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Nov 30, 2013 12:43 AM

A week in Hong Kong: Please help critique! Any Must Eats?

My fiancé and I booked a last minute trip to Hong Kong! We are arriving next Friday morning (from nyc) and will be in Mongkok (Langham Place) until Sunday afternoon (2.5 days). After a brief 4 day side trip, we will be back in Hong Kong the following Friday morning, and will stay in Causeway Bay (Pennington Hotel) until Tuesday afternoon (4.5 days).

I speak Mandarin and can read a little, while my fiancé speaks minimal Cantonese. We haven't been back to Hong Kong in 8 years (had two brief prior trips) and are very excited to experience good Cantonese (and other Asian) cuisine. We enjoy dim sum, noodles, roasted meats, peking duck, hotpot, desserts (tung yuan, egg tarts, pudding etc) My fiancé does not enjoy seafood unless it's raw or fried, and I will try anything. I love spicy food but he can't eat too spicy so we may try one Szechuan meal (San Xi Lou?).

Any good places for peking duck, all you can eat hotpot, milk tea (with tapioca), zhaliang with peanut butter sauce, 鹹水角, steamed egg custard bun, fried taro puff, fried rice ball with sesame filling?

We would like to keep most meals under 400HKD/person, but will splurge up to 800HKD/person for a few meals. We also need to bring friends out to eat a nice meal near Causeway Bay and want to keep that meal to around 400 HKD/person.

Please help critique my itinerary:
Day 1 Friday Mongkok:
Lunch: dim sum at Tim Ho Wan
Dinner: Mui Kee congee
Snacks: Tai Cheong

Day 2 Saturday:
Lunch: dim sum Ming Court
Dinner: Spring Deer/ Yan Toh Heen/Empire City (which for Peking Duck?)

Day 3 Sunday:
Lunch: Chee Kee noodles (or Good Hope Noodle)/Mos Burger
or should we splurge for Above & Beyond?
Snacks: Honeymoon Dessert

Day 4 Friday Causeway Bay:
Lunch: Xin Dau Ji
Dinner: Se Wong Yee

Day 5 Saturday:
Lunch: Fu Sing
Dinner: Tai Ping Koon (or should we try Loyal Dining?)

Day 6 Sunday:
Lunch: Sister Wah/Wing Wah
Dinner: Joy Hing/Chan Kan Kee

Day 7 Monday:
Breakfast: Sing Heung Yuen
Lunch: Mak An Kee/ Kau Kee Restaurant
Dinner: Peking Garden (tried on our last trip. are the places in TST better?)

Day 8 Tuesday:
Lunch: Din Tai Fung
Dinner: Tasty (airport)

Desserts/snacks Days 4-8: Cong Sao, Chung Kee, Danish Bakery, Ching Ching Dessert, Honolulu coffee shop, Kam Fung, Tai Cheong, Kung Lee, Lan Fong Yuen

We would consider venturing out for Hung's delicacies, Kwan Kee or Tak Kee one of the latter days. Wish we had more time! We need to make a trip to Repulse Bay to visit relatives. Any must eats while out there?

Are any of these other restaurants not to be missed: The Manor, Lei Garden, Fook Lam Moon, Yeung Kee, the Chairman, Luk Yu Teahouse? Should we bring our friends out to Fu Sing or some other place?

Thank you in advance! We will be sure to report back :)

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  1. If you want a good burger in Hong Kong, don't go for mos burger. Go for Burger Room in CWB. Much, much better.

    Also, you won't miss Lei Garden if you go to Ming Court, the latter is better IMO.

    1. Sounds good!!

      However, if you don't mind, I would like to do some fine tuning of your itinerary:

      Day 1: Take the MTR one station up north to Prince Edward and walk over to Tim Ho Wan ( Sham Shui Po branch ) instead. Less busy and bigger space than the Mong Kok THW. Food quality similar.

      Day 2: You two going to have a whole Peking duck all by yourself?! Wow!! Anyways, my choice for authenticity would be Spring Deer. However, Yan Toh Heen would offer better ambiance and view. ( and a bit expensive as well ). May be since you are In the Mong Kok area, I would replace your Day 7 dinner by heading over to Mong Kok,'Peking Garden' in the shopping mall where Hotel Royal Plaza is located. Great duck!

