say that even in California I have not had a definitive ha gow...last time was at Regent/Lai Jing in Wanchai (now closed) in the late 1980s....seems like when everyone is importing frozen shrimp from Vietnam or SE Asia to make them to reduce costs and maximize profits (e.g. One Dim Sum that is doing the Tim Ho Wan business model, and supposedly even places like Maxim's per a Next magazine article from earlier this year), it will all taste the same. I dare say some places in California USA probably use imported frozen shrimp as well. Although Luk Yu's ha gow name is something like "freshwater shrimp ha gow", do they really use freshwater shrimp from some river? Will ha gow become the next food item in "collective memories"?

                                              1. re: K K

                                                Ah, dai pai dong.. yes ... however it is getting less and less and many has moved up to open their restaurant. It is not like the good old days anymore. One more reason we want this tradition things back.

                                                1. re: K K

                                                  I would just like to say two things:

                                                  (1) Fook Lam Moon makes a perfect ha gow. Maybe not every single time, but by and large, yes. As expected, it's not cheap and if I remember correctly, it's $68 for a basket of four. But to me, it's absolutely worth it because I've really never had a better ha gow elsewhere. Like I said, they are just so good and consistent at traditional dim sum.

                                                  (2) K K -- You are such a prolific writer, I am deeply impressed.

                                                  1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                                                    Hello HKFoodie.
                                                    I concur with your assessment of FLM's Ha Gow. So Yummmm! I usually have a whole basket all to myself! Ha!
                                                    To that I just wanted to say the basket I had at Celestial Court in the Sheraton a while back was, to my surprise, equally as good! Heard afterwards from a friend that the dim sum chef who made the Ha Gow actually received some type of award for those morsels!!
                                                    However, my most memorable Ha Gow experience was the ' crispy skin' version I had at the ' Star of Canton' inside Causeway Bay's Lee Theatre complex. Both the look and taste was pretty deceptive. Looking at them one would thought they were steamed, since the wrapper was still translucently white. However, the skin was actually 'crispy' to the bite and the crunchy prawn filler which tasted like your traditional Ha Gou filler, was surrounded by a little bit of a 'broth'?!! What a great textural and taste sensation! All these coming from one tiny ultra thin skin morsel!! I hope this dish is still on their Dim Sum menu when I visit them next year?!

                                              2. re: TomEatsHK

                                                "One thing which is noticable for me, is the intrusion of modernity into yum cha"

                                                It is all coming about mostly as a result of fierce and typical cut-throat business competition (especially during the more belt tightening times), getting more customers through the door at the higher scale places, via shock and awe, in some cases style over substance, and also part of the HK business culture (being creative to survive and stand out).

                                                Places like Tim Ho Wan are starting a small but growing trend of providing the bare bones classics (minus dessert for example, at One Dim Sum), where they are essentially marketing cheap, effective, efficient, dim sum in a neighborhood setting at a fraction of the cost, for equivalent quality to say Maxim's (using the ha gow example below, where both places use frozen shrimp from Vietnam). So the nicer places have to come up with more inventive, innovative, and/or re-invention of tried and true (with better repackaging and initial gimmicks that hopefully evolve into something truly qualitative) to justify the higher cost while getting people through the door who are tired of the tried and true.

                                                HK is definitely a place where you can get what you pay for. A family member mentioned that there are places that charge $120 to $150 for a steamer of ha gow (if so where? Apparently not at a fancy hotel) but it might not even be the best. Or perhaps that $150 is better spent toward some spanking new seasonal gimmick, like a stewed pumpkin soupy dim sum dish mix, or add $50 more and getting some fancy mushroom and sea urchin claypot rice in some Shangri La type hotel restaurant....

                                            2. re: TomEatsHK

                                              I completely agree with TomEatsHK and I am Chinese and have had my share of abalone and sharksfin! To charge HK$8,000 for set menu is outrageous and reflects the "bubble" that has developed in HK fine food dining prices, driven largely by the extra liquidity flowing in from China's wealthy.

                                              Tom is right. For HK$8,000, I would also fly to France and help him catch our own oysters or better yet, fly to Japan and eat fresh Japanese albalone caught by pearl divers with Miyazaki beef.

                                              Right now, Hong Kong fine dining prices are more expensive than Tokyo, New York, London and Paris. Many fine food places in HK are now simply places that serve expensive ingredients and are not restaurants. Worse yet, they have become "tourist traps" for both foreigners and locals alike.

                                              Flame away :)

                                              1. re: WilliamKCT

                                                FYI, There is a big difference in price and taste between fresh and dried abalone. Check it out if you are not aware of it.

                                                1. re: skylineR33

                                                  Hay skylineR33! Guess you are in HK now! Having a good time?! Where did you eat so far? Don't be surprised if you bump into Rosy! Ha!! I'll give you her cellphone# in facebook. You can give her a call and surprise her! Ha!!

