Old school Hong Kong style Strong flavoured, interesting dishes Clean, quiet, polite service And good value. Recommended!
This was my second visit to this old school Guanddong style eatery.
This time, I came here with my wife and two friends. They were a bit lazy at first and would rather have food around Jordan, where we've been drinking at. At my "enthusiastic encouragement", they finally hopped on a taxi to this restaurant.
It was about 8:45pm and we waited for about 15-20 minutes.
I don't think there is an English menu here. So you'll either have to learn it or bring a friend who understands it (or point at the dishes at other tables and hope those customers would not point back at you - with a beef knife. )
Most of the food here are pretty strong flavoured and high in cholestrol.
Garlic chives with tou ban chang and chili with : Chicken Kidney/Frog legs/Pig's Skin...etc. to name a few. Shanghai style chili sauce (Lau Gan Ma) with: Pork's neck/ Garoupa Meat/Frog legs. Diced chili with: Fish maw/ Fish Jaw Hunan style chili with chicken...etc. Pepper and pork offal soup. Many ginger based casseroles. Even a normal plate of veggies is fried with lard.
You get the picture.
After getting a table at the 1st floor, we ordered the following:
Pepper and pork offal soup:
This was everyone's favorite.
A typical Chiu Chow fair. Very heavy white peppercorn taste with a lot of pickled Chinese mustard (?) Quite a lot of pork offals (shredded stomach). Perfectly cleaned, quite fresh and chewy.
Warms you up during winter and clears out the humidity in your body.
Standard size is already good for 3-4 persons!
Oyster fried in batter:
A signature dish of this restaurant. I ordered this on both occasions.
A whole plate filled with a lot of fried battered small oysters. The batter was light and a bit like a thin layer of bread instead of the more oily breadcrumbs version. It' a lot less heavy and oily than the usual crispy fried oysters you get elsewhere.
The taste of the oysters were not too overwhelming, which I like.
Perfect with beer. We ordered Yan Jing Beer - a very good alternative to Tsing Tao from Beijing.
Glazed spare ribs in yellow plum and honey sauce：
This was just average. The texture of the ribs were not bad. Nice balance between meat and fat. So it's not bad as far as spare ribs goes (better than ribs at TGI Fridays or Dan Ryan's, for example) but I was looking for a dish with more impact.
The taste was fairly mild with honey and plum/orange sauce. No complaints.
During my first vist, I ordered sweet and sour ribs:
This was quite good but nothing spectacular. Nothing wildly different from what you get normally. The good thing was there the fried ribs were quite meaty and quite crispy outside. Why order sweet and sour pork here when you have more exotic choices? Still, no complaints. I think this is better than the yellow plum ribs. Worth a try if you want something "safe".
I ordered the same dish with chicken kidney on my first visit but it was out of stock this time. The polite waitress suggested frog legs. I politely declined. (I eat neither the Chinese version nor the French version.) I choose pork skin instead.
I like pork skin for hotpots, Che Jai Mein (literally "cart noodle") and with curry fish balls. This was one of the few times I had it fried.
The texture was interesting if a bit weird and funny. Almost like eating a slightly tougher and chewier version of sea cucumber - it's almost like ... rubber? It's an acquired taste.
However, the fried garlic chives were excellent with chopped chili. There are many other dishes with this combination. Just ask the staff for recommendations.
During my first visit, I tried garlic chives, chili with chicken liver:
The garlic chives fried with a bit of tou ban chang (bean paste) and chili. It was delicious. I believe the chicken liver was fried with Chinese rose wine. It had a very aromatic flavour to it. The taste was quite strong and the texture was tender. Good.
Cold shell fish：
Another signature dish:
This was very good. Most of us liked it, especially my wife. It's essentially flash broiled (if there's such a term) clams and then pickled in a chopped chili, raw garlic , black vinegar and coriander mixture. It's then chilled (possibly for a few hours) and then also served chilled. Quite a big plate of clams.
