Autumn is often the season of reflection, with a yearning for the past.
Just in time, Loong Yat Heen of The Kowloon Hotel is offering a “Taste of Nostalgia”, until December 31, serving authentic Cantonese dishes to satisfy diners’ nostalgic taste buds and feelings.
A complex aroma of animal fat and sweet pickled fruit freely wafts through the room when the baked grass carp intestines (HK$168) is served. Prepared with garlic, mushrooms, orange peels, fritters, pork floss and eggs in a sizzling clay pot, the dish is hearty for everyone.
“Fish intestines are inexpensive ingredients that have always been sold cheaply, or even discarded,” said executive chef Yeung Kin-yip. “But they are tedious to clean, so it is rarely cooked nowadays.”
Another classic Cantonese dish, deep-fried eel fillets in barbecue sauce (HK$218), is a test of the chef’s craftsmanship. The crucial part in cooking this dish is constantly flipping the eel fillets in hot oil to create a golden-brown crispy skin whilst keeping the meat tender. “Autumn is the harvest season when eels have a rich layer of fat. We coat them with satay and secret barbecue sauce to make them moreish,” Yeung said.
Typically a famous street food, the pan-fried bell peppers stuffed with shrimp paste (HK$158) reaches a new level in the hands of the expert. The minced shrimp mixed with spring onion takes the chef a couple of hours to prepare using a traditional hand pressing technique.
“The combination of soft shrimp paste and crispy peppers is refreshing, and we serve it with soy sauce to highlight the umami of the seasonal shrimp,” Yeung said.
The braised pork tendons with pomelo peel in abalone sauce (HK$98) has a magical taste. The pork tendons are tender and the pomelo skin has a surprising, melt-in-your-mouth smoothness.
The time-consuming process is what makes the dish magical. It takes the chef two days to prepare the peel, repeatedly soaking it in water and wringing it by hand to remove it’s astringency, giving it a sponge-like appearance.
The pan-fried tofu and mushrooms in foie gras sauce (HK$198) has a light flavor. The foie gras is used to create a crispy coat for the soft tofu, which is filled with diced shiitake mushrooms, coriander and roast pork.
“People don’t make these traditional dishes at home anymore. We use seasonal ingredients and traditional techniques to present these time-consuming dishes delicately,” Yeung said.
The chef also recommended crocodile herbal soup (HK$328) and double boiled black chicken soup with cordyceps (HK$328) for family dining.
Meanwhile, Regal Court at the Regal Kowloon Hotel is presenting a “Hong Kong Nostalgic Cuisine” menu until October 31, showcasing a wide range of tantalizing classic dishes.
Veggie lovers should hurry and grab their chance to taste the juicy braised assorted fungus wrapped with bean curd sheets (HK$208), which are filled with mixed mushrooms carefully selected by the chef.
The 10-dish menu includes crispy prawn toast dumplings (HK$258) made with hand-picked fresh king prawns and the creamy textured all-time favorite, sautee fresh milk with seafood (HK$208).
Food-loving Instagram addicts also shouldn’t miss the newly opened Food Opera at Citygate Tung Chung, where you can enjoy an Asian feast in an old Hong Kong themed food court.
Inspired by the old-style public housing estates, it combines the city’s traditional culture with modern aesthetics. The interior design features elements such as colorful walls, traditional bamboo scaffolding and Cantonese slang decor.
Food Opera Citygate houses nine popular local and Asian restaurants, including 27-year-old classic dim sum eatery Yu Ming Hin, Michelin-recommendation Thai Chiu, Singaporean-Malaysian Sergeant Kitech, Japanese 1 Ban and Korea House.
(This article was published at The Standard on October 4, 2019: Weekend Glitz: Blast from the past )