[Hong Kong] Tasting Court 天一閣. Outstanding traditional Cantonese banquet

Tasting Court was not only our penultimate dinner in Hong Kong but our penultimate dinner of a two year trip in Asia. Expectations were high, especially after reading about it on here. On the whole it lived up to them. We picked the menu before going there and it was menu B, below.

Wild Clam Scalded with Sake.
Lovely sweet clams, the sake gave a nice edge but not overdone.

Dried Sliced Beef marinated with house-made soy bean sauce.
This dish was made by the rich home made soy sauce.

Slow cooked Chicken soup with fish Maw & Conch.
Perfectly cooked seafood in a beautifully light but flavoursome soup.

Steamed fresh flowery crab with aged SHAOXING Wine served with rice noodle.
Lovely sweet crab with soft noodles. The sauce was outstanding, very rich, deep and sweet.

Baby pigeon smoked with osmanthus & Longjing tea.
The pigeon was perfectly cooked, crisp skin but still moist. The smoke was very subtle and gave a lovely fragrance and didn’t overpower the pigeon. Nice to see they left the head on.

So far everything had been very very good. The issue with a tasting menu is that you will always like some dishes more than others but the subsequent dishes of Stir fried Kale with ginger essence and Prawn roe stirred noodle with prawn & shallot essence oil seemed a little pedestrian following what had come before. There was nothing wrong with them and you do need balance in a tasting menu but I feel it would have been better if they had been in between the other dishes. It’s like a band playing all their hits at the start of a gig.

Service was friendly and we had a nice bottle of Chablis with the meal. All in all a very good meal.


Thanks for posting the meal.

I think they try to follow the traditional sequence of a Chinese banquet course, ending the meal with some carbohydrates, before the dessert. It is kind of anti-climax, which is different from the West, finishing with the highlight, the fish or meat course, before the dessert.

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Wait a minute… this was my menu:

Menu A(Table for 2-3)

1.Crispy Enoki mushroom
2.Smoked Chinese Bacon Home Style
3.Wild Clam Scalded with Sake
4.Slow cooked Chicken soup with fish Maw & Conch
5.Sautéed Prawn with Egg Yolk Paste Sauce , Deep Fried Prawn Head in Spicy Salt
6.Slow cooked meat ball in chicken soup
7.Stir fried Kale with ginger essence
8.Prawn roe stirred noodle with prawn & shallot essence oil
9.Blended jujube coconut juice pudding
10.HUADIAO with dried jujube dessert drink

$638 p/p +10%service charge
Corkage fee $100/per bottle

Menu B(Table for 2-3)

1.Wild Clam Scalded with Sake
2.Chinese Grilled Pork Chop with Soybean
3.Slow cooked Chicken soup with fish Maw & Conch
4.Steamed fresh flowery crab with aged SHAOXING Wine served with rice noodle
5.Baby pigeon smoked with osmanthus & Longjing tea
6.Stir fried Kale with ginger essence
7.Prawn roe stirred noodle with prawn & shallot essence oil
8.Blended jujube coconut juice pudding
9.HUADIAO with dried jujube dessert drink

$788 p/p +10%service charge
Corkage fee $100/per bottle

I think I got the short end of the stick there… then again, I guess I went a month later and it was for three people? lol.

Anywho, I’ll place my meal updates in a bit. I definitely changed the menu around since there were too many similar dishes I had last time.

Did you just go recently? I was there last week.

I was there… roughly three weeks ago.

Wow, I’m actually pretty impressed I’m doing a write up relatively soon…

In any case, I had a fantastic meal at Tasting Court (though now curious if I was charged more now…).

Here’s the menu!

Alright… maybe not the best… so here it is!

1.Spicy Stir-fried Clam with Peppercorn & Chili
2.Dried Sliced Beef marinated with house-made soy bean sauce
*Deep-fried pork fat stuffed with prawn(+$108X2)
3.Pork Lung Soup with Almond Essence
4.Steamed fresh flowery crab with aged SHAOXING Wine served with rice noodle
*Slow cooked meat ball in chicken soup(+$60X3)
5.Deep Fried Spare Ribs with Pickled Peel & Plum
*Prawn Roe with Citrus Skin(+$148X1)
6.Vegetable Scalded in Fish Soup
7.Fried Rice with Ginger, Dried Scallops, Sakura Shrimp & Egg White
8.Blended jujube coconut juice pudding
9.HUADIAO with dried jujube dessert drink

$788 p/p +10%service charge
Starred items were the things I wanted.

As you can sorta compare with the previous posting, I changed a few things around to try new items and added the meatballs back since I just loved how they were last time.

