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Your Top 3 in Hong Kong

s
SumBear Jan 26, 2011 12:28 PM

There are lots of posts about food in Hong Kong but I want to keep this thread short + imple.
If you were to leave Hong Kong, what are the 3 food that you want to eat (Cheap/Expensive).
You don't have to agree with the post. Don't repeat. Thank you for your comments in advance.

Name of the restaurant
Name of the food
Address/ Phone number

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  1. PeterL RE: SumBear Jan 26, 2011 06:49 PM

    There's nothing short or simple about your question. My answers are:

    Won ton soup noodle: at one of the 2 or 3 usual suspects
    Roast goose: at one of the 2 or 3 usual suspects
    Cantonese seafood feast, at one of the 2 or 3 usual suspects

    1. e
      evechen RE: SumBear Jan 26, 2011 07:46 PM

      Only L'atelier de Joel Robuchon

      Evelyn
      http://bibikgourmand.blogspot.com/

      6 Replies
      1. re: evechen
        TomEatsHK RE: evechen Jan 26, 2011 08:24 PM

        Caprice
        Man Wah
        Mak's

        - people can google details or just look on Openrice...

        (L'Atelier would be very low on my list - only really rate the Paris L'Atelier).

        1. re: TomEatsHK
          k
          klyeoh RE: TomEatsHK Jan 27, 2011 06:16 AM

          Hey, whaddaya know - those 3 are exactly my choices, too! :-D

          Address details
          ============

          Caprice
          Four Seasons Hotel
          Hong Kong
          8 Finance Street
          Central Hong Kong
          Tel: +8523196 8888

          Man Wah
          Mandarin Oriental Hotel
          25th Floor
          5 Connaught Road,
          Central Hong Kong
          Tel: +852 2825 4003

          Mak's Noodles (Original location)
          77 Wellington St.
          Central, Hong Kong
          Tel: +852 2854 3810

          1. re: klyeoh
            Charles Yu RE: klyeoh Jan 27, 2011 02:32 PM

            Interesting pick about Man Wah considering the myriad of Chinese choices in town?!! And its not even 'star' rated! Ha!

            1. re: Charles Yu
              h
              hong_kong_foodie RE: Charles Yu Jan 27, 2011 05:01 PM

              Agreed re: Man Wah. Went there this past weekend and thought it was good but not great. Loved the xiao long bao though.

              Anyway, my three would be Fook Lam Moon, Lei Garden, and Lung King Heen. I wouldn't get the best wonton noodles or egg puffs, but I could probably get the best of everything else.

              1. re: hong_kong_foodie
                TomEatsHK RE: hong_kong_foodie Jan 27, 2011 06:58 PM

                We may well have been there at the same time! I was there last Saturday and I think what raised it above for me was that I contacted the chef before and arranged a walk through of some more interesting dishes. It resulted in an exception and well paced meal.

                The other Michelin places have not wowed me yet... I still haven't been to FLM and want to go with a regular if I do on the basis of stories I have heard. I will go back to LKH but before doing so will do a similar thing as I did with Man Wah as my previous visit was uninteresting.

                Otherwise I would probably pick Fu Sing CwB - a slightly more base version of dim sum but that pork... Oh god.

                But more importantly... neglecting the wonton...?! For me, if there was only one, it would probably have to be a wonton meal.

              2. re: Charles Yu
                M_Gomez RE: Charles Yu Jan 27, 2011 10:20 PM

                Man Wah's a dear old favourite of mine! My husband and I have been going back there for decades and the service is top-notch! I think being in the Mandarin Oriental does give oneself a special feeling. And I love their soups.

        2. K K RE: SumBear Jan 27, 2011 06:28 AM

          This is cheating and well beyond 3 many times over, but what I would do is isolate my several food choices to a district where I have multiple choices, eat something at one place, walk maybe no more than 20 mins to another even 30 if to burn calories, assuming the portion is small enough. Otherwise I would have to allocate them across meals and days, which is far more than 3.

          With that said I pick Central.

          If I have enough friends and $$$, I would do a 10 to 12 person banquet on the 4th floor of Yung Kee and get their A game dishes, including the Chinese ham stuffed with 24 tofu balls.

          Won ton noodles at Mak's

          Clear broth beef brisket noodles at Kau/Gau Kee, "song laam" cut and to be greedy, curry brisket e-fu noodles. Then walk around the corner to Sing (victory) Kee dai pai dong for macaroni or instant noodles in tomato broth with beef.

          Ser Wong Fun, maybe snake soup but definitely preserved meats/Chinese sausages claypot rice and baked fish intestines claypot.

          I want to try all the Dai Pai Dongs in Central. Plus Keung Kee in Sham Shui Po.

          Tai Cheong egg tart (central) and HK milk tea from Lan Fong Yuen. This counts as an intersession snack.

          Luk Yu Tea House dinner....almond pork lung stewed soup, sticky rice stuffed chicken, old school sweet and sour pork (with hawthornes) plus any of their A game classic dishes. That is, if I am able to gather enough people of course.

          Greedy, aren't I.

          2 Replies
          1. re: K K
            c
            chloehk RE: K K Feb 4, 2011 05:34 PM

            I like Ser Wong Fun too -- beyond snake soup, their claypot rice with duck sausage is dreamy.

            Also agree that the almond pork lung soup at Luk Yu is really subtle, complex, AND delicious. Delicate slivers of preserved tangerine peel and red date...wow, yum.

            Recently had an amazing hot & sour soup at San Xi Lou, served properly with fresh pepper and vinegar on the side, that was so intense and powerfully spicy -- it completely rocked.

            Snake soup at Tim's Kitchen in Sheung Wan recently was delightful. They served it with slivers of lemongrass, among other things -- is that traditional?

            1. re: chloehk
              j
              JiMaWu RE: chloehk Aug 25, 2012 11:15 AM

              Yes, the lemongrass is a usual accompaniment. At the snake soup shop in Sheung Wan, they serve their soup with a condiment of finely shaved dried lemongrass. The flavor really balances the flavor of the soup.

          2. cherishg RE: SumBear Feb 20, 2011 01:01 AM

            Yung Kee in Lan Kwai Fong or Lung King Heen at the Four Seasons for Chinese food.

            http://hungryballerina.blogspot.com/

            1 Reply
            1. re: cherishg
              smileyko RE: cherishg Apr 29, 2011 05:21 PM

              When ever I am in HK which is every month, I just love to go to the five star hotels and eat anything BUT Chinese. I think in HK if you go to the Four Seasons or the Park Lane you don't try the burgers you are really missing out. The Park Lane has one where you get it cooked medium and put a running fired egg on top, you have to go wash your hands three times and hours later you can still smell it on your hands, it's that good. I was at the Mandarine Oriental and the burgers there are so good, you want to take one to go after you already had one. Now for Chinese, I'd stay away from major hotels and go where the local folks eat. Somehow with Chinese food in HK, the better the view, the worst the food. I recently start to eat in Mong Kok and North Point, the local joints are just wonderful, prices are lower and the flavor jumps at you, you walk away thinking, WOW, now that was a great meal.

            2. p
              PennMD RE: SumBear Feb 20, 2011 05:04 PM

              I'm visiting HK for the third time next month. Tried some of the favorites listed here (Mak's, Yung Kee, Fuk Lam Moon) on my last trip, but this time I'm also looking to try two fine dining Chinese restaurant experiences for dinner - one on HK Island, and the other in Kowloon. I'm thinking of Lung King Heen or Man Wah for the HK dinner, and either Tang Court at the Langham or Shang Palace at the Shangri La for the Kowloon dinner. What would you recommend?

              6 Replies
              1. re: PennMD
                cherishg RE: PennMD Feb 20, 2011 07:23 PM

                Shang Palace is good too but Lung King Heen is a bit more refined IMHO. I have two blog entries on Lung King Heen in my blog, one was for lunch and one was for the New Year's Eve set dinner.
                I've never been to Man Wah but I've heard good things about it.

                1. re: cherishg
                  Charles Yu RE: cherishg Feb 20, 2011 07:53 PM

                  If FOOD is priority one, I will NOT go to ANY of the above!!
                  Instead, for Hong Kong side, I'll go to Tim's Kitchen or Lei Garden, Wan Chai instead. For Kowloon side, I'll go to Hoi King Heen, Yan Toh Heen or Ming Court instead!
                  IMO, LKH is over-rated. Shang Palace and Tang Court' are so-so for a Michelin establishment. In fact, a demotion from a 2* to a 1* is never a good sign as in the case of Shang Palace!
                  Haven't given the new 3* Sun Tung Lok a try but will do so next month. Got a hunch food might be better than LKH?!

                  1. re: Charles Yu
                    skylineR33 RE: Charles Yu Feb 20, 2011 08:09 PM

                    Good suggestion ! Hoi King Heen and Yan Toh Heen are some very solid restaurant for fine cantonese food ! Lei Garden needs not to say, rarely disappointed. I will give Yan Toh Heen another thumb up for its excellent service. My sister had a disaster meal at Shang Palace recently, just an heads up.

                  2. re: cherishg
                    h
                    hong_kong_foodie RE: cherishg Feb 20, 2011 09:42 PM

                    Not sure why Man Wah has such a good reputation but had lunch there a few weeks ago and was utterly disappointed. Dim sum was so-so and the garoupa was so under steamed they had to take it back. Was there with a bunch of regulars too so the under cooked fish was pretty embarassing for them.

                  3. re: PennMD
                    p
                    PennMD RE: PennMD Mar 19, 2011 11:59 PM

                    Had a great trip to HK last week! We did two HK dinners - one at Lung King Heen and the other at Lei Garden. Both were excellent! While the food was great at both, LKH particularly impressed us with the "total package" - service, view, wine list in addition to the food. We didn't do a Kowloon dinner, but did dim sum twice - once at Tang Court in the Langham, and once at the Shangri-La. Both were very good too. Thanks for the recommendations! Will be back in HK again later this year.

                    1. re: PennMD
                      smileyko RE: PennMD Apr 29, 2011 05:30 PM

                      When ever someone that's not really familiar with HK and wants to hit the town eating and drinking. I tell them to go straight to Time Square. Try to get there before seven so even if you have no reservation, you can get seated anywhere in that building next to the department store there. They have four stories of food establishments there. So many top choices both western and Chinese. You can spend a week in there and never taste the same food. Mostly, I'd say stay away from the five star hotels, great for sleeping, for real life, go out and see where the people are lining up, get a number and wait, you are in for a treat.

                    2. h
                      harryrodgers RE: SumBear Feb 21, 2011 08:04 AM

                      Some standouts for me recently have been:
                      Beef cheeks and Song Lam at Kwan Kee, Tai Po
                      Chan Kun Kee Dai Pai Dong, Sha Tin
                      Ngau Jap at ?Fei Che? stall, Mong Kok
                      Fried Tofu Cubes, Char Siu and Oxtail (but not the Dim Sum) at Fu Sing, Wan Chai
                      Also, and not really because of any dish in particular, I just like Lan Fon Yuen, Central
                      similarly I also like Mido Cafe in Yau Ma Tei

                      1. h
                        HK Epicurus RE: SumBear Mar 2, 2011 10:43 PM

                        See that's the problem with eating sometimes. Sometimes you go to a place and it could be disappointing on 1 day, but great on another.

