Tuesday, August 28, 2012

sunday in sai kung, part one

Introducing my new favorite restaurant in Hong Kong: Hung Kee Seafood Restaurant in Sai Kung.

1. Fabulous view of "rural" Hong Kong.

2. Al fresco dining with a cool sea breeze.

3. The most mind-boggling display of live seafood I have ever seen.

4. Choose your own adventure. Tell the staff how you want your sea critters cooked, or just say yes to all of their suggestions.

5. Doggies welcome.

6. Steamed scallops with sotanghon (bean thread noodles), fried garlic and scallions. Plump, succulent, delicious shellfish.

7. Deep-fried mantis shrimp with chili. Finger-lickin' good. Oh, and that roe!

8. Fresh orange slices for dessert... free! (Why are the oranges in Hong Kong so sweet? Where do they come from?)

Verdict: OK, OK. So I only had two dishes and that shouldn't have been enough for me to say that I liked Hung Kee, but I absolutely loved it. It's the entire package: the beautiful setting, the efficient service, the smile on every diner's face, and to top it all, the exquisite food.

I have no words to adequately describe my experience of Hung Kee's synthesis of fresh ingredients and excellent cooking technique. My scallops were exactly how scallops should taste. My shrimp was the pinnacle of crustacean goodness. Yez, even the sliced orange blew my mind taste buds.

If you go to Hong Kong and fail to eat at Hung Kee Seafood Restaurant in Sai Kung, you will regret it. I will pity you forever.

Caveat: If you do a bit of research on the internet, you'll find some people who have nothing good to say about Hung Kee (too expensive, lousy service, bad food) so let me give you some tips: Don't go during the lunch or dinner rush. I went at 2pm on a Sunday and the staff was more relaxed and friendly, and the place wasn't crowded. Don't order the stuff on their menu. Hung Kee is about the fresh seafood on display, not standard Cantonese fare that you can get anywhere. And finally, don't expect it to be cheap. You're paying for the whole shebang, not just the food. I spent HK$428 (US$55) and was glad to give them my money.

Where's Sai Kung and how to get there? Stand by for the next blog post.

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