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Mar 16, 2013 05:14 AM

Ming Court - Magnificent Dim Sum and more.... that fit the most discriminating palette!

Whilst one can find Boulangerie selling Baguettes in almost every street corner in Paris, the same can be said about Cantonese restaurants and Dim Sum in Hong Kong. However, quanity is one thing, quality is another matter!

Nowadays, with material and labour costs all playing a major factor in restaurants' operation, cutting corners, using mass produced Dim Sum doughs from China and machine grind meat fillings are becoming rampant. Establishments still using traditional, 'starting from scratch', hand made method for dough making or manual dual cleavers approach for chopping and mincing ingredients are becomng rare and few.

As such, I cannot help but become super excited when my wife's 'Bride's Maid', invited us for a Dim Sum lunch with Champagne pairing at the famed 2* Ming Court - one of few refined dining establishments that employs a whole team of Dim Sum chefs still using traditional approaches to Dim Sum making.

The result was one of the most impressive and memorable Dim Sum lunch experience I have ever attended. So refreshing and glad to see so mant traditional Dim Sum dishes made the old fashion way! A testament to the skill of the Chefs and the commitment of the restaurant to remain a 2*....and more?!

The newly renovated dining space was gorgeous, adorned with Chinese modern art and replica porcelain art work. Now comes the food!! For our party of four, we had the following traditonal and modern fusion dishes:

- Vegetarian Pot Sticker - sponge wrapping
- Foie Gras and Pork Pot Stickers with tradional thin wrapping
- Vegetarian Spring Rolls
- Shrimp and Pork Shui Mai two ways with Tobiko and mushrooms
- Shrimp Har Gow
- Fried rice with diced Silken Chicken, Pinenuts, Goji berries, Gai Lan in
Claypot infused with Shiao Xing wine
- Poached Baby Spinach with mushrooms and fresh Yuba Skin in Shang
Tong Broth.
- Shrimp eggs and Abalone sauce 'Lo Mien'
- Desserts Trio of ' Jello ' four ways, Syrup glazed Chinese Pretzels and
Mango Crepe rolls with roasted almond coatings

All these were paired with a Laurent Perrier Brut Champagne.

Once again, with so many dishes ordered, it would be unrealistic for me to comment on each and every dish. However, I will touch on the few outstanding and unique ones.

1- The 'Sponge' pot stickers were so fluffy soft and light. Its like eating a
savory Mashmallow!
2- The addition of Chinese Rice Wine to the Foie Gras and pork filling
was a nice match. Interesting and delightful.
3- Spring rolls were totally greaseless and the wrappings light and crispy
Fillings were very tasty
4 - The Shrimp Har Gow was near perfection! 13 fold wrapping,
taut, malleable and optimal thickness that remained intact when
picked up. Crunchy and fresh tasting prawn filling with diced bamboo
shoot. Super juicy!
4a - I'm not a fan of Shui Mai since I find most mechanically grind shrimp
and pork filling to be too densely packed, dry and unappealing.
However,the Ming Court hand chopped version renders the filling to
be loosely packed, juicy and a joy to eat!
5- The fresh Yuba skin in the perfectly cooked veggie dish has a
mesmerizing aroma and taste thats unfamiliar to us. Broth was full of
umami and tasted awesome
6 - Shrimp egg tossed noodles was very very good, IMO, even better
than 'Lau Sum Kee's famous version!
7 - The Mango Crepe with toasted almonds was a winner!! Man!
Was it good!!

Overall plate presentation might not be as fancy and visually appealing as Lung King Heen, but the taste of most dishes were definitely comparable or better! The 'dry ice' fog generator stand for the dessert was a cool touch!

A most impressive Dim Sum lunch that undoubedly ranks amongst my top 3 Dim Sum experiences!

Keep up the great work and may be use this as a base to build up for a future 3*??!! However, fancier plate presentation and more 'exotic' dishes might be needed to get through the hurdle??!!

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  1. That's a lot of food, Charles! I'd love a taste of the siu-mai and har-gow. No cha-siu bao?

    3 Replies
    1. re: klyeoh

      My wife's friend treating and pre-ordered everything so just sat back and eat!! Ha!
      BTW, any luck on your schedule change? HKTraveller is also thinking about persuading his wife to let him go on family day to join us!! First time 'really old chowhounders' got a chance to meet in person!!

      1. re: Charles Yu

        Still trying to rearrange my schedule - I have some meetings in UK/Europe coming up near that time :-(

        1. re: Charles Yu

          OK, Charles, am flying into HK this Saturday (arrive early afternoon), have whole day on Sunday to catch up with you. Leaving HK Monday after lunch. I've emailed my contact numbers to you on FB :-)

          See you this weekend, it's been a while since we met, eh?

      2. wow sounds wonderful....champagne + dim sum that is something i dont think i ever would've thought of!

        btw i don't think ive ever asked you. what do you think the best dim sum place is in HK? like if you only had one choice kind of thing

        7 Replies
        1. re: Lau

          Before 'Guo Fu Lou' opened up, with the team intact, I would say 'Fook Lam Moon' in Wan Chai. However, I heard part of the team went to GFL and since I haven't been back to FLM this time, I am not in the position to say. Todate, my experience at Ming Court was very impressive. However, my wife's friend intent to take us to 'Forum' for a comparative tasting, since in her opinion, quality between the two are similar?!!

          1. re: Charles Yu

            Charles Yu - thanks, I've had dim sum @ FLM but honestly it was so long ago and really before i took to blogging / chowhound seriously, so i just remember it being good, but i can't recall any of the details as i never paid attention to what i was eating that carefully just got kind of went with the flow.

