Depending on how you like your good old Cantonese slash Guangdong food,
you may be like me -- the best restaurants are not usually the prettiest or the newest or the fanciest. My go-to Cantonese restaurants in Hong Kong are all old, small -- some are quite seedy looking but they each have a very loyal clientele that appreciates good taste ... in food more than in ambience.
Ho Hung Kee (Mr. Ho's Shop. "Kee" stands for shop, which is why it seems that almost every other chinese restaurant in Hong Kong has "Kee" in its name) has been around for over 60 years and has received accolades, both from diners and lately, even a star from the Michelin Guide. A Michelin star, particularly for a local dim sum restaurant always adds to the already long queues snaking out the door.
Ho Hung Kee now has a branch on the 12th floor of upscale mall Hysan Place so my friends and I were able to go and try it out without having to worry about the long wait. To ensure we had a table for our party of 5, we went for an early dinner at 6:30 p.m. There was hardly any one around.
The cool blue interiors, the fancy lanterns, crystal accents and the classic blue and white pottery looked completely at home in the mall. While it was my first time to eat in Ho Hung Kee,
my foodie friend who is very much at home in Hong Kong, and who was with us for dinner had recommended it on the strength of its reviews.
I did wonder if all these froufrou accoutrements would add to or distract from the food experience.
Since there were five of us, we were able to order quite a number of things from the menu. The Fried Sauce Noodle was sweetish spicy and had generous amounts of tender slices of pork. Each forkful of noodle blended with the sauce and a bit of pork was a tasty treat. It was quite a big serving too -- perfectly proportioned for sharing!
These Baked Barbecue Pork Buns were delightful little bites of goodness. The pastry was not so oily. The char siew filling was tender, not overwhelmed by the sauce and certainly not too minced -- you could taste the small savoury bits of barbecued pork. Each order came with three pieces and since we were 5, there was a lot of hemming and hawing as to who would get the last order.
Ahem, it was not me.
We also ordered a yuba skin dim sum which I wasn't able to taste as I was concentrating on the above mentioned Barbecued Pork bun. Always go for the meaningful calories, that's my motto!
Ho Hung Kee has built its reputation (and its 1-star Michelin rating) on their Shrimp Wonton Noodles. So of course, we ordered two bowls. What a disappointment!
The serving was small. The shrimp wontons were puny and quite bland.
The noodles had that slight alkaline taste which always puts me off.
The shrimp wonton noodles at Tsim Chai Kee are head and shoulders above Ho Hung Kee's.
My tastebuds and I cannot understand how they can claim that this is their signature dish.
My friend ordered this Curry Prawns and we all agreed that it was a terrific choice. The prawns were big and succulent and the curry sauce was just sublime! Tiny-beads-of-sweat inducing hot but you could taste the richness and goodness of the spices. Please don't judge this by its messy appearance, I took this photo after we had all taken a spoonful from the bowl. And we all had the same thought afterwards -- we wished we had a bowl of rice to sop up the curry sauce with!
Cheung fan is one of my dim sum favourites. We ordered this large portion of assorted rice rolls. They arrived with the sauce placed thoughtfully on the side. I thought each silken savoury bite needed no sauce at all. It was easily my favourite dish in Ho Hung Kee, in its fancy-fied, prettified incarnation in Hysan Place.