HK Home Kitchen - El Cerrito

HK Home Kitchen
10140 San Pablo, El Cerrito
We tasted delicious steamed Cantonese dishes $128+tip. Photos to upload.

I love that place. I’ve posted before that it’s the latest from the people behind Jac’s Asian Bistro and Mac’s Wok. They have the best pan-fried noodles with seafood.

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Many thanks for the tip! We went last night and loved it. We adore Cantonese food (DH is from Hong Kong) and have been so discouraged at the low level this greatest of regional cuisines has sunk to.

Had our fav shrimp and egg with gravy over chow fun. Absolutely perfect; shrimps were slightly salty, freshly sweet; chow fun and gravy had NO salt or MSG added. The subtlety of the dish was flawless. Really points up how much sodium crap is added to other restaurants’ version of this classic.

The large pea sprouts with garlic was priced $15.88, $2 higher than menu price (we were warned by the waitress). Again - amazing and perfect. Really fresh, the leaves sweet and the stems with that touch of bitterness that clears the palate.

DH was jazzed to find his fav dish of all, the steamed 3-egg custard. I very, very occasionally made this dish at home. But since I’m not a big fan of salted or preserved (black) eggs, it’s just not high on my list of dishes I like to make.

We literally have not seen this dish on a restaurant menu for over 30 yrs. We lived in SF that last time we found it, in fact. HK2 did this dish almost exactly the way I do it, except that they use whole fresh eggs whereas my recipe only used the egg whites for the steamed custard. Since DH eats the whole thing by himself, it’s going to save me from feeling guilty (well, I really don’t, LOL) for not making it at home.

We’re definitely going back next week to try other dishes. Will try the pan-fried noodles, although I admit we don’t have high hopes because the best noodle pillows usually come from places that specialize in them, since it takes a long time even on a commercial griddle to do them properly. But we’ll see! Fingers crossed; we haven’t seen decent HK crispy noodles since Kong’s in SF Chinatown closed up in the 1980’s.

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Do you mean this dish?

If we are talking about the same dish. I can appreciate a restrained use of MSG and salt. But no salt in the gravy at all?

We have had the same dish many times at Hong Kong Restaurant near us. Sometimes for health reasons, we order ‘less oil’ for our entire order. Usually the kitchen interprets it as ‘less oil, less salt’. One time the chef took it to the extreme and went ‘less oil, almost no salt’ on us. Even the normally very good dish became, uh, very bland.

I really think the salt brings out the fragrance of the green onion and the egg in the gravy.

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The shrimps were salt-whipped. No need for any more salt.

The photo of the chow fun dish inspired me to have it for lunch today. Delicious. It had just the right balance of salt. There was more egg in mine than the one in the photo.

I couldn’t finish the whole thing, so I ate the shrimp and half the noodles. The rest will go very well with the local salmon I’m picking up tomorrow.

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image
Delicious Dinner of steamed dishes:
Gai Lan with XO sauce
Chicken feet soup with lovely rich broth
Bitter melon with pork
Poached chicken with green onion/ginger sauce
Hom Yu salted fish with pork
Steamed Three eggs
Pork spareribs with black beans
Perfectly Poached salmon caught in Bodega Bay
Steamed oysters with garlic

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Nice photos and report, thanks!

Just FYI for those who are unfamiliar with Cantonese cooking, gai lan isn’t technically a steamed dish. It’s parcooked very, very quickly in boiling water; drained, then tossed in a hot wok for 1 minute before being turned onto a plate. The wok should burn away the excess water.

The mark of a properly done gai lan dish is that the less water that leaks out as the veggie cools, the better. One of my HK-born DH’s uncles was famed within the family for doing this dish perfectly every time. Ironic since his 2 kids are terrible cooks, LOL.

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Thank you! I’m cooking it your way now!

We tried this place last night. Perhaps the QC was off or the main chef was not there. But it was shockingly mediocre (based on these reviews), a sloppily executed version of authentic Cantonese cuisine. Overall service seemed aloof and annoyed we were there. Here is what we ate:

Sampan Congee- had tripe, ground pork, calamari rings and shrimp. Dissapointing and bland. Good congee is comforting, this was boring. Usually congee is served with accompaniments like fried bread and peanuts. This was not. We ordered fried bred to have with it.

