Fried rice could be one of the most popular Chinese/Cantonese cuisine in Hong Kong, locals and expacts alike. The ingredients for fried rice could be very flexible and as creative as possible. Let me introduce a few of the most popular ones.
Yangzhou Fried Rice should be on top of the popular list. When we think of fried rice, Yangzhou Fried Rice comes to our minds. The main ingredients are prawns, char siu, eggs and most likely something green. Price range could be below HK$50 up to over HK$100, depending on the kind of restaurant you go. If you go to Chinese restaurants within 5-star hotels, it may go beyond HK$200.
Below is the fried rice from my Lamma Island seafood lunch. Looks nice, right? I don't remember the price, but could be close to HK$100.
Yangzhou Fried Rice 楊洲炒飯 (南丫島)
Yangzhou Fried Rice 楊洲炒飯 (茶餐廳)
Now this is a Yangzhou Fried Rice from an economic restaurant at afternoon tea time. It is HK$38 including a drink.
Why is Yangzhou Fried Rice is called Yangzhou Fried Rice?
I really don't know. In fact, Yangzhou is a city in China, somewhere nearby Shanghai. But if you are in Yangzhou and asked for a dish of Yangzhou Fried Rice, the waiter may not know what you want. I visited Yangzhou recently and had a dish of fried rice, below was the fried rice from Yangzhou. The ingredients are quite different from the Hong Kong version.
Yangzhou Fried Rice from Yangzhou
Fried Rice with Salty Fish and Chicken
The salty fish is not quite visible, but when you eat, it is a very good partner of chicken when frying with rice. We all love the fragrance of salty fish. It is one of the most popular Cantonese fried rice in Hong Kong.
Fried Rice with Salty Fish and Chicken
Fried Rice with Chicken and Ham
This is a Shanghai cuisine. The ham being used must be Kam Wah ham from Yunan. When I go to any Shanghai restaurant, this is one of my most favourite dishes.
Fried Rice with Chicken and Ham (Jade)
There are tiny bits of ham, can you see them?
Fried Rice with Chicken and Ham (New Shanghai)
There are larger cubes of ham, can you see them? As ham is concerned, I personally love bigger cubes rather than tiny bits. The feeling inside the mouth is much better.
Note: economic type of restaurants may have chicken skin being attached to the meat. This is not quite healthy! However this should not happen if the fried rice costs HK$70 or above.
Fujian Fried Rice 褔建炒飯
Although this is called Fujian Fried Rice, it is widely available in many Cantonese restaurants. Its appearance differ from traditional fried rice. In fact, the fried rice is served as a base, with a topping consisting mixed meat (mostly chicken and pork), vegetables and gravy. It is in fact a moist version of fried rice.
Tips for a Good Quality Fried Rice
What contribute to a good quality fried rice? Of course, rice is the most important. It is commonly known that we should not use freshly cooked rice, as they are rather moist and sticky, not ideal for stir frying. Dry and cool rice (even from overnight) could produce the best effect. Each and every single rice could be clearly identified.
Most Cantonese in Hong Kong love siu mei, I am just one of them. Siu mei is an important part of Cantonese cuisine. We have them at high profile banquets, mid range one-person sets, a la carte, down to casual restaurants, supermarkets and even take-away meal boxes. Siu mei shops are easily found in Hong Kong. The one below is a typical siu mei take-away shop. You can see a wide selection of poultry like chicken, goose, duck and pork, char siu and a lot many others. Price list is usually displayed at the entrance.
Among all siu mei, the BBQ whole piglet is the most expensive. If a banquet starts with it, then it must be a high flyer banquet. The one here came from my family year-end gathering dinner.
We all love BBQ piglet, so we ordered one for our Christmas Party as well. We placed the order online and picked up at the shop. So we had to do the cutting ourselves. Of course we enjoyed doing it.
Less expensive banquets may not served a whole pig, but assorted siu mei, like the one here below.
As for a la carte, pork belly is usually sold at a higher price than any other part of the pig.
