Saturday, April 16, 2011

Hong Kong - Wing Hing Chiu Chow Cuisine 汕頭榮興潮州菜館

Tang Lung Street is one of the few enclaves left in downtown Hong Kong where you can still sit under the stars (not that you can see them) and have down to earth dirty food.  There is an eclectic mix of eateries although quite a few of them serve Chiu Chow cuisine.  There is no prettiness here though.  People sit on the street more likely because the eateries are small and it's still more comfortable (at least in cooler months) to risk the smell of smog and exhaust from the occasional car that goes by, than to squeeze into a tiny space in the eateries themselves.  However, it does make me wonder how they've managed to evade the arm of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department.  That aside, for some of us who grew up in the good old days, it makes for a nice way to roll back in time to enjoy a but of retro.

I ate on the street 2 Fridays in a row.  At the same eatery no less.  I'll tell you it wasn't because Wing Hing is the best Chiu Chow place around.  It isn't.  But Tang Lung Street has that retro element that appeals to developed city folks that it's a convenient place to showcase a little old Hong Kong without having to get to older parts of Kowloon or even venture out to the New Territories.

Goose and Cuttlefish Slice Combo 鵝片拼墨魚
The braised goose platter was decent.  Not the tenderest of cuts, but what was surprisingly good was the cuttlefish.  Extremely tender and juicy and managing to absorb enough of the braised gravy to make it super tasty.  The braised pig intestines I got on the second visit were also good.  Sinfully good since the fat made it both succulent yet guilty to consume.

For old times sake, we ordered a glutinous rice cake since I don't remember eating it after my late grandmother passed away some years ago, God bless her soul.  This version was a far cry from Grandma's creations.  The glutinous rice within was way too mashy and there was little to no condiments, such as peanuts and dried shrimp.  Only saving grace was that they pan fried this to give the steamed rice flour skin a crispy edge.  Otherwise, it just made me miss Grandma's cooking even more..

Sharks' Fin Chiu Chow Style 潮式翅
Terribly un-PC, but I do find it hard to resist a good bowl of Chiu Chow style Sharks' Fin.  In taste, this was not as good as Miracle Cuisine, but there was something nostalgic about it that reminded me of old Chinese wedding dinners...

Kale and preserved vegetable stir fried with vermicelli 芥蘭菜葡炒米粉
This didn't look mike much but got quite addictive as I picked out the bits of "Choi Bo" towards the end.  I didn't care too much for the vermicelli which was a little too chewy for my liking (this coming from someone who resists anything that's not al dente but this was bordering on asphyxiation).  A flat rice flour noodle aka "Gwai Diu" would have worked better but still tasty.

I also tried other Chiu Chow staples on my second visit.  The minced pork and baby oyster porridge (肉碎蚝仔粥)wasn't too bad.  A decent tasty broth in which the rice and condiments sat, though a tad heavy on the ginger, which detracted from the other flavours.  The shrimp and cucumber omelette (水瓜烙)was sadly disappointing though.  Way too greasy, and impossible to eat beyond the first pizza wedge.  It was hard to tell whether the grease was from failing to rid the cucumber of excess moisture before frying or whether the chef just used 2 more glugs of oil than he should have...

Overall, even Sun Kwong on the other side of Causeway Bay is better, but Wing Hing scores on the novelty factor option of being able to dine under the stars..  and a friendly and chatty "aunty" server who speaks very very decent English so that even non-native speakers can be comfortable with.

G/F, 20-22 Tang Lung Street
Causeway Bay
Tel: +852-3580 7093

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