      Day 3: You are in Hong Kong my friend!! Of course try out the iconic comfort food 'Won Ton noodles' at Chee Kee. Better than Good Hope! Leave your burger urge till you eat at Shake Shack back home in NYC. Though Above & Beyond offers great Dim Sum and view. But 3 Dim Sum lunches in a row seems a bit excessive, IMO?!

      Day 5: It might be tough to get a reservation, but I would give 'The Chairman' a try in lieu of Fu Sing on Day 5 or dinner on Day 7 ( another Peking duck?? ). One of the best Cantonese food experience in town!!

      I haven't been back to Tai Ping Koon for a long time. Last time, experience at the Yau Ma Tei branch was so-so. However, recently, I've heard pretty good feed back from fellow hound Peech about the Central or CWB branches?!!

      Day 6: Contrary to some hounds opinion, I had one of the worst bowl of noodles in my life at Wan Chai's 'Wing Wah'. The broth was just down right awful and those sub-par won tons?! OMG!!! Sister Wah I found much more enjoyable!

      Day 7: Instead of duck again at Peking Garden, try out Above & Beyond, The Manor, Guo Fo Lou or a 'Chiu Chow cuisine' restaurant like Hung's delicacies?! Your pick of any of the aforementioned one won't let you disappointed?!

      Good luck and Have fun!!

      1. Instead of duck, how about goose? We had a wonderful roast goose at Yat Lok (Central).

        Also Australian Dairy for a steamed milk dessert.

        3 Replies
        1. re: PeterL

          Yes, for OP's Day 7, they can either go for goose at the hole-in-the-wall Yat Lok as eluded to by PeterL or pre-order one at 'The Manor' during reservation. The latter has also other hard-to-find traditional dishes like 'Gold Coin Chicken' and superb seafood.

          1. re: Charles Yu

            Oh I love Yat Lok! Noodle soup with roast drumstick. Yummy!

            1. re: kosmose7

              Next time try asking for the less favoured 'back'. Though less meaty but the flat carapace provides crispier skin and the boney under part is much more tasty due to the marinade. Love biting into the bones and extract the yummy juice. Think French duck press a la La Tour D'Argent using teeth!! Ha!!

        2. A few random comments

          You can certainly try to contact The Chairman and see if any last minute reservations come up. Weekend reservations usually require a month to two months advanced notice, but if you are willing to dine during later hours (for lunch or dinner) you may have a shot at a table. Should you secure a table, I recommend you research and look at their website in combination to pick out what you want to eat. Some dishes not listed on the menu may require 3 days advanced notice to procure materials and prepare. If anything, owner Danny is super helpful, knowledgeable, and responsive.

          Mui Kee Congee is best to go during the early opening hours, sometimes congee sells out by 1 pm or earlier. If anything make that your breakfast stop.

          For certain dishes at Tai Ping Koon, e.g. squab or the Swiss/sweet soy sauce chicken wings and fusion swiss/sweet soy sauce chow fun, some locals complain that they are overly sweet, whereas Loyal Dining does a similar chow fun with a more well balanced flavor. Seems like LD is getting better reviews locally these days than when they first opened.

          I find that certain noodle shops only do less than a handful of things really well. For won ton noodles stick with the ones as recommended by Charles...Mak',s (Wellington flagship only), Mak An Kee (Central), Mak Siu Kee (Tin Hau or Happy Valley), maybe Tasty (Happy Valley). Good Hope Noodle is a local's favorite for ja jeung lo mein (spicy pork strip sauce over noodles with broth on the side), but if you try anything else there, the results could vary. For prawn roe brothless noodles, Lau Sam Kee (Sham Shui Po) is a good one, and most of the other won ton noodle shops do them as well. One must make sure the shop adds a drizzle of lard to ensure a better noodle eating experience, and ample savory roe (e.g. Mak Siu Kee's amount of roe may be lacking).

          Wing Wah may have not so good won ton noodles, but their beef brisket noodle can be pretty good, and supposedly their shui gow (bigger fatter won tons with pork fat, woodear, bamboo shoot, mushroom, shrimp) are good, as well as some of their classical Cantonese dessert soups like red bean soup. Their house pickles (self help jar of vinegared crunchy daikon cubes) are extremely addictive and appetizing....ditto for the ones at Lau Sam Kee.

