Friday, November 15, 2013

[香港 HONG KONG] - A Temple of Roasties 再興燒臘飯店 Joy Hing Roasted Meat (Wanchai)

Joy Hing 再興燒臘飯店 really needs no introduction. It has already been put on the map, thanks to Anthony Bourdain: Layover Hong Kong and probably numerous other write-ups by local bloggers and reviewers.

But despite all that, Joy Hing still maintains that low key neighborhood feel that doesn't seem to be overrun by tourists. No nonsense, efficient, great food, and best of all an affordable price.

Rather than mincing on words, I'll let the photos do the talking.

While waiting in line, the butcher's window provides plenty of photo ops and teases 
Looks like a battlefield. All good stuff I'm sure! 
 "Welcome to the jungle, we've got fun & games! And roasties!"
Action packed in here. 
The secret sauce. Self help for coloring your white rice to your heart's content! 
 Included with your meal, house soup. This one is watercress with pork bones
Upgrade your lifestyle with an entrée plate of cha siu!
Heaven in a plate. No need for wagyu all the time right?
Let's get a closer look at the goodness, shall we? 
Roasties so fine it even makes the butcher cry. (I have no idea how I managed this shot...) 
What are you waiting for? Head here now! 
再興燒臘飯店 Joy Hing Roasted Meat
Block C, G/F, 265-267 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

[香港 HONG KONG] - Smooth slippery greasy carby saucy wetty goodness from Hop Yik Tai 合益泰小食 (Sham Shui Po)

Hop Yik Tai 合益泰小食
So one Taiwanese author once wrote that when she goes overseas, and returns to Taiwan, the first thing she craves as soon as she gets off the plane, is beef noodle soup 台灣牛肉麵. Craig Auyeung in one of his 2007 books mentioned that for him (and perhaps other Hong Kong expats), his equivalent craving after returning to Hong Kong would be won ton noodles 雲吞麵. As wonderful as a writer Craig is, I believe he has it wrong.
Because one of the things I was craving this whole trip, was plain cheung fun with sauces 豬腸粉!!
Plain cheung fun 豬腸粉 with lots and lots of sauces is a childhood snack food engraved into the memory of many homesick Hong Kong expats (local and overseas), at least those who grew up in the 60s/70s/80s. If you asked me when I was 11 or so if I preferred HK style spaghetti (stir fried with ketchup, sausage/ham/onions) or HK style with meatsauce, or 豬腸粉....the answer would be blatantly obvious!
And what is there not to like? A multitude of textures and much more exciting than eating al dente pasta or big ass stupid name American sushi rolls!
So some years back when this place was put on the social media blogging map as the temple of 豬腸粉, it was time to pay them a visit. Easy to locate and get to, since it was right outside the MTR station in Sham Shui Po, with a very easy walk. Can't find it? Walk inside and follow the crowds until you see the crazy lines.
You can of course order other things inside Hop Yik Tai, and even dine in. But if you want a taste of the streets, old school style....just stand up like a true Hong Konger, and eat. Standing noodle bar? Well perhaps. The line moves fairly fast, as it is a pretty much one woman operation when you eat standing up.
Very simple. Tell the lady with the scissors how many rolls of 豬腸粉 you want (there is a price sign around the corner somewhere...with constant inflation who knows how much this is now). Lady takes a plate, cuts the rolled rice noodles into mini bite sized pieces, then asks you what you want on it.
See those squirt bottles? It's a medley of sauces of varying flavors. For the full experience, just say you want everything. And do not forget the sesame seeds, a critical component. 
See how fast homeboy in the cap quickly dives down and starts slurping that shit after purchasing? Like he is snorting cocaine and had withdrawl issues? :-)
Now before you come flocking here, be aware that these 豬腸粉 rice noodle rolls are outsourced to some factory, so Hop Yik Tai does not make them in house. But you are guaranteed freshness, since the turnover is so high.

If you are facing the cart and look to your left, this is the alley. Not exactly the best of all environments, but there's something primal about enjoying this right there.

Ahh the challenges of food photography. So much better to hold a cel phone camera in one hand, and hold the plate of goodness in the other. Not fun trying to do this with a big digital SLR camera.

