Sunday, November 4, 2012

Hong Kong - Wu Kong Shanghai Restaurant 滬江大飯店

It's an institution in Hong Kong.  It is as the cliche goes: tried and tested.  It is also a great bet, as I've learnt, to get modern renditions of traditional tastes from the Shanghai region without feeling like you've sold out.  And the late-ish Friday night craving for a hairy crab set menu didn't disappoint.  Set A, that is.  Yes, it's more expensive but it was good value compared with my similar hairy crab meal at nearby Shanghai Min a couple of weeks ago.  

Braised Hairy crab and Sharks' Fin
Un-politically correct but a nice way to warm the soul after sitting at a freezing salon for 3 hours.  Not the best bowl of fins I've had but it was generous for the crab roe and tasted more like roe soup than sharks fin.  With a dash of vinegar, we were off to a good start.

Stir fried hairy crab on steamed glutinous rice with stir fried Dou Miao
Although I found the glutinous rice a tad sweet, the stir fried hairy crab was just unadulterated goodness concentrated.  With a different vinegar laced with smashed ginger, same but different.  Very enjoyable.  An accompanying bowl of dou miao (pea shoots) ensured we got our fiber intake for the day.

Hairy Crab Xiao Long Bao
I'll be honest.  I'm not a big fan of XLBs.  I don't generally like eating the unknown and many a meals which I've had on the mainland guessing to myself what meat they use in the XLB filling...  This was was generously laced with hairy crab meat and actually quite good.  My benchmark is Din Tai Fung, which I still crown as my fave.

My trick for eating the XLB without sacrificing the soup is to actually nip a little hole at the top, pour in some vinegar, then pour all the liquid onto a spoon and drink.  I devour the rest slowly.  Not the most traditional way, but hey, I get the goodness first then decide if I want to even eat the rest.  For the record, I finished this one.

The real McCoy
Not the biggest..  but get real, this is a prix fixe offering.

Could do with a little more roe but at least this one tasted real and good.  Roe was flavorful and rich.  Out of this world with yet another vinegar that was sweet - think balsamic.  Very good.  A little deeper into the season when the crabs are pregnant with more, and we're talking serious business here.

Glutinous rice balls with a sweet sesame filling in ginger broth
To finish, a typical dessert of glutinous rice balls stuffed with a sweet sesame molten paste hits the spot. Although the skin was not thin and chewy, the filling was pretty good and made up for a thick, powdery skin.  Ginger broth was milder than the last cuppa ginger tea, which had enough heat to chase any Yin-ness away from the crab.  

Yes, Chinese believe hairy crabs are extremely Yin by nature and so to harmonise the body during and after consumption, a lot of ginger is introduced (in sauces, teas, and desserts).  What we didn't order at this eat-and-run was an aged bottle of Huadiao, a Chinese yellow wine typically consumed with preserved plums, which also provides enough Yang-ness to balance.  And for those who are dying to ask, no, dining with a male companion is not enough.

Unit B, 17/F, Lee Theatre Plaza
99 Percival Street
Causeway Bay
Tel: +852-2506 1018