                        I know Tom didn't think so highly of his meal at Sun Tung Lok, yet other Openrice bloggers are giving it full marks on their own blogs. And when I went there and ordered a mixture of dim sims and a la carte dishes, I thought they were pretty good actually rather than amazing. But I ordered different things than Tom because other bloggers had a say on it.

                        Yet I met Tom at Man Wah and the meal was excellent and had a WOW factor, and my other 2 trips to there, 1 was also exceptional, but another time things were over-steamed or the jelly fish wasn't even crunchy.

                        Yan Toh Heen for me was excellent. A lot of people say that, but I told a fellow blogger to go there and he had a mediocre meal and its reflected in his photos, which looks worst than mine!

                        Same applies with Lei Garden because it really depends on what you order, some dishes are so weird and fusionised, its just a joke! But order the right stuff, go on a right day and you're onto a good meal. I tend to avoid Lei Garden at night time nowadays, because their menu is so limited and if you go with a bigger group you're bound to order some very dud dishes. At least during lunch, you can spread it out with their dim sims, which are generally better.

                        I would have thought only Haute Cuisine meals needs to be rated 'per visit' due to the seasonal menu changes. But in Hong Kong, every single visit to the same restaurant nets slightly different results too bar a few doing consistently badly :p

                        I was hoping to do The 8 in Macau 1 day, that's one I look forward to - any takers!? :D

                        60 Replies
                        1. re: HK Epicurus
                          M_Gomez RE: HK Epicurus Mar 2, 2011 11:27 PM

                          I'm sorry to sidetrack, HK Epicurus - I liked your post and agree with you on the need for consistency in some restaurants - but can you stop referring to dim sum as "dim sims", please? It's just that "dim sims", as the Aussies refer to those horrible deep-fried chunks of dough with unidentified fillings (which you normally pick up from fish-n-chip shops & delis Down Under) bore no resemblance whatsoever to delicate Cantonese dim sum! Just my two-cents worth & don't mean to offend.

                          1. re: M_Gomez
                            h
                            HK Epicurus RE: M_Gomez Mar 2, 2011 11:51 PM

                            No not at all, thanks for the reminder M_Gomez.

                            I grew up in Australia and like you said I am too used to spelling things the Aussie way :p In Hong Kong I only need to speak Cantonese, so kind of assumed its interchangeably used when written in English just in a Westernised way. I've actually eaten the original 'dim sim' by Ken Cheng at South Melbourne Market lol.

                            Much prefer writing it as Dim Sum - that's how the word is pronounced afterall. Now I got to change my blog too ! Anyway, back to topic.

                            What are your favourite places to eat in HK, apart from Man Wah? Curious as to what you like too!

                            1. re: HK Epicurus
                              M_Gomez RE: HK Epicurus Mar 3, 2011 12:43 AM

                              Glad you're with me on this, HK Epicurus. Ha-ha!
                              My husband & I have very specific places which we liked in HK, some of which may not actually fit into Chowhound's nomenclature! E.g. we liked Jimmy's Kitchen, Landau's and Tai Ping Koon for old-style HK Western cuisine. We liked Luk Yu for dim sum and its Cantonese cooked dishes in the evenings. We liked Man Ho at Conrad and Shang Palace at the Shangri-La. The list goes on - it's not easy to list one's love for HK's myriad eateries over 60 years into one Chowhound post :)

                              1. re: M_Gomez
                                h
                                HK Epicurus RE: M_Gomez Mar 3, 2011 01:01 AM

                                You know, the thing I hate the most is accidentally making mistakes and not knowing about it, then others are too polite to point it out! Its like I used to refer to Chinese Red Tea as Red Tea, but its actually a Black Tea, and I assumed all Wonton's have pork in them - until I discovered 1 day that the most grandfather shop of them all in HK, Mak's Noodles, doesn't have any! So Mak's version is apparently not very traditional in a sense, but his daughter's Mak Siu Kee one is. It's thru constant learning and correction that you educate yourself more : )

                                Well I think Tai Ping Koon is an interesting one for discussion. I have some dishes that I like there, and as much as I think their souffle is more like a chiffon cake I enjoy it for what it is. If we think about it, Cha Chaan Teng's serve a lot of weird fusionised food - but locals just eat it everyday without thinking into its origins and history. And Canto-pop is meant to open sometime soon, apparently Westerners run Cha Chan Teng! I was just saying to a foodie friend who'd come back from Portugal, who said he was surprised how gooey and sweet the pasteis de nata are over there and he didn't really enjoy them. So in a way we get so used to eating the Hong Kongnised or Macanese versions - we've developed innate feelings for our food whilst growing up with it!

                                That's why its understandable some people miss Luk Yu (which I really love its dinner as I said on another thread), and also places like Amigo and Jimmy's Kitchens, or Hugo's, they get their type of crowd. I enjoyed most dishes of my meal at Shang Palace but that's when it was still 2 stars, dun know what happened after that!

                                Anyway I was pretty happy with Sun Tung Lok and Yan Toh Heen lately too. But exxy!

                                1. re: HK Epicurus
                                  M_Gomez RE: HK Epicurus Mar 3, 2011 06:09 PM

                                  Thanks for reminding me about Amigo, we used to look around for movie stars when we dined there back in the 1970s and 1980s. I' m so happy that it is still operating with all the competition from new restaurants.

                                  1. re: M_Gomez
                                    h
                                    HK Epicurus RE: M_Gomez Mar 3, 2011 07:35 PM

                                    Amigo draws in that particular crowd. I wonder if it will last through to the next generation ! They haven't evolved much at all, though they do make sure they keep up with inflation +5% :P

                                    1. re: HK Epicurus
                                      k
                                      klyeoh RE: HK Epicurus Mar 3, 2011 09:06 PM

                                      I'd sure like to try Amigo - one of those evergreen oldies. I've a cousin who lives in Amigo Mansions, above the restaurant in the same block. She loves food but, for some strange reason, she's not stepped into Amigo in the past 10 years.

                                    2. re: M_Gomez
                                      c
                                      chloehk RE: M_Gomez Mar 7, 2011 06:57 PM

                                      That's funny -- I had the same reaction: Thanks for reminding me about Amigo. I've meant to go there for a while.

                            2. re: HK Epicurus
                              TomEatsHK RE: HK Epicurus Mar 3, 2011 09:14 PM

                              Really agree with your point about consistency which is even more pertinent in HK with multiple branches of good restaurants - Lei Garden etc.

                              I think my disappointment at Sun Tung Lok was very much centered around going there expecting 3* food and it being an average meal at best. Some of the dishes were good and enjoyable... but some were pastiche dated "bling" nothings.

                              As with LKH I think if you contacted the restaurant before and tried to arrange a special meal you could end up having some great food (I don't think you could have a great "experience" as the dining room and service are just not capable of elevating it to that really exceptional level - LKH could maybe manage it)

                              However, I find it very very disappointing that you can go to a reckoned restaurant, a 3* one, follow their set menu and be thunkenly underwhelmed. You shouldn't have to do reams of research and engage in detailed discussions with the restaurant before. It should just be good. Every time.

                              1. re: TomEatsHK
                                skylineR33 RE: TomEatsHK Mar 4, 2011 05:18 AM

                                Every time ? No, this is not happening in any restaurant whether it is "starred" or not in this world. Even for restaurants serving "western" cuisine which are given 3 stars by Michelin (supposed to be the area they have the most knowledge and reliable) are not capable of that, as I can see and hear negative reviews on restaurant such as Robuchon in HK or elsewhere from time to time. Restaurant like Momofuku-Ko (2 stars) is even worst, inconsistent for the only 8 to 10 dishes they serve everyday to everyone, as you can see from reviews. Not to even mention Chinese restaurant with 100+ items in their menu.

                                Sun Tung Lok, I have tried it recently. Great shark fin, dim sum is good with some failure. Fried pigeon is nicely done. In general, I am happy with my meal, but I have better meal in some non 3stars restaurant elsewhere which serve similar food, not to my surprise.

                                1. re: skylineR33
                                  h
                                  HK Epicurus RE: skylineR33 Mar 4, 2011 07:42 AM

                                  Negative reviews on Robuchon HK - are u reading my mind? :) you would not believe the type of crap we got being passed off as service. I am 99.5% certain this was the lowest of the worst service anyone will ever get in any starred restaurants in the world, at least I've never heard worst. *But to be honest, only 1 d.h. waiter spoiled it all for us, the rest of the staff were polite enough. Actually come to think of it, what don't I write a complaint letter 1st ? *I've never written a complaint letter in my life, so you can see how serious I am.

                                  Sun Tung Lok carried no surprises definitely. The execution was good overall that's all. I think Lung King Heen might possibly have more surprises, but like Tom said, may be need to pre-arrange the banquet or special set dinner?

                                  I still haven't been to Hoi King Heen dinner come to think of it, the absolute locals favourite for Cantonese Food. I hear the same people praising about it all the time, so I do wonder what others really think about it!

                                  1. re: HK Epicurus
                                    skylineR33 RE: HK Epicurus Mar 4, 2011 03:25 PM

                                    Hoi King Heen's dinner has a high standard, the dishes I tried are all very well-executed. Very strong classic Chinese cuisine technique with a twist on some dishes. I put it in the same level as Yan Toh Heen for its food. The famous "Fortune Chicken" is an example. I am not a fan of this dish, usually the chicken meat is rough and dry after baking in the oven for so long. But the meat I found at Hoi King Heen has been improved, they make it very juicy too, good flavor infused with the smell of the mushroom and Chinese ham. But of course, the meat cannot be too tender and smooth with this cooking style after the long baking process. I also find the juice more on the mild side. So I think this dish is not for everyone.

                                    The crystal prawn is also very good. It is not the kind of dish with explosive flavor, but rather a refined good-balanced Cantonese cuisine dish made with fresh ingradient and great technique, which give me a good taste of the freshness of the prawn.

                                    Dim sum at Hoi King Heen has nothing to shout home about though.

                                    1. re: skylineR33
                                      k
                                      klyeoh RE: skylineR33 Mar 4, 2011 07:54 PM

                                      Great tip, skylineR33. Oftentimes, foreigners are not aware that the chef de cuisine and the dim sum chef in a Cantonese restaurant have very different talent levels - so restaurant with a good a la carte dinner menu can also happen to serve lousy/passable dim sum, and vice versa.

                                      I'll make sure we only do dinner at Hoi King Heen!

                                      1. re: klyeoh
                                        TomEatsHK RE: klyeoh Mar 5, 2011 06:33 PM

                                        At most restaurants - Western or not - the different stages of the meal are done by different chefs.

                                        Just as the dim sum may be better or worse than the rest of the meal, the breads or desserts at Western restaurants may be completely different than the rest of the experience.

                                        Still, at a great restaurant, it should all be good, regardless of the chef.

                                        PS my last experience at Robuchon involved the head waiter ritually screaming at his staff in front of us, in an open kitchen... Disgraceful.