So what are you waiting for? Wolf down that stuff like a lion in a bacon shop!

Slippery, smooth, wetty, a wee bit greasy feeling, spicy, savory, a tinge of sweetness, and fairly hot.
And it goes down so well.

HOP YIK TAI 合益泰小食  
G/F 121 Guailam Street, Sham Shui Po 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

[香港 HONG KONG] - Chan Kan Kee Chiu Chow Restaurant (Wanchai) 陳勤記鹵鵝飯店

Chan Kan Kee Chiu Chow Restaurant 陳勤記鹵鵝飯店 Wanchai branch was open for less than 3 weeks during the time of this visit (January 8, 2013 or thereabouts). The flagship store is in Sheung Wan, and unfortunately I have not been to that location which same say is better. This was the last meal on the trip, and quite a memorable one.

CKK should be pretty easy to navigate. The menu is fairly widespread as a result of trying to accommodate locals as well as out of town visitors. Thus it takes a little research and understanding before you deep dive into ordering, and naturally sticking with the restaurant's namesake cuisine.

The menu is in both English and Chinese, with fairly accurate translations.

鹹菜胡椒豬肚湯 (Double boiled pork stomach peppercorn pickled vegetable soup)
This one is a no brainer. The restaurant has two double boiled soups, the other being Chinese almond and pork lung, which you can easily get at Trusty Gourmet or even Luk Yu. But you are here for a Chiu Chow experience, and thus 鹹菜胡椒豬肚湯 (salted pickled vegetable, peppercorn, pork stomach soup) is the de facto standard.

This soup is totally glorious, especially when it's so cold outside you can't feel your nads. If you are coming from a country where it snows, HK's worst cold weather is nothing to fear and you will think we are all a bunch of wussies (which is true). But if you are like most locals, high single digit temperatures in degrees Celsius is pretty serious business with any wind chill factor. So a bowl of comfort, will really hit the spot. Beware though, as you get closer to the bottom of the pot, the pepper flavor kicks in. You will see whole peppercorn spheres once most of the soup is scooped out.   
鹵水拼盤 (combination simmered platter)
Looking back, I regret not getting the sliced goose breast platter. But this combination platter was a decent sampler otherwise. Some marinated tofu, marinated pork belly, marinated goose wing tip, and goose "ankle" area of the foot. A touch greasy looking, but otherwise quite pleasing. I can only imagine how much better the flagship branch marinade could be.


川椒雞 (chicken with jin jiew sauce)
Despite the name, this has nothing to do with Sichuan or Sichuan peppercorns, and is a dish I grew up with that nobody has been able to replicate in Northern California. The best part are the crispy greens that come with it. This is a very typical Chiu Chow Cantonese dish. Though the chicken was a bit roughly chopped, and a bit too big.
 家鄉煎蠔烙 (pan fried oyster omlette)
Another golden standard, the Chiu Chow style Cantonese oyster omlette. On the dry side and crispy, which is great for me. No dip sauce, and was overall quite pleasing. Would have been perfect with a cold beer.
One last dishes that was ordered, but totally forgot to photograph was 方魚炒芥蘭  (Chinese broccoli or Chinese kale stir fried with a style of dried salted fish).
There were only 3 of us, so the number of dishes we could try were limited. But overall this was like the ending of a Marvel super heroes movie....a teaser clip for future indulging of Chiu Chow delights. This meal had me wanting a whole lot more.
The other parts of the restaurant, particularly the deli section and seafood tanks provided some fun photography material   

We were joking about the sausages. There were 3 when we sat down, and nobody ordered the longest one.

Cold flower crabs 花蟹 - did not ask how much, but probably close to $1000 or a little less.

Flower crab 花蟹 - Quite gorgeous. These would likely be cooked to order

 To try next time "fish rice" 飯 - fish that is salted, cooked in broth, and allowed to cool, and eaten cold

Chan Kan Kee Chiu Chow Restaurant
Shop 9-10, G/F, Tonnochy Towers, 250-274 Jaffe Road, Wan Chai