          7 Replies
          1. re: K K

            IMO, Tai Ping Koon's roasted squab is way over price!! HK$298 a bird I think?! One might as well take the train to Fung Lam in Tai Wai for that!! 15 minutes ride from Mong Kok. Like you said, I too also find TPK's 'Swiss Sauce' items like the chicken wings and Fried Beef Rice Noodles a bit sweet for my liking. I usually go there for their Pan fried Beef filet steak, roasted veal and most importantly the 'Smoked Pomfrat'. The latter still over priced IMO. Their stuffed crab shell used to be excellent but that too has gone down hill. Fellow hounds, Nilescable, skylineR33 and myself have all tried 'Loyal Dining' within this year. Food was good but not outstanding. Some better than TPK some not.

            KK gave a pretty good precis on the Hong Kong noodle scene. As for Good Hope's 'Ja Jeung Lo Mein', I found the versions offered by the Mak's and Tasty's equally good if not better. So unless you happen to walk past Good Hope, no need to make a special trip ( though its a relatively short walk from the Langham ). Lastly, Wing Wah's brisket is good but again others have caught up in quality. I was pleasantly surprised to find how 'chop sticks tender' and flavorful Mak Man Kee's version was. So again, no need to make that special trip since Mak Man Kee is in Jordan and only a minute walk from the MTR exit! BTW, Australian Milk Company is next door as well!! So PO can kill 2 birds with one stone!! As for WW's Shui Gow Shrimp dumpling. It really is nothing special since once again the Tasty's can offer an equally good option. However, if the broth is sub-par, its going to spoil the taste of the dumplings rendering the whole package unappealing! Hence, thumbs down to Wing Wah I'm afraid!

            I'm attaching photos of Mak's, Tasty's, Jor Lun Yau Lay,... versions of Beef briskets and tendons as well as Ja Jeung Lo Mein for your comparison and to wet your appetite!! I must admit they are all pretty mouth watering.

            Man!! Time for another trip!! Ha!!

            1. re: Charles Yu

              For the expats and visitors who do not live in Toronto or Vancouver areas where superb Cantonese can be found in North America, even HK's "average" and to a lesser extent "below average" standards are better than the best found in metropolitan American cities, which boils down to pretty much everything. In the case of bamboo pole kneaded fresh noodles, anything in HK is better than abroad. It is also very apparent that noodles are a very personal matter, so it is always best for a visitor to try a variety in order to determine what styles, textures, and preps that they like best. And each visitor should choose a location that is convenient for them. I agree, don't make a special trip to Good Hope unless you are in the area.

              Lau Sam Kee's shui gow is really good. If OP is not going to Wing Wah but LSK, then I'd say go all out and order at least 2 noodle bowls or dishes to try and share, and maybe a side bowl of shui gow in broth. Love the pickled crunchy daikon cubes (self help) there, can't decide if I like theirs better or Wing Wah's. Not too many noodle shops offer this old style appetizer self help anymore.

              The bigger problem is that these bamboo pole noodle shops are going to be endangered and/or face eventual extinction in the future due to skyrocketing rents (unless they move into office buildings in factory areas on the 16th floor) and the younger generation not appreciating them anymore, passing traditional won ton or beef brisket noodles in favor of pork bone soup ramen and other fad foods (at least we know Kau Kee for example do not lack any business and is one of very few exceptions where they even get so much business, that their former hours of rest for employees has supposedly turned into regular business hours serving crowds).

              I have not been to Lung Wah hotel in Shatin for squab in decades. Curious if it is still great, even though local guide books in Chinese recommend it.

              Loyal Dining is one of few places open till something like 2 am on weedays and 4 am on weekends. It offers an alternative for late night dining to Tsui Wah.

              Also all the food bloggers are worshipping executive Chef Leung from Hoi King Heen right now.

              A family member made the mistake of ordering roasties from Tasty airport and thought it probably a good idea for visitors eating there not to get that, and focus on the carb stuff.