                                  2. re: skylineR33
                                    h
                                    hong_kong_foodie RE: skylineR33 Mar 4, 2011 06:26 PM

                                    Not true. Din Tai Fung in Taipei is consistent - very consistent. I would argue the one in HK (Kowloon) is super consistent as well.

                                    1. re: hong_kong_foodie
                                      skylineR33 RE: hong_kong_foodie Mar 4, 2011 06:31 PM

                                      Not that I found, not all the items in it's menu are consistent. Also, not everyone found it good, as you can see in Open Rice.

                                      1. re: skylineR33
                                        h
                                        HK Epicurus RE: skylineR33 Mar 5, 2011 09:45 AM

                                        Yep I've been to Hoi King Heen lunch actually and have given it a negative rating on Openrice - it was just really wrong... all four of us walked out a few hundred dollars lighter and we were just appalled. But dinner does seem very promising indeed that's why really wanted to go one day, thanks for the heads up SkylineR33 (GTS or GTR btw? :D )

                                        *Its like Dynasty - dim sum to me is better than dinner, before or after the chef change from Cuisine Cuisine.

                                        As for Din Tai Fung, I love their XLB's and over many visits, I prefer the CWB one slightly as its less heavy on sesame oil. I don't really like the other stuff at Din Tai Fung though, its a bit too austere. Taipei's DTF are much more heavier too, its strange how different they are. I did Taipei DTF 1 day, then on the 2nd day I was back went straight to HK TST DFT and they tasted quite different indeed, each to their own!

                                        Sydney and Tokyo ones very similar to HK, but worst I've tried is Sydney so far!

                                        1. re: HK Epicurus
                                          skylineR33 RE: HK Epicurus Mar 5, 2011 04:54 PM

                                          Hope you have a good one at Hoi King Heen, not to guarantee its consistency. GTS or GTR ? Whatever is faster !

                                          1. re: skylineR33
                                            FourSeasons RE: skylineR33 Mar 7, 2011 01:25 AM

                                            Again, same opinion with SkylineR, Hoi King Heen's dinner is excellent, just make sure it is prepared by Chef Leung. His signature dishes are top notch. I have never tried the Dim Sum lunch but I heard the same thing that it was not the same standard as its dinner preparation.
                                            On different topic, I also don't think so highly of Mo as well, the fusion dishes are more gimmicky appealing to the Westerners.

                                    2. re: skylineR33
                                      TomEatsHK RE: skylineR33 Mar 5, 2011 06:28 PM

                                      Every restaurant will have up and down days but at a truly good one they will be barely noticable. For instance the Ledbury, I would bet you could go on a bad day (I haven't ever) and still come away with a smile on your face.

                                      And Robuchon HK, purrrllleeasseeee. That is the whole problem with Michelin HK, 99 per cent of them aren't even 1 stars in an international context. And that is often down to their inability to be consistent. The only 2 which I think are actually worthy are Caprice and Amber. The rest are a joke.

                                      But Robuchon Paris for instance, I've been there 8 or 9 times and always had exceptional meals.

                                      Consistency is important, the amount you pay for the meal isn't variable. The quality shouldn't be either.

                                      And Ko, bad reviews? Most of the ones I have read are exceptional. I would rate my meal there as one of the greatest I have had. I think many of the bad reviews are of the offshoots - Saam, Noodle etc.. That said Chang is at least moving things forward and developing the culture of food. He is also doing it style wise in a very modern way. That doesn't agree with some who prefer formal dining rooms.

                                      STL in that context is nothing great at all. It might be a place I would go back to and grab a few dishes at, or a place at which I would contact the manager to arrange a guided tasting tour but it is nothing I would rate internationally.

                                      As for having a 100 plus items in your menu, that is no excuse. Don't offer a 100 plus items if you can't do them well every time.

                                      1. re: TomEatsHK
                                        skylineR33 RE: TomEatsHK Mar 5, 2011 06:34 PM

                                        Of course Ko has bad reviews, a simple google of it will show on different review sites ! I am not only talking about Robuchon HK, but also those 3 stars in Japan and US, if you don't know. My meal at KO has only 50% work (on that only 8 dishes they provided to everyone on that night), same with my friends, sorry, different person has different experience. Well, following an European-judged "guide" to find good eat Chinese food in HK is already a joke, no wonder you end up with not-up-to par food, common sense.

                                        I don't rate restaurant using michelin but like the food in STL. STL is not that bad afterall, it got high score in openrice, recognise as good restaurant on Chowhound and local foodies, it is too bad you don't like it from your 'own' experience.

                                        As for the 100 items, what I am trying to say is even restaurant like KO which only has 8 items cannot do it good consistently, it is not surprising others restaurant with 100+ cannot do it.

                                        1. re: skylineR33
                                          h
                                          harryrodgers RE: skylineR33 Mar 6, 2011 06:11 AM

                                          Talking about the size of menu brings up an issue I've been considering recently. I feel that sometimes, discovering the best of a half decent cantonese restaurant requires ordering more than two or even three people could manage in a meal...and I don't just mean the usual abalone, sharks fin, bird's nest etc. I could be talking out of my arse here, but is this perhaps where the Michelin judges are losing out?

                                          Granted, one should return multiple times before passing judgement and yes if you are going to put 100 items on your menu then you should strive to maintain excellence with all those dishes. However, with the exception of LKH and may be a few others, there is rarely a "tasting menu". Instead you have set menus or, for larger parties, what amounts to a "banquet menu" which is not necessarily the best representation of what the restaurant has to offer.

                                          Put another way, there are many restaurants which could easily leave me with a bad impression if I went there completely ignorant of their strengths (which regular patrons would be familiar with). Hence the value of folks here on chowhound as well as openrice etc...way more useful than a michelin guide imho (although it still serves a purpose by bringing international recognition).

                                          1. re: harryrodgers
                                            skylineR33 RE: harryrodgers Mar 6, 2011 06:55 AM

                                            Counting on a foreign "international rated" red book to search for the ultimate Chinese dining experience in HK is potentially looking for disaster and disappointment.

                                            1. re: skylineR33
                                              h
                                              harryrodgers RE: skylineR33 Mar 6, 2011 07:04 AM

                                              arguably so is reading *some* reviews on openrice ;) but yeah I see your point.

                                              1. re: harryrodgers
                                                skylineR33 RE: harryrodgers Mar 6, 2011 07:53 AM

                                                Sure, openrice is not even 'international' rated or being considered in a international context, it is just a local HK website reviews written by HK people, ha.

                                                1. re: skylineR33
                                                  u
                                                  Uncle Yabai RE: skylineR33 Mar 6, 2011 02:42 PM

                                                  Although openrice is valuable, it does have too many elements of "crowdsourcing" and "Tripadvisoriness" to make it difficult to separate the junk ("I hate this restaurant because the waitress gave me a funny face") from the truly useful.

                                                  1. re: Uncle Yabai
                                                    skylineR33 RE: Uncle Yabai Mar 6, 2011 02:57 PM

                                                    Openrice is a good reference. It is just like any review websites such as chowhound, you have to read at your own discretion and follow reviewers who are trustworthy. But it is local like tabelog.

                                                    1. re: skylineR33
                                                      u
                                                      Uncle Yabai RE: skylineR33 Mar 6, 2011 08:27 PM

                                                      But I do find tabelog to be more informative and the posters careful in their assessments, better separating the systematic ("the XXX was better than that at YYY because ZZZZ") from the idiosyncratic ("I don't eat pork, and all they sold there were pork dishes, that restaurant stinks.")

                                                      1. re: Uncle Yabai
                                                        TomEatsHK RE: Uncle Yabai Mar 7, 2011 12:48 AM

                                                        I think the reference to Michelin is drawing away from the underlying issue... can an inconsistent restaurant or one which has a menu of 100 + items but only half of which are actually good be a "great" restaurant.

                                                        My suggestion is not.

                                                        As Harry Rodgers comment points out, fancy Chinese restaurants have menus so vast that one does need some local knowledge on what they do well or a party of 6 to 8 to really give them a proper go. In some ways that is why I prefer the restaurants which specialise (which are usually at the lower end of the scale) as, for instance, they might be renouned for Claypot which, time in, time out, they do well.

                                                        My experience at STL actually sounds on a par with yours Skyline. It was just I hoped it might be much better than that. My comment is merely than it is not a top notch restaurant. For instance, I found my meals at Tim's Kitchen/ Manor far better.

                                                        I find Openrice quite useful for local restaurants as the posters have better knowledge of local food than me. Also it gives an indication of what the better dishes are.

                                                        On non Cantonese food it isn't the best though.

                                                        1. re: TomEatsHK
                                                          FourSeasons RE: TomEatsHK Mar 7, 2011 01:14 AM

                                                          What is the problem with 100+ items? For Chines dining, most prefer to dine in group of 6 to 10 persons, so you are likely to order 6 to 10 dishes anyway. So what is the big deal of selecting 10 dishes from 100 + items. It is not like Western food where one just order an appetizer and a main dish, where the selection and varieties are much more limited. You think about the categories: appetizer, soup, seafood, fish, pork, chicken, other meat (such as beef, pigeon, lamb etc), vegetables, noodle, rice, dessert etc and I already have 11 categories and if 10 dishes are available in each category, that is already 100+ items. Again, what is so big deal? The reason you think it is not "great" is because you already have a preconceived bias that it can't be done.

                                                          Then each restaurant has its own strength and weakness. You want the best food, of course, you need to know their strength, and best, if you are a regular who is familiar with the owner or captain there, then you get better deal on what are the best deals of the day.

                                                          As to "tasting menu" or "banquet menu", the former is more for tourists since many come in much smaller group like 1-4 persons and the latter is more for people who are seeking good bargains or too lazy to select their own dishes. Don't consider that like Omakase or Kaiseki in Japan when the chefs will bring out the best for regulars. In Chinese case, this is more for non-serious foodies.

                                                          1. re: FourSeasons
                                                            TomEatsHK RE: FourSeasons Mar 7, 2011 04:05 AM

                                                            There is no "problem" with 100+ items as long as the restaurant is capable of producing those 100+ items with quality.

                                                            I think the pre conceived bias may be that you think I have a pre conceived bias. If I have a bad meal because I don't know the captain or owner I think, quite frankly, it is a sad reflection on the food scene rather than a problem for the adventurous tourist or semi permanent secondee.

                                                            Perhaps that is why I have particularly enjoyed trips to the Mainland as they have a more democratic approach (ironically) as is necessitated when you have cities growing by several million each year.

                                                            1. re: TomEatsHK
                                                              FourSeasons RE: TomEatsHK Mar 7, 2011 04:45 AM

                                                              Look, you already link "inconsistent restaurants" with "one which has a menu of 100+" above on the same statement. And you already doubt if you will call a restaurant "great" only "if half of which are actually good". And you kept talking about Michelin standard even when skyliner has advised you so many times that the "international red book" is a disaster for serious Chinese foodies. If this is not pre conceived bias, then what is it? You keep using your western prism to try to understand the local scene, and that is where the issue is. It is not right or wrong, good or bad, you can maintain the same value, it is not a problem, but if you want to understand it from local prism rather than western prism, then you have to discard those pre conceived bias. That is what I meant.

