Zen Eats Hong-Kong

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Hong-Kong is a foodie holy grail and this post doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface but i will share with you a few random bites anyway. This trip also took me to Singapore and Macau but both those fantastic cities deserve a post of their own for their eclectic foods, i will get to that eventually. I took hundreds of pictures that i will upload to my Flickr page as soon as i get over my jetlag. Food is everywhere in Hong-Kong and from a cheap bite at a food stand to an expensive meal at a trendy restaurant, there’s something from everyone. I had what i thought was the best pork dish in my life on one day, and it was surpassed the next in a different restaurant. What the hell! Both were version of char siu. Both were incredible. Damn you Chinese cooks!

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This picture was taken at Dynasty restaurant in Tsim Sha Tsui during Dim Sum, a restaurant that specialize in good old Cantonese food. When a Dim Sum restaurant is given a one michelin star rating you know it’s gotta be good and the service was top notch as well. The lady in red was scooping out portions of pot rice studded with scallops and shrimps into individual bowls. It was great and the crunchy rice from around the edges provided a great textural contrast. 

Dynasty Restaurant 滿福樓
Address:
 4/F, New World Renaissance Hotel, 22 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui S’s4樓
Tel: 2734 6600 

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This was the first pork revelation of my trip also at Dynasty restaurant. What you see is an incredibly crisp and flavorful pork skin on a very thin pancake, below it was the roasted pork, tender and voluptuous. This is one of the dishes this restaurant bases it’s reputation on, and they really hit the spot. It was porkfection! (cheesy pun, check!)

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This was a rather large crab and shrimp dumpling in a flavorful broth accentuated by vinegared.. something? Someone help please. It’s pickled, it’s good. err.. Help!? For the anecdote, all the porcelain used in the restaurant has the motif of the celestial dancing girl from the Tang dynasty. Nothing to do with the celestial dancing girl from the gogo bar. I don’t know for sure but i don’t think they’re related. 

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This dried abalone dish came after … dessert. We have had a delicious home-cooked meal and dessert when my host asked with a worried look on his face: “Have you ever had dried Abalone?” … “No, dude!” was my answer. 10 minutes later this dish was in front of me and it was absolutely incredible. I think i like it better than fresh abalone, the texture was tender and slightly chewy in a good way. The sauce was made with a whole chicken and dried scallops among other ‘secret’ ingredients and simmered for 24 hours to a golden sirupy glaze. I demand the secret of that sauce! Washed down with a glass of Dom Perignon 1996, it was pure heaven. It was then followed by a Cuban cigar and a glass of Cognac on the terrace… and a hangover the next day. Oh, my head!
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This is another quite trendy restaurant called Chung’s Kitchen where i had a fantastic Dim Sum and the Best Char Siu EVER! (i will had the address to this post as soon as i find the business card) It was so good in fact, i forgot to photograph it. Oh well, i can’t torture you by posting 2 pictures of pork on the same post anyway. That wouldn’t be fair but take my word for it, if you go to Hong-Kong, go to this place and order the Char Siu. It’s.. well i already made that pun.

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I liked this place so much i took my camera to the kitchen like if i owned the place and nobody seemed to care. Ok fine… it’s an open kitchen. This is a plate of pork and shrimp dumpling with a spicy sauce being prepared. Everybody say… mmmmmm.

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Chung’s kitchen worked ultra-efficiently. No words were exchanged between the cooks and i’m not even sure who’s the head chef since nobody was calling the orders but all the dishes appeared from different stations at an amazing speed. I suspect they cook telepathically in a Spock meets Martin Yan kind of way. Notice also how clean and well organized the line is. I probably stayed in that spot for 15 minutes watching them cook as it was more exciting than buying a movie ticket.

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This picture of an old lady scooping out ladlefuls of silky fresh tofu was taken on Lamma island after an hectic day in the city. Lamma island can only be reached by ferry (it’s a 25 minutes ride) and once you get there, surprise! There aren’t any cars! Quite a change of pace from metropolitan Hong-Kong. You walk around the small fishing village and walk up the hills into mosquito-infested tropical forest to find various street vendors, food carts and  locals eating and sharing freshly picked fruits. For the anecdote Lamma island is also the birthplace of Chew On Fat… not sure of my spelling but I think he’s some kind of famous actor. Dude. I want a name like that!