In fact, that mixture is very similar to the one for "Mouthwatering Chicken" 口水雞. (I took liberty with the translations as the literal translation - "Saliva Chicken" - seems neither appetizing nor mouthwatering.)
The place was a bit aged but clean. There were three table for 4 persons (one table for 2) on the 1st floor. Three larger tables for groups of 10 upstairs and another 3-4 table for 4 persons as well. The whole place was air-conditioned. Reasonably comfy and surprisingly not too noisey (at about 9:30p.m.)
The bill came down to HK$440 (including a few bottles of beer)
What's in a bloke?
Usually, the key defining feature of such a local eatery is the type of clientele who frequents the place. This restaurant is reputably a meeting place for "blokes" in the area. The decor, the price and the types of food provided certainly matched this streotypical image. I was also expecting rough services to complete the picture.
However, what struck me was how polite all the staff members were. This was very surprising and completely changed my stereotype of old school Hong Kong eateries. They were both soft spoken and smiling. When we left, all said thanks and good bye.
The old master chef was very quiet during his breaks. He's a non-smoker (itself rare). He just sat quietly at a table quietly comtemplating when there weren't any orders.
Furthermore, during my two visits here I've noticed here is that most of the customers here were quite young; in fact, there were more under 30's than otherwise.
Another interesting phenomenon is that the teenagers or young adults swear a lot more than the supposed "blokes". The few tables of blokes were just quietly relaxing with their beer, frogs leg and infrequent statements about their views on the latest news.
I suppose this use of swear words maybe an attempt to be more macho/mature. It's a learning process which I suppose all guys had gone/will go through (including yours truely). Some remain at the stage where they use it inappropriately and in an unnecessarily vulgar manner - much to the annoyance to others around them; some only use it when they're drunk and excited; and some dropped it altogether.
But there is a breed of guys who eventually learn how to use it naturally. It's used sparingly, precisely and with impact.
It becomes part of their grammar. Listeners won't feel (too) awkward because it flows smoothly.
Those are the guys with husky voices due to Marlborough Reds and beer.
All their friends are guys of the same age (middle-aged) talking about horse-racing, politics in Hong Kong and Mainland China. Playing mahjong/cards. Otherwise, they enjoy each other's company over bottles of beer and don't feel the need to converse very much.
Confident that they've seen it all, they are calm, content and solid. There is no such thing as dress codes and appearances doesn't really matter (for them). Life for these gentlemen is controlled, routine and predictable; most importantly - they enjoy it.
Perhaps these gentlemen, in my humble opinion, could be coined as the "Hong Kong Bloke".
老派斯文'佬'地方 食物惹味，重咸重辣 冷氣開放，環境企理 服務有禮，價錢公道 推介！ Old school Hong Kong style Strong flavoured, interesting dishes Clean, quiet, polite service And good value. Recommended! This was my second visit to this old school Guanddong style eatery. This time, I came here with my wife and two friends. They were a bit lazy at first and would rather have food around Jordan, where we've been drinking at. At my "enthusiastic encourageme...
My husband went there before 6pm and got a table, otherwise had to call and book ahead. We ordered fried chinese celery with pig lung. I asked them to add pig intestine too since I want to try more things. It turned out the pig lung are crispy and good but the pig intestine are too soft. Their butterfly 'nan' is famous, so we ordered but it turned out to be average. Will definitely go back and tried other dishes. They got a lot of traditional dishes on their menu. e.g. goose intestine, pig liver, fried cuttle fish, fried cuttle fish mouth, etc. This is a very small restaurant in an very old building, they do not have many waiter/waitress but their service was good.
My husband went there before 6pm and got a table, otherwise had to call and book ahead. We ordered fried chinese celery with pig lung. I asked them to add pig intestine too since I want to try more things. It turned out the pig lung are crispy and good but the pig intestine are too soft. Their butterfly 'nan' is famous, so we ordered but it turned out to be average. Will definitely go back and tried other dishes. They got a lot of traditional dishes on their menu. e.g. goose intestin...