BBC Radio4: Dunlop in Hong Kong - Exquisite Cantonese food. (Tasting Court)

Food erotica without photos! I listened to this earlier today.

Click on the progress bar and fast forward to 21:40, this is where Fuchsia’s piece begins.


Like Dunlop said, Cantonese food in Hong Kong is at different level compared to even the best cantonese outside Hong Kong. And there’s a bunch of dishes at the top of the cuisine that just are rarely available outside Hong Kong, like the crab they had. and the dishes that are outside Hong Kong are usually executed at a lower level compared to those in HK.

Her friend Susan is Susan Jung, the food critic of South China Morning Post in Hong Kong (the territory’s English daily). They went to Tasting Court, 天一閣 , a private kitchen in Jordan. The type of meal that they had, while not common outside HK, is reasonably commonplace amongst higher end dining there. the price seems quite reasonable too for the quality.

Here’s Charles Yu’s recent review:

He went with a bunch of London hounds, so maybe some of them on HO ate there as well.

I salivate just reading that stuff. Since the staff is from the Chairman, its not surprising there is quite a lot of similarities there. I’d be curious how that compares with the Chairman. I wonder how the Chairman is now with attrition to Tasting Court. Both my wife and I remember very fondly our meal at the Chairman 2+ years ago. I am not sure if its unparalleled but it sure was excellent.

Susan’s review of her earlier meal there:

The crab (from Susan Jung’s Instagram) in 25 yr old shao xing wine with the rice noodle (陳村粉) soaking up all the flavors:

The salt-baked chicken (from Susan Jung’s Instagram):

The pomelo skin (from Susan Jung’s Instagram):


Long ago we heard this Cantonese maxim:

You have to eat to live, but we live to eat [well].



Thank you for this extra background info. The visual is also appreciated. Makes the listening experience even more interesting!

Indeed very appetizing. Too bad, it seems the restaurant now is reserved for the privilege. Like everywhere else and especially in Asia, the best places are always either top secrets well guarded (even from the red guide book) if not, they are ultra expansive.

Another point is most of these type of meal is banquet style for a table of 8+, meaning if only 2 persons, your choice is pretty limited.

Can you talk about your meal at the Chairman? Thx.

More pictures on Tasting Court, here we see the salt-baked chicken, before and after.

I know that is what Dunlop said in the radio piece but suspect it’s still possible to book, it’s just that it’s not going to be simple. Quite a few “Private Dining Romms” in HK operate in a similar manner but it’s possible to get in if you persist. Once in the usual ritual is to book your next meal as you leave, and if you break the cycle it’s tricky to get back in…so in effect the regulars monopolise the booking because of this system (often compounded because bookings are only made 90 days in advance).

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I’d have posted this to the Chairman thread from Klyeoh but since the chef is here not there and the meal is from a couple of years ago so it wouldn’t be right for me to post there. Here’s what I wrote on Chowhound at the time. and LOL I didn’t even write up the crab. I thought the crab sauce was complex and nuanced and quite special.

"The chairman restaurant concept is interesting in HK. They don’t serve the expensive Cantonese dishes that is expensive because the ingredients have a limited supply, e.g. abalone, shark fin. instead they focus on seasonal ingredients sourced locally. Although its somewhat hard to figure out what the definition of local means, because e.g. veggies don’t grow that well in the HK heat. See my comments about individual dishes below.

Ginger scallion chicken from the Chairman (as part of the set menu)- very good scallion. I asked them where the chicken was from and they replied ‘fresh chicken’. Duh- for this price, it better be fresh. It looked like some kind of yellow hair chicken.

Fried shrimp- the fried shrimp head was delicious. The set soup base was from pork bones. there was apple. the result was light, yummy, and refreshing.

Apple don’t grow locally in HK. It may sound like I am giving the Chairman stick for their local concept. They may not be totally local, but I think it’s a function of the limitations of what’s available locally. but kudos to them for trying something different, at least for Hong Kong. Overall the meal was one of the highlight of the trip.

Reservations are hard to come by. Weekdays- at least a month in advance. Weekends- 2 months in advance. Restaurant is small."

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Thanks for reporting back, the meal was ravishing.

The crab dish appears in both restaurants. Usually crabs are seasonal, I wonder how they can sustain this dish the whole year round.

I like the fact that both restaurants weren’t serving expansive dishes (shark fin, bird nest type of dishes). “The pomelo skin” was a very good example, lots of talents to make humble ingredient a great dish.

Indeed high on demand!

Good to have some hope, since we are thinking of visiting in late summer/autumn, leaves time for research and planning.

I love them for that. Too many high end Cantonese restaurant just make money by selling the most expensive ingredients. So I think Tasting Court and The Chairman, by going in a different direction, actually don’t make as much money as they otherwise could have if they put a few shark fin bird nest dishes on their menus.

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Meal report here:

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