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The silky tofu gets a drizzle of what i think was a sugar cane syrup. Perfect for an healthy afternoon snack in hot weather. This was sooo good! I had this dessert in several occasions during my trip.

 
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Also on Lamma island, a Satay food stand. We definitely need more of these food stands in New York. Enough with the hot-dogs already! I had the pork satay which was made from the belly and char-grilled. Pretty damn good. The squid was calling my name but i was too full by then.

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This is a jasmine tree and the aroma was so strong and delicious when i passed by, i couldn’t resist to snatch a few leaves. Sorry dear owner of the tree if you’re reading this blog. I will not do it again. I’ve been a bad bad boy and i apologize to you and the tree.

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There was an old lady proudly displaying a a freshly picked jackfruit in the front of her house she had just traded for some bananas with a neighbor (thanks to my friends on Twitter, this was identified as a Jackfruit). It seems to be a common practice on the island, everyone grows something and trades it for something else. The smell of the fruit is pretty strong but not as much as Durian but once you take a bite it’s pure sweetness. Me like!

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This gotta be one of my absolute favorite fruit here on display in a market in Hong Kong. Mangosteens are very hard to find in the U.S which is a shame. Once you peel the thick purple skin you’re left with what looks like a white clementine. Each segment comes out easily and  the fruit is pleasantly perfumed and sweet and slightly citrusy. Hard to describe for a gwei lo but good, really really good. Now can someone tell me why we can’t find this fruit in the US?

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This was another fishing village on Lantau’s island, also home of the Big Buddha. The village is built on water and gets flooded once in a while but the locals don’t seem to mind.

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All kinds of dried fish, squid and whatnot can be found in the village. That’s where i got a great shrimp paste from an old guy who makes it on the other end of the village. Just follow the smell.. Oh boy, it’s stinky. The shrimp paste is great though.

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In the old part of Hong-Kong a few ‘street restaurants’ can still be found. Only the locals can take you there if you’re a white boy like me. You basically eat in the middle of the street, food cooked on the sidewalk in rather crummy surrounding. You’re likely to share your table with some thugs and wanted criminals but who cares since you’re here for the food. Definitely not for the faint of heart but if you can take it, the food is good and cheap. You’ll really appreciate that if you survive. The red cooked pork on noodle was spicy and delicious.

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And then there was drinks, and a lots of them. I particulary like SEVVA on top of the Prince building in Central Hong Kong for the terrace, the 360′ view and well.. the drinks. There’s a restaurant there too but i was told it’s not worth the money. Instead you can stay on the terrace and order some really well mixed drinks and some crunch cake which is supposed to be all the craze in HK right now. A crunch cake is somewhere between a sponge and an angel food cake with a not too sweet icing and big chunks of caramelized meringue over the top. It was good i thought but get ready to spend some $$. I’m moving to Hong-Kong and starting a crunch cake business. Don’t tell anyone!
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When the pictures get blurry is when i’m supposed to go to bed. Good night everybody!

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  • http://www.cakewardrobe.blogspot.com cakewardrobe

    Next time I’m in HK, I need to try Dynasty! You can find mangosteens in Chinatown sometimes. They’re $10/lb though.

  • winebrilliant

    I just bought a bag of delicious mangosteens at Zhong Hua Supermarket on Main St. in Flushing. I think they were $7 a lb. but well worth it! Great photos.

  • http://gagainthekitchen.blogspot.com gaga

    I lived in HK for a few years and absolutely adored the food and miss it so much! It looks like you had a great trip and got quite a bit done. I can’t wait for your Singapore post as I love the food there even more!

  • http://culinarytypes.blogspot.com T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types

    Fantastic photos – Hong Kong is a great city, and I only just scratched the surface of the food culture there. I’m ready to jump a plane right now.

  • http://vanillakitchen.blogspot.com dawn

    you are evil, pure evil to show that crispy pork, then the DOM, and then those crazy nightlife shots. I’m glad you had a hangover…pffff!