                                                              First, who cares about 100+ items? Nobody is going to order and try 100+ items; nobody is going to like them all. The reasons they are there is because no.1: Chinese prefer varieties; in a meal, they want to order 6-10 dishes. Again, I already wrote, it is not like French food, an appetizer and one main dish is satisfying. Chinese would want more than 2 dishes in a restaurant, and if they just have 1-2 dishes, they would rather go for comfort food, like wanton mee or Claypot rice, which fits in your love of lower end of the scale of dining places. Even if they go to a semi-casual restaurants like Tasty, they are likely to order more than 2 dishes. No.2: Most Chinese restaurants are huge that caters to a big crowd. In that case, they want to satisfy the taste bud of all their guests. Some are serious foodies; some are not, they just want their old favorites and the restaurants try to satisfy all the crowd. But in most restaurants, they know who their regulars are, they know the margin that they earn from the customers and certainly they will serve the VIPs better than the rest. You may accuse this as unethical but that is a different issue.

                                                              Sure, there is a new trend on private kitchen, some restaurants (such as Ying Yang, Da Ping Huo, The Chairman, Glenn's) received foreign influence and try to have "tasting menu" instead to cater to a smaller crowd. But this is just a small niche at present moment.

                                                              But no Chinese foodie is going to judge a restaurant whether they have a small menu or large menu. Nobody I know even cares except in Chowhound, and mostly written by non-Chinese. Serious foodies would understand the characteristic of the restaurants they love, they will understand the strength, and they know how to order to maximize the value.

                                                              Even Michelin Guide, none of my friends even bother to talk about it. None is influenced by the choice there. The response is usually who cares, just the gwailo. The only time I need to keep chatting about it is in Chowhound.

                                                              As to Mainland, that is entirely a different topic. It depends again which city you are talking about. Chinese food is not homogenous, and in fact, Si chuan food itself will taste slightly different in Beijing or Shanghai. But that should not be discussed on this thread.

                                                              1. re: FourSeasons
                                                                skylineR33 RE: FourSeasons Mar 7, 2011 05:34 AM

                                                                Hey FS, just read your post after I post mine ! Same view on Chinese prefer varieties ! ha.

                                                                1. re: FourSeasons
                                                                  TomEatsHK RE: FourSeasons Mar 7, 2011 06:11 AM

                                                                  "can an inconsistent restaurant or one which has a menu of 100 + items but only half of which are actually good be a "great" restaurant". The key thing to note in my statement is the word "or". And the word "great".

                                                                  Putting aside Michelin, and as noted in this very thread, STL is seriously reckoned by (presumably) local foodies. I went with that in mind as much as the three stars. In that context it disappointed. Some dishes were good a far few were not. Overall the experience was severely lacking.

                                                                  I obviously can't dispute the fact that I am not Chinese but if I go to South America and have an average meal (and I have had a LOT of average meals there) the reason is not ascribed to cultural differences. Quite frankly we are not talking about some esoteric sub strand of cuisine here, we are talking about Cantonese food. which is one of the most widely available cuisines in the world in a world city (HK).

                                                                  And on your point on advance notice to the restaurant before and arranging something special if you look back 3 days (to 4 March 2011) you will notice I made the exact same point.

                                                                  "As with LKH I think if you contacted the restaurant before and tried to arrange a special meal you could end up having some great food".

                                                                  When I suggest that inconsistency or being unable to cook all the items on your menu well is not the hallmark of a "great" restaurant I don't think it is that controversial a statement. Perhaps it seems offensive coming from a gweilo but perhaps it fits in a world context where HK is not making leaps and bounds in the food scene like Spain/ some of the Nordic countries.

                                                                  1. re: TomEatsHK
                                                                    FourSeasons RE: TomEatsHK Mar 7, 2011 06:47 AM

                                                                    You just don't get it. It is not HKG not making leaps and bounds in food scene, it is you who not able to discard your bias. I think Skyliner and I try hard to unblock your bias so that you can learn to appreciate Cantonese cuisine like the locals do, and I know you do try hard, you go for street food that most gwailo don't do....but you still have this western mentality that is blocking you. You still think of 1 star, 2 stars, 3 stars, Spain/Nordic, and how restaurants should be rank accordingly to those European standards. You go to LKH for a pre-arranged special meals and with that "great" food, you think you get it. No, not at all, the thing about hotel restaurants is that they know how to cater to the expatriates crowd, that is why all the hotel restaurants are the ones who get all the stars in the first edition before the French inspectors woke up realizing that their book is unanimously being criticized by the locals, and then they start to try to add other non hotel restaurants such as STL to the list to appease the locals. Look, the hotel restaurants and the non-hotel restaurants are two different categories, hounds wrote extensively 2-3 years ago on Chowhound, I am too lazy to search and rewrite again. Basically to be brief, hotel ones know how to speak English well, they know how to serve the western crowds, but the non-hotel ones are less consistent on this issue.

                                                                    I am not saying you don't know how to appreciate Cantonese food. Certainly your "South America" statement is taken out of context, what does this has to do with SA? But what I am saying is that if you want to take to the next level of appreciation, to appreciate the finer things like the locals do, then you need to understand it from the local prism. But if you are happy with your current understanding, that is fine too. But don't think of your statement as universally acceptable. It is not.

                                                                  2. re: FourSeasons
                                                                    PhilD RE: FourSeasons Mar 11, 2011 06:38 PM

                                                                    There is definitely a philosophical difference between us food lovers. There is one camp who will rate a restaurant very highly if it only excels in one dish or one style of food, there is another camp that only rates a place if they can trust every dish to be a stunner. I am in the latter camp, to me a good restaurant is one which does everything well, I may still enjoy the one dish another restaurant does well but that doesn't make it a good restaurant in my book. So no I don't see this as a local vs. westerner trait simply people with different paradigms i.e. I dislike restaurants in London and Paris that have patchy menus as much as those here.

                                                                    But my experience of restaurants has led me to conclude that the more dishes on a menu the greater the chance some will be sub-par. Thus I tend to favour those with smaller menus and I probably preferred “The Chairman” over other places for that reason. Maybe as I get more familiar with HK food I will have the insight to get the best out of the 100+ dish venue, but at the moment it is too much like a lucky dip and I often miss out.

                                                                    I wonder how top end Chinese cuisine will evolve, will the mega restaurant be the way forward or will we see more specialist, and exclusive menus like The Chairman become common? Tricky to say but it will be interesting to see the evolution.

                                                                    I am keen to try and get the best out of the HK food seen but it isn’t very accessible. It has definitely improved since I lived here back in 2001/3, was that Michelin, or is it the general level of interest in food globally? I don’t remember owning a food guide 10 years ago, but now there are many on sale plus the WOM and Open Rice boards. Maybe simply a correlation rather than a causal factor, but probably both illustrate the growing interest (and pride) in Asian food, which has stimulated competition and raised standards.

                                                                    Over the next years we are going to be trying hard to get the best from the large variety that is available in the HK food scene, however after spending this week in Sydney, and enjoying 7 out of the 8 meals I ate more than any I have tried in my first two months in HK, it looks like I will need to search a bit harder…!

                                                                    1. re: PhilD
                                                                      skylineR33 RE: PhilD Mar 11, 2011 07:00 PM

                                                                      I think you misunderstand, definitely it is not one dish or one style of food but it has more to do if one knows how to appreciate and understand the cuisine. Maybe this will give you more insight :

                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/770694

                                                                      1. re: skylineR33
                                                                        PhilD RE: skylineR33 Mar 11, 2011 09:21 PM

                                                                        Whilst I admit I am far from being an expert I do believe I have learned the basic distinction between a well executed dish in a Chinese restaurant and a poorly executed one. I may not understand all the nuances, and my palate may not be as finely tuned as others, but I can tell great from bad. But thanks for the link.

                                                                        Can I ask if you are arguing that the big restaurants with the 100+ dishes execute every dish really well? I had though the argument was that these restaurants didn't; instead an ability to navigate the menu, build relationships with key staff, and pre-odering specialities was the way to go. If this is the definition of how you must appreciate and understand Chinese cuisine then I fear I may never get the best out of it. I am just not tuned that way. I like to have the confidence I am in good hands at a restaurant because I am capable of paying the bill and will appreciate the teams efforts, rather than I am better researched or on more favourable terms than others (I do recognise this may be an odd trait). That's why I liked "The Chairman" so much, the food was good, but the service made it, especially the waiters recommendations and willingness to comp samples of various dishes to balance the meal and broaden our experience.

                                                                        I do genuinely wonder how Chinese restaurants will develop; the PRC dining scene was moribund for a very long period of time and it will be interesting to see how it evolves with the open economy. HK's premium food scene was historically westernised and again is evolving its own strong voice as local spending power increases and tastes evolve. Exciting times.

                                                                        1. re: PhilD
                                                                          skylineR33 RE: PhilD Mar 12, 2011 06:12 AM

                                                                          Oh again .... have you not read the entire thread ? Many reasons why Chinese menu is big has been listed out here, you can see this as a dining culture. I CAN GUARANTEE you it will stay this way. I don't know anyone in HK, or any Chinese I know of even care and ever has any problem with this, or take this as a reason that restaurant cannot be great because not all the item are as goood, except in here. Yes, I think -

                                                                          - restaurant can be great if it has 100+ items in the menu but not all of them are as good
                                                                          - restaurant can be great if it only has one tasting menu
                                                                          - no restaurant can pleased everyone in this world

                                                                          1. re: skylineR33
                                                                            PhilD RE: skylineR33 Mar 13, 2011 03:03 PM

                                                                            I wish I was so certain about predicting food trends and I wish I had started a company to import French wine to China/HK twenty years ago. In my experience I find food trends and styles can move quite rapidly through societies so it will be interesting to see how food culture changes for both good and bad (think US inspired fast food and coffee across Asia).

                                                                            As to your last three points, I broadly agree with them, but there is a subtle point you miss, I have found that very big menus may have some excellent dishes, some good, but also some bad. It is the bad dishes that make me question whether because it has some great dishes it can be a great restaurant. But as I said that is a personal point of view.

                                                                            1. re: PhilD
                                                                              skylineR33 RE: PhilD Mar 13, 2011 03:39 PM

                                                                              Ha, we don't know who inspired who, you like yours, I like mine, and in this case, maybe it will be the other way around. It depends on so many things, what has better demand, who has more spending power .....

                                                                              I also had some bad dishes at WD50, I still think it is a great restaurant.

                                                                              1. re: PhilD
                                                                                FourSeasons RE: PhilD Mar 14, 2011 03:30 AM

                                                                                @ PhilD:

                                                                                Nobody here argues that big restaurants with 100+ dishes execute every dish really well. Do you argue that a restaurant with 20+ dishes execute all dishes well? Are you willing to argue that restaurants with just a set menu of 5-10 dishes execute all of them well? I had the set dinner at 2 stars Amber and I thought they failed half the courses.

