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A great "2013 Annual Hong Kong Chowmeet of International Chowhounders" at 'Above & Beyond'

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The first Hong Kong Chowmeet was conceived over 6 years ago. Held in a Wan Chai Private Kitchen, the meet was attended by a small group of 7 total strangers. The only common thread was their mutual love for food and their Chowhound Handle.

Subsequently, seven years and over half a dozen of luncheon and diiner chowdowns later, this event has blossomed into an annual International event attracting both local and overseas foodies.

This year, after a short 2 years hiatus, the annual chowmeet resumed once again, attended by local core members such as HKTraveller, Peech, e_ting, Uncle Yabai,..etc and international members such as Fourseasons, Asomaniac and Steve ( all 3 made special trips to attend! ). As well, there were a number of new addition such as NYC chowhounder Kobetobiko and 2012 chef of the year - David Lai....etc

The group selected the new and chic 'Above & Beyond' as our chowmeet venue. This restaurant had received rave reviews and numerous accolades since it opened and has been one of the hottest table in town for quality Chinese fine dining.

With the help of some of our esteemed members such as Susan Jung, Senior food & wine editor of SCMP and Chef Lai, a pre-arranged multi-course tasting menu was put together with input from Chef Tse of Above & Beyond.

The menu is as follows:

- Chinese Specialty Platter
(B-B-Q Suckling Pglet, Crispy 5 Spice Sliced Angus Beef Brisket, Smoked Egg with Oolong Tea Leaves and Black Truffles, Suckling Pig Knuckles in Abalone Sauce)

- Wok-Fried Crystal King Prawns with Honey Glazed Yunnan Ham

- Double Boiled Chicken Soup with Fish Maw and Coconut

- Wok-Fried Canadian Scallops with Black Truffles and Sea Urchins

- Wok-Fried Spotted Garoupa Fillet with Yunnan Ham and Scallions

- Smoked Crispy-Fried Chicken with Oolong Tea Leaves.

- Steamed Coral Crab with Glutinous Rice

- Dessert ( Caramel Brulee, Baked Egg Custard Tartlet, Chilled Jelly with Wolfberry Osmanthus )

Accompanying wines included Piper Korset Champagne, Maximum Grunhauser 1983 Riesling Auslese and a rare Magnum of Hugel 1985 Gewurztraminer VT, Special Sake directly from Japan and a bottle of Cognac. White wines were so generously contributed buy Chowhounder Peech, the Sake by CHer Asomaniac and Cognac by Chef Lai.

With so many fine dishes savored, I am not going to go through them individually one by one! Rather, I will mention briefly some of my favorite highlights and let the photos do the story telling!

First off, I love the flavourful, fork tender semi de-boned piglet knuckles. Great to munch on! The King Prawns was crunchy and sweet. Good but IMHO not as great as Tim's Kitchen. Likewise, the Yunnan Ham wrap was also good but again not as great as Shanghai Fraternity's. Ah! The soup! So delicate and tasty and the coconut aroma and taste was so mesmerizing! The supposedly 'wok-fried' scallops was prepared as if it was cooked 'sous-vide'?!. Irrespective of preparation method, it tasted very good!. The skin of the Crispy Chicken was indeed paper thin and ultra crisp! However, IMO, the smokey aroma was the real selling point. Lastly, the winning dish of the evening has to go to the Crab rice! The crab roe fried rice was sooo delicious, I noticed 'Fourseason' sitting next to me gobbled it up before I could count to 3!! Ha!! I wonder how many of us needed Crestor afterwards to help reducing the cholesterol??!! Ha!!

Once again, the Chowmeet was a resounding success, thanks to the good food and wine and the enthusiastic participation of the attendees. As I have eluded many a time in the past, its not just the food, its the COMPANY that counts!!

Until next time!!! Happy Chowing!!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    4 Replies
    1. re: Charles Yu

      Sounded absolutely delish, Charles, and sorry to have to miss you and our other fellow Chowhounds yet again. I'm hoping to catch up with you in HK soon, before you go back to Toronto.

      1. re: klyeoh

        Peter, let us know when you come to town

        1. re: Peech

          Sure thing :-)

          1. re: Peech

            Am coming to HK this weekend - catching up with Charles. Let's keep in touch.

      2. Wow, that sounds really great. So sad I only come to HK in two days, would have loved to attend that big Chowmeet!

        1. Could have flown in, put me on the list for the next one.

          1. You know, Charles, I'm never gonna believe anyone in this crowd ever again when they say "oh I'm not gonna drink"…

            Thanks so much for organizing, and great to see you back in town. Same with the others who flew in. Hope to be doing this for years to come!