  • http://peachkitchen.blogspot.com peachkins

    I love mangosteen and jackfruit..

  • Jen

    fantastic photos!

    and for the record, i would’ve stabbed you for the last piece of crispy pork…and probably the silky tofu, too.

  • http://thesplitpea.blogspot.com Eralda

    Beautiful photos and food! It’s torture though. Just so you know. :)

  • http://constableslarder.com Giff

    sounds like an awesome trip and welcome back!

  • http://deereater.blogspot.com Markus Saers

    Oh dear Char Sui! Why can you not be found where the sun sets? *Longs back to HK*

  • http://cakeonthebrain.blogspot.com cakebrain

    gee! what a fantastic meal you had at the Dynasty! The bbq pork skin looks amazing! your trip sounds like pure foodie fun!

  • http://www.standingstraight.blogspot.com Claudia

    Hong Kong & Singapore too, wow, great cities for good food. I just finished reading The Last Chinese Chef and want to go back. Did anyone suggest reading it before your trip? Mangosteen is very tricky to grow, needs the tropics and is a late fruiter. I’ve been waiting over 10 years for mine to produce.

  • http://www.stirthepots.com Jeremy

    Next time can I carry your bags for you? Nice, really nice!

  • http://www.flanboyanteats.com Bren

    lovely recount. i love especially the tofu with the drizzled cane syrup! sexy ish. welcome back!

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com Manggy

    Even though the server’s looking down, I can tell she’s really lovely, I dunno how you concentrated on your food! :) Damn, everything looks good, but you should’ve stopped by en route to SG so I could show you some bad-ass roasted pork! :)

  • http://baconandrhubarb.blogspot.com Rachel (S[d]OC)

    Hey there, Tree Snatcher, good to see you back!

    I am in love with all of that pork. The pork over noodles! The pork with the crispy skin! I am in hog heaven. (There, you have my pun.)

    BTW, never fear the pun. I am a pun lover from way back. Get porktastic as you wanna be.

    Thanks for sharing your bounty.

  • http://www.tartelette.blogspot.com Tartelette

    Of course Mark is only thinking about the girl :)

    Nest time you go, demand to bring your lovely French assistant! Especially to try that cake business!
    The only way I can find jackfruit and mangosteens here is by selling a kidney…oh joke, it’s canned. Shame!

  • http://www.i-hate-cooking-recipes.com Chef Todd Mohr

    Amazing post! As somebody who falls in love with cities because of their food, I hope to get there someday soon. I could use a little inspiration from that part of the world, for sure!
    CTM

  • http://www.bellabaitaview.blogspot.com Marla

    Fab post, fab food, fab photos. Thanks for a trip from the armchair.

  • http://www.redcook.net Kian

    Mangosteens do not transport well. I’ve yet to find good batch mangosteens in Chinatown. They can’t be ripened after being transported long distance. Really have to go back to Asia for good mangosteens.

  • http://analisfirstamendment.blogspot.com/ Anali

    The jasmine tree is so beautiful! And I’m very intrigued by this crunch cake. You must tell us a little more.

  • http://rasamalaysia.com Rasa Malaysia

    Zen – you made it to Singapore and not to Malaysia? You have to go to Malaysia the next time as the insanely good street food (the real stuff) is there, well, if you love street food.

  • http://rasamalaysia.com Rasa Malaysia

    Well, next time I heard back to Malaysia, you come to visit and I will take you on a culinary trip. My hometown Penang is voted by New York Times as number 2 place to go this year, well, you still have 6 months to make it. ;)

  • http://www.norecipes.com Marc @ NoRecipes

    Ahhh were to start. Mangosteens are like my absolute favourite fruit ever, and I lament the fact that the ones we get here have been frozen once and just don’t live up to its moniker “queen of fruits”.

    Gosh, everything looks so good… I need to look away before I make a midnight run on the fridge.

    See you tomorrow!