                                        2. re: Charles Yu

                                          So back in the late 80s and early 90s, Forum Restaurant 富臨飯店 in Wanchai (nicknamed Ah Yut's Abalone, in reference to abalone master chef Yeung Koon Yut) was the place for those high end abalones, with local celebs plunking down HK$10K to $20K for a few plates of the good stuff as late night snack (after they got bored of typhoon shelter crab). I take it its glory days are over and in the past decade they seemed to have dropped or lost a few rubber tire stars. So is STL the abalone restaurant now? If not, where?

                                          1. re: K K

                                            Their glory days are not over, people still go there for abalone and they are still the canteen for the super rich. It is still a good reference out of many for dining (especially for French Food, high end and for tourist) but in general, people in HK do not care about Michelin much.

                                            1. re: skylineR33

                                              Interesting, thanks. So Michelin is in a way a mixed bag in HK, in a similar sense to how the reactions were in Tokyo in the beginning.

                                            2. re: K K

                                              I think the abalone at Fook Lam Moon is amazing as well. In fact, I think this is true for all dried delicacies.

                                              1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                                                Just to say thanks to all of you, and especially Skyline, Charles, KK and HK Foodie for entering into this debate with me! It has been an important education.

                                                As is evident I don't quite yet have a handle on high end Cantonese food and also approach it with perhaps an overly European viewpoint.

                                                BTW - sorry my references to "street food" was (especially in light of HK's paucity of food directly off the street - I'm ignoring curry balls) to cheap food such as wonton noodles, claypot rice (at cheap places). That is the food which has blown me away since I have got to HK and is a slight revolution for me compared to the equivalent food in Europe. Whilst I still remain unconvinced by high end Cantonese here.

                                                That said, it is Tim's Kitchen and The Chairman (and maybe Manor) next - all of which I hold high hopes for.

                                                1. re: TomEatsHK

                                                  It is a nice discussion. Yes, Chinese cuisine is quite different, from its menu size to the format of dinner .... many of the Chinese food including high end is better off to have at least 4 people or even more to share the dishes in order to see the full potential of the restaurant, and I would say for many of us Chinese, sometimes we also don't know how to pick the right dish to order from its huge menu.

                                                  Anyway, wish you have a good one soon !

                                                  1. re: TomEatsHK

                                                    As someone who simply cannot afford to eat at 90% of these places on a regular or even semi-regular basis, I'm actually grateful to guides like Michelin for highlighting the higher end of Cantonese dining in HK (as well as valued Chowhounders: Charles, Four Seasons, Skyline et al).

                                                    However I do agree with Tom, that (at least for me) the HK food experiences I treasure the most come from DPDs and Cha Chaan Tengs. I'm under no illusions that it is anything like the food culture in the past (as my parents might have experienced) and I'll probably never be an abalone connoisseur (although I've enjoyed it at LHK) but I don't feel like I'm missing out too much when there's still great eating to be had for very few $$.

                                                    1. re: harryrodgers

                                                      But watch out, Michelin does not point you to anywhere sometimes. They give Yung Kee one star but based on what ? Did they visit the first floor, the 4th floor or the 8th floor ? You get different food depends on what you order AND the floor number you eat at. But in general, it is good as a reference for foreigner and those who are not familiar with dining scene in HK or Chinese cuisine because it is judged by a panel of European judges who suit their palate.

                                                      1. re: skylineR33

                                                        Agreed. The details of the Michelin judging are a mystery to me I'm afraid and may prove as elusive as the 8th floor of YK :P
                                                        HK and some regional chinese cuisines aren't quite so foreign to me (family coming from and some living in HK) but I agree it's hard (nigh impossible) to judge them by some universal standard.
                                                        Perhaps so long as Michelin can keep throwing up interesting and sometimes controversial choices, the debate on HK food can remain current and gain an ever wider audience.
                                                        Regarding earlier comments on pricing;- I'm not sure "market pricing" has so much to do with connoisseurs or foodie/devotees driving up the prices. Without highlighting any specific group (and landing myself in hot water!) I think there has been a steady rise in customers who place a higher priority in spending maximum $$ and the status surrounding it, than the quality of the food itself.

                                                        1. re: harryrodgers

                                                          Yes agreed, there are different reasons driving up the prices. The availability of resources is also a factor. eg, wild caught fish, hairy crab...

                                    2. re: skylineR33

                                      "百花釀脆皮乳豬"

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

                                      This looks like nigiri sushi! Nice!

                                      1. re: K K

                                        A few of us tried it that dish a couple of months ago and were really disappointed. The concept was great but the execution was poor. The pieces were so over fried and dry that you would have thought they fried them once in the morning and refried them when we placed the order. I still can't believe this place got 3 stars.

                                        Is STL capable of putting together a good meal? Yep, I had a really good meal there in May.

                                        Does it have potential? Sure.

                                        But is it 3 stars? Well - I just can't see it. I know the Michelin people really care about innovation, but what about consistency and quality?

                                    3. I'm shocked that this restaurant has been honored with three stars. I've enjoyed the food here a few times, including their signature shark fin and roast suckling pig skin with shrimp pate, but never would I have thought that this place was Michelin worthy, let alone in contention for three stars. Then again, I guess most of us could say the same about Lung King Heen.

                                      I also find it very amusing that almost all of the Lei Garden branches got a star. What about the 1-2 branches that didn't get one? Are they really not up to par?

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