Saturday, August 25, 2012

first lunch in hong kong

When Mother and I arrived at Holiday Inn Golden Mile in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon at 1130AM on 11 August 2012, our room wasn't ready yet. No problem. We went across the street to Wu Kong Shanghai Restaurant for some lunch.

Like many restaurants in extremely crowded Hong Kong, Wu Kong is located in a basement. Which means that there's no natural light, so excuse the yellow-tinged photos.

Peanuts with nori and salt. Quite addicting.

Actually, the main reason I wanted to eat here was to try the xiao long bao which shootfirsteatlater believes beats Din Tai Fung's and Crystal Jade's. Them's fighting words.

Wu Kong's XLB, HK$32. Taste OK, skin too thick. My heart still belongs to Din Tai Fung.

One must admit that presentation is not Wu Kong's strong suit and the menu descriptions are not very appetizing, but as long as the food's yummeh, who cares? Case in point: honey ham and crispy bean curd sheet in bread.

This is ALMOST how the dish looked when it arrived at our table.

 Soft, crispy, sweet, salty all in one bite: Delicious! HK$140

We thought we'd try to eat healthy so we ordered fish. Oh, what an exercise in futility that turned out to be.

Fried pomfret with spicy sauce which wasn't spicy at all, but the fish was wonderful. HK$140

Nothing makes Mother happier than a full table. Even though there seemed to be enough food for the two of us, she asked for Shanghai hairy crab. But it wasn't in season yet, so our super efficient and helpful server suggested the "royal crab" instead. A small crab that cost a small fortune, and took ages to cook. My curiosity was aroused.

When I glanced at the poster, it just looked like an ordinary crab to me.

Smelled strongly of wine. Took 30 minutes to get it drunk before they cooked it. At least it died happy. About HK$300

The reason it was so expensive? 90% of the crab was fat and roe. Sinfully divine.

Verdict: The xiao long bao: forget about it. The honey ham and bean curd sheet "sandwich": outstanding. The pomfret: really, really good. I ate everything on the plate, including the impeccably deep-fried bones and the pickled vegetables sprinkled on top. The royal crab: should be on every self-respecting foodie's list of must-tries, although I must say that I was wracked with guilt after eating it and immediately set a date with the treadmill.

Update: I just got an SMS from Mother. She says that the royal crab actually cost HK$650 or HK$670, not HK$300+ as I originally thought. That's over US$85 for the little critter. My half of it fit into my cupped palm. Regarding what I said about it being a must-try? If you can afford it, then by all means go ahead. I'm just glad that my meal was sponsored.

Wu Kong Shanghai Restaurant is a good restaurant, but I probably would not go back. Sorry, that's just the way things are in Hong Kong, where there's a good restaurant on every street and not enough time to eat at all of them.

Wu Kong's website

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