                                                                                While you admit that you are far being an expert, I will tell you that Skyliner is an expert on the local dining scene. If you want to understand the intricacies of local dining as appreciated by the locals, then there is much to learn from him. Nobody here challenges your ability to tell great from bad, we just don't think you understand the deep intricacies of local dining under the context of local culture. If you want to keep your own western way of judging food, it is fine too. There is no need to debate anymore. Period.

                                                                                "The Chairman" is a good decent restaurant, but not a top notch; within that same area itself, restaurants with 100+ menu such as Tim's Kitchen or Celebrities Cuisine are far superior, in terms of ingredients and culinary skill, than The Chairman with limited menu. That is why I say this issue is irrelevant in local context.

                                                                                And you are absolutely right, we all speak from personal point of view. I don't think highly of the dining scene in Sydney or Melbourne, even the famous Tetsuya and Rockpool were rather disappointing. And Cantonese food there is certainly nothing to even talk about. But that's just my opinion.

                                                                                As to WOM and Openrice, these are rather recent phenomenum as they are web-based food media. Old print media like the weekly Cantonese magazines have plenty of food guides; TV media always devoted some programs reviewing food and restaurants. So all these food guides have been available from old days even in the 70s. Food guide is nothing new here. Perhaps in 2001/3 you have no access due to language issue rather than availability factor.

                                                                                1. re: PhilD
                                                                                  n
                                                                                  NilesCable RE: PhilD Mar 14, 2011 08:26 AM

                                                                                  Who is to say that one persons bad isnt another persons great? What makes a great meal, that you like it or that the majority likes it? To me, it is about me liking what I eat. I.e., I really hate eggplant, so any dish with eggplant inside is bad for me. But for someone else, it will be great.

                                                                          2. re: PhilD
                                                                            h
                                                                            HK Epicurus RE: PhilD Mar 13, 2011 04:12 PM

                                                                            I was also in Sydney right before returning to Hk, although I am more of a Melburnian- I will have to second your opinion that it's much harder to grab a truly satisfying meal here in hk. somehow the variety is all there but the end result isn't ~ perhaps it's all related to whether the kitchen chefs really have a genuine passion for food or are just treating it as a job!

                                                                            1. re: HK Epicurus
                                                                              M_Gomez RE: HK Epicurus Mar 13, 2011 10:09 PM

                                                                              Interesting comment, HK Epicurus. You are referring to Western (French, Italian, Greek or other Continental) cuisine in HK, aren't you? Because Cantonese or any other Chinese food in Melbourne certainly don't approach the standards in HK.

                                                                              1. re: M_Gomez
                                                                                h
                                                                                HK Epicurus RE: M_Gomez Mar 14, 2011 11:44 AM

                                                                                Yes i was mostly speaking of non asian food definitely, especially in terms of execution. I actually find normal comfort food in Aust to be of poor presentation but somehow when u eat them, u won't mind this as they are just cooked so right. Fine dining wise its ok though and Sydney has way better options than Melb in this regard but comfort or ethnic food wise melb wins hands down. I could literally walk into any random restaurant in the CBD in any laneway and the food will taste better than London St Johns or many resto in hk, although each have their own advantages i suppose.

                                                                                I broadly do agree with the Chinese food comment as overall Hk is better on average than Melb but you might be surprised at certain thou very few places which does exceptional dishes.
                                                                                - Silks in Melb i never held hiri regards to b4, but in hindsight their execution is better than many starred restaurants in Hk. Its easily better than Lung King Heen or Island Tang or Yan Toh la carte dishes in execution.
                                                                                - Flower drums WAS to me previously over rated, but in hindsight come to think of it some of its dishes are very good. Fried rice is better than LKH by a great margin, their steamed barramundi is to die for and so is the lobster. Ok not everything is great but it has some signatures. - Golden Dragon yum cha will not lose to most places in Hk, its inconsistent though. Similarly Plume's or Red Silks might not be top notch but it certainly is better than hk Maxim's.
                                                                                - Bamboo House made peking ducks comparable to Beijing and i have just tried 5 places last week up there, but their tea smoked duck is easily better than ones i tried in HK. So are their fried dumplings and some other dishes like scallion cakes, imitation crab and others not sure how to write in English. Unfortunately the boss won the lottery recently and standards have dropped but at its peak nothing in HK can overwhelmingly beat it.
                                                                                - Jade used to be very good, its taro duck easily beats 1 star Fung Lam and 1 star Shang Palace without a doubt, so were other dishes. But chef has now left and friends report it as dropping right off the cliff and vowed never to return.
                                                                                - Never really liked Laus kitchen as its western oriental orientated, but some of the dishes are Well executed enough, much like Choy's and Tea House !hich were not entirely set up for Asian diners but some dishes were good enough it'll give certain places here a run for the money, even compared to say Chairman or starred places!

                                                                                1. re: HK Epicurus
                                                                                  M_Gomez RE: HK Epicurus Mar 14, 2011 11:35 PM

                                                                                  I'm more of a "Sydney" person, so I'm not as familiar with Melbourne's Chinese restaurants as you. I'd only been to Flower Drum (ex-owner Gilbert Lau is an old-time friend) but I thought its standards are just about equivalent to Lei Garden in Singapore (not HK), but with higher prices.

                                                                                  I must try Silk the next time I visit my brother's family in Melbourne. Is it really better than HK's Lung King Heen, the first & only 3-Michelin starred Chinese restaurant in the world?

                                                                      2. re: FourSeasons
                                                                        h
                                                                        harryrodgers RE: FourSeasons Mar 7, 2011 04:42 AM

                                                                        Perhaps this hits on a cultural difference beyond simply the food or menu format. From my own observations (including those of my extended family!), I'd say that longtime/native HK diners want to "GO GET the best deal" and are prepared to go to some lengths to achieve that.

                                                                        Perhaps, western diners (a somewhat vague definition perhaps, and I'll include myself in this category for the sake of argument) go to a restaurant with more of an assumption that the chef/staff, as part of their job, will naturally want to GIVE you the "best deal".

                                                                        NOTE: Please forgive any sweeping generalisations i've made there regarding dining habits of various people. My comment is certainly not intended as criticism but rather to highlight differences that I've seen. In no way do I mean to label any group as exclusively being one way or another.

                                                                        Oh, and I'm not sure what a "non serious foodie" is...but since I've never really liked the "f" word...I'll categorise myself as a serious non-foodie! :D

                                                                        1. re: harryrodgers
                                                                          skylineR33 RE: harryrodgers Mar 7, 2011 05:29 AM

                                                                          TomEatsHK, the same can be said of restaurants with only a tasting menu, not all people like this format because they have nothing to choose ! It just that one cannot expect all cuisine to work the same or to the way they like. For myself, I have a pretty good sense of what to order when I walk in to a Chinese restaurant with 100+ items on the menu. I am not saying I am very knowledgeable but it does require knowledge, this is Chinese cuisine.

                                                                          I think it is not only Chinese cuisine or in HK that you get better 'treatment' one way or the other if you know the owner or captain. But the real concern is what FourSeason and harryrodgers pointed out, Chinese cuisine is different in format and culturally, especially in the haute cuisine level (in Mainland or HK), whether you like it or not. For instance, steamed fish is a signature dish in Cantonese cuisine, it is much more preferable to pan-seared fillet. It is hard for a party of 2 to order a whole steamed fish and at the same time enjoy the rest of the meal with only one stomach. Or a double-boiled soup ? Most of the time, a real good one requires advanced notice and to be shared with a table of people. FS's point on "tasting menu"/"banquet menu" is also spot on, it does not work quite the same with other form of tasting menu which you are familiar with.

                                                                          1. re: harryrodgers
                                                                            FourSeasons RE: harryrodgers Mar 7, 2011 05:32 AM

                                                                            Of course, it is a cultural difference. But I do not agree with your "observation". HK diners are not a homogeneous group, some are serious foodies, some are not; some only like comfort food, some want to have good food but only value for money type, some love high end dishes where price is not an issue. I don't understand what you meant "GO GET the best deal". What is best deal? Value for money? Seasonal dishes for VIPs? Most expensive dishes? But none of my friends or guests has such mentality in either camp. When we go to a restaurant, we know its strength and we order accordingly.

                                                                            And I have plenty of "lousy" deals in western restaurants, including Michelin 3 stars ones. So I am really confused you even think western chefs will always give the "best" deals. Certainly not in my experience.

                                                                            "non serious foodies"= my typo error without editing. I actually meant non serious guests.

                                                                            1. re: FourSeasons
                                                                              h
                                                                              harryrodgers RE: FourSeasons Mar 7, 2011 06:20 AM

                                                                              FS,

                                                                              If you read my note you would have understood that I was trying very hard NOT to classify HK diners as a homogenous group; merely suggest some cultural differences. As you rightly say, restaurants in HK are catering to a large number of different diners who *crucially* tend to know pretty much exactly what they want before they step through the door of a given establishment. In this regard, the dining experience is less serendipitous than it might be for a visitor.

                                                                              Regarding "best deals", I believe you were the first to use this phrase:
                                                                              " you are a regular who is familiar with the owner or captain there, then you get better deal on what are the best deals of the day."

                                                                              I was responding to what you had written (and agreeing fwiw!).

                                                                              I certainly did not write or try to imply that "western chefs will always give the "best" deals" - I merely suggested that many western DINERS expect said chefs to give their "best" by default...without the requirement of a pre-existing rapport with said chef.

                                                                              1. re: harryrodgers
                                                                                FourSeasons RE: harryrodgers Mar 7, 2011 07:12 AM

                                                                                Hi Harry:

                                                                                I think you oversimplify the issue. You probably overrated the guests in Hong Kong restaurants. Very few of them are like Skyliner, Peech, CharlesYu, Hong kong foodie, Epicurus Most of them just go into the restaurants to fill in their stomachs; many of them just want value for money type of food. That is why Cafe de Coral is doing good business.

                                                                                On my context of "best deals", I am referring to offers made to the regulars whom the captains know who are serious foodies and willing to pay the premium price. Of course, only perhaps 1-5% of the guests will be taken care at this level. That is why on past thread, TomEatsHK complained about the food at Yung Kee because YK unfortunately differentiate their guests accordingly and he is not getting the same treatment like a regular/VIP does. (BTW, YK's food is very good on a good day)

                                                                                Just like Western diners, HKG diners also expect the chefs to give their best by default. I don't think there is any difference in that regard. And I never have an existing rapport with chefs; that is an irrelevent issue here. Of course, whether you can get the best is a different issue, and I probably have doubts that western diners will get the best effort from their chefs all the time.

                                                                                1. re: FourSeasons
                                                                                  K K RE: FourSeasons Mar 7, 2011 02:41 PM

                                                                                  Not a reply to anyone in particular.

                                                                                  I would also like to think that a menu with almost 100 items gives the customer additional ammunition or imagination (depending on how it is perceived) to fully take the reins and drive the ordering, even with possible customizations (or something that can be made reasonably off menu, or heck even pre-order in advance with the reservation).

                                                                                  But expecting absolutely everything on the menu to be done correctly is definitely a receipe for disaster.

                                                                                  HK's most prolific blogger KC Gourmet, who is also working in local HK food media, did a writeup of STL recently

                                                                                  http://gourmetkc.blogspot.com/2011/03...