            …and sorry that the Hugel VT was corked

            1 Reply
            1. re: Peech

              @ Peech

              Well my friend, at least the restaurant gave us some freebie Champagne to quench so of the 'teatotallers' thirst!! Ha!

              Agree! Great to see all the foodie friends again! However, Its getting harder and harder to find non-repetitive venues with 'consistent' food for our group of discerning hounds though??!!

              Next time, may be we'll bring only wines with 'screwcaps' to make sure! Ha!!

              Again, real nice to see you after this time and cannot wait to hear what you are going to serve your Mum during her next birthday?!

            2. Charles - sounds fantastic - shame I was out of town - but now very keen to get over to Above & Beyond. So many great places so little time! Hopefully in town for your next visit.

              5 Replies
              1. re: PhilD

                Hope so!!
                I was told food at Above & Beyond was even better when ordered 'a la carte' for a smallish group!

                1. re: Charles Yu

                  That's interesting, Charles - I'd always thought Chinese chefs are more attuned to cooking for a fairly large (8-12 people) group, rather than small or singular portions the way French or Japanese chefs do.

                  1. re: klyeoh

                    the problem with very large groups is that the waitstaff will serve the food in individual portions, and if they don't control the temperature right to account for this, often the food will come to you a little lukewarm (or even cold) - thanks to the incessant A/C that blasts in all HK restos. I've had this happen to me on several occasions, and really takes the joy out of some of the food. The crab with glutinous rice that night was the perfect example.

                    1. re: Peech

                      Agree!!! Next time may be we'll have a 'Cold Dessert' Chowmeet instead!! TBA and Sauternes!! Ha!

                      1. re: Charles Yu

                        mango pudding at Ming Court

              2. Sorry to barge into the conversation (and it has been awhile since the last post) but it sounds like everyone had a great meal here. I'll be in HK for a 1.5 day layover in November (my first time) and am looking for one great dinner. We are staying at the Icon Hotel so this would certainly be convenient. Definitely want local cuisine (no French, Italian, Japanese, etc). Would this be a good choice or are there better options (must be centrally located with our limited time frame and price isn't so much an issue, but we will not have dressy clothes with us). Thanks for any input!

                2 Replies
                1. re: ksyoung

                  November is still a few months away! A lot can happen in this span of time!

                  Within walking distances or a short cab ride from your hotel are dozens of good to great restaurants ( Cantonese, Shanghainese, Chiu Chow...etc )
                  .
                  Some notable ones include:

                  Ah Yat Harbour View ( Michelin 2* Cantonese )
                  Come-into Chiu Chow
                  Cuisine Cuisine at the MIRA ( Michelin1* Cantonese )
                  Din Tai Fung ( Michelin 1* Shanghainese )
                  Fu Ho ( Michelin 1* Cantonese )
                  Gou Fu Lou ( Michelin 1* Cantonese )
                  Hoi King Hieen ( Michelin 1* Cantonese )
                  Shang Palace ( Michelin 2* Cantonese )
                  Sun Tung Lok ( Michelin 2* Cantonese )
                  T'ang Court ( Michelin 1* Cantonese )
                  Yan Toh Heen ( Michelin 1* Cantonese )
                  Ye Shanghai ( Michelin 2* Shanghainese )
                  Tin Lung Heen ( Michelin 2* Cantonese )

                  In addition to the above 'star' establishments, there are also good non-star ones like Hing Kee Seafood ( famous for their Typhoon shelter crab ), Lei Garden, Dong Lai Shun ( Peking Cuisine - the DUCK!! ) and of course 'Above & Beyond' inside your hotel,

                  Most, if not all restaurants nowadays, including Michelin establishments, are pretty accommodating to visitors. As long as you are not in shorts or flip-flops, smart casual attire is more than acceptable! 2-3* Western Cuisine establishments might tend to be a bit more discriminating!

                  Since this will be your 'first time ' visit to Hong Kong. I would pick a restaurant with not only great food but a great view to match as well. These would include Above & Beyond, Yan Toh Heen, Tin Lung Heen, Ah Yat Harbour View and Gou Fu Lou. Try squeezing in a dim sum lunch as well as dinner to take in different food varietals and day & night harbor and skyline sceneries!

                  Be sure to ask for a 'window table' when making your reservation (s)!! Give it about a month lead time!!

                  Have fun!!

                  PS: A great reference source ( use by local foodies ) with reviews and photos is www.openrice.com
                  You can go through my list of recommendation one by one!!

                  1. re: Charles Yu

                    Whew! Fantastic, thank you! I will need to take some time and go through this info - exactly why I'm starting my research now! I may have some follow-up questions after I've looked all this over. Thanks again - so excited!