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Hong Kong / China- Help with Restaurant itinerary please!!

Hi
I would really appreciate some input for my upcoming trip to China.

I have read through a lot of postings on Chowhound and have created the below list based on my research.

There are so many suggestions/options I have been having a tough time trying to narrow it down.

1. If there are multiple locations, please let me know which you recommend.
2. Local specialties/ Cuisine preferred
3. Please let me know If it is an expensive restaurant ($50+ US per person )
4. If restaurant is only a dinner option. Yang’s in Shanghai?
5. Variety (price/atmosphere, cuisine, etc)

Hong Kong- I am looking to Plan 5 meals (2/3 dinner -2/3 lunches) including Tim Ho Wan as one of the lunches.
Cantonese
Lei Garden IFC.
The Manor
Ming Court
Din Tai Fung
Yan Toh Heen
Fook Lan Moon
Nanhai Number 1
Above & Beyong
Tai Ping Koon
Noodles- are these the same restaurant?
Mak un kee
Mak Kan Kee
Seafood
Under Bridge Spicy Crab
Tung Po Seafood

Beijing- We will be in Beijing for 4 days. I don’t have a lot of restaurants picked out and have heard Beijing is not a great food city. Any other suggestions would be great!! We already have a reservation at Black Sesame.
Made in China
Da Dong
Li Qun Duck
Quanjude in Qianmen
Noodle Loft
Black Sesame Kitchen

Shanghai- We will only be in Shanghai for 2 dinner and 2 lunches.

Old Jesse/Jesse 41
Nanxiang
Ding Tai Fung
Jishi
Crystal Jade
Xiao Nan Guo
Yang's Fry-Dumpling/ Jia Jia Tang Bao- this will be at least one of the meals. If we only go once, which one should we eat at? Can this be lunch option?

Thank you!!!

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  1. to clarify Variety- we want to mix it up, price/atmosphere, cuisine, etc

    For Hong Kong. Ideally would be 1 nicer/fancier meal, 1 hole in the wall. 1 street food experience. 1 noodle house etc etc.

    Thanks!!

    1. Check out CityWeekends. They have some good restaurant and bar reviews for China. The Beijinger is also pretty good for reviews from expats.

      1. Looks like you've done your homework.

        I'm a L.A. hound who travels to Asia a few times a year. So bear in mind that I'm not a local and thus not privy to the latest gossip in these cities... So, here is my 2 RMB (from my personal experiences):

        HK:
        Noodles / hole-in-the-wall: I'd definitely hit Wing Wah Noodle Shop on Hennessy in Wan Chai for their bamboo noodles. Bamboo noodle is a somewhat controversial topic on the HK board, but I for one think it's out of this world, and apparently the old man who makes them has no apprentice, so the old school way of making these noodles is "slated for extinction" - eat it while you can. Get the beef tendon soup with bamboo noodles at Wing Wah.
        Breakfast: Australia Dairy Company in Jordan. The best scrambled eggs on earth.
        Dim sum: Very controversial. If you want high end / creative (and if you can reserve a table): Lung King Heen at the Four Seasons

        Beijing: I don't like to label entire megalopolises right off the bat with statements like "not a great food city" - There are gustatory pearls in every city on Earth if you look hard enough and surrender preconceived notions. Having said that:
        Duck: You'll be sick of duck if you try all these places. Quanjude is touristy hype. Da Dong is my pick for the famed Peking duck. Li Qun is a hole-in-the-wall with decent duck.

        Shanghai:
        Ji Shi IS also known as Old Jesse! If you can get a table, definitely hit this place for dinner. This was one of the best Chinese meals I've ever had anywhere. Any roasted meat Shanghai-style here is incredible. The shrimp, the fish - all amazing. Jesse 41 is lesser than the original (Old Jesse).
        Din Tai Fung: The second or third best DTF in the world (after the original in Taipei & possibly Tokyo) - worth a lunch or dinner. I DO, however, prefer the thicker-skinned xiaolongbao at Nanxiang better - It just feels less "foofoo" and more like what the Shanghaiese denizens would have been enjoying back in the 1920s... but that's just me.

        Lunch / street food: Lucky for all us Chowhounds visiting Shanghai, Yang's is directly across the street from JiaJia Tang Bao!!! Hit BOTH! The only limitation is your gullet, as they're both dirt cheap. I still dream of the piping hot shenjianbao at Yang's - On my Top 5 list of the "Best Street Food Items on Earth".

        Happy eating! Report back!

        14 Replies
        1. re: J.L.

          I am in Hong Kong right now and has completed a comprehensive won-ton noodle tastings of well over 10 different establishments including 'Wing Wah'.
          Sorry to say, but Wing Wah's is the 'WORSE' bowl of noodles I have eaten in Hong Kong ! Period!!
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/893361
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/893493

          Australian Dairy Company is one weird beast with lines up to 30+ people at funny hours like 3.00pm. Be prepared to wait a long time!