                                                                                  and he pre-selected non high end dishes (some after a discussion with the head chef), with a cost averaging HK$500 per person. He notes that the current head chef at STL used to work at Kimberley Chinese Restaurant in TST. Maybe not everyone can eat and get the quality that KC got, but I have a feeling that with that writeup, if ordering what he recommended and staying in line with the right expectations (and assuming similar tastes and standards), this place could be a winner as a whole package, ignoring some inflated rubber tire award.

                                                                                  1. re: K K
                                                                                    skylineR33 RE: K K Mar 7, 2011 03:53 PM

                                                                                    By just looking at the review, the dishes they order in the banquet and pictures, it is not a "blowout perfect full-mark" meal to me. Maybe the value/ cost performance ratio is taking into consideration, who knows. But it is not surprising at all to me STL is able to do so, as I can see its potential with the meal I had in there.

                                                                                    1. re: skylineR33
                                                                                      h
                                                                                      HK Epicurus RE: skylineR33 Mar 7, 2011 06:36 PM

                                                                                      I actually happen to agree with Tom on 1 thing, but may be we started from a different viewpoint but to have come to a similar conclusion - and anyone who has read what I reviewed starting 2 - 2.5 years ago would notice how I started off being really disappointed with so many Cantonese restaurants when I'd just come back. One of the first few places I went to included institutions like Yung Kee and Fook Lam Moon, Lung King Heen, Dynasty, Manor, West Villa and many locals to-go places and in terms of other cuisines the likes of Caprice, Amber, Robuchon Macau, etc. Can't remember it all.

                                                                                      Not dissing anyone from Openrice (well I write there too) but I am entitled to my opinion - I find a lot of local reviewers on there either really protective of certain restaurants or they repeatedly keep saying to others how great such and such a restaurant is and how its done to perfection, etc, but once we arrive there (usually a bunch of either local non-blogger foodies or overseas friends in my case) the quality isn't anything upto the description. I remember getting bagged online by a few guys for even suggesting that Kau Kee beef briskets wasn't very good, and I still think it isn't as good as it's said to be - even the Drink Eat Men Women did an across the board brisket/flanks test of many shops and concluded Kau Kee wasn't up there with the best. Some people should learn to be non-narcissist and accept the fact that everyone is entitled to their opinion and at the end of the day, you're only part of the poll and statistics. And do remember that as much as you think Openricers are locals (but the majority of them are very young bloggers who've never worked in the kitchen) and the Michelin reviewers are retarded and untrained in chinese food except those cuisines suited to Westerners, perhaps you might want to recheck again and see how many non-hotel restaurants there are in the latest guide and a lot more Michelin Stars which are ALSO agreed by many local eaters.

                                                                                      But then jump to another level and compare our stars with say the Kansai/Tokyo or European ones - there is definitely a gap in performance from food quality, consistency and service levels.

                                                                                      I think what people might be forgetting is that the arrival of Michelin (ratings or not) have actually kicked-started this movement where FOOD QUALITY has become better in HK just within the past 2 years. Anyone who has a Star don't want to lose it, and those who think they should get one but haven't work harder, hoping to be discovered. That should be looked at independently as to whether it deserves any praise in the end.

                                                                                      *As for why hotel canto restos got all the stars, its a matter of the chicken or the egg first. Hotels have the ability to charge higher prices and recruit better chefs since day 1, if you go to France, most of the starred restaurants, cough cough, are also found in hotels for a reason.... and I am sure those French hotel restaurants aren't only there to cater for tourists but to local Michelin inspectors too.

                                                                                      Sorry didn't compose this together very well, need to check out from the hotel in a hurry soon :)

                                                                                      1. re: HK Epicurus
                                                                                        skylineR33 RE: HK Epicurus Mar 7, 2011 07:19 PM

                                                                                        I will say this one more time - Openrice is just like any review websites such as chowhound or tabelog, you have to read AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION and follow reviewers who are trustworthy. I am pretty sure there are tons of good one in there just like Chowhound.

                                                                                        I (and I am not the only one) do think dining scene in HK is not as good as two years ago (before Michelin comes).

                                                                                        My point is just please do not 'label' HK restaurant using some sort of michelin standard, please refer to my post or Fourseason's in this thread for reasons. It is fine that "many non-hotel restaurants are in the latest guide and a lot more Michelin Stars are ALSO agreed by many local eaters". But a so-called 3-star restaurant does not really mean you just walk in there and will get a so-called 3-star meal. Vice versa for non-star restaurant, it does not mean you cannot get a 'great' meal there. Chinese cuisine does not work that way.

                                                                                        Definitely not agree on what you said "But then jump to another level and compare our stars with say the Kansai/Tokyo or European ones - there is definitely a gap in performance from food quality, consistency and service levels." You have your own dining experience, mine is different from yours. It is fine you have your own set of criteria to judge (or following some standard), but it is not universal and don't expect everyone use the same.

                                                                                        But I agree we all should learn to be non-narcissist and accept the fact that everyone is entitled to their opinion and at the end of the day, you're only part of the poll and statistics. So if you are having consistent or excellent meal in somewhere Paris or Japan or HK does not mean this is what everyone is going to experience the same EVERY TIME.

                                                                                        1. re: HK Epicurus
                                                                                          TomEatsHK RE: HK Epicurus Mar 7, 2011 07:22 PM

                                                                                          Going wayyyy back to the original posters question. What would people's real top 3 in HK be. Not their 3 nostalgic meals or it has good food but bad service but their three "wham bam, impress anyone meals" be it at a street food level or haute cuisine level?

                                                                                          I would probably refine my original answer and say the three places that I would fly around the world to go to, take any visitor to and blow their socks off would be:

                                                                                          Mak's (or an equivalent very good wonton place), Kimberley and Caprice.

                                                                                          I've had good meals elsewhere (highlights being Manor, Tim's, Under Bridge, Amber, Fu Sing etc.) but none of them have really blown me away on a world scale. My one refinement would be that I would say that bad service can be tempered by great food but when one is paying high prices I do have a Western outlook and think the service should be good.

                                                                                          1. re: TomEatsHK
                                                                                            FourSeasons RE: TomEatsHK Mar 7, 2011 08:24 PM

                                                                                            @ Epicurus:

                                                                                            Openrice is just like another fourm, even like Chowhound. You agree with some of them, you don't agree with others. It is just not as interactive as chowhound. I just don't understand why people want to argue with their conclusions, if you disagree, just move on (since you can't counter-argue like here).

                                                                                            I agree I am not so impressed with Kau Kee. I actually prefer Hua Sister much better.

                                                                                            I also don't see any gap like the way you refer to Tokyo and Europe. It just depend on what type of food you prefer. i don't see how you can get better Chinese or Asian food in Europe than in Hong Kong, and I am sure European food is better in Europe.

                                                                                            No, I absolutely disagree that Michelin has improved the dining scene. I have been to Hong Kong frequently for last 30 years. I just don't see any influence it had on the dining scene in the last 2 years. And I don't even see how the stars affect the business; many of my favorites are non-Michelin and they are still packed as usual. I only know Galera Robuchon and LKH's business greatly improved after they get 3 stars.

                                                                                            No, no, hotel restaurants don't hire better chefs, hotel restaurants are just better in providing nice ambience, good service and good English speaking waitors/waitress to serve the guests. And of course, better wine list too. And I do have to say they are more consistent. So these are the factors that gave them the stars, easy for the French inspectors to be impressed.

                                                                                            @Skyliner:

                                                                                            Why do we always think alike :-)

                                                                                            @Tom:

                                                                                            I don't have a top 3. Too many favorites on my list. But your top 3 are not on my list. Mak's has a good classic wonton noodle, but I actually prefer shrimp roe bamboo noodle with wonton at Luk kee in Macau. Never went to Kimberley, i think of it more as a one dish restaurant, perhaps too boring. I went to Caprice 3 times, very impressed the first time but subsequent disappointing ones on the next two meals.

                                                                                            Not impressed with Under Bridge (poor food and overpriced) and Amber (overrated, I would probably not give it even 1 star, and I actually prefer Ltelier Robuchon much better, I guess we have different taste bud). Tim's is excellent, I have visited its Macau branch many times, and if this one does not blow you away, perhaps you are not so into Cantonese haute food. Manor: depends on the dishes you ordered, not every dish is excellent but they have pretty good "golden money chicken", roast goose and "flower crab with hua tiao sauce". Fu Sing: same like Manor, some excellent dishes but some disappointing ones, but tend to be more rustic greasy classic Cantonese style so may not appeal to those who are health conscious, service is not so good too.

                                                                                            1. re: FourSeasons
                                                                                              k
                                                                                              klyeoh RE: FourSeasons Mar 7, 2011 09:16 PM

                                                                                              @ Four Seasons: I'm sure you'll all have more to discuss during the upcoming HK Chowmeet which Charles Yu/Peech/etc have put so much effort into organizing.
                                                                                              Wished I was there, but please do update this board/post if you all EVER, ever come to an agreement on which are HK's Top 3 restaurants, according to the HK Chowhounds + their Chowmeet guests!

                                                                                              1. re: klyeoh
                                                                                                n
                                                                                                NilesCable RE: klyeoh Mar 9, 2011 12:04 PM

                                                                                                I think it will be imopssible for us as a group to agree on just 3 Restaurants for a Top 3, as the Top 3 will differ for each one. But I really look forward to that Chowmeet more and more, this will be a very interesting evening in two weeks!

                                                2. h
                                                  HK Epicurus RE: SumBear Mar 10, 2011 08:20 PM

                                                  I don't really buy the Top 3 concept thing - why not Top 2, or Top 5 or Top 20, etc? Surely there is enough food places around which gives out a Top 5-10 spots and be the cream of the crop :P

                                                  But anyway I have a few favourites, in no particular order:

                                                  Dim Sum:
                                                  - Yan Toh Heen
                                                  - Lung King Heen
                                                  - Man Wah
                                                  - Tim Ho Wan (dirt cheap and executed well)
                                                  - Dynasty (old school but executed very well, better than Fook Lam Moon too)

                                                  Others:
                                                  - Amber, definitely one of the best European restaurants in town. Not every dish works over 3 visits, but sometimes it can wow. Desserts are getting worst though.
                                                  - Caprice, pretty plating, classy. Not as interesting as Amber's dishes.
                                                  - Luk Yu (dinner only). Best traditional Cantonese food I've tried so far and executed well, especially in comparison to Hong Kong University Alumni Association which serves exactly the same dishes but way poorer in execution.
                                                  - Tak Lung Restaurant. Old school cantonese dishes, out in the suburbs. A little inconsistent over 3 visits, but when its right, very satisfying especially its Gold Coin Chicken/Pork and Tea Smoked Chicken, also Sweet and Sour Pork.
                                                  - Sun Tung Lok, execution is spot on for what we'd tried. But that's about it. No real surprises. But seems like they'd tried to improve the dishes after getting the 3 Stars, as the pics pre and after Michelin shows slightly different plating designs. Not that it really helps elevate it to true 3 Star quality, because it isn't. Much like as much as I really LIKE 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo, which not a single dish I've tried has been less than perfectly executed (but not stellar in composition), I don't think it is really of 2 Star quality. I've had 1-2 star restaurants in Europe or Japan which are way more worthy than their 2 stars status.