            I will def give that, GFL, Forum or Ming Court a try next time i'm in town (too many options!)

            btw with GFL any difference between the Wan Chai and TST branches?

            1. re: Lau

              TST is only a 'Private Kitchen' now. For Dim Sum you have to head over to Wan Chai!

          2. re: Lau

            I know the q wasn't directed at me, but I wanted to say that if I only had one place to pick for dim sum, it would be the Country Club's Island Room. The menu isn't extensive, nor is it imaginative like the Michelin starred places, but what they do offer is executed really well.

            I've tried modern, Michelin starred places (like Sun Tung Lok), high-end regular places (Lei Garden) and local chains, but I keep gravitating back to this one.

            1. re: Jon914

              Jon914 - wow wouldn't expect a recommendation in deep water bay! maybe ill run into li ka shing j/k, but seriously do you have to be a member to eat there?

              1. re: Lau

                I believe so. We have family that have invited us there on several occasions for lunch & dinner.

          3. This place is very impressive indeed!
            Thanks again for the writeup!

            Here's the lunch menu


            The gourmet claypot rice seems interesting, but a whooping $238 on average. Stuff you will never find in the USA (nor will restaurants be able to get away with charging US$30 for that).

            And here's the dinner menu


            I'm told Ming Court also makes an excellent XO sauce that you can buy. Probably similar to Man Wah's (consume within 7 days or less, no preservatives).

            15 Replies
            1. re: K K

              Even the regular rice & noodles are in that same $238 range, but it's about par for the course when you dine in a hotel restaurant. That's the price you pay for the experience of dining in comfort.

              It's not quite as outrageous as a popular Tonkatsu chain (Tonkichi), which charges about US $30 for a single porkchop - now *that* is outrageous. I had it, it's really good for what it is, but nowhere near $30 bucks good.

              1. re: Jon914

                If one talks about noodles and rice, nothing beats the $680 a plate ' Spaghetti a la Vongole ' of Causeway Bay's Da Domenica!!!

                1. re: Jon914

                  was tonkichi really that expensive? ive eaten there and i dont remember it being that expensive, that's way more expensive than a really really good place i ate at in tokyo recently (that was definitely better than tonkichi)

                  1. re: Lau

                    Yeah, what you see there + a side salad ran a tab of $1200-$1300 HKD.

                    1. re: Jon914

                      wow i mean that is a pretty decent sized portion, but $30 for tonkatsu seems kind of expensive out of principle haha

                      1. re: Lau

                        Quality tonkatsu anywhere in Tokyo will cost you at least that much (2,500-3,000 yen). Used to be a lot more a couple of months back, he he.

                        1. re: Uncle Yabai

                          The lunch set menu Katsukura @ Takashimaya Times Square building in Shinjuku was roughly 1,700-1,800 yen per person, so roughly $20 per person back in december (now like $18 USD....i timed my trip poorly haha)

                          Katsukura is excellent

                          1. re: Lau

                            In that respect, yes, Tonkichi is expensive, because Tonkichi, is in its best day, as good as Katsukura. On the other hand the top-flight Tokyo X, Kagoshima Kurobuta, or Okinawan Kenton will cost you 3,000 yen anywhere you go, and a bit more at the temple of tonkatsu, Butagumi.

                            1. re: Uncle Yabai

                              i like tonkichi, i just found it alot more oily and heavy that katsukura, which i found to be very light and not oily at all. i also thought katsukura was well priced for tokyo

                                1. re: Uncle Yabai

                                  man i wish someone like katsukura would open up a place in NY...i need to go back to Asia soon, following the asian board is killing me haha

                                  1. re: Lau

                                    In the end it wouldn't work. It would open to great fanfare and high prices, have great stuff early on, and then end up facing the realities of the US market. It would go downscale, swap the original Japanese chefs and staff with whatever works at minimum wage, stop importing Kurobuta, get a local supplier with no sense of pride, and end up like Katsuhama, which used to be excellent and is now but a shadow of its former self.

                                    1. re: Uncle Yabai

                                      you're totally right, but i can still dream

                                      you know i've totally realized when i'm in the US for a long time my taste buds get dulled to what asian food should taste like, i'm pretty sure i rate some stuff higher than i should if i havent been to asia in a while. that totally happened to me in tokyo where i was like man this is what stuff should taste like

                                      1. re: Lau

                                        you know i've totally realized when i'm in the US for a long time my taste buds get dulled to what asian food should taste like

                                        Off-topic here, Lau - but the same thing happened to me each time I visited India (like I did recently). The food there is *so* good, I realised how we tend to over-rate top Indian restaurants in Singapore, London or elsewhere: they don't hold a candle to the real deal and what you'll get in the land-of-origin.

                                        1. re: klyeoh

                                          oh yah the food in india is very good, i spent 3 weeks in bombay at my college roommate's house right after college that's when i realized how crap most indian food is in the US. although i cant eat indian food everyday like i can with chinese or japanese food, i started getting sick of it after a couple of weeks, but it is quite good

              2. Far too many years since we ate there - but really good to hear it is still superb. I feel a long slow Saturday lunch coming up.

                I may not be as discerning as others but for me the best dim sum is so far above good dim sum that the difference simply hits you. That's what I thought of my lunch at Ming Court all those years ago.

                I feel I snack at places Fu Sing and Tim Ho Wan, good as they are, but you only get the top dim sum when you pay top dollar, and if you are not paying top dollar you are not likely to get great food. This CY's intro about mass produced dim sum really resonates - there is no such think as cheap great dim sum (although plenty of cheap stuff is tasty).