On January 6, I was taking some friends around town who were visiting Hong Kong. We were on the NW bound MTR and were originally going to drop by Yuen Long to explore (it was around 10 am) when the idea came to me to go to 流浮山 instead!
A good idea....some food shopping and exploring! After spending about 30 minutes buying some oyster sauce, shrimp roe, and observing how the local seafood vendors, restaurants, and fishermen go about their daily lives, we were about to leave, when my friend saw the seafood tanks at Happy Seafood (歡樂海鮮酒家) and decided that we should all have a lunch while we are here. Who was I to say "no" when this restaurant had the best looking collection of sea life in their tanks?
After exploring all the other smaller restaurants nearby, it became very apparent why 歡樂海鮮酒家 is quite famous. They are the first restaurant you see at the roundabout after you arrive in public transportation....the restaurant's exterior is red, but more importantly the incredible display of sealife in their tanks (unfortunately much of it is imported from overseas, not much in the way of local fish, but that should not stop you if you want to eat good stuff and are willing to pay for it). Just by looking at Happy Seafood from the outside, their presence literally dwarves all the other smaller neighborhood restaurants (which is not to say the others are not good, it depends what you are after and your budget).
And of course, executive chef 歡樂海鮮酒家 B哥/劉嘉麟 is legendary with local celebrities and food lovers for his culinary talent, his knowledge of the land and sea, and bringing out the best of seafood.
We got to the restaurant early, and they did not open until 11 am. We carefully studied the seafood tanks to decide what we wanted, and having had breakfast earlier, had a fairly limited quota. After sitting down, two of us came out and talked to the manager to pick out what we wanted. The biggest problem is that you are at the mercy of their pricing structure, and as there are no competitors like them around, they can charge what they like, it is really up to you. And they cannot tell you how much something costs until they weigh it.
When coming to Lau Fau Shan, one must must must must order item is the local shrimp, or 九節蝦. It appears they have a short "shelf" life once fished out of the ocean, and if you are really lucky you might find them around Aberdeen/Ap Lei Chau....but if you are at the source, why not? Really glad we got these. There was a minimum weight they were willing to sell, and as we wanted to sample some, there was difficulty in determining how much. I felt the manager was a little pushy as to what he was willing to recommend as a minimum amount but I glad we agreed to it. Very simple cooking in boiled water, with a delectable chili/jalapeno soy sauce dip is all you need. Intense shrimp flavor with incredibly juicy "brain" juice. 鮮甜無比!!!
Next we picked out a fish. Very difficult to know which is which, and some looked remotely similar to others. A friend pointed out one that looked interesting (hey anything with spots can't be bad!) and it turned out to be a 蘇鼠斑 (I have no idea what the English name of this wild grouper was). In the region of $600 to $700, so I guess it is on the high side (then again a Japanese Hokkaido kinki would run $800 to $1200 anyway, so sometimes there is no reason other than, go for it!). A simple clear steam worked wonders on this fish, and it did not disappoint.
I knew I wanted to try the 麻香攋尿蝦, and the manager insisted that with 4 of us, two mantis prawns were necessary. He was right....the fugly looking beasts were mostly shells, but the way Brother B cooked them was amazing...intense wok sear capturing a sweetened carmelized flavor with soy sauce and a sweetening ingredient, and the fragrance of sesame seeds, made this a winner. Biggest regret come to think of it now, was that we had no room to try his signature lobster dish, and the spiny lobsters in the tank would have been sexcellent for that alone.
For the final dish, we opted for the other signature 食神炒飯. Just on the presentation alone, this garnered a lot of camera attention. Perhaps this is very 2007/2008, but to us it was still a novelty and for me personally, quite a treat since I've been reading about it for so long. Delicious yet feeling a bit sad that the meal came to an end so quickly since our stomachs filled up so quickly, and we no longer had the appetite of a soccer or rugby playing teenager.
This was not a cheap lunch by any means, but as we were on vacation and traveling, this was a treat of all treats. The original plan was to take my friends to roast goose in Yuen Long but I do not regret the detour to Lau Fau Shan and dining here. Perhaps next time, will try the lobster. As it was during a weekday lunch right when they opened, the restaurant was very quiet, and we got seated right away.
I understand how some locals might feel this restaurant is overpriced and is no good, but you have to realize that their style and approach is not for everyone and they are trying to cater to a certain segment of the population, whether local or from other parts of HK. Regardless of what others think, this is a pretty solid restaurant and for sure I will return rather than going to a place like uhm...."Jumbo" (cough cough). :-D
On January 6, I was taking some friends around town who were visiting Hong Kong. We were on the NW bound MTR and were originally going to drop by Yuen Long to explore (it was around 10 am) when the idea came to me to go to 流浮山 instead! A good idea....some food shopping and exploring! After spending about 30 minutes buying some oyster sauce, shrimp roe, and observing how the local seafood vendors, restaurants, and fishermen go about their daily lives, we were about t...