                                                  Not that I really care about the stars bit either. I have a feeling Michelin switched mode since their 2009 guide, when they gave out too little etoiles, to being more relaxed and giving out a few more of them, just to shut up the locals who are not convinced, the French Guide knows how to eat Chinese food. Never mind that at least 2 members of their team are actually Chinese.

                                                  Food and Coffee in Hong Kong is definitely getting better over the last 2 years though. Even Mak's Noodles is more consistent, Lung King Heen has improved from a few years ago, Caprice is way better than its early days too. The coffee scene in HK is all of a sudden onto world levels as well, after a few complaints by some people coming back from overseas :P

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: HK Epicurus
                                                    skylineR33 RE: HK Epicurus Mar 11, 2011 10:31 AM

                                                    I don't experience the improvement after Michelin came. Many are just the same as before Michelin came. Mak's (Central) is pretty consistent for me, the other locations are getting worst. Also, Tasty has been going down in quality, they have been expanded after their exposure on Michelin guide, not to say I blame it on them. My fave "New Tsui Wah" clay-pot rice has kept on going downhill in these 2 years. Shang Palace which my family frequent, has been going down in both service and quality. I just hope the pressure on food inflation in HK does not affect HK as the inflation is pretty serious in the whole China. But talking to friends and in my experience, it does have impact to low to mid end business.

                                                    Those expensive 3 stars should keep it up, but Fourseason just reports Caprice is not as good as before.

                                                    So I guess it depends and really has nothing to do with Michelin.

                                                  2. f
                                                    feltman RE: SumBear Mar 12, 2011 03:43 AM

                                                    I literally just ate (moments ago) at Macau Restaurant, 40-46 Lock Road, just off of Nathan.
                                                    Excellent. The delish BBQ pork was different than the cantonese style. The string beans w/spicy pork was also a highlight. All the curries are good w/crab and brisket being the faves.
                                                    The sweet egg tart may be the best thing on the menu.

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: feltman
                                                      h
                                                      HK Epicurus RE: feltman Mar 12, 2011 05:49 AM

                                                      Typing from my mobile as pc less. If you go to mak's enough you will notice sometimes the soup is bitter and salty . An article pasted outside by a food critic happens to say the same thing, pls read my openrice review on it ! But problem somehow seems to be gone nowadays. As for new chui wah claypot rice, they have changed owners since a while ago even before they closed their causeway bay branch but opened 2 other ones instead. One of the ex workers run siu wah in shau kee wan, it is even better than chui wah ever was as Ar Dee now owns the shop himself! do give it a try, it's in a cooked food centre :) but i still think the food scene has been improving in general, just look at how many famous starred chefs are now in the city running Japanese or Spanish restaurants like Sushi take or sase or ginza kyu or Mesa 15, or a proliferation of Dry Aged beef steakhouse openings during the past year, or better dop/doc pizza houses. someone above said Kimberley's sounds boring and probably a one trick pony without having even been there before - but that executive chef has moved to sun tung lok recently and already gained them 3 stars, in case anyone is not aware yet.

                                                      1. re: HK Epicurus
                                                        skylineR33 RE: HK Epicurus Mar 12, 2011 07:04 AM

                                                        Interesting, I will look at the review. The New Tsui Wah in North Point is in a cooked food centre.

                                                        1. re: skylineR33
                                                          h
                                                          HK Epicurus RE: skylineR33 Mar 12, 2011 07:47 AM

                                                          Yeah seems like a trend nowadays to move into those government supported food centres, where you get free wi fi and some air conditioning water dripping onto table! : P must be copying Singapore!

                                                          1. re: HK Epicurus
                                                            k
                                                            klyeoh RE: HK Epicurus Mar 12, 2011 01:21 PM

                                                            If HK's only copying Singapore when it comes to locating eateries in air-con, govt-run food centres, I'm okay. But please, please don't copy Singapore's sterilised street/hawker food scene - where many hawkers opt for "short-cuts", e.g. subsititute fresh ingredients like coconut milk or pandan leaves with bottled versions, and where chains with centralised factories churning out mass-produced food has become de rigeur. Singapore hawker food also taste different (blander?) from, say, 20-30 years ago, as the Govt encourages local hawkers to "cook healthy", i.e. reduce oil, sugar, salt, etc. and also dispense with the use of pork fat or lard when it comes to fried koay teow, etc.
                                                            At least HK still takes pride in good, old-fashioned, traditional cooking methods.

                                                    2. smileyko RE: SumBear Apr 29, 2011 01:01 AM

                                                      I am from the States but I live in Shanghai now. I find it hard to get great American food anywhere inside China. So when I go to HK every month my first meal it's always at the Outback Steakhouse. It's close to the Excelsior hotel where I stay and the people are lively there, you can sit at the bar and eat and drink and make friends with all the other traveling folks there. My next choice will be at Pacific Place on the second floor there is a Dan Ryan's Chicago Grill. I love the big salads there and the huge club sandwich, beer on draft don't hurt either. If I get the notion for Chinese sea food I will go to Tai Hu in Causeway Bay, huge signs, you can't miss it, ask anybody, they all know this place and it's a great place to eat if your flight was delayed and you didn't get in till 11PM, it's OK, they open late and even at midnight, you get a great steam fish to go with the lobsters they have for you to look and choose right out front.

                                                      Hey, don't jump all over me because of my first two places are so American, I didn't fly all the way to HK just to eat Chinese yo.

                                                      8 Replies
                                                      1. re: smileyko
                                                        M_Gomez RE: smileyko Apr 29, 2011 02:39 AM

                                                        You do know that Outback Steakhouse originated in Australia, and Dan Ryan's started in Hong Kong, right?

                                                        1. re: M_Gomez
                                                          smileyko RE: M_Gomez Apr 29, 2011 03:01 AM

                                                          Well, I go to Dan Ryan's in Taipei too, always eat the crab cakes and the rueben sandwich there, never go to Outback in Taiwan, somehow the whole experience is just not the same, the wine list is thin, place doesn't jump at all.

                                                          Another reason why I hit those joints is inside China, I try not to eat raw uncooked veggies, unless you are at a five star place, I don't eat the salads at all in China, I wait till I go to TPE or HK to eat that, where? Not at Tai Hu sea food, at these American joints, makes me miss the States a little less somehow.

                                                          1. re: smileyko
                                                            h
                                                            HK Epicurus RE: smileyko Apr 29, 2011 07:38 AM

                                                            @Smileyko, Dan Ryan's is not a bad place at all, but like M_Gomez said was created in HK. What u said raised a good point though - that HK is so well established and diversified in its many cuisines available. So even though I could still say there's no good Greek or Turkish or Mexican food here, the rest are pretty much covered!

                                                            In case you might be interested, there's a lot of good American and Spanish restaurants in Beijing, and high end Spanish in Shanghai is now better than Hong Kong too! Not sure what is with Spanish food and Beijing, it must be trendy up there :D

                                                            1. re: HK Epicurus
                                                              smileyko RE: HK Epicurus Apr 29, 2011 05:01 PM

                                                              I lived in Beijing for four years and now Shanghai for two. There is an Outback right near my apartment in BJ and I have been there more then 100 times. I have been to the same Outback in Causeway Bay maybe 60 times, it's where I eat my salads while missing the States you understand. I can tell you the two are entirely a different experience. You see, we experience food more then just what they put on the plate at these joints. We experience it as a live being living in an entity created by others that they hope will please more then just our tongue. The two Outbacks might all look the same, but the whole deal is worlds apart. Just like when you go to Sanya, on Hainan Island, they will tell you this is the Hawaii of the Orient, after a week there you know it's has not one thing in common with real Hawaii and you know why? Sanya is fill with Chinese people and they will make the whole experience different, the beaches might all look the same, the pictures might even look exactly alike, but your memory of the place is all together different. Now back to the Dan Ryan's and the Outbacks, they for many of us ex pats are a slice of what we left behind, a piece of Americana, the people that go there are mostly Westerners, we feel at home and we know we won't get sick while eating raw veggies and a bloody steak, we feel safe, we feel at home. Now I can tell you, here in China the food might be the same, but it's just not Hawaii, it's just not the same Outback in Causeway Bay, my first meal when ever I go to HK.

                                                              1. re: smileyko
                                                                h
                                                                HK Epicurus RE: smileyko Apr 29, 2011 05:16 PM

                                                                hmmm? :S errrrr.. oh well, each to their own I guess? : ) *and to be honest, I have little idea what is being discussed here anymore. I am not a permanent Chowhounder afterall, I guess!! : D

                                                                1. re: HK Epicurus
                                                                  k
                                                                  klyeoh RE: HK Epicurus Apr 29, 2011 05:33 PM

                                                                  Most Chowhounds are not into chains anyhow ;-)

                                                          2. re: M_Gomez
                                                            PhilD RE: M_Gomez Apr 30, 2011 09:37 PM

                                                            M-Gomez - the Outback Steakhouse is 100% American, nothing to do with Australia, although I am ashamed to admit my fellow countrymen have made them quite popular in the burbs where they have opened, but I understand they did drop some of the more gauche Australianisms from the US menu. I can understand why a homesick US expat may like it but is this really the same as saying it is a HK Top 3 place...?

                                                            1. re: PhilD
                                                              M_Gomez RE: PhilD May 5, 2011 05:38 PM

                                                              You're so right, my dear. I just Googled and found out. I don't know how I could have gotten that impression, it must be because when they first opened in Singapore years ago, they touted their offerings as "Australian". Marketing gimmick, I guess, to set themselves apart from American eateries dominating the market in Singapore.
                                                              Anyway, when it comes to good steaks in Singapore, there's no beating Morton's and Wolfgang Puck's CUT. Lawry's not too bad either but inconsistent.

                                                        2. e
                                                          ELO86 RE: SumBear Apr 29, 2011 12:58 PM

                                                          Being from Toronto my answers are basically based on restaurants you can't get here.

                                                          1. L'Atelier - everything's good
                                                          2. Din Tai Fung - best Xiao long bao (the little dumplings with soup inside that burn unsuspecting eaters) ever!!
                                                          3. Any local noodle shop that sells fishball noodles or won ton noodles for 4-8 HKD per bowl, that's the equiv. of about 0.50-1.00 CAD, which is redonkculous! If I had to name one there is a good place in Tin Hau, I forget the name however but there's a picture of Chow Yun Fat eating there which is posted on the outside window.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: ELO86
                                                            Charles Yu RE: ELO86 Apr 29, 2011 03:32 PM

                                                            I'm from Toronto too!
                                                            The first place I would put on the list is a great Dim Sum Restaurant like Fook Lam Moon, Lung King Heen, Yan Toh Heen, Fu Sing or Lei Garden, Wan Chai. 'Cos Dim Sum quality in North America ( Toronto included ), when compare with the best Hong Kong has to offer 'SUCKS'!!!
                                                            BTW, great won-ton noodles featuring super-fine noodles, great broth, crunchy srimp won ton and the correct condiments like shrimp roe and yellowing chives will cost you around HK$24-30! eg, Tasty, Mak's, Mak An Kee, Mak Sui Kee, Mak Man Kee....etc. I have eaten in over 20+ won-ton noodle places in Hong Kong. Never did I once encounter a noodle outfit that serves up noodles at HK$ 4-8!!!!!!!!