For one-person sets, you may enjoy two big lumps of char siu.
For casual restaurants, they usually sell with rice or noodle.
Char Siu Rice 义燒飯
Char Siu / Chicken Rice Set 义雞飯
Goose Noodle in Soup 燒鵝湯米
Where to Buy Good Quality Siu Mei?
This question seems easy, but is actually difficult. Although there are lots of siu mei shops in town, but good ones are not easy to find. And please note there is no logical ratio between price and quality. Let's take a look at the following two char siu rice that I bought recently from take-away shops. The $98 one looked good but upon eating, I gave it 1 out of 5. The $26 one looked less attractive but upon eating, I gave it 4 out of 5.
HK$98 - char siu rice
HK$26 - char siu and BBQ pork rice
Do You Trust Food/Restaurant Reviews?
Nowadays many people like to read reviews when they are searching for restaurants. The largest platform in Hong Kong is called OpenRice. Interesting thing is, the $98 shop enjoys extremely high rating across the entire web, i.e., all reviews (except mine) says the char siu from this shop is the world's best. The $26 shop not even receiving any reviews. So be very careful when you read reviews. Personally I will read about the restaurant setting, location, decoration, environment etc. As for the quality of food, people could be subjective. And I also doubt if all reviews are from actual consumers, such as the $98 shop.
Where to Buy Good Quality Siu Mei?
Now back to the question "Where to Buy Good Quality Siu Mei?" There isn't a definite answer. First, test your luck. i.e. go buy from any shop. Remember the good ones only. But frankly, almost all siu mei shops around my home are being black-listed by me for all kinds of reasons such as poor quality, poor presentation, poor service and so on. Once you got a short list, stick to them.
Another way to find a good quality siu mei shop is by the queue outside the shop. The shop below in Wanchai always has a long queue. No matter what day and what time I pass by this shop, there are somewhat 30-100 people queuing outside. These are 'human reviews' rather than 'written reviews'. These are people who queue to pay for the food they want, no matter on a rainy day or sunny day. So give it a try if you can afford the waiting time.
Hong Kong Food Blog - Where To Buy Good Quality Siu Mei
2019 Chinese New Year is just over. Today is the 10th of January in Chinese calendar. It's time to summarize my eating history over the festival.
On day 5 of CNY, nine of us went to cinema at Time Square and had dinner after. As I said in my last post, I love siu mei, so do many of us. So we had three in a row - roasted pork (char siu), goose and chicken. I must say siu mei is widely available in Hong Kong, but good quality ones are rare, especially char siu. The one here served on hot plate is one of the best among what I have ever had.
Noodle and Rice are always our favorites.
This fried rice has used dry oyster (which means good business). It is a very popular ingredient during Chinese New Year.
Vegetables are musts as a matter of balance diet. At Chinese New Year, the chef has made use of the salty egg yolk to create a sense of gold and the color was very beautiful. In fact there were also millennium eggs in this dish.
Dinner Venue: Chung's Kitchen, 12/F Time Square, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Note: To my surprise, this restaurant does not charge any service fee!
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On the New Year day, my brother took us out for dinner. This was the fish that I want to highlight. I live in Hong Kong, fish dishes are nothing new to me. But I must say this one was very unusual. It's the tail of a giant grouper.
Estimated from the size of the tail, I think the whole fish may be over 1 meter long and weighted 15 kg. It was slow cooked with some tofu sheets and roasted pork and served on hot pot. The waiting time was a bit long but we all thought it deserved. There were big lumps of meat which made us fully satisfied. Although there were bones, but they were big and easy to be identified. Even I don't really like fish bones, I love this giant grouper very much.
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We eat a lot of puddings 糕 over Chinese New Year. 糕 sounds like 'growth' and it carries very good and positive meaning and that's why they are so popular during CNY.
Most puddings are sweet but turnip pudding is savory. We make them at home and very often make some extra for our relatives and friends. Below is the home-made turnip pudding gift from my friend. The basic ingredients are generally preserved sausages (lap cheung), preserved meat and dry shrimps. We can add others per our personal tastes. My friend knows that I love abalone, so you can see there was one in the middle, and there were slices of dry scallops as well.
There are different ways to re-heat turnip pudding, steam, pan fry, stir fry or micro wave. But I like none of them. I usually make them at home and eat fresh from the steamer. I must say this is the best way to eat turnip pudding. But this one was from a friend, so I had to re-heat by steaming which is rather environmental and healthy.
Cassian Flower Pudding 桂花糕
This is the sweet pudding which is somehow jelly like and generally served as cold cut. It was the dessert at my year-end family gathering dinner.
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We also eat a lot of sweet dumplings 湯丸 around Chinese New Year, either home-made or at restaurants. 湯丸 and 團圓 (gathering, everybody meets each other) sound very similar, and this is the reason why they are popular around new year time.
Here are the two types of sweet dumplings that I had this year.
擂沙湯丸 is always my favorite. They are served warm with very fine sugary coating. This was from my new-year-eve dinner at New Shanghai Restaurant at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.
This is another type of sweet dumpling which I forgot the name. Sweet dumplings are sticky, with or without fillings. This one has some roasted ground peanuts as the coating, also served warm. They were made to order, so there was a little waiting time. This was from the new year evening dinner that my brother bought us.
After Binge Eating...
So what would you do after binge eating? My answer is 'fasting'.
If you have ever read my post of "Why I Set Up This Food Blog", you will know that I generally eat one meal a day (OMAD). If you do an internet search of OMAD, you will know that it is a very popular eating pattern nowadays.
After the heavy eating days, I went on a 40-hour fast and have successfully completed. I finished dinner at Thursday (Feb 7) night, and resume eating on Saturday (Feb 9) lunch. That way I have had a full day of Friday to let my body and the digestive system a good rest.
Now I feel comfortable. I went on the scale and gained nothing.
Here are my top 10 Chinese foods. It is a difficult list. Because there are so many yummy Chinese foods that I love. Let me introduce them one by one.
1. Fried Rice - Yeung Chow Style 揚州炒飯
This is not only my favorite. I am sure it is one of the top sellers among Hong Kong restaurants. Interesting thing is, if you go to Yeung Chow and ask for a Yeung Chow Fried Rice, nobody knows about it. If you say fried rice with prawns and cha siu, then the waiters will know, but they call it Hong Kong Fried Rice.
2. Fried Beef Noodle 乾炒牛河
Another top seller in Hong Kong. If you ask a restaurant owner how many dishes he sells in a day, I think the number is going to be in 100s. The ingredients are simple, only beef and flat noodle, with dark soy sauce. Some chefs add onion or bean sprout as accessories. The beauty of this dish is ‘wok heat’. Sometimes we can smell it from the next table. If you eat it in a small casual restaurant, the ‘wok heat’ is stronger. Because the time between it is done and get on to your table is a matter of seconds. It is so beautifully attractive and delicious.
3. Noodle with Green Onion and Oil 葱油伴面
This is a Shanghai dish. There are many variations in Hong Kong. I found the most authentic one in Xiao Nan Guo. As its name, it is simply plain noodle mixed with some dark soy sauce, green onion and oil. I had this recently in Shanghai. They serve with toppings while Hong Kong generally serves the plain version.
4. Stir Fried Eggs with Prawns 滑蛋蝦仁
I love this dish. I must order it if it is on the menu. Again, very simple ingredients, simply stir fried the prawns with eggs. The trick is ‘quick’ to ensure the eggs are silky smooth and the prawns are al dente. I have learned to cook this dish. The prawns are par-boiled before mixing with the eggs.
5. Roast Meats collection – Siu Mei 燒味
These are typical Cantonese way of cooking a number of meats, pork, chicken, duck, piglet etc., mainly applying high heat or real fire, hence the name ‘siu’ (meaning ‘burn’). I love all of them, but Cha Siu in particular (see photo above). But does the name ‘siu mei’ look a bit odd? In fact, it is a direct translation of the pronunciation. It is widely used in Hong Kong. See the photo below showing a shop selling siu mei rice, they called themselves ‘siu mei fan’. ‘Fan’ is the translation of ‘rice’. Expacts who live in Hong Kong long enough may understand. For visitors, I doubt.
6. Smoked Duck 樟茶鴨
I came across this dish at Sichuan Restaurant in Beijing some 10 years ago and loved it since then. So I’m not quite sure if it is a Sichuan cuisine or Beijing Cuisine. In Hong Kong I think it is available in Shanghai or Beijing restaurants. Try it once, and I’m sure you’ll love the special fragrance and the juicy and tenderness of the duck.
7. Mutton Hot Pot 羊腩煲
Hot pots are very popular in cold winter days. For me, mutton hot pot is the top choice. They are served on real fire in order to keep the heat. As mutton is somehow smelly in nature, therefore there are also water chestnuts, mushrooms, tofu sheets and bamboo shoots in the hot pot in order keep the smell away. Lettuce is usually served in a set. But some restaurants cut the price down by not serving the lettuce. So you would have to pay extra, if you want it.
8. Seafood Abalone 鮑魚
Hong Kong is an island, so seafood is almost the favorite of everyone. I used to love seafood feast, i.e. the entire meal consists of seafood only. But I am really afraid of struggling with bones and shells which frequently hurt my mouth. So abalone has gradually become my top pick. Simply steamed and served with green onion, hot oil and soy sauce is very yummy. If you buy the dry ones, they are extremely expensive. Fresh ones are good and economic.
9. Mapo Tofu 麻婆豆付
This is my top choice Sichuan dish. If you love spicy food, then you must try it. Make sure to go to some authentic Sichuan restaurants or you won’t be able to get the real taste which will paralyze your tongue and make you cry!
10. Stir Fried Broccoli with Garlic 蒜蓉清炒西蘭花
As a Cantonese myself, stir fried any vegetable is the quickest and easiest way of cooking. Add some garlic will be perfect and healthy as well. Almost all restaurants serve stir fried vegetables of your choice. At home, stir fried broccoli always come to my mind when I want to cook a quick and simple meal.
After 10 years of writing this Hong Kong Food Blog, I have decided to shift the blog focus a little. If you love this blog, I am sure you love Chinese food as well.
Beginning 2019, I am going to talk more about Chinese food – anything that I know about them, including any interesting facts if possible. So you will get to know Chinese foods better and love them more. And of course I will continue to report my dining experience as usual.
Hong Kong is Asia’s World City and almost any kind of Chinese foods are available here. I am glad that I live here and have chances to taste the Chinese foods that I love.
The new section of this blog is called I LOVE CHINESE FOOD. If you want to browse this section, go over to the side bar labels and click on I LOVE CHINESE FOOD and these posts will pop up. There will also be sub-sections like ILCF – breakfast; ILCF – dinner; ILCF – eggs; ILCF – poultry…and so on. I hope you get it.
I clip food photos as a hobby. As I collect these photos for my personal appreciation, copy-right has not been an issue. But now, I doubt. I try not to use others’ photos, but if I did, I apologies in advance. Should you find your photo in my blog and want it to be removed, please drop me a comment or send me an email. Alternatively please send me a link so I can list the source of the photo, which I will consider a win-win option.
To kick start this new section of I LOVE CHINESE FOOD, I am going to list my top 10 favorite Chinese Foods in my next post. Below is simple preview.
Haven't update this blog for some time, but I'm back now. After the crazy year-end eating in 2018, life seemed to have gone back to normal. Well! It becomes crazy again when I took my sister for her birthday lunch last week. My aim was to have Peking Duck, but the lunch set menu looked very attractive. So we decided to give our stomach a challenge - set lunch + half Peking Duck.
There are many Peking Garden around in Hong Kong. But only the one at Star House has half a Peking Duck available. Others has to order for a full duck. Even so, a full duck here is cheaper than the Peking Garden at Alexandra House. Although the one at AH has the highest rating from tourists, the one at SH here is newly renovated and has harbour view. So it is still one of my most favourite restaurants.
Half Peking Duck
If you want to view the duck cutting show, there is a show window where you can view the restaurant. Since Peking Duck is a high demand item, so duck cutting is on-going most of the time.
The pancakes were separated by a thin slice of paper so they won't stick together. What a nice improvement!
This lunch set menu is only available here. I don't see this at other Peking Garden. In fact I notice the menus and prices varies among different Peking Garden although they all operated under Maxims Group. I always love the menu and price here.
Shrimps and Spare Ribs
Don't assume that the dish size is smaller when it is in a lunch set. They are of the same size of a regular order.
Al dante shrimps - lovely!
Deep Fried Small Yellow Fish
The regular dish has three, but this is a two-person set, so it becomes two (understandable)! Very crispy, delicious!
Millet Congee served with Pan Fried Rice Cake
This is kind of high fiber dessert. But the pan fried rice cakes were too hard, I had to soak them in the congee in order to make them soften and easier for the mouth.
The vegetable dumplings were too plain to be photographed.
I have decided to go on a 3D2N local tour to Tin Shui Wai / Tuen Mun which is at the northern part of New Territory. As I live in Wanchai, it takes 1-2 hours to the destination, so I consider this as a local trip. I stayed at the Harbour Plaza Resort at Tin Shui Wai. The room is very spacious - 409 sq ft. with very good open view. The cost is only HK$720+10% per night including breakfast, which is actually a very good deal.
After checking in to the hotel, we went on a visit to the T Park at Nim Wan Road, Tuen Mun. It is a sustainable sludge incineration plant featuring spa pools, extensive gardens & a wildlife habitat. A HK$53 billion environmental construction which went into work in 2016.
After the visit, a friend of mine who lives in Yuen Long took us to Tuen Mun for a seafood dinner. There are many spots in Hong Kong famous for seafood, Tuen Mun is one of them. The place we went was called Sam Shing where there are many seafood sellers and restaurants. We bought the seafoods and then took them to the restaurant which charged cooking fee only.
Clams with Udon with White Wine Sauce
Very fresh clams!
Signature cooking method of the restaurant. Seafood restaurants in town usually do steaming, baking is relatively rare. It was coated with a layer of smashed potato and baked to golden colour. Very delicious. Forks and Knives were provided.
Mantis Shrimps stir fried with garlic. A very traditional cooking method and yet very well done and yummy. Very fresh with lots of meat. Scissors were provided.
This was my pick and my favourite way of eating shrimps and prawns. A typical way of Cantonese shrimp eating. Simple cooking but very delicious. However we must have to use our fingers. The restaurant provided us with wet tissues and we can easily clean our hands after eating.
Abalone Hot Pot with Ginger and Green Onion
Abalone in hot pot is quite a special way of cooking. Also a signature cooking method of the restaurant. These were fresh abalones which are less expensive than the dry ones. We like this dish very much! This is something I don't understand. Fresh things are usually more expensive than their dry versions, but abalone is the other way round.
Steamed Scallops with Jelly Noodle
Another traditional way of Cantonese seafood cooking. Very simple cooking, just steamed the scallops with garlic and jelly noodle. The tastes all matched very well.
Stir Fried Vegetable with Garlic
As a matter of balance diet, a dish of vegetable is a must. Again we've picked the simplest cooking method - stir fried with garlic.
The Seafood Party
We also had seafood soup and pork chop.
Take West Rail to Tuen Mun, then change to Light Rail #505 (or taxi) to Sam Shing. Buy the seafoods you like and tell the restaurant to cook them the way you want. The fee varies according to the cooking method. Restaurants also provide set menu and some other non seafood choices.
Total cost: slightly under HK$2,000 (~US$260) (including food and cooking). My friend's treat, so I don't know the actual cost.