Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Eating Hong Kong: Dim Sum at The Grand Hyatt

I apologise for no post this Monday. I was in Hong Kong, and could not find time to write this blog. But the "bonus" is that the next few posts will be focussed on gastronomy in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong and Kowloon is certainly a gastronomic destination. Not only to enjoy and explore the well developed Cantonese cuisine indigenous to the region, but also for the highly developed cuisines of the world. This trip, I had sampled Cantonese, and also had an incredible dinner at an Italian inspired modern cuisine at IFC. But first, one of the best Dim Sum meals I have had for a long time.

Situated at the 8th floor of the Grand Hyatt at Wanchai, the restaurant commands spectacular views of Central and Kowloon.

The interior is beautifully decorated, with tables set rather far apart for good privacy.

The usual first:

Har Kau:

Nice. Beautiful, almost transluscent skin. Very thin, but resilient enough that the skin does not break. The prawn within is super fresh, crunchy.

Crystal Dumpling:

The skin on this one is even more impressive. Even more transluscent...almost transparent, giving a peek-a-boo to the insides. And again, despite the thin skin, it is elastic and stretchy not to break on the prodding of the chopsticks. The filling is fresh, and very tasty.

The char siew pau is also quite good:

The pastry skin is very light, fluffy. The char siew inside very good.

Speaking of char siew, on its own, this is truly superb char siew:

This is another landmark char siew. Compared to Meng Kee and Oversea in Malaysia, the style is different...the Hong Kong style char siew is sweet, but not as sweet as the Malaysian type. The taste is salty led, with a judicious seasoning which is salty, but with a crust which is beautifully charred and maillared due probably to either honey or malt sugar used to coat the meats before roasting. The Malaysian version is more sweet, almost to the point of being coy, though not quite. I like both. The meat is beautifully fat, and the charred portions are wonderful, and crisp with a heavy smoky flavour. Wonderful.

The cheong fun is also very nice:

Again, the chef shows his virtuosity with the thin pasta (?)...and the prawns within are very fresh, crunchy. The light soy sauce highlights the taste beautifully. Very elegant.

We also had some chicken pie.

Hmm...not quite Dim Sum. The pie is very nice, but for me not really best of class.

We also had a sharksfin dumpling soup.

The stock is truly superb. Probably made by hours of boiling in the kitchen with chicken, pork, bones and other wonderful stock stuff. The dumplings have the same light pastry skin, wrapped around a rather generous serving of loose sharks fin. The concoction is double boiled, and before serving a sprinking of dried, braised scallops are added for extra punch.

What also impressed me was the vegetables. Hong Kong Kailan, huge ones...the base of the stalks must measure at least 1cm in diameter:

The kailan is very tender, and excellent taste. Normally with this huge kailan in Singapore, like Crystal Jade's version here, the vegetable is very hard, and tough. This kailan is very tender, soft. It was served uncut, but the tenderness is easy to easily chomp.

And to round up the meal, fried rice:

Wonderfully fragrant. Bits of crunchy vegetables provide counterpoint to the beautifully fried rice. Though it is fried, the dish is very light, and not greasy at all.

And the desserts are interesting as well.

We started with phee tan sou:

Like char siew sou...the flaky pastry is used, in this case to encase a beautiful slice of century egg, and young ginger. The taste of this little dumpling is delightful. Truly interesting.

And more regular desserts, we had cut fruits and a very good custard bun:

Certainly one of the better Dim Sum meals I have had for a while. Highly recommended as Shiok and Hochiak!

Photonote: This post was shot entirely with the new Fujifilm X100 camera. Only two shots - of the char siew and of the camera itself, is shot with my LX3. My first impressions of this super desirable camera was during the IT Show, and perhaps its the super high expectations due to the internet hype generated by Fuji since announcing it in Photokina 2010 was a bit disappointing. This experience of the camera, owned by my good friend Sean, is much better. Two things about this camera annoys me. Firstly, it is quite a bit larger than I had expected. The X100 is almost the size of a Leica M9. Secondly, the exposure compensation is done by a small dial at the right of the top plate of the camera, and it is all too easy to move this during shooting. In fact, unknown to me then, I shot most of this set at +1EV.

The camera is truly super retro looking. And I just love the looks. The focussing is much faster than the LX3. Perhaps its the setting, but I find it a bit startling that the rear LCD remains blur, and suddenly snaps into focus. The focus speed is faster than the LX3, which is a true slouch in focussing, and perhaps about as fast as an LX5.

One Harbour Road
Grand Hyatt Hotel
1 Harbour Road
Hoing Kong
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