In any case, starting off our meal was the spicy stir-fried clams with peppercorn and chilli. There were at least five types of peppers in this dish. The tingling sensation of the Sichuan pepper was definitely present along with jalapeños, black peppers, some sort of green pepper, and one other pepper I wasn’t too sure what the waiter said. I like to think of this as an extreme version of salt and spicy dishes (say chicken wings or calamari). Excellent in any case but I’d probably lean towards the sake version next time.

Following our clams was the same dish as described by paprikaboy. The dried sliced beef marinated with house-made soy bean sauce was quite savory; simply umami filled. I recall the waiter said the beef was aged for three days (shorter than what I expected, considering some of those aged steaks seems to be there for months). In any case, if you wanted a more hearty meal I’d say stay with the char siu.

An addition to our meal were these deep-fried pork fat stuffed fried thingies with shrimp. I recall seeing that in someone’s blog and they looked delicious if not artery clogging.
Quite crisp on the outside and not too greasy. The vinegar and garlic sauce went nicely with the deep fried pucks, but I thought they were great by themselves. Cucumbers were pickled with a nice sweetness and acidity; helped clear the pallet as well.

I can’t recall the exact dim sum dish, but I recall having something similar to this before. Was it like… gai long? In any case, nicely done, would eat this again.

Finishing up the appetizers, our soup arrived! Pork lung soup with almond essence! I don’t think I have ever seen pork lungs sold in any of the butcher shops in Chinatown, but I have heard that the process for cleaning the lungs are a time consuming process. In any case, the soup was very very nice. Savory with a nice almond scent in the background. I wasn’t too fond of eating the lung though. Texture-wise the lung is quite spongy (well … that would make sense haha).

Following this is one of their best dishes, the steamed fresh flowery crab with aged shaoxing wine and rice noodles just sopping up that delicious essence. As sck mentioned earlier, the wine is the 25 year old hua diao so the effects of the wine does not seem as harsh but more mellow. Quite delicious, but even better, after clearing the dish, they’ll strain the sauce and bring it back for one more finale.

Another addition to the menu, I really loved this meatball in chicken soup. Super soft with a very sweet broth, everything just seems to melt in your mouth. Still not sure how they were able to cook it for so long without it drying up.

The deep fried spare ribs with pickled peel and plum was delicious. The meat easily came off the bones. Mixed with a nice tangy sauce that was not too cloyingly sweet, the ribs were great. The fresh pineapples on the side seems like the little pineapples from Thailand that we saw from the street markets.

Our last additional dish is the prawn roe with citrus skin. I recall reading this dish in SCMP’s original review and I was very curious how the dish was executed. I only recall eating it somewhat recently at Koi Palace and wasn’t too impressed with their version. The sauce in Tasting Court’s dish was fantastic, however, the pomelo still seemed well… soggy. No sauce was absorbed within it and just seemed watery. Is that how its suppose to taste? I think @klyeoh might be the master at least describing the dish. I probably need to try the version at Fu Sing to have a better idea.

In any case, this was probably my least favorite dish of the night.

Next was the vegetable scalded in fish soup. The name of the vegetable escapes me as of this moment, but the soup was quite good. The yuba were a nice soup absorber and the gingko nuts gave a slight bittering note once you ate them.

Our last main dish was the fried rice with ginger, dried scallops, sakura shrimp and egg whites. Cooked extremely well with seemingly individual grains, the sakura shrimp gave a more interesting… mm… briny flavor compared to your usual dried shrimp. The crab sauce also came back out and mixing a little bit of the sauce with the rice gave another twist to the dish.


We ended our humongous meal with two dessert items, the blended jujube coconut juice pudding and the huadiao with dried jujube dessert drinks. They didn’t have any other dessert items I could swap out sadly (was hoping for maybe an almond tea). Nevertheless, the jujube coconut pudding was quite interesting. Jujube pudding sandwiched the coconut layer and the entire thing was still warm and slightly sticky to the touch. Not too sweet with a hint of jujube and coconut when eating the item.

The jujube liquor had a nice smooth taste, but in either case, I’m not a huge fan of jujube so eh.

Overall a fantastic meal and I’d definitely go back. Gotta try the salt baked chicken next time… haha


I didn’t have the clam version but rather the abalone and conch? version. The spicing was nuanced and I agree with you very good, but like you I thought their sake version was even better.

Aged and slightly cooked by the strong sun. They only took the beef out during sunny days. I have to look at my notes further for the details but I really loved this dish.

I did try that. I thought tastewise it was nice- very tender 90 day chicken baked with sea salt from Australia (not sure what kind). Skin was very fragrant, and bed of green onion and chicken juice that the chicken was sitting on was very fragrant also. They cooked it by first pouring hot oil on the chicken then baking it. The guacamole-looking ginger scallion sauce was fab, and I took it home (as in SF Bay Area) with me. Still in the freezer as I type. I took a little bit out each time I have chicken at home. Well worth the effort. All in all, the presentation certainly wows every time, but the taste didn’t quite compare to the standard set by their other dishes. And its quite pricey at HKD$6xx for the dish.


