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Hong Kong - two planned for a foodie visiting from sf bay area.

I am planning two dinners for four people in hong kong -- one for christmas day, and one for the day after. I don't make it to hong kong very often, so would like to make the most of these two dinners. I am looking to experience what makes hong kong an international food destination in two meals. One person in our party is fluent in cantonese, so language barriers aren't a consideration. In addition to choice of restaurant, i'd like to figure out what dishes to order and pre-order. Price isn't much of a consideration. I will be running around hong kong for a few days trying lots of other things mentioned on the boards, but these will probably be the only two meals i reserve ahead of time.

I want to be sure to try these things:

fresh cantonese-style seafood
dried seafood
roast goose
rare pork cuts / dishes
perhaps peking-style duck carved tableside.
perhaps abalone, shark fin and/or birds nest dishes.

This is what i'm thinking, but i suspect there are better choices:

Lei Garden
- pre order their daily herbal soup.
- pre order some rare steamed live fish.
- pre order roast goose.

Man Wah
- some rare pork cuts
- a crab dish
- peking duck carved tableside

i've also heard Hoi King Heen, Yan Toh Heen and Ye Shanghai mentioned -- should i do one or two of these instead of lei garden or man wah?

I know this is a lot to squeeze in to only two meals, but any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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  1. Sheung Hing and Tin Heung Lau sound like they might be better picks for us:

    >> "classic" restaurants in HK that they preserved the traditional way of Chiu Chow
    >> and Hangzhou cuisine in HK, with top-notch ingradient used.

    Any recent visits? Any dish suggestions?

    4 Replies
    1. re: Dustin_E

      I love Sheung Hing but I probably would not recommend this one to you. It is just very old fashioned Chiu Chow, a place more for regulars and guests who are familiar with Chiu Chow food. Poor decor, mediocre service and lack of English speakers there probably add more problems for tourists. Even non-regular locals complained about this place. This place is just more special for old time Chiu Chow lovers.

      Tin Heung Lau is also very old fashioned Shanghai/Hanzhou cuisine. It is quite popular with Japanese tourists though. Same issue with SH: not much decor, average service. But I think it is more friendly for tourists compared to SH. The menu has a wide selection but only a few deserved to be ordered. I wrote a very brief review on an old thread that you can refer to.

      1. re: FourSeasons

        How does the decor and service of these two places compare to Xin Guan (the crab place) in Shanghai? We had good luck there, despite what we'd consider pretty poor decor and service.

        Should we be eating Shanghai cuisine in Hong Kong, or should we stick to Cantonese?

        fwiw, two in our party (but not me) grew up in a chinese-american household, so are probably about as familiar with chinese food as americans can be. and we are up for an adventure if the food is good... but whatever.

        thanks.

        1. re: Dustin_E

          My last visit to Xin Guan was more than 5 years ago so I am not sure if there is any renovation since then. But if that is the reference, I think THL is at par but SH worse than that. If you like crab, THL is a good place to go during this period as hairy crab is in season now. But do not let the decor deceived you, if you order the same dishes as I did on my description in the other thread, THL is actually more expensive than XG.

          1. re: FourSeasons

            We loved Xin Guan, so i think Tin Heung Lau sounds like a winner for us. It was expensive, but value-wise we thought xin guan was great.

    2. For your limited stay, I'd suggest Manor Restaurant for seafood, roast goose, and your rare pork dish of roasted suckling pig. The goose and pig are pre-order, and they can do half and half of each if your party is small. Other great dishes are steamed crab with chicken fat, abalone with scallions and ginger in claypot, mung bean vermicelli with dried and fresh shrimp in claypot, chicken rolls with pork belly and their various live fishes, best served steamed, are very good too. They are at Causeway Bay Jaffe road, next to Canal road.

      1. Good to "meet" you in Hong Kong this time. Probably a good idea if you get the person fluent in Cantonese to make arrangement with the manager during reservation if you want the meal to be "special". This is not Tokyo where most high ends are very small and intimate and they provide the best to all the guests with the omakase/kaiseki set.

        I started this thread; it is a bit outdated as I have not updated it for last 2 years or so but most info would still be relevant. I include the dishes I ordered (including Tin Heung Lau) but they maybe in Chinese http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/519768 You can read it and perhaps some info there may help you. Also for high end Cantonese food, you need to read this blog. The blogger has moved to Taipei so you need to dig deeper to his older posts: http://www.diarygrowingboy.com/

        I know some here have complained about Lei Garden IFC but if a special arrangement is made, the food there can be very good. Otherwise, you can always try Lei Garden Wanchai. Not sure about its roast goose though, I usually have it in Manor or Yung Kee 4th floor. Never tried Man Wah before. Hoi King Heen is pretty good. But if I just need to squeeze 2 dinners, I may select Tim's Kitchen or Fu Lam Moon or Celebrity Cuisine. Not sure though, let me think about it again.

        P.S: I will be there in Christmas too. Who knows, you may sit at the table next to me!!!

        4 Replies
        1. re: FourSeasons

          Thanks. Yes, I will have my girlfriend call and talk to the manager and ask them to make it "special". Does this normally entail requesting specific dishes, or just telling them we have a certain high budget?

          I also have one dinner in Macao to plan, and was thinking about doing Tim's in Macao. We did fook lam moon in shanghai -- i don't know if the various branches are way different.

          Here is my tentative itinerary:

          [arrive very late -- anything good open super late?]
          [a wedding banquet for dinner] - maybe Lung King Heen for Dim Sum breakfast / lunch
          Dinner #1: Lei Garden. Don't know which branch.
          Dinner #2: Tin Heung Lau
          Macao Dinner: Tim's Kitchen
          ... then off to tokyo. any additional suggestions are very welcome.

          Peech's blog gives a good frame of reference, because i've been to some of the shanghai places he reviews.

          I hope we do end up sitting at an adjacent table!!

          Thanks again.

          1. re: Dustin_E

            No, don't tell him your budget straight away, he will just rip you off by serving all the dishes that is most profitable to them. Especially if you don't make any suggestion and you are a tourist, he may figure it is not difficult to deceive you. My advise is: first, do some research yourself. Openrice is great place to start especially if you can read Chinese. Peech's blog is very reliable too. Then you get a picture of the signature dishes of each restaurant. Then when your girlfriend called for the reservation, tell the manager this is an important dinner, that you want dishes A,B, C and what else is in season that he can recommend. Ask him to fax or email to you for further discussion later on. That is what I do when I host for party of 8 to 10 persons (though quite frankly, I never did that for 4 persons .....)

            Regarding your itinerary:
            -how late? which hotel do you stay?
            -Dinner #1: The one that gets 2 stars from Michelin is the Lei Garden Mongkok branch. I have never tried that place so no comment. I usually go to Wanchai and IFC branch and consensus is that Wanchai is better. Lei Garden is better known for its soup, roast pork, seafood etc, consider more innovative with modern interpretation of Cantonese dishes.
            By now, you should know that each restaurant has its own focus and specialties. Actually based on your description, Kiedis recommendation of Manor fits very nicely (roast goose, suckling pig, seafood etc). I also like Yung Kee 4th floor for this type of description but it can be inconsistent especially to non-regulars.
            Fu Lam Moon tends to be more hjgh end and more well known for your last category "abalone, shark fin and/or birds nest dishes". But quite frankly, you need to have acquire taste for such expensive stuffs or the money spend may not be worthwhile. FLM is also well known for high end seafood such as lobster, conch and steamed fish.
            Hoi King Heen is also very good but it departs from classic traditional Cantonese. Chef Leung creates his own style.
            You would not go wrong with any of the places. It just depends on your preference of the type of dishes you want to focus.
            Macau: I rated Tim's Kitchen very highly. I have no idea why Michelin downgraded them 1 star; the last time I tried in last December was great! It is actually better than the 2 stars The Eight at Grand Lisboa.

            1. re: FourSeasons

              thanks, those tips are really helpful. I'll do some more research and figure out what dishes to pre-order.

              Would you suggest calling ahead to request special dishes at Tim's in Macao, or do we not need to do that there?

              For late night dinner, we're staying at the Prudential Hotel, and will be looking for good food for two people around 11:00pm. Anything like Xin Guan open that late?

              Thanks again.

              1. re: Dustin_E

                No, I did not call ahead for any special dish in Tim's. The seasonal dish for this period is the snake soup. "Peech" is a regular guest there, and my old thread include their signature dishes that you can use as a reference.

                Not familiar with your neighborhood. I tend to stay at the Hong Kong side and a typical late night supper would be Sister Wah at Tim Ho for Beef Hor, but that is probably too far from your place. And it closed at 11pm.

        2. Further to fellow chowhounder Fourseason's recommendation of the Michelin 2* Celebrity Cuisine. My wife dined there and raved about the following dishes by Chef Cheng:

          - Crispy de-boned chicken wing stuffed with bird's nest. Crispy, juicy and flavourful!

          - Steamed crab claw with egg white. Comparable to Tim's kitchen's specialty.

          - Baked crab shell stuffed with fresh Flower crabmeat . Better than the 3* Lung King Heen!

          - Braised prime beef brisket with giant Japanese long root turnips. Very traditional, homey and melt in the mouth tender.

          - Stirred fry rice vermicelli. As good if not better than Fu Sing's version.