Chinese New Year- trip and eats


#1

CNY is the time of year for family, friends and special food. We celebrated early with a traditional Poon Choi feast with two friends at the the City Chiu Chow Restaurant in Tsim Tsa Tsui East in Hong Kong.

This is our third consecutive year celebrating with Poon Choi in HK, and this was by far the best yet. The pace was relaxed, yet timely. Our captain was attentive, keeping our wine glasses filled and personally managing the various steps of the meal.

The meal is elegant simplicity.

An embarrassment of riches. The New Territory’s early villagers, who popularized this dish, pulled out all the stops for the annual celebratory feast.

All simmering in a luscious Abalone gravy: Abalone, Oysters, Conpoy (dried scallops), Shitake, King Mushroom, Goose Web, Fish Maw, Pig’s Skin, Pork Belly, Pork Tongue, Fish Balls, Shrimp, Lous Root, Turnip, and more.

Learned that the highest grade pork belly is poetically called Five Flower Pork, referring to the five striations of fat and lean. Perfectly balanced, with the melt in your mouth fat and lean meat.

Finished our meal with Romaine Lettuce. The captain added chicken broth to the boiled down abalone stock, lightly blanched the leaves to close a delicious meal.

1st meal in Hong Kong, after a week of yummy Japanese goodness in Tokyo. Family banquet tonight in Shatin with some distant relatives.

About to step out for Congee, Youtiao, Cheung Fun and Soy Milk.

Love Hong Kong!!!


#2

Happy new year! Great pics. That abalone sauce sounds delicious.


#3

Wife half jokingly asked if she can request some to smuggle back to USA.

Towards the end of the meal, the sauce was totally infused with the flavors of all the other ingredients. Especially the umami of the mushroom and dried scallops/oyster/abalone.

The green crispiness of the lettuce was the just right vehicle to bring out the complexity and nuances of the sauce. I missed my white rice, but I understand that rice (and even veggies) are déclassé for this type of meal. :frowning:


#4

That sounds great! Hk is in my list of spots to get to.

Is the abalone there caught or imported?


#5

The abalone is reconstituted dry product. My wife insists they are wild harvest, and I strongly believe they must be farm nurtured. Can probably settle the “discussions” with a quick GOOGLE search. Gonna let it go unanswered to preserve domestic harmony. :wink:


#6

Hit up four Hole in the Walls on the Kowloon side this morning. Started at Sham Shui Po, ground zero for discount electronics in Hong Kong. SSP is also chock full of cramped canteens dishing out delicious simple foods for the discerning locals.

First stop. Beef and Pei Dan (preserved egg) Congee. Sliced Fish Congee. Rice Noodle Rolls with soy and peanut sauce. One Congee was laden with beef and gelatinous egg, the second with large flakes of lightly cooked fish. The house hot sauce for the noodle rolls is a worthy accompaniment to the fresh steamed a la minute rolls.

2nd stop, two items that you will probably see together only on a Hong Kong restaurant menu. Beef and egg sandwich - Pig’s hands noodle soup.

Minced beef scrambled with creamy egg on crustless lightly toasted white bread. This combo works!

Order pig’s “feet” in any Canto place, someone will inevitably correct you to pig’s HANDS. Shades of Wilbur. This bowl had only the tips of the trotter, some may say the best part. Silky tear with your lips softness paired with the toothsome alkaline water al dente noodles. Just about perfect.

3rd stop, freshly made tofu. Knew we were in the right place when we saw the lady outside carefully inserting meat paste into layers and layers of tofu cubes. We selected five variants, washed down with lightly sweetened soy milk. The Dou Fa (tofu) with slightly accented ginger syrup some of the best I’ve had.

The shop was doing a thriving business retailing all manners of fresh/dried/preserved tofu specific products. I so want to take some of the red preserved tofu home.

On the walk back to our hotel, we HAD to stop at my wife’s favorite roastie shop in Mong Kok for her squab.