What is the crust for baking made of (doesn’t look like it is made of salt)? Where is the sea salt?
Was this dish in the menu? I only saw the chicken with soy sauce.

I was told its salt. The whole black thing was salt encrusting the chicken inside.

It is on the menu on their web site:

With that said, I am not sure why baking salt would turn it black. Or maybe they coat the salt with something else that turns black for dramatic effect.

I wonder how they can make that egg shape without fallen apart, because a salt crust chicken is usually the form of the chicken, meaning not much air inside.

I think they may mix the salt with egg whites to hold it together.

That chicken looks good, is the meat next to the head the liver?

Ah that makes sense. I thought the taste was fantastic then I had my dad on the side kinda grumbling that it was like a slice of deli meat… sigh

Anyways, that salt baked chicken looked great.

Regarding how they did the crust, maybe its like this?

I respectfully disagree. The dish was, in fact, the highlight of the meal for some of us. The noodles were kneaded with a bamboo pole, delivering wonderful texture. The umami from the shrimp roe, the fragrance of the scallion oil, prawn oil… etc. It is certainly not anticlimatic. I have a tough time finding a better version of these noodles in Hong Kong.


A very satisfying meal from a few months ago.

Sliced US beef rubbed and marinated with a 10-spice mix soy bean-based sauce then sun-dried for 3 days. Slightly heated before serving. Umami-bomb. It was one of the highlights of my meal. I wish there was more. Absolutely delicious.

Abalone & Eburna Areolata Sichuan Style. Slightly ma-la, but highly fragrant. Purists would probably argue that this was sichuan modified to suit local palates, and its true. But its a Cantonese restaurant after all. Delicious.


Baby pigeon smoked with osmanthus and dragon well tea. Server said it was smoked for 17 days (?!). Skin was slightly crispy. The taste was smokey fragrant. The meat was moist and tender. Pigeon was accompanied by sweet cucumber marinated with Japan apple cider vinegar. Refreshing.

Very eggy egg yolk sauce with slightly spicy, salty rice. Good crunchy deep fried shrimp head with a slightly chewy sauteed body from flash frozen South American tiger shrimp.

Double-boiled, very sweet soup with conch, fish maw, dried scallop simmered to form the soup base along with pork bones. Balanced, mellow and good.

Very strong ginger and raw, pungent green onion oil coating thin jook sing non-alkali egg noodle from Shuntak. Excellent noodle- not very bouncy. Additional aroma and flavors in abundance from the housemade shrimp oil made by immersing shrimp head in oil with caramelized shallot and the roes. The other highlight of the meal. Can I just stop by every night to have that noodle? Oh-so-fragrant.

I was so enamored with this dish that I took the shrimp oil from my Bo Innovation lunch all the way back to the States, got some shrimp roes from Chinatown in attempt to recreate the magic. Haven’t found the time to do that yet. I am with @Peech that its difficult to find a comparable version around the city, simply because the ingredients used were of high quality. Some day I’d go to Lau Sum Kee to do a comparison soon before or after having this dish.

Same mochi/ pudding-like dessert with coconut flavor infused with mildly sweet jujube flavors. Huadiao-jujube drink.

$698 for the set.

Slightly refurbished dining room. Server said the owner now earned a little money that they didn’t have when they first opened to slightly renovate the interior. I asked where the head chef Mr. Leung was from and he said the chef came from the Poon Shun area.


Missed this post. Yes, its the liver. Kidneys on the other side. The heart was somewhere in that pile.

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Splendid meal!

Do you know what spice did they use? For the texture, looks like it was slightly dry but not totally dried. I wonder if it is possible to make this at home.

Did you feel the fragrance of Dragon Well? 17 days was very long, they must have a huge smoker.

Did you choose the items in your menu, it didn’t seem to correspond to any that were posted here.

One thing if I have to comment, I am not too sure about their new decoration, what is Eiffel tower or London bus to do with a Chinese restaurant?! At least in the past, they had more Chinese elements in the decorations.

I recall it was leaning towards a five spiced beef flavor profile but… not quite. Very savory though.

I don’t know the spice combination. But it sure was tasty.

The menu was customized. I just picked out the preferred items from their home page. They were flexible and were totally fine with it.

I asked the server about their business. He said at the beginning it was tough. They sometimes had couple of days in a week without any booking. He said now they receive steady business.

Current menu. Pick certain number of dishes from each section.

2-3 people menu:































4+ people menu:






































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Do you know if they can substitute the * dishes? Not so hot with the desserts.

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