Canto pop stars

Hong Kong is a treasure trove of Cantonese eateries, offering everything from exquisite fine-dining to down-to-earth hawker fare.

Great China Club at Lai Chi Kok, which opened in 2015 as a private club, is famous for the contemporary Cantonese cuisine of award-winning chef Chan Wai-teng.

Luckily for the city’s gourmets, the club has rebranded itself as a dining and events destination that is now open to all.

To celebrate, all a la carte dim sum lunch orders will get a 30 percent discount until late June. A premium lunch dim sum platter (HK$338) showcases eight favorites, including dim sum specialties such as sweetened black sesame rolls (HK$48), steamed shrimp dumplings with celery in golden fish shape (HK$72) and chilled Chinese hawthorn and coconut pudding (HK$45).

Chef’s recommendations from the a la carte menu can make a complete meal. Among them, the barbecued prime Iberico pork (HK$248) appears on every dining table. It has a meaty aroma, smoky and slightly sweet, while its proportion of fat is just right and not greasy.

Until late June, all a la carte dinners will receive 15 percent off.

Dazzled by too many choices? Two new 12-dishes Signature Set Menus for four, Drum and Guqin (HK$1,888), have been launched at promotion prices. Each set offers three appetizers, one soup, four main courses, one rice and three desserts.

Chan’s pick from the Drum menu is the braised sliced pork belly with dried bamboo and Chinese cabbage. The belly meat is thinly sliced to resemble a pagoda with a little white bamboo shoot hidden inside.

“This dish is a refined and miniature version of the classic Hangzhou Huaiyang dish, which requires meticulous handcrafting skills and is a well-balanced bite of meat and vegetables,” said Chan.

From the Guqin menu, Chan recommended the steamed cabbage rolls stuffed with minced pork and shrimps in pumpkin sauce.His version uses bamboo fungus, morel mushroom and king oyster mushroom for added texture.

Also on Kowloon side, The Chinese Library at Hyatt Regency Hong Kong in Tsim Sha Tsui has reopened with a new a la carte menu centered on the restaurant’s concept of authentic Cantonese dishes amidst a modern art deco setting.

The signature dish is the crispy smoked chicken with jasmine tea (HK$450), which is inspired by the roasted aroma of Japanese brown rice tea. A Lung Kwong chicken is slow-fried before being smoked in a mixture of rice, jasmine tea and Pu’er tea for 10 minutes. A second round of deep-frying gives the chicken a crispy golden skin but tender flesh.

Another standout is the wok-fried kailan with dried halibut (HK$208). After being carefully skinned, de-boned and torn into small slices, the dried halibut is tender and sweet-scented with an appetizing aroma.

More than 15 seafood and shellfish and nine vegetarian options are available. Previous signature dishes, like the double-boiled crab meat soup with bamboo pith and young papaya (HK$228) and fried prawn in a clay pot with vermicelli and ginger (HK$318), are beloved by patrons.

For a fine dining experience, Ying Jee Club in Central has launched a new tasting menu with six (HK$1,080) or eight courses (HK$1,480).

The starter, chilled sliced sea whelk with jellyfish and caviar and pan-fried Kagoshima A4 wagyu beef, combines Western and Chinese cooking techniques to ensure tender beef cubes that contrast with chilled delicacies.

Another fusion of Western and Chinese is the crispy suckling pig with goose liver pate and wok-fried sauteed pigeon, serving as a combination of two popular Cantonese dishes with a French twist.

Meanwhile, the wok-fried lobster with shallot and scallion uses locally sourced crustacean for its fresh flavor and texture.

The chef also recommends the pan-fried crab claw with shrimp paste and crispy conpoy, which is pan-fried before being braised with 12-hour homemade stock to enhance its complex flavor.

Completing the dining experience are two desserts that use traditional ingredients such as lotus seed and kumquat. The ingredients, which are regarded as cooling in traditional Chinese medicine, are perfect for hot summer days.

(This article was published at The Standard on June 5, 2020: Weekend Glitz: Canto pop stars )

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