HONG KONG - Where is the best place for cheung fun and congee?
my favorite place for Cheung Fun when I lived in Kowloon:
They are not opened during breakfast. It's a late night only place. I think around 6pm til 2am. Apparently closed Sunday and Wednesday.
They had the best fish cheung fun I've ever had. Everything is made to order.
Boy I wish they had that "English info" option on Open rice when I was there. I spent hours using google translate and a dictionary to plan my meals.
That is odd. I assumed it was a common ingredient. Any dim sum restaurant in San Francisco has it. The one at that shop in Hong Kong that seemed really odd had duck and fish in the same roll.
One of my favorites in SF is the kind with the 'donut' but then that is stuffed with fish cake. Now that was genius!
Hm, I've lived in HK for many years and never seen fish cheung fun either.
Just asked my HK-Chinese colleagues and they say although cheung fun can be filled with anything, HK places are usually traditionalists and stick to things like char siu or prawns.
They said putting fish in cheung fun is usually something mainlanders do. When checking your restaurant recommendation, I notice the cuising is listed as "Guangdong".
So putting two and two together, perhaps the SF popularity came from Guangdong or other mainland region and not HK. I guess I've never really distingiushed the food from Guangdong and HK before as they're so close (and probably once the same region).
Anyway, I love fish congee so I'm sure to love fish cheung fun. I'll head out to this place in Jordon on the weekend to try. Appreciate the tip.
Maybe it shouldn't come as a surprise if you mention California - land of the ... fish tacos!
Is fish in cheung fun a recent innovation in San Francisco? I started off as a SF Bay Area CH and thought I knew SF's dim sum spots inside out but, sorry, never came across fish cheung fun there.
Anyway, I'm now based in KL and had not been back to SF for the past 1 year.
As for the dearth of "fish cheung fun", well - the Chinese can be pretty "traditional". Like p0lst3r said, cheung fun used to be only cha-siu or prawn-filled - although since the late-90s, scallop-filled cheung fun has gained popularity. There's also the type filled with fried dough called cha leung. But we never have crab cheung fun or squid cheung fun - somehow, it's not the done thing. Much like you can't get squid burger in the US (unlike in Korea).
It's like the steamed bao - you have the cha-siu bao, filled with barbecued pork, or the minced pork or chicken-filled baos. You can also have sweet bao filled with lotus paste or red-bean paste (tao-sar bao), but never, ever a fish bao.
How do you rate Yank Sing, Ton Kiang and Koi Palace in SF, by the way?
That's really interesting. I just kind of took it for granted as being the norm. That is very true about the steamed buns. Maybe people will start experimenting more with those now.
I never thought about it, but I never saw fish in cheung fun in any of the bigger sit-down dim sum places I went to in Hong Kong. I usually had other people do the ordering due to my non-existent language skills. The old-fashioned cart places I never really got any cheung fun.
Yank Sing is out of my price range. I associate with with white people on business lunches. Speaking of cheung fun, they don't even have them.
Ton Kiang. I would go with my mother some times, but the menu always seemed very limited, and I could get more options and a lower price next door at Golden River.
Koi Palace I still have never been to. That still seems to be a go-to place for many bay area people.
I have been going to Mayflower a lot lately. Which is related to Hong Kong Flower lounge also in the peninsula.
There is also a relatively new place, Hong Kong Lounge (also on Geary near tong kiang) that is extremely popular. I went for a while, but the lines are ridiculous on the weekends (and there is a line 7 days a week, even in the rain).
Last night I dropped into Tong Kee (kairo's recommendation on this thread). I work in ICC above Kowloon MTR and this place is just a short walk, near Austin MTR. Strangely off the beaten track as this area is mostly home to auto mechanics and other light industrial workshops. It's nowhere near Jordan proper (well, 10mins walk) however locale is perfect for me.
I got the impression (which turned out to be true) there'd be no English menu. Luckly I asked someone in the office to write out the Chinese names of dishes I wanted to try. Even then, the do-it-yourself checkbox-style order form didn't correlate however at least I could get the no-English waitress to read my Chinese cheatsheet and fill out the order form.
I saw people on Openrice complaining you have to wait so long to get food that takes only a couple of minutes to eat. Congee is quick and cheung fun is slow so make sure you order congee to eat while you wait. The place is tiny and packed full of local 20-somethings. It's just not an area where young people would hang out at night so you can see their food has quite a pull.
Congee was really nice but won't get into that. The cheung fun:
- pig's liver
- fresh prawn (can combine with liver but I had them separate)
- char siu
- fish & duck with cilantro (combo)
It's was all really great, freshly made to order. The liver and the prawn were each exactly as expected. I got the char siu to please my friend (I was after the more exotic) but it turned out to be our favourite. They'd shredded the char siu and somehow prepared it to be soft and smoky. So good!
Now the duck & fish with cilantro. Sounds like a disgusting combo but went with this based on an Openrice recommendation. It was actually really nice. The duck was shredded and fairly soft (like the char siu) and added some texture and depth of flavour. The fish was done in thin strips (maybe 1"x2"), quite delicate. The cilantro made it pop.
Despite the combo tasting really good I was conscious of it being two things that shouldn't go together. Next time I'll try just straight fish & cilantro. At the same time I will grab one of their order forms to get someone in the office to translate for me and will post on this CH thread to make it easier for others.
Thanks again kairo -- what a great tip. Pity they only open at night but it's now on my list of regular drop-in places.
As promised, I have translated the menu from this little place. It's only few minutes walk from Elements at Kowloon, just head out the Austin Station exit behind 360 Supermarket and walk down the ramp towards Jordan.
Mostly cheung fun and two types of congee at the bottom. On my menu you can see the main ingredient on left of numbered item and any additional ingredient written just under the chinese writing for each on.
Basically, you can order cheung fun with just one or combination of any two fillings:
- Sliced fish
- Fried duck
- Pork liver
- Char siu
- Minced beef
- Lup cheung (or lap cheong or however you want to spell it)
- Dried shrimp
- Fresh shrimp
UPDATE: Seems CH doesn't store images with sufficient resolution. Just uploaded to Flickr so here's the link.
Tasty's is a good choice for congee and OK Cheung Fun and the menu offers other high standard dishes as well.
However, for really 'paper thin and silky smooth' Cheung Fun with uncommon fillings, local afficionados like to head out to the Jordan district and try out places like Choi Lung or Wor Mei ( Nice?! ) Congee. Word of caution, for the first timer, a bit hard to find!