Lettuce with fermented bean sauce. This one was partially our goof. Sometimes in Chinese restaurants, lettuce means “A” vegetable (achoy). I asked our server, who I think was also the chef that night, if it was Achoy but he didn’t seem to understand what I was asking. It turned out to be iceberg lettuce that had been sautéed till it was wilted served with a mayonnaise like sauce on the side. Overall dreadful.

The egg sauce and shrimp chow fun. What came did not really look like the pictures others have posted here. The noodles were thinner than chow fun and many were still stuck together in layers- a sign of sloppy execution. Overall bland -no flavor, not a hint of wok char, and the shrimp had a heavy iodine taste.

We left dissapointed at how terrible the meal was. Based on this experience we will never return to this place.

What a bummer for you! So sorry to hear this.

Hmmph, I have not received yau ja gwai when I order congee. Some peanuts, maybe. But fried bread costs extra. Are free ones available in some places?

_> That seems to be most places…

I don’t normally associate this place with a congee restaurant so usually my expectations are lower for that. As with sck’s question, I don’t normally see any of the congee places ever serve free fried bread. Peanuts are usually with the sampan congee though. I’ve seen fried wonton skin strips and cilantro/preserved vegetables for free though.

Mmm… looking back, I don’t think that sck’s picture was actually from HK Home Kitchen. The picture you took a picture definitely seems to be how that particular chef makes it (I’ve been to the old Jack’s or whatever that was called prior to their brief move in Sacramento and both times I ordered that dish, it looked like yours, wasn’t a huge fan of that version).

FYI, there should NOT be any wok char for this dish. It’s all about subtlety. If one is accustomed to salt/soya-forward dishes, it does come off as bland. When we visited HK, our shrimp chow fun looked like sck’s photo, less like geo12’s photo where the chow fun is much too dark.

Unlike the stir-fried version w/beansprouts, this version is all about the mild, scrambled egg-white gravy.

DH loves congee and often gets it from various delis/restaurants since I’m not so fond of it. I don’t think it’s ever come automatically with fried bread in the last 30 yrs we’ve lived in the EBay, from any place we’ve visited.

I do recall that in our favorite Shanghai restaurant in SF back in the '80’s, when they offered congee it was listed on the menu as coming with the fried bread; you had to specify if you didn’t want it.

But for years now we’ve only seen the bread offered as a separate side. I’m also curious where it comes standard (DH likes to have it once in a while, altho not always).

I think there can be a little bit of wok char. My picture above is not from HK Home Kitchen but just a picture I found on the web. It has a little bit of browning on the noodles. Not a whole lot, but just a little bit. How did yours look like when you had it at HK Home Kitchen?

But yeah, @geo12the, the one you had was much too dark. It seems like they saute the noodles with a bunch of soy sauce like how they make the dry saute beef hor fun. And the egg sauce was much too white. Almost like their dishes with egg white didn’t sell, and they had too much egg white on hand so they used some of that in the egg sauce. Or, the egg yolk used was so industrial that its pale to start with.

I remember getting Pieces of fried Bread, Peanuts and Zha Cai(?) or Tian jin Cabbage with Jook at Dim Sum Koi Palace or Mayflower on Geary(RIP)
in the past. It has been a while though

As I mentioned in their previous restaurants, I found it salty so I’m thinking its more of soy sauce with those rice noodles.

Mmm… I recall KP offering a small slice of the fried dough, but certainly not a full platter.

Agreed. It was a few slices and a small bowl of Jook. Being Dim Sum and all.

The first time I had the egg and shrimp chow fun here, there was no wok char, but I didn’t miss it. It looked a lot like the one in sck’s photo. The second time, about a week ago, it did have slightly browned noodles, and some of them were stuck together.

When we visited Hong Kong I remember allways getting a little plate with pieces of chopped up fried bread, peanuts and picked vegetables whenever we had congee. They do the same thing at Koi Palace when I’ve had it there. The bigger issue at HK home kitchen was the congee was mediocre. As were the other things we ordered. I suspect maybe the QC is lacking and we hit it on a off night.