Monday, 9 February 2015

Legendary Hong Kong: Visited with Foreign Visitors

 The Place 

Our order
My brother and sis-in-law finally arrived from UK to eat with us in LHK (Legendary Hong Kong) after drooling over her keyboard while reading my 1st and 2nd reviews of LHK  (港饮港食) restaurant (I hope her keyboard is waterproof).

Soon after they checked into the hotel, we wasted no time and headed straight for LHK. Some Singaporean may say going there from the east is too far to travel to eat. Is UK far enough?

I'm glad they joined us today. This way we can sample more dishes, and sharing the same passionate discussions in food (and cooking) over dinner. They can also contribute their opinions, which gives this review greater objectivity.

The setup and authenticity of the ambiance of LHK was endorsed by my sis-in-law because it brought up childhood memories of dining in such HK style "tea restaurant" (茶餐廳).

We were so excited in our discussion of the food, a manager (I presume) overheard us, and came over to try to clarify some of our criticisms.

Let's dig into the taste tests.

 The Food 

Chicken Claws in Black Bean Sauce (豉汁凰爪):  9 / 10
Some restaurants keep the chicken feet whole, including the nails. Very off-putting. Not so in LHK. It's chopped up nicely that you can't tell they're chicken claws. Something are better off not seen. This is one such thing.

The sauce is mouth-watering, and the skins have the right combination of fluffiness and springiness. The sticky glutinous texture lends its distinguishing feature to this dish. This is the best tasting and looking chicken claws I've tasted.

Despite the chili, it's not that spicy. This suits me just fine.

chicken feet in black bean sauce

Hong Kong Style Tea and Coffee Mix (港式鴛鴦):  8.5 / 10
In Singapore, if you hear the name yuan-yang (鴛鴦 or mandarin ducks) in association with a drink, one tends to think of grass jelly in soy milk because of it combination of black and white colour ingredients.

Yuan-yang or Michael Jackson drink sold in Holland Village Food Centre
Yuan-yang or Michael Jackson drink sold in Holland Village Food Centre

In HK (restaurants), this name refers to another East-Meets-West fusion drink that's very much part of HK cuisine.  This yuan-yang is a coupling of Coffee with milk tea. Most - including myself - would scream "yuck!" when I heard of such drink the 1st time. It could easily be yucky if you simply mix the two drinks willy-nilly. I had drunk this concoction before that was a big flop in some restaurants. It's quite hard to get the formula right. I should know. I had tried and so far, and haven't yet screamed "Jackpot!" (or "Bingo!", depending on your fave game).

LHK does make a cup of yuan-yang that appeals to my palate. If you haven't tried it, be adventurous! If you like a cup of strong teh c kosong or kopi si kosong, give this a chance. It might turn out to be a life long love affair.

This HK style "tea restaurant" has a number of these types of uniquely HK cultural fusion drinks on their menu. I tried the boiled coke with lemon and ginger in last previous visit. It's ok lah!

Beef Balls with Beancurd Skin (山竹牛肉球) :  8.5 / 10
Some of the stuffing were intended to bring springiness to the meat ball, and it worked like a charm. I commented that there were redness in the meat (by no mean a bad thing), the manager overheard us, and came over to explain that this was due to refrigeration.

It's only a criticism when the content was cold, which it wasn't. Both the texture and the taste was a joy to eat.

Beef ball

Congee with Century Egg & Shredded Pork (皮蛋瘦肉粥):  8.5 / 10
If you want to try as Hong Kong Cantonese cuisine as you can get, then you can't leave this congee out of your order. Unless century egg isn't your cup of tea. This is as good as anything I've eaten before. Smooth congee with century egg flavour nicely diffused into the congee.

The Chinese crullers (油条) are nice and crispy as usual.

Congee with Century Egg & Shredded Pork

Fish Balls (魚蛋):  5.5 / 10
They're too soft and lack the taste. I'm always of the opinion that Cantonese are good at making beef balls and Teochew are more skilled in making fish balls, in general. This just adds one more data point to my view. I'll probably will try beef balls next time, just to confirm my hypothesis.

The Min-Nam people (Teochew and Hokkien people are part of) live at the coastal area, and so their cuisines tend to revolve around seafood, and naturally master of cooking them.

Overall Score:  8.5 / 10. Apart from a couple of exceptions. We were quite happy with what we ordered this time overall. One worthy note my sis-in-law brought up was that - according to her - little or no MSG has been used. For some, it makes them more thirsty. For me, it's a bit more serious than that. I found none of such allergic reaction so far. They used to be the scourge of Chinese cooking. Good to see they keep this artificial chemicals off their kitchen.

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