                                                            1. re: ELO86
                                                              smileyko RE: ELO86 Apr 29, 2011 05:10 PM

                                                              There is a Ding Tai Fung right downstairs from where I live in Shanghai. You know your choice number two for Xiao Long Bao is now as one star Michelin restaurant now. What I love about them is they use no MSG in their cooking. If you travel throughout China you know they buy the MSG in twenty five pound sacks, I really try to find restaurants they don't use them so much but it's difficult. I love the drunken chicken and the fried rice here too. They open a Ding Tai Fung in LA ten years ago and the place was mobbed, long lines just like the one on Xing Yi Lu in Taipei.

                                                            2. smileyko RE: SumBear Apr 29, 2011 08:29 PM

                                                              Hey, after more thoughts here are some of my top places to eat in HK. If you go to any of the AQUA group's restaurants, you will be very pleased.

                                                              http://www.aqua.com.hk/#/eng/global/h...

                                                              This is my top for Japanese food and they have two. In TST it's AquaTokyo, in Time Square it's Wasabisabi. AquaTokyo has the best view of any restaurant in Kowloon, reservation is a must. The Causeway Bay joint really is eye candy and right when you walk in you will be so happy, it's a show, with food. I have friends that only take their out of town guest to the Aqua group restaurants to eat while in HK. I can only say sorry you only give me three choices, thirty might be a better list, top 30 places to eat in HK before you die.

                                                              14 Replies
                                                              1. re: smileyko
                                                                Charles Yu RE: smileyko May 5, 2011 05:46 PM

                                                                Agree about the view! But no way the food at AquaTokyo or AquaRoma for that matter can be rated amongst Hong Kong's best?! IMO, every outfit in the 1 Peking road complex is a pseudo-tourist trap, trying to sell view more than food quality!

                                                                1. re: Charles Yu
                                                                  smileyko RE: Charles Yu May 5, 2011 06:30 PM

                                                                  This is so true and you called me out on it. Somehow I always go to HK with the heart of a forever tourist going to see HK for the first time, even though I lived there for 10 months and been there just about every month for 8 years. The night before I fly there from Beijing or Shanghai I still can not sleep, I always take the early flight and don't even eat the airline food even though sometimes on Dragon Air business class it sure smells good. I do all that so I can get to HK just in time for a late lunch. At night I just love to be sold the view along with the food, so you are right, you got my number CY, I am a sucker for the kind of night views this building have, now the toro I had at AquaTokyo, out of this world, better then most in Japan, how do they do it? They affected my taste buds with the view.

                                                                  1. re: smileyko
                                                                    Charles Yu RE: smileyko May 5, 2011 07:03 PM

                                                                    I'm not surprise about the toro because each year there's always a Hong Kong restauranteur who went out of his way to bid for a '$$ record' Blue Fin Tuna in Tsujiki, then ship part or whole of it back to Hong Kong. May be your timing was spot on to allow you to grap some of this trophy?!
                                                                    Same can be said about white truffles from Alba whence each year H.S Ho of Macau would bid for a mega one and then have chef like Bombana made dishes from it.
                                                                    Charity, publicity....who knows??!!
                                                                    However, if under normal situation, toro, o-toro..etc actually taste better in Hong Kong than in Japan, then I guess fellow foodies like myself, skylineR33, Fourseasons, Uncle Yubai, HKTraveller...etc, who have made special trips to eat in a whole bunch of Michelin star sushi places in Japan, have to consider performing Hari-Kari!! Ha!!!

                                                                    1. re: Charles Yu
                                                                      smileyko RE: Charles Yu May 5, 2011 11:18 PM

                                                                      I am so sure I didn't catch a piece of the record bid Blue Fin, in fact, I am certain it wasn't as good as some of the top places in Tokyo. I did live in Tokyo for a year and I can tell you, the Tsukiji O Toro or Chu Toro were not as memorable as the AquaTokyo Toro with a view. Now call me a sucker but I think the view did help the fish.

                                                                      1. re: smileyko
                                                                        n
                                                                        NilesCable RE: smileyko May 6, 2011 12:44 AM

                                                                        I have to agree that a very good view can make the food taste better in your mind. I have seen this in my region here in Austria. There is a mediocre restaurant that has the best location in the whole region that sees the most guests that are all quite happy with the food (even tough it is absolutely not above standard), while the best restaurant here in terms of food quality, that has not such a nice location, is frequented far lower. The prices for the food are compareable, so it is just about location.

                                                                        1. re: NilesCable
                                                                          Charles Yu RE: NilesCable May 6, 2011 05:33 AM

                                                                          Not to mention having a beautiful lady as companion!! Ha!!

                                                                          1. re: Charles Yu
                                                                            ankimo RE: Charles Yu Jun 12, 2011 11:49 AM

                                                                            hard to give a top 3 list that is the most accurate and encompassing for all unless you've tried all the top restaurants in a short time (eating would have to be your full time hobby/job), that being said, everyone should just mention the meals they enjoyed (and probably list a few others for reference so you can understand where they are coming from experience wise, i.e. I'm from US, eaten a lot in SF/LA, tried Vancouver Chinese, Sydney Chinese, eaten at a handful of cities in China, etc.)

                                                                            last year I tried Tim Ho Wan, LKH, Bo Innovation, Amber, Yung Kee, Tsui Wah, Lin Heung, Lei Garden, King's Lodge, Mak's Wellington, Nathan's Congee, Super Star, Literal, Tung Po, inside Langham Place, HK style mango desserts, egg tarts, another roast goose place (forget the name) and for me the first three stood out as well as Tung Po, oh and HK cha siu
                                                                            next time gonna focus more on the dai pai dongs, hopefully Sai Kung

                                                                            1. re: ankimo
                                                                              d
                                                                              dlgc RE: ankimo Nov 20, 2011 09:10 AM

                                                                              It has been 6 months since the last entry on this thread so I am bringing it up again to see if there are any new restaurants are making it onto your lists.

                                                                              1. re: dlgc
                                                                                celestewoo RE: dlgc Dec 20, 2011 08:50 AM

                                                                                In November I spent 10 days in HK eating as much as I could. I used openrice, chowhound, and searched out restaurants in my neighborhood of Mongkok to plan my meals. My favorite 3 are: Lei Garden (consistent, well prepared soups, seafood, roast meats, and nice service), Tim Ho Wan (the freshest dim sum, ever), and Tung Po (crazy vibe, fun experience, tasty too). Second tier are Yin Yang (for the rare, old house and wholesome ingredients) and Mak An Kee (ranked #1 after many bowls of wonton mein). Here are some photos of the fooda; http://tinyurl.com/8xgxf4t

                                                                                1. re: celestewoo
                                                                                  Charles Yu RE: celestewoo Dec 20, 2011 03:33 PM

                                                                                  Nice photos!!
                                                                                  FYI, of all the Lei Gardens in town, the Mong Kok branch just got promoted to Michelin 2*!
                                                                                  Glad to hear a fellow chowhounder confirming my Won Ton Noodle rating!

                                                                                  1. re: celestewoo
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                                                                                    Cjesmer RE: celestewoo Dec 21, 2011 06:38 PM

                                                                                    Celestewoo any chance you could send over some other restaurant recommendations in the Mong Kok, Tsim Sha Sui, or Hung Hom areas. I am going to Hong Kong for two weeks after the first of the year. Any help would be much appreciated.

                                                                                    1. re: Cjesmer
                                                                                      celestewoo RE: Cjesmer Dec 22, 2011 07:43 AM

                                                                                      Lucky you! Outside of my top picks, a few places I would return to are: Jasmine Garden in the Langham Place Mall (but not for the garlic pork chops), the Temple Street Night Market (pick a place that looks good to you), Lau Sum Kee (for the wonton mein and also for the dessert place across the street where I had grass jelly), and Jade Garden in the Star House (the fried chicken with fermented bean curd was a revelation). We didn't go to Ming Court because after an unsatisfactory meal at Lung King Heen we didn't feel like another "fine dining experience" but it is on my list of places to try the next time I'm in the area. Also, they do a good job w/ the breakfast buffet at the Langham Place Hotel if you want to bulk up for a day of exploring. Looking forward to hearing about your eats.

                                                                                      1. re: celestewoo
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                                                                                        dlgc RE: celestewoo Dec 22, 2011 08:07 AM

                                                                                        celestewoo, We are planning to eat at Lung King Heen in March, and would like to hear about your expierence there.

                                                                                        1. re: dlgc
                                                                                          celestewoo RE: dlgc Dec 22, 2011 09:17 AM

                                                                                          Showing up at noon on a weekday w/o a reservation was our mistake. However, from there things went downhill not due to anything we did - or didn't do. We were informed that the next noon reservation was months away. BUT they could take us at 2PM the next day. Of course we accepted. Then we were read the "dress code" (we are no slouches) and told that the restaurant closes at 3PM but it wouldn't be a problem. When we arrived for lunch the placed was empty except for a some ladies lunching at one table and some power brokers at another. We wondered why we couldn't get in earlier. We ordered the entire dim sum menu (it's pretty small). Items started to come out ok but as things progressed I got the feeling that we were eating the dregs from what was left in the kitchen and warmed in the microwave. Everything was beautifully presented so too bad the quality was so poor. By the time we were 3/4 finished staff started to break down the tables and get ready for the next shift. It was pretty weird since it detracted from the wonderful view and luxe furnishings. We were most happy with the walnut cookies altho we saw them later in a bakery in Mong Kok for pennies. Granted we had a late reservation but I felt that for a place w/ such an exalted reputation we should have been served w/ the attention and food that was given to the first service. Imo restaurants of such caliber really want their guests to have a good experience and if they can't produce they don't squeeze people in the schedule thinking it will be ok. I was really happy to get back to Mong Kok after that!

                                                                2. Charles Yu RE: SumBear Dec 22, 2011 03:29 PM

                                                                  Frankly, with such inconsistency being exhibited by restaurants, even top notched Michelin star ones, its easier to identify ' TOP 3 DISHES' than Top 3 restaurants!

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Charles Yu
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                                                                    dlgc RE: Charles Yu Dec 22, 2011 04:30 PM

                                                                    Great idea!

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                                                                    globalfoodie1981 RE: SumBear Aug 24, 2012 09:02 PM

                                                                    I would have to say for a Molecular experience Bo Innovation, for Chinese I would go to Harbor Sea Food in Kennedy Town which is just amazing and for Steaks the new restaurant Blue Butcher... I am still exploring though :)

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                                                                    1. re: globalfoodie1981
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                                                                      tbtb18 RE: globalfoodie1981 Aug 26, 2012 02:59 AM

                                                                      I had a great meal at Bo a year ago as well. Slightly on the pricier side though for the larger chef's menus, but it was very good on the first visit, not sure whether the surprise factor would still be there if I try to go again...

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