              1. re: K K

                @ K.K and OP
                About worshipping. The 'Go-to palace' nowadays apparently is 'Seventh Son'. Opened by a splinter group made up of Fook Lam Moon's former owner/management and kitchen staff. The food like the suckling piglet, steamed ocean fish and Fried frog's leg with spiced peppered salt are all better than FLM's version!! Better price too!! Definitely worth a try if OP cannot get into the Chairman ( use your charm during reservation and try for a really early or really late sitting! Good luck! Their 'Slow, shallow wok fried house dried jumbo oysters with honey glaze is to die for! )

                FYI, Lung Wah's pigeon is still pretty good. However, I don't like their slightly questionable business practice. For a large group of people who ordered multiple birds. Even with prior instruction to leave the bird whole and intact, they tend to ignore your advise and chopped up the bird into halves or quarters. During this process they will mix a few 'smaller' pieces into the group even though the order calls for all 'Ding Garp' - Premium Top bird ( largest in size ). Hence, I like to go to Fung Lam instead. Besides, its so much more convenient being just across from the station exit! And their 'Fried Ocean prawns with spiced peppered salt is soooo addictive and good!! Best in HK, IMHO!!

                1. re: Charles Yu

                  The Prawns and Pigeons from Fung Lam

                  1. re: Charles Yu

                    Seventh Son is definitely starting to get rave reviews although it had a slow start.

                    Saturday lunchtime at the Chairman maybe the easiest reservation - weekdays are business diners. On the other hand the best dim sum can be easier during the week as the weekends are packed with families.

                    1. re: PhilD

                      Thank you so much HK veterans for all the advice and wonderful photos! I have been busy making reservations and updating our itinerary accordingly. Would you recommend the Chairman for lunch or dinner? Would you recommend one hotpot meal and if so, where?

                      Day 1 Friday Mongkok:
                      Lunch: dim sum at Tim Ho Wan (Olympian City/Sham Sui Po)
                      Snacks: Honeymoon Dessert with friend
                      Dinner: Chee Kee noodles (or Good Hope Noodle)/ Lau Sam Kee

                      Day 2 Saturday:
                      Lunch: Spring Deer for peking duck (yes we are greedy and can finish a whole duck :) I tried to make a dinner reservation but there was no availability before 9pm, so I made a lunch reservation instead.
                      Snack: Australian Dairy Company
                      Dinner: Mak Man Kee

                      Day 3 Sunday:
                      Lunch: Ming Court reservation made

                      Day 4 Friday Causeway Bay:
                      Lunch: Xin Dau Ji
                      Dinner: Sister Wah or Joy Hing

                      Day 5 Saturday:
                      Lunch: Fu Sing reservation made (dim sum with friends)
                      Dinner: Tai Ping Koon (or Loyal Dining) - my fiance loves the beef chow fun with Swiss sauce but I will order one of the other recommended dishes

                      Day 6 Sunday:
                      Lunch: Tak Kee
                      Dinner: Kwan Kee Claypot

                      Day 7 Monday:
                      Breakfast: Sing Heung Yuen
                      Lunch: The Chairman. Making a reservation didn't seem too difficult but maybe it's because it's a weekday. My fiance is not too excited by the menu online since he's not into seafood, but I would like to give it a try. The fried house dried jumbo oysters sounds amazing but seems to be missing from the menu :( Would the dinner set menu for 2 at $578/person be a better choice since it seems to encompass most of the recommended dishes, as opposed to the lunch set for 4 courses at $218 or ordering lunch a la carte? is it too much to order the whole crispy chicken?
                      Dinner: Yat Lok/Kau Kee/Mak An Kee (we will try to make it to Yat Lok for roasted goose. My fiance prefers suckling pig but it will be good to try this Cantonese specialty.


                      Day 8 Tuesday:
                      Lunch: Fook Lam Moon for dim sum or the Manor/Seventh Son for suckling pig or hotpot at Tanyoto/Megan's Kitchen/San Xi Lou (any recs?)
                      Dinner: Tasty (airport)

                      Thank you again and we look forward to sharing our experiences!

                      1. re: arnage

                        Nice list!!! I'm sure you will have a fun time!! Enjoy!!
                        BTW, don't worry! Great cooking preparation will sway non seafood lovers into one!!