Silicon Valley to Hong Kong with dietary restrictions
Four of us including two teenagers arriving Saturday, June 29th early morning. Unfortunately, DD#2 & I are allergic to shellfish. Additionally, same DD will have her braces rewired day of flight; therefore, unable to eat much solid food for at least 48 hrs (we'll be looking for congee, milk based drinks, etc).
Foods we enjoy: Szechuan, Asian Fusion (love the contemporary take at Mission Chinese in SF & fusion Japanese we've had in LA/SF), Indian & Italian*.
Eager to try dim sum in HK but we're not too adventurous. Locally, we love Yank Sing and have been going there for 15+ years. Combination of food, especially veg. selection, and service that keeps us going back. Since we'll be staying at Langham** Mong Kok, thought we can give Ming Court a try. How is their service (for English speakers) and do they have a veg. selection? We do eat pork/chicken, only asking for safety precaution. We also have the option of eating dinner at Ming Court. What do you think? Also considering Din Tai Fung...not sure if we'll ever make it to the one in L.A. Others on my radar are Above & Beyond & Intercontinental.
Is San Xi Lou worth a visit (looks like we'd have to take a cab?). Also looking at afternoon tea at Mandarin Oriental*** or Intercontinental (where would my teenagers feel more comfortable?). My friends stayed at Peninsula & loved the tea there but I prefer a place that takes reservations. Can we order two sets of tea for four people, given DD2 may not be able to eat much? I'll save this for Monday, so she's had time to recover. Of course we'll pay for any extra drinks.
If we don't dine at Intercontinental for any particular meal, I would still like to go here for cocktails and enjoy the view. Any comparable/better alternatives I may not be familiar with?
*of course, we get plenty of this at home :)
**with club privileges
***is this very formal?
English is widely spoken in HK (compared to Mainland China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan), especially in hotels - you won't have any problem at Ming Court. The menu there will also include a section on vegetarian dishes, and their dim sum will be a class above Yank Sing (which happened to be my fave dim sum joint in the *whole* of the US, not just SF). Do let them know of your shellfish allergy, as many dim sum items have shrimps in them, e.g. "siu mai" which has a mixture of minced pork and shrimps.
Mandarin Oriental is not *that* formal, especially for afternoon tea. And I see folks in very casual wear there even for dinner.
HK isn't the world's best spot for Sichuan-food-outside-of-Sichuan but there are some good places to eat. No, you don't have to take a taxi to San Xi Lou (actually, you don't need to take a taxi to anywhere except for the outlying areas of the New Territories). It's about a 10 minute walk from the Central MTR.
Dim sum will probably be your biggest challenge due to the hidden shrimp factor, but anywhere fancy will have English assistance for sure.
If you like the Yank Sing (which I also like quite a bit, and think of it as some of the best dim sum in the US), then you'll quite happy in Hong Kong. Your basic dim sum place in Hong Kong is a bit better than Yank Sing, and your fine dim sum place will be ahead by a mile (or two). But it will in general be more accomplished (or even an order of magnitude better) versions of the same dishes, so you won't be dealing with a feeling of "this is so different from what I get back home that I'm too verklempt to eat".
Thank you all for your replies. Good to know about Ming Court vs. Yank Sing, looking forward to our meal. Also, I am leaning towards Four Seasons tea as I read somewhere that they offer more savory items.
I do have a few more questions, if I may...
where to buy tea to take home...girls & I love the lychee & other infused teas from a specialty shop locally ($10 for 2oz I think)
tea/specialty drink places teenagers would enjoy (may be parents too :)
Lan Kwai Fong - was told to check out Asian eats here. Any recs?
Lastly, I haven't made dinner plans since I am really unsure how jet lag will hit us. I would really love to dine at one of the iconic Hong Kong hotels for the food, ambiance & service; therefore, would appreciate a Chinese/Asian rec as well as continental.
Hui Lau Shan for drinks? Milk tea suggestions? I am aware of Lan Fong Yuen, anything on the Kowloon side?
Any noodle places besides Tsim Chai Kee? Sadly, my 14 yr old is only going to be able to eat soft foods or drink her meals for 48 hrs. or so.
Looking at T'ang Court for dinner possibly.
What does "Asian eats" mean? You're in Asia. Don't go to LKF (the white middle class English speaking expat enclave) for Asian food...
Different bakeries for different things. Up in Tai Po Market I really like Wai Sing 煒成 for a fantastic pineapple bun (with real butter inside) and Wah Fai for their signature cinnamon-sugar beignets and apple pie. Black n White in Tai Kok Tsui for chocolate mousse cakes. I don't think you can beat the classic Tai Cheong for egg tarts, at least if you like the dense crumbly type crust like I do.
I haven't been to Heart's Dessert but this recently-opened place in Sham Shui Po is high on my list next time I'm around. Check out the photos on Openrice, they're really enticing. Australia Dairy Company is a good stop if you want egg sandwiches, milk tea, and steamed milk pudding (soft foods all around).
Any noodle places? You mean in all of HK? There are unlimited noodles. I think the best, most distinctive noodle experience you can have might be at Shing Kee, located at a housing estate in Sha Tin, not a long walk from the MTR. Go for breakfast or lunch and get noodles with their signature stewed beef (also easy to eat, very soft). Not much English is spoken but they're very warm and welcoming and it's not like there's a big menu to navigate.
Thank you very much for your thoughtful response.
"Asian eats" - read somewhere T'ang Court is "pan-Asian". Subsequently discovered it is Cantonese. I don't mind if latter as long as it is good. I thought perhaps there exists a hotel restaurant which may incorporate some of the various cuisines of Asia. I'm going dizzy from looking at menus...Tin Lung Heen looks really good!
Appreciate the bakery recs but unfortunately Tai Po Market seems to be distant from the areas we'll probably be frequenting (guessing between Mong Kok & Central).
Tai Cheong - "if you like the dense crumbly type crust". Not familiar with different crusts as I've never had egg tart before. Egg tart in SF has been on my to do list for quite some time. Definitely on my list!
Heart's Dessert - again, seems a little out of the way for us but based on openrice's pics, I imagine my girls will be in heaven here so I'm just going to have to try to find the time!!
Wasn't sure about Australia Dairy Company due to crowds & from what I've read, lack of service. But good to know about the availability of soft foods here & doesn't seem far from hotel.
"There are unlimited noodles"- you make it sound as though it is difficult to go wrong here :) I would love for this to be the case! Will keep Shing Kee in mind, especially since you say "warm and welcoming".
Outside of the very expensive high-end restaurants, you'll have to adjust your concept of "service." Even the best tasting food is often served in a way that could offend someone used to US standards, where waitstaff are expected to act enthusiastic all the time. Think of it as a local diner- unless they know you personally, they aren't going to pretend to be your buddy. It doesn't mean they hate you or you shouldn't ask them for stuff that you want. ADC is extremely popular and you might have to wait in a queue for a few minutes to get a table. That table might put you cheek by jowl with other diners. The waiter might be brusque and indifferent, and you might have to just say you want 4 egg sandwiches and 4 cups of milk tea and he might scribble it down without acknowledging you even exist. Don't take it personally, the expectations of how a waiter should behave are different from US culture. Just enjoy the spectacular food.
A casual dim sum shop with good quality products (and highly unusual late-night hours) near your hotel is the Dimdimsum Dim Sum Specialty Store. They have a location on Tung Choi St. You might find this to be a good alternative to high-end dinners, or a late night snack for kids.
Compared to anywhere in the US, yes, you can't go wrong. Eat any and all noodles.
I was going to say that it's worth making a trip on the MTR up to Tai Po Market, but if you aren't even willing to go to Sham Shui Po I guess you have made the decision not to step very far from your hotel. I guess that's OK, if any of you are food lovers you'll be planning your next trip by the time you get on the plane home. If your only adventure more than a couple blocks from the hotel is a trip up to Sha Tin to eat some ho fun in soup and stewed beef at Shing Kee, it's not a bad one at all. There is a fantastic documentary about the family and their restaurant up on Youtube, it's in Cantonese but you don't need to understand to enjoy it:
It was pretty late last night & didn't check Heart's Dessert location thoroughly...much closer than I thought.
As much as I would love to eat at the smaller places, we have two in our family with shellfish allergies (hence the service requirement) & dh doesn't always humour me in venturing out somewhere in particular for deliciousness.
Also, we normally don't dine at high end restaurants in the U.S but this is Hong Kong!! I'll be happy even with cocktail & nibbles here.
Gotta finish packing...thanks again for all your help.