  • http://foodhuntress.blogspot.com enrisa marie

    Hello. The lady in red is mysterious, beautiful and engrossed in what she’s doing. Very Asian. The old lady spooning silky tofu as well – they both caught your attention. That silky tofu is a daily fare in some parts of Asia (like the Philippines) – it’s called “taho”. Sugarcane syrup + tapioca pearls…hmmm. You mean you didn’t know yet what a jackfruit is? (seriously?) :) You should visit my backyard. When they’re ripe but not yet perfect for picking, we wrap them in rice sacks because the fruit bursts and insects feast on them. Mangosteen, I agree, my favorite too. Not hard to find in Asia. I like your shots on the fishing village and the jasmine trees. And street food? Oh, I thought you were high maintenance :) Great trip!

  • http://www.worldfoodieguide.com Helen Yuet Ling Pang

    Lovely photos which make me miss HK! Do you mean Chung’s Cuisine? I went there on my first night in HK.

    Chung’s Cuisine (they accept reservations)
    10/F Food Forum
    Times Square
    1 Matheson Street
    Causeway Bay
    Hong Kong
    Tel: 852 2506 9128

    Opening Hours:
    Mon-Sat: 11:00am – 12:00 midnight
    Sun and public holidays: 10:00am – 12:00 midnight

  • http://savorysweetlife.com alice

    I loved reading about your trip and seeing the beautiful photos. Living vicariously through you! Thanks!!

  • http://www.elinluv.blogspot.com Elin

    Haha…love the way you named the famous actor Chew On Fat ! lol he will skin you alive and make you into char siu ^ * Thanks for sharing and looking forward to more on your food adventure!

  • MJ

    Love your posts! I’ve been snooping around for the past several weeks and this is the first time I’m commenting on anything. Looks delicious and more importantly, I feel like I can taste everything….strange. :)

  • http://www.thepassionatecaterer.blogspot.com Paula Pereira

    You lucky dog, I’m the one drooling though!!! Thanks for the food porn :P

  • http://www.pureperfectioncatering.blogspot.com Paula Pereira

    PS changed my blog name to Pure Perfection Catering because of my new catering business :)

  • http://mochachocolatarita.blogspot.com mochachocolatarita

    !#@$%^$#@$%^#$@$!!!!

    pardon my french ^_^

    aiyaaaaa, next time, don’t forget to call me, ok?

  • Pingback: Hong Kong Travel - Culture and Recreation » Zen Eats Hong-Kong | Zen Can Cook

  • http://kitchenmusings.com Veron

    Can’t wait to go back to HK. Drooling over that crispy pork skin. Luckily a chinese restaurant over here in Richmond does a pretty good job of that including the sweet tofu. But that mangosteen shot is what got me…can’t find it anywhere over here.

  • http://www.gourmettraveller88.com Janet @Gourmet Traveller88

    Hi Zen, all the food you show there are my favorites. I am not aware that Dynasty is a Michelin resto. Our family loves the hotpot rice there.
    You want to know the secret of the dried abalone??? My dad has explored this for some years, one impt ingredient is the chinese ham (looks like Spanish Serrano Jamon), it’s very important to be able to get hold a good quality piece of ham and the process of preparing this is complicated. Dried abalone tastes much better than fresh ones and also many times more expensive. Good that you were able to try and eat it.
    You are like me not only like to eat in good restaurants but also dare to try the street food! Thanks for spreading out your food experience in Hong Kong.

  • http://kitchen-em.blogspot.com/ Kitchen M

    Cool! I know exactly where you took your photos in the fishing village on Lantau! Did you go to big Buddha too?
    My friend wasn’t necessarily a foodie, so I didn’t get to try dim sum there which was really too bad. But next time when I go, I’m definitely going to Dynasty restaurant.

  • http://profiles.google.com/kaylor.jane Jane Kaylor

    Thanks for the recipe!!! Love it. Fresh or frozen local abalone is cheaper but will never give the same taste, flavor and texture as canned abalone (http://www.geocities.jp/hongkong_abalone/index_e.htm). I love the flavor and taste of canned abalone and one day I want to eat abalone like ‘abalone kings’ do: braised in sauce and served whole, like a steak, washed down with a good white wine. Cut with a knife and fork of course. Meantime, it’s still cheaper to slice abalone thinly and share with the family. I love this dish. It’s such a special treat