          Lung King Heen's dinner is way 'over-rated'!! There are much better places around offering much better food!! Ming Court, Above and Beyond, Nanghai #1 or Hong Hong Cuisine are just a few better food and better value for money establishments!!

          1. re: Charles Yu

            Thank you Charles. I have read your Won-ton reviews and noted where we should. I have put Ming Court, Nanghai #1 at the top of our list.

            1. re: Charles Yu

              is it nanhai no.1 without the G?

              1. re: Charles Yu

                Australian Dairy has long lines, but it's crazy efficient even by HK standards. Don't be put off by the lines, because they turn over *extremely quickly* (you start getting some items 15-30 seconds after you order) and like many casual places, will force you to share a table with other parties.

                Don't spend a meal on it because that's not what it is - eat it for breakfast, snack or a late-night dessert (the steamed custards are good).

              2. re: J.L.

                I tried to read a lot of posts before asking for advice. I still felt unsure of which restaurants would provide us a good mix of foods, experiences etc. I appreciate your response and feedback.

                I did not realize Old Jesse and Jesse 41 were different locations. Good to know!

                Which DTF location should i visit in Shanghai? Is one considered better than the others?

                Beijing- I take it back! We will probably only have one specific duck dinner, although I am sure we will be ordering it many times through out our trip.

                I will definitely report back!!

                1. re: aronbrager

                  Aron, as you know from my other responses to your posts, I am neither a local nor even a frequent visitor to China, so I defer to them if you get other advice but ...

                  As to the DTF location in Shanghai, I believe that Xintiandi is the one mentioned most often but we ate at Yu Garden, as it was within walking distance of our hotel on The Bund (Les Suites Orientales). We'd asked the concierge for directions to DTF Xintiandi and he suggested Yu Garden because it was so much closer. So, barring contrary advice from others, I suggest that you visit whichever is most convenient.

                  With respect to Indkitchen's recommendation of Lunar 8, note that this is the restaurant in the Beijing Fairmont. We ate there one evening because we were staying in the Fairmont, it was raining, and we were too tired to go out. We actually ate a very simple meal there so I cannot comment on the full menu, but it was just ok and very expensive -- not surprising since it's a restaurant in a 5-star hotel.

                  1. re: masha

                    Thanks!

                2. re: J.L.

                  JL- do you know address of old Jesse? Want to make sure I end up at that location and not Jesse 41.

                  Thanks.

                  1. re: aronbrager

                    老吉士酒家 | Old Jesse Restaurant

                    41 Tianping Rd. | 天平路41号 (M. Huaihai Rd. | 淮海中路), Shanghai (上海市)

                    Tel: 6282-9260

                    1. re: J.L.

                      Hi JL.

                      Are Jishi and Old Jesse the same thing?

                      Thanks!!

                      1. re: aronbrager

                        Yes, Jishi is merely the 'hanyu pinyin' rendition of Jesse.

                        1. re: klyeoh

                          Do you know if they have an English menu?

                          Thanks!

                          1. re: aronbrager

                            Yes, they do :-)

                            But the servers probably don't speak English very well (I spoke Mandarin to them), so do be prepared to do some pointing and some sign language.

                            1. re: klyeoh

                              Thanks!!

                3. We were in Beijing in December and had a great meal at Da Dong. One of our best dinners as at Lunar 8, which I don't see on your list. Have a good trip!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: indkitchen

                    Thank you.

                  2. For Beijing I think Da Dong is a solid choice, try to go for dinner if possible. I have been to Da Dong at lunch and they seem to not know/care about the order of food (They'd just bring you whatever that is ready, instead of getting the appetizers first and then main)

                    have always heard about Li Qun (I believe it is on the Bourdain show as well) but have never been. Reviews on Li Qun on the local Chinese food sites have been average though. Seems like you have like 4 duck places for Beijing, maybe you should consider putting in a traditional hotpot place? Nanmen Hotpot seems to be a sound choice, lines could easily get to 1hour ++ though.

                    For Shanghai Yang's Fry is very popular... It is quite simple to look for food in Shanghai, just go where the lineups are.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: tbtb18

                      Thanks.

                      Will check out Nanmen.

                      We wont be eating duck every night. They were just the restaurants we were considering for that type of meal.

                    2. Also just curious...whats the smallest # of people you need for a reservation at sesame kitchen? I always thought they only had 2 large tables...

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: tbtb18

                        I made a reservation for 2 people. I think it is 1 or 2 large tables but it is communal seating. I dont think they have a minimum.

                        1. re: aronbrager

                          I see. I heard it is excellent....let me know how it is!

                          1. re: tbtb18

                            I will write a trip report when I get back. Ya, looking forward to it. They have been great so far in terms of making reservations and discussing food preferences.

                      2. Just so it is clear, it is an absolute waste of time in Beijing to go to more than one duck place. There are too many great things to eat.

                        Go to a Xinjiang restaurant. Get a lamb and bread dry-fried. Much more unique, interesting, and exciting than another roast duck..