Two birds for her, a portion of roasted young pig for me. A snack to tide us over before our dinner tonight.


(Peter) #7

I love this!


#8

They are imported. As far as I know, they can be coming from as far as South Africa and Mexico. They can be dried and conserved in cans.


#9

Fact is fact, should get it right even to disrupt the domestic harmony, naf’s motto. LOL!

A quick search, lots of farms indeed in South Africa, but there are quite a number of reportage on illegal poaching with abalones ending up in HK.

DH bought home some small fresh French abalones, very hard, need beating the flesh before cooking and to cook them in special ways, etc. He wasn’t fond of them (the ones we ate here and the ones in Japanese or Chinese restaurants) I guess that’s why they aren’t particularly popular in here.


#10

Are you from New Territories? Traditionally, it is a feast for people living in village clans. It seems that since a few years this got really trendy and everybody is eating that for the new year.


#11

Where is this Tofu place, may I ask?


#12

Oh @Google_Gourmet you have to give us the names to those SSP/ MK places!

Is that Kung Wo Tofu in SSP? Is the roastie shop the one near Cordis? I forgot the name. What’s the congee and noodle place?

One of the things that I need to rectify on the next trip is to spend some time in SSP. For some reason coming from HK Island I always stopped short of SSP and ended up in Mongkok, or at the very north, Prince Edward. Something needs to be done.


#13

Separately, I’d like to pick your brain about best dou fa closer to home. Perhaps I will start a different thread.


#14

My last Hong Kong address was in Wanchai many many many CNY’s ago. My wife, from Taiwan, got fixated on poon choi five years ago. Don’t know really know how she got the itch. Most likely sucked in by all the promotional posters flashing gorgeous food.

As you mention, it’s gotten trendy. However, you really have to make advance reservations to ensure you get a good rendition. You also need some additional eaters to fill the table.

We were a party of four, and had reserved the poon choi for six. Worked out to be the perfect amount of food for us. We’re good eaters. :wink: Talked about siu yeh after the meal, but good sense prevailed.

For Hong Kong natives, the SOP is to order poon choi from a restaurant, heat up at home and enjoy. From my vantage point, our table was the only party eating pc in restaurant that night.


#15

Maybe because it’s not yet Chinese New Year?


#16

I’m pecking on an iPhone on the road. I’ll list the addresses when we get home after CNY.

As earlier mentioned, the sauce for the dou fa was deliciously subtle. At some point, we noticed the other diners adding this pink salt like granules to top theirs. This turned out to be a semi coarse sweetener, not quite as sweet as sugar.

Sprinkled some on, it added a delightful light pop to the soft tofu. Should have snapped a pic.

Here a pic of one of their table tents with name. I bet you can peg the location.

Some random shots.


#17

I’ve resorted to picking up dou fa from Marina with my “free” money. Last time about a month ago. I’ll have be desperate to get Maina df again.

Hope we can dig up som good places in the Bay Area.


#18

Dinner tonight at King’s Fortune, Shatin, New Territory. A very well prepared meal, has become our restaurant of choice when we call on our Hong Kong relations.

Noodles topped with prawns.

Suckling piggy.

Squid and veggies.

Some kind of seafood veggie croquette. Not a favorite.

The mandatory CNY dinner swimming fish.

The non PC shar**’s fin soup.

Goose webs Shitake on lettuce. Love goose feet

Gotta have chicken for New Years.

Sweet rice.

A few bottles of Chilean cabernet. Nice wine at an affordable price.

A fun evening. Got the rare chance to trot out my rusty Toishanese. Only regret was wife and I had already been pigging out shamelessly all day and couldn’t give this meal due justice.


#19

Hi sck. Will gladly flesh in the names an addresses of the establishments after I get home on a pc. Working off my iPhone for the next 10 days.


#20

I am sure enjoying this ongoing post/travelogue!