Met up with old friends/ex-colleagues whom I used to work with, and they recommended a quick meal after drinks at The Chairman. Reserving a table there is a cinch these days, something unimaginable during the peak of its popularity 2-3 years back.
Pickled Mid-summer Ginger Root with Century Egg. We ordered this for starters - curious as to how it’ll compare with the legendary version at Yung Kee (where I’d avoid their roast goose). Verdict: Yung Kee still serves the best century egg-pickled ginger around.
The Chairman’s Soy-sauce Chicken - this was recommended to us by our waiter. Frankly, the chicken was good, but I failed to see what’s exceptional about the sauce/marinade to justify its house specialty tag.
Braised pork-ribs with dark soy-sauce, Chinese wine and red yeast. The meat was not fall-off-the-bone-tender" as I’d expected (to be fair, it wasn’t advertised as such - just my personal expectations). Taste-wise, blander (more subtle?) than the Cantonese cooking in Kuala Lumpur or Singapore which my palate is used to.
So in other words, food not quite reaching the heights of 2 or 3 years back? That’s unfortunate, as the Chairman easily is one of the highlights of our trip. What’s the back story of the departure of the chef and the staff to Tasting Court?
I’d actually not known about the Chairman to Tasting Court until it was mentioned here. Else, I’d have asked about it. I remembered the Chairman was very popular back then as it prioritised getting the best quality local ingredients, and resurrected old HK cooking techniques to produce “traditional” dishes, which was why some called it the “Chez Panisse of Hong Kong” (I don’t know - my couple of experiences with Chez Panisse didn’t really make that much of an impression on me).
I always think that certain portion of Cantonese cuisine is like the Chinese equivalent of California cuisine- good ingredients, simply prepared to let the ingredients stand out. Given what The Chariman is trying to do with relatively local good quality ingredients, its reasonably similar to what Chez Panisse is doing. That was my reaction when I saw their menu, that it vaguely reminds me of Chez Panisse.
Chez Panisse is polarizing- the ‘fig on the plate’ criticism that its sourcing, not cooking. Similarly for Cantonese, there are enough people who found Cantonese cuisine not ‘flavorful’ enough because its not strongly seasoned like Szechuan, Hunan, etc.
Yes, the subtlety of Cantonese cuisine is oftentimes lost on many people unused to its emphasis on fresh, good quality ingredients, cooked in the lightest manner possible in order not to mask the natural flavours. Chinese cuisine also goes for the textural dimension, besides taste (which is central to Western cuisine), i.e. jelly-fish, fish-maw, pig’s skin, chicken feet, bird’s nest, abalone, the various types of seaweed are often prized for their textural traits, rather than any flavours they might impart on a particular dish.
The Singaporean-Chinese palate, though, has grown accustomed to the need for a chilli spike - even more so than the Malaysian-Chinese, though not as much as the Thai-Chinese. I still travel to Hong Kong with at least a jar of ultra-spicy chilli paste or “sambal belacan” in my check-in luggage.
I just went there and will eventually post about it. Seemed busy actually though i fear that no one local is going haha. There was a table across that seemed to have a taiwanese sounding accent. Right next to us was a bunch of americans. Followed by a french couple and one from the uk.
I thought the meal was good but I selected a deep sea rat geouper and forgot to ask the price. Cost a small fortune
I had lunch though it was pretty much a dinner lol:
3x Razor clams steamed with aged lemon and garlic (二十年咸檸檬金銀蒜蒸蟶子)
3x Soup of the day
Steamed garoupa with sundried mandarin peel (古法陳皮咸肉蒸老鼠斑) or any other steamed catch of the day in that preparation.
Layered beancurd and seasonal vegetables cooked in homemade fish broth (魚湯腐皮浸時菜)
Crab meat sticky rice (蟹肉糯米飯)
Fresh ground almond cream (生磨杏仁茶)
I really enjoyed the use of the tangerine peels with the razor clams. Soup was very good. Fish was cooked perfectly but then i had sticker shock lol. The layered veggies i would have preferred a stronger fish broth. Ginkgo nut was on the more bitter end for me. Crab sticky rice was great. Large chunks of flowery crab and supposedly they stir fried everything from the beginning. No steaming the rice separately then adding ingredients. Almond cream was super smooth, reminds me of Yum’s.
I paid 6k hkd for 3 lol… oh dear. Honestly think its better than what we can eat in the bay, just currently debating on that value to price ratio
Yeah the fish was like 2.4k. Razor clams weren’t that bad naf has the right price. I just ordered from the menu (based on the blogs lol) and not the lunch set since they didnt have some items i wanted to try. The lunch sets are for my reasonably priced. The crab rice is actually for eight people (yes we ate it all… ahahahaha…)
Yeah it should have been quoted but i just mentioned fresh catch of the day in the email so i didnt see till after. No wine lol…
@Google_Gourmet didn’t think I’d spend that much for my first lunch… price shock lol. I think my expenses are climbing just going who knows when I’ll try this the next time around so might as well eat it!
Yeah the clams were rather sizeable and very good.