Whenever anyone asks me where to find the best Chinese cuisine, I always say HONG KONG. It is unrivaled in every way imaginable, and nothing comes close, this side of the world, except perhaps Vancouver, BC.
On my recent trip to Hong Kong, I dined at three restaurants possessing Michelin stars, all, with something unique to offer.
Duddell’s is an upscale restaurant located at Shanghai Tang Mansion in Central with two Michelin stars. It is a gorgeous space that’s elegant and oozes sophistication.
Our meal consisted of seven courses, but several items stood out from the rest, including 黑魚籽流心鵪鶉蛋燒賣, shumai stuffed with a soft-boiled quail egg and topped with caviar. The luscious center creates a delectable mouth-feel when you bite into the shumai.
濃魚骨湯燉花膠 a rich broth double boiled with fish and pork to create that luxurious milky consistency. It is immersed with elaborate ingredients such as fish maw, bamboo pith and Chinese cabbage. Its unctuous mouth-feel is from the collagen of the fish maw, an indication of a top-notch double boiled soup.
Another stand-out is 金沙龍蝦球, a perfectly executed dish of moist, tender lobster chunks encased in a paper thin batter that shatters in your mouth with ease. It is coated with a salted egg yolk emulsion which adds umami, and a savory element to the delicate lobster. A not-to-be-missed dish when you visit Duddell’s.
Do not leave without trying 生磨蛋白杏仁茶, one of my favorite Cantonese desserts. Almond Cream with Egg White is a sweet soup created with crushed almonds to form an almond milk. Then, airy egg white is whisked in like floating clouds. The result is a delicious and aromatic concoction that’s second to none.
Next, we lunch at Shang Palace, a two-star Michelin Chinese restaurant at the Shangri-La Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui East. My family has been dining at Shang Palace for the last three decades, and no trip back to Hong Kong without a visit here. The dim sum is fantastic and if you have the opportunity, definitely try it. Make sure you get a taste of the fantastic house-made chile sauces.
On another day, we are at The Peninsula Hotel’s one-star Michelin Chinese restaurant, Spring Moon. Dim sum is the name of the game here, and everything we tasted was exceptional. Try the hargow (shrimp dumplings), and the wugok (mashed taro pastry).
One-star Michelin (awarded in 2013) Dong Lai Shu at The Royal Garden Hotel features Beijing and Huaiyang cuisines. Huaiyang cuisine is derived from the lower reaches of the Huai and Yangtze rivers, and centered upon the cities of Huai’an, Yangzhou and Zhenjiang in Jiangsu Province.
The dishes we enjoyed here were absolutely exquisite. Our cold appetizers of 花彫醉雞, 麻香小象拔, 無錫脆鱔, 花椒鹵腐皮 were simply stunning. Drunken boneless chicken is infused with Chinese wine, and silky on the palate. Chilled baby geoduck is flavorful, yet possesses perfect texture. The marinated bean curd sheet with pepper is savory and firm, but my favorite of the four is crispy eel in honey flavor, a dish I have loved since childhood.
金衣白玉 is a duo of prawns beginning with sautéed river shrimp which are traditionally enjoyed with a little Chinkiang vinegar. They embody a perfect snap that is indicative of fresh river shrimps. Pan-fried prawns coated with salted egg yolk is prepared in a similar technique at the lobster at Duddell’s. The batter is dusted with salted egg yolk for that piquancy which makes your mouth pucker with glee.
Another incredible dish is 水煮桂魚片 a Sichuan style poached Mandarin fish fillet with bean jelly in spicy broth. This item is available at all Sichuan restaurants across the US, however, none is prepared as exquisitely as Dong Lai Shun. Here, the spiciness is well balanced and never overpowers the ingredients in the tureen. I especially love the bean jelly which has soaked up all the flavors of the broth. It is heavenly and addicting.
Hong Kong is the epicenter of fine dining, and at its core is Chinese cuisine. These four Michelin-starred restaurants are well worth a visit for a taste of the varied styles, readily available in this part of the world. The diversity is unparalleled and you won’t find anything like it anywhere else.
Level 3 Shanghai Tang Mansion
1 Duddell St
Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2525 9191
64 Mody Road
Tsim Sha Tsui East, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2733 8754
1/F, The Peninsula Hong Kong
Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2696 6760
Dong Lai Shun
The Royal Garden Hotel
69 Mody Road
Tsim Sha Tsui East, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2733 2020