Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dining in Hong Kong: doesn't get fresher or better than this

with Prof. Steve Luk and RobG

Another short trip to Hong Kong...this time to host the LOG Peer Dinner...but more of that later (the dinner was held in Caprice, a Two Star Michelin Restaurant in coming up). But the evening before the dinner, I had an awesome meal with Steve and another friend Rob at the Eastern side of Kowloon...a busy fishing port called Lei Yue Mun.

Razor clams...wonderful dish, very tasty

The entire place looked like a fishing village, complete with fishing jostling for space with sleek exotic speedboats of the elite. Onshore, the village was dotted with small stores, like market stalls, but each with tanks on tanks of live seafood. Everything which swims can be found here...from clams, to lobsters, to crabs to geoduck, to fishes of all varieties, to shrimps and abalones.

The name of the game is to pick your seafood from someone you know...or risk getting ripped off...and ask them to send the pick to your favourite seafood restaurant which share the village. Allegedly, you can buy your seafood from any of the stores, and have them send to any of the restaurants, but in practice Steve said that he only patronises one store and one restaurant.

We started the meal with steamed prawns:

The prawns had a hard shell, but were superfresh...hey they were alive some 10 mins ago. Simply steamed, they tasted gorgeous. Sweet, crunchy, flavourful. Very nice dipped into a slightly spicy soy sauce or even just deshell, and just pop into your mouth.

Next, razor clams...

These were very large, each with a diameter probably an inch across, and 6 inches long. The first time I had razor clams was in Venice, Italy. The clams were very fresh...Venice prides itself in the freshest fruits of the sea in all Italy, but the clams were cigarette sized...these in HKG were larger than most cigars. The clams have been cut (razored!) and probably fried with some oil, crisp deep fried shallots and a wonderful sauce. They were magnificent. The meat was characteristic in its slight toughness...but razor clams are prized for this tough consistency, cruncy to the bite, and sweet tasting.

We also had mantis prawns.

Looking quite alien, these were prawn like creatures, but do not have the characteristic huge heads of prawns. The shell is a thick strong exoskeleton, kind of indicating that the meat inside is worth protecting against predators. Indeed it was. Using a small scissors supplied by the restaurant, the shell is cut open and exposes the meat...large chunks occupying the entire animal...which were some 4/5 inches long. The meat was very savoury sweet, slightly crunchy, and absolutely delicious. The deep fried shallots and garlic with cut chilli completed the taste experience.

Fish was next...this was a live garoupa:

expertly steamed...just right...kind of medium rare...the meat was fully cooked, but at the edges where of the bones and meat, it was slightly rare...the fish was live, so freshness was not a concern. The meat was very good. Firm to the bite, but yet still soft and tender. Fleshy, juicy, sweet. Excellent fish.

We also had some scallops:

Each shell was roughly 3 inches across...quite large fellows. These were steamed gently. And a heap of rice vermicilli and deep fried garlic was heaped on top. The toppings complemented the scallop meat perfectly.

Finally, we had pepper crab:

This was more regular. The crab was a bit on the small side, but the meat was still very tasty. The crab was quite fat, despite the petite size, and there was good meat. Compared to the other dishes, which were all spectacular, the crab was more average, and not as spectacular...though still very tasty.

I would highly recommend the restaurant...the cooking was very good...but again, for the chef, his genius was not in concocting wonderful, complicated sauces, but to merely allow the fresh, high quality seafood to shine with simple cooking techniques, and good control of the fire to ensure sufficent done-ness and balance with not overcooking it. Inspired!

Lung Yue Restaurant
41 Hoi Pong Road
Lei Yue Mun, Kowloon
Hong Kong SAR

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