Nothing screams “HONG KONG” better than a dim sum lunch with friends. And this is exactly what happened a week into my trip with a dim sum lunch at Budaoweng restaurant in Times Square, Causeway Bay. I was a bit confused as to why we were going to a hotpot restaurant to have dim sum, but my friends assure me that by night Budaoweng does hotpot, but by day, a respectable dim sum lunch is offered.
Another reason this restaurant was chosen over others was simple — they took reservations — and with our big group, it was vital we had a table right away instead of standing around waiting for our number to be called.
We passed the dim sum paper around so everyone could mark what they wanted to eat before handing it to the server. Before long, steaming baskets arrived at the table and onto the lazy susan, slowly filling up until there was no room for more.
Har gow or shrimp dumplings are usually my favorites at dim sum and these were pretty good. The shrimp were plump and had a nice snap while the wrapper was not thick.
I don’t particularly care for Siu Mai or pork dumplings, but these ones were great with a bit of shrimp on top finished off with a dollop of fish roe.
Most of the time I don’t order Cheung Fun — rice noodles — but we got an order of shrimp and an order of bamboo pith filling for the vegetarians. Cheung fun in Hong Kong is so different from anywhere else with the noodles so delicate that they just slid down your throat smoothly and quickly.
I prefer Cha Leung over cheung fun. Cha Leung is actually the cheung fun noodles wrapped around a Chinese cruller (doughnut) so you get the crispy and soft in one bite. Texturally this is heavenly when the crullers are light and airy. It was absolutely delicious but I only managed to get one piece as it was snatched up rather quickly. Wish we had ordered another plate of this.
Vegetarian rolls were ordered for the vegetarians and these were filled with so many different things such as bean sprouts, wood ear fungus, carrots, bamboo shoots and more. The rice noodle wrapper were translucent and bursting with filing.
My son loves barbecue pork buns. The Cha Siu Bao here are fluffy and not too heavy on the bun. The filling looks scrumptious too but I can’t say for sure because I never got one.
I love chicken’s feet and the ones here are perfectly seasoned with the right amount of saltiness and spiciness. They cut up the chicken’s feet too so you’re not gnawing on an entire claw, making it a lot easier to eat.
In Hong Kong, other than the ubiquitous jeen lo bak go or fried turnip cake, you also get Steamed Lo Bak Go which is what I love. Bits of Chinese sausage, mushrooms, dried shrimp and scