It was an outing in Sham Shui Po with my new friend John MacArthur whom I met on Facebook through a mutual friend. John was taking me to lunch at one of his favorite little eateries and I was eager to follow. Sham Shui Po isn’t one of those areas that I venture out to on a regularly basis, not even when I lived here, so the thought of someone showing me a hole-in-the-wall was really exciting.
After a short taxi ride, we arrived outside of Shandong Chinese restaurant and I didn’t know this was the place because there were tons of other restaurants around. I exclaimed “oh, Shandong food! I like this sort of food”.John asked if I wanted to eat that or, there were Thai places just around the corner. I was quite happy to step inside and eat this food without much hesitation.
The restaurant seats about 25-30 people tightly and they were generous enough to give us a four-top and left us in peace to peruse the menu. John asked if I read Chinese and I said I do, but only menus, which definitely comes in handy while in Hong Kong because the majority of hole-in-the-walls do not go to the trouble of translating anything into English.
Just a quick word of warning, since there is no English name, I am using a phonetic version of the Chinese (Cantonese) written into English and then a translation.
We started with Ma Lat Gai (HK$22/US$2.85)– poached chicken with a Sichuan peppercorn sauce — tender, moist pieces of chicken with bone intact and drenched with a gorgeous numbing peppercorn sauce with tons of cilantro.
Chuen siu or skewers (HK$10/US$1.30 each) is offered in lamb, chicken or pork and we opted for one of each. Our favorite was the lamb. All of them were seasoned with cumin and salt, cumin being one of the widely used spices in the most northern parts of China.
Tza Tseung Meen (HK$20/US$2.60) or Chinese bolognaise is a noodle dish with a ground pork sauce topped with julienned cucumbers. The base of the sauce is made from beans and my mom makes a mean version of this. Unfortunately this was weak in flavor and I wouldn’t order it again.
My favorites were the Sui Gau or dumplings (HK$12/US$1.50/5pcs). We ordered five pieces of two types. The Chinese celery filling was nice and the celery retained its crunch. There was also a good ratio of meat to vegetables which keeps the filling moist.
However, the dill and pork was our favorite with the wonderful aromas of the dill shining through. I am so glad I ordered this — I didn’t even know it was dill in Chinese so it was a pleasant surprise when we bit into them.
Of course, no Chinese meal is complete without some sort of greens and John loves the Potato Shoots (HK$10/US$1.30) which are blanched and then drizzled with a light soy sauce. I love this vegetable and sometimes buy it from the farmers markets.
These little places are still my favorites to eat at. The food is good, simple and tasty. This meal only set us back a mere HK$120/US$15.40 total. We were full and very satisfied without breaking the bank.
Shandong Chinese Restaurant
G/F, 81C Un Chau Street
Sham Shui Po