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Hong Kong at Easter

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britinflorida Feb 9, 2012 03:04 PM

Hello Hong Kong Chowhounds. We will be in HK for 4 days at Easter weekend 6-9 April. Is this a problem for restaurant availability? I have spent many late nights recently reading all the boards, threads, etc, especially medgirl answers. Now I have a plan and some questions. We will stay at the TST Hyatt, arriving early Friday morning from the USA. Thinking early lunch at Din Tai Fung for comfort food, followed by a nap when we get our room. Dinner that night at Cuisine Cuisine. Saturday we will do the Big Bus tour on HK island and hop off near Fu Sing for early lunch. That night we have a reservation at Yan Toh Heen. Sunday - should we have a hotel buffet lunch? They all look expensive. Is there some quintessential HK Sunday lunch experience? Or shall we just go about our tourist activities and get dim sum or soup somewhere for lunch? That night I am planning Ye Shanghai, with drinks first at Felix and Irish coffee afterwards in the Pen lobby. On Monday we join our cruise ship at 3 pm so I was thinking a last indulgence perhaps at Tim Ho Wan? In addition, we want to buy a case of French wine to take on the cruise ship. They charge corkage but it is still worth it to avoid their over-oaked and overpriced US wines. We like Burgundy, Cote du Rhone and Provence Rose. There is a Jasons Marketplace near the Hyatt. Is this a good place to buy wine? All suggestions and recommendations enthusiastically welcomed.

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  1. Charles Yu RE: britinflorida Feb 9, 2012 05:56 PM

    Easter weekend could be ultra-busy!!! Make sure to make your reservations way ahead of time! ( Especially with your list composing of almost all Michelin restaurants!)
    Sunday buffet lunch at Hotels like the Conrad or Intercontinental can be quite an experience. The quality of food display and variety can be second to none! Chinese, western, Japanese, Indian...etc. And those desserts!!! I believe Conrad still have all you can eat seared foie gras!!! Fellow chowhounder PhilD just had buffet lunch at the 1* Ducasse 'Spoon' ( also inside the Intercontinental ) and was quite satisfied with the food and value.
    For your wine purchase. Closest 'big ' wine store will be 'Watson's' on 18 Hanoi Road, very close to your hotel. Go take a look!!!
    Have fun!!!

    16 Replies
    1. re: Charles Yu
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      britinflorida RE: Charles Yu Feb 9, 2012 07:41 PM

      Is "almost all Michelin" not a good idea? If we do Sunday buffet, please suggest somewhere for a light dinner. If we had to skip one dinner, should it be Cuisine or Ye Shanghai? How about Sunday lunch at Spices Repulse Bay? Is it too hot to sit outside in April? Thanks for wine info.

      1. re: britinflorida
        Charles Yu RE: britinflorida Feb 9, 2012 08:07 PM

        Nothings wrong with picking Michelin. Restaurants tend to be a little more busy due to reputation and hence popularity, that's all!. However, ALL restaurants in Hong Kong gets busy during the weekends anyways!
        Cuisine Cuisine is Cantonese cuisine whilst Ye Shanghai offers Shanghainese cuisine, so the choice is up to you. For me, I would actually delete Fu Sing from the list since it offers Cantonese cuisine, the same as Yan Toh Heen and Cuisine Cuisine!! So a lot of Cantonese duplication!
        For a light dinner, I would actually pick one of the 'Tasty's' and have some won-ton noodles plus some tapas size dishes.etc. There's one in the IFC. If you are adventurous, you can even venture into Temple Street night market and have some tapas size seafood at some of the street side hawker stalls!
        I haven't eaten at Spices in Repulse Bay only at the Verandah in the Repulse Bay Hotel years ago. However, as a place, I love Repulse Bay to spend an afternoon in! Weatherwise, its hard to say! Could be around the low 20c or the high 20c. Comfy vs hot!! Depends on your luck!!
        Food choices in Hong Kong are simply unbelievable!!!

        1. re: Charles Yu
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          britinflorida RE: Charles Yu Feb 10, 2012 03:44 AM

          For an Easter Sunday lunch, would you choose a hotel buffet or Repulse Bay?

          1. re: britinflorida
            Charles Yu RE: britinflorida Feb 10, 2012 04:05 PM

            Are you from Florida? If so, then you have seen your fair share of fine beaches?! Repulse Bay to you might not be too special then?! However, its still a nice excursion if the weather is fine. As previously eluded to, I have not eaten at Spice, so I have no clue what the food is like. However, I know for sure, Hong Kong top tier hotel buffet lunches seldom disappoint. So, my suggestion to you may be to make reservation in 'both' places and cancel one, on the day depending on the weather?!

            1. re: britinflorida
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              klyeoh RE: britinflorida Feb 10, 2012 04:13 PM

              Charles is right, britinflorida - making advance reservations for Sunday brunch, or almost any meal, is *absolutely* essential in Hong Kong! The more popular places are usually booked out 1 or 2 weeks in advance.

              1. re: klyeoh
                PhilD RE: klyeoh Feb 10, 2012 06:07 PM

                I am going to disagree about hotel buffets, IMO few have really great food. Yes, they have a lot of food, yes they have a wide variety of food, but is it really a great HK food experience? I think not.

                Watery parwns and crab on the cold counter; hot dishes congealing in chaffing dishes; overcooked meats from the grill; combinations you wouldn't dream of on the same plate; cheese boards that look like the Texas chains haw massacre; and dessert tables pawed over by hungry kids - but at least they lick their fingers clean between tastes (OK maybe not all on the same day at the same place).

                I do go to them on a regular basis as it is pretty standard to have the long boozy lunch with friends, and the buffet is a reasonable option as the free flow Champagne makes the total cost OK. But I rarely go for the food, and if food is the objective I head to the ones that cook the main for you and only have a starter and dessert buffet - Spoon, The Verandah (Repulse Bay and Peninsula in TST) , and the yet to try Whisk. I hear great things about the one at Zuma but it is tricky to get into and I fear it may be more style over substance (as our dinner was).

                My ultimate preference is the Sunday wine lunch at Amber which is at a similar price point, and I believe Tosca at the Ritz Carlton is looking good - but have yet to coordinate a date with friends.

                1. re: PhilD
                  Charles Yu RE: PhilD Feb 10, 2012 06:30 PM

                  Watery parwns and crab on the cold counter; hot dishes congealing in chaffing dishes; overcooked meats from the grill; combinations you wouldn't dream of on the same plate; cheese boards that look like the Texas chains haw massacre; and dessert tables pawed over by hungry kids -

                  Hi PhilD! Just out of curiosity, which hotel (s) are you referring to? My experiences at the JW Marriot, Conrad, Intercontinental and Langham, though not 'super gastronomic' however was quite enjoyable. Choice of Scottish and Norwegian smoked salmon, Parma and Serrano hams, Sushis were freshly made, Oysters freshly shucked, Curries were authentic and yummy, Roast Prime ribs was almost at par with Lawry's and Cantonese roast meat were cut to order. And, as I eluded to, Conrad even have freshly seared foie gras as well as au touchon. Yes, the slightly inferior places like Sheraton do have hot dishes congealing in chaffing dishes! But then, Sheraton is Sheraton!.
                  Actually, a non-hotel buffet place which I quite enjoy is the Italian restaurant Cava In Causeway Bay. Their selection of made to order entrees were very impressive.

                  1. re: Charles Yu
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                    britinflorida RE: Charles Yu Feb 11, 2012 10:21 AM

                    You are right, Charles, I do live on the Florida coast and Brit is my nationality not my name. Hubby is American. Florida is flat and the beaches, although spectacular tend to be featureless: no trees and no mountains in the background. Florida Chinese food is dreadful, so I don't want to eat Western food in HK. I have never liked buffets and am easily talked out of the idea. We will be in HK for 3 days before embarking on a 35-day cruise. The plan is to eat the best food in HK, Vietnam,, Rangoon (a side trip), Singapore, Phuket, Cochin and Bombay before cruising through the foodie desert (for me) of the Middle East to Athens. It's a bucket list trip. Any suggestions on these destinations welcome. Back to HK: I have more or less decided on Friday lunch at Din Tai Fung and dinner at Lei Gardens East TST. Saturday lunch at Fu Sing (seduced by the 3-layer crispy pork belly) and dinner at YTH. Is it a good plan to pre-order the Beggar's Chicken? Presumably the price of HK$780 is per bird not per person? Sunday we will start the day at Tim Ho Wan, visit goldfish, flowers and birds in Mong Kok then hop in a cab for Repulse Bay. I watched a film clip and it looks like a good contrast to MK with good people watching, hopefully good food and atmosphere at Spices. Sunday night at Ye Shanghai as previously mentioned. I only know Shanghai noodles. What dishes do you recommend there?

                    1. re: britinflorida
                      Charles Yu RE: britinflorida Feb 11, 2012 03:45 PM

                      Cool!! I was initially from the UK too! Used to study at the seaside resort of Aberystwyth in Wales before moving to London. Beaches in Aberystwyth must be the 'yeeeuckiest' around!!! Only coarse sand and pebbles!!

                      Back to your eat list. IMO, Beggar Chicken is way over-rated. Definitely not one of my favourite chicken dish. If available, I would substitute it with the ' Rose essence herbed premium top soy poached free range chicken" Much more flavourful! You can order a half chicken which is less intimidating!!
                      Tim Ho Wan on a Sunday morning!!! Wow!! You folks must be brave!! Arrive early ( they open at 10.00am ) and prepare to wait in line!! And DO NOT FORGET to order the Baked B-B-Q pork buns!
                      Ye Shanghai is one of the better Shanghainese restaurant in town and has a Michelin star. So, everything on the menu should possess a certain level of quality and standard. Start with an 'antipasti' appetizer dish of smoked pomfret, drunken chicken, Chinese headcheese, jelly fish..etc. For entree, the 'stirred fry river shrimps with longjin tea leaves' is goooood. If still on the menu, I would definitely order the 'Steamed Chinese Hunnan ham with honey served with fluffy pancake wrappers'. I ordered this dish during a previous 'chowmeet' and all the ladies loved it! Filet of sole/flounder with Chinese rice wine and wood fungus' is something light and delicious! Ask the serve staff for recommendation of daily specials but make sure to check the 'market price', especially pertaining to fresh fish and seafood to avoid major 'bill shock'! If you still want more 'shanghainese dim-sum' after your Din Tai Fung experience, I would order some pot-stickers as well! After the meal,,,,,walk....walk....walk!!! to get rid of the calories!! Ha!

                      1. re: Charles Yu
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                        klyeoh RE: Charles Yu Feb 11, 2012 05:56 PM

                        Ye Shanghai is my fave Shanghainese restaurant in the world actually, Charles (blush!), despite my numerous trips to Shanghai and having tried dozens upon dozens of good restaurants there, from those which catered to high-end, expense account visitors (T1088) to neighborhood eats.

                        In HK, despite having dined at the Ningbo Residents' Association restaurant and, recently, at the Shanghai Residents' Association restaurant, I still preferred Ye Shanghai. Maybe, for me, that restaurant's dishes simply just hit all the right spots :-D

                        My fave dishes at Ye Shanghai were the braised Lion's Head dumpling (Shi Ji Tou) and the Squirrel-shaped Sweet-sour Fish (Songsu Gu Yu). Maybe I liked HK-Cantonese cooking's lighter touch, as compared to Mainland Chinese chefs who have a heavier hand with the oil and other condiments.

                        1. re: Charles Yu
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                          britinflorida RE: Charles Yu Feb 11, 2012 06:34 PM

                          Nearest to Rose Essence Chicken on the online menu at YTH is Stewed Chicken with soy sauce and hua diao wine in casserole - and it is marked as a chef's recommended dish. Would this be good? Do you think Peking Duck is overrated too? Is there less of a line at Tim Ho Wan on a Monday morning? Baked BBQ pork buns ring my chimes for breakfast. I am not a fan of Western breakfasts. And yes, we are planning lots of walking! Thanks for all your help.

                          1. re: britinflorida
                            Charles Yu RE: britinflorida Feb 11, 2012 06:51 PM

                            The YTH chicken dish sounded gooood! Should be very flavourful! Definitely worth trying! I can almost imagine the taste! The sauce should be great over rice!! Yummmm!
                            Peking duck if done correctly can be addictively good!! Peking Garden is one of the better choices. But nowadays, almost all competent kitchen can make one! If your party has more than three people, then go for it!
                            I think Monday morning should be less busy for THW. BTW, a visit to the 'goldfish' district should take you past one of Hong Kong's most famous ' stinky tofu' place! Dare you try one!! Ha! Actually taste amazingly good with some Hoisin and Chili sauce!!

                            1. re: Charles Yu
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                              britinflorida RE: Charles Yu Feb 11, 2012 07:00 PM

                              I saw either Bourdain or Zimern eat stinky tofu on tv and it did not look good. Am willing to try most things and like stinky cheeses, but I draw the line here! Only 2 of us so could not manage a whole Peking Duck.

                              1. re: britinflorida
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                                p0lst3r RE: britinflorida Feb 12, 2012 11:43 PM

                                About 10 years ago when I first moved to HK, I would walk past the food vendors in Mong Kok and naively comment that you'd think the smell of rotting rats in the sewer would turn people off buying the food. Eventually I realised it WAS the food - the stinky tofu.

                                I've since eaten most of the disgusting things on offer in Asia (including balut), but for some reason never made it back to try stinky tofu. You've just inspired me to seek it out at lunchtime tomorrow so I can tick that one off.

                                BTW, I'm a big fan of the weekend brunch at Zuma in Landmark Central. It's such a beautiful restaurant with inside and outside, great quality fresh food on the buffet and, including unlimited Perrier Jouet campagne, such good value. It's Japanese but lots of nontraditional fare.

                                1. re: p0lst3r
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                                  britinflorida RE: p0lst3r Feb 13, 2012 04:59 AM

                                  Unlimited Champagne - very tempting ... Let me know what you think of stinky tofu, compared with, say L'Epoise? Thanks to everyone for your input.

                                  1. re: p0lst3r
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                                    klyeoh RE: p0lst3r Feb 14, 2012 04:06 AM

                                    Old thread on Zuma:
                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6629...

                                    Hope you'd try the stinky tofu, p0lst3r - believe me, it tastes surprisingly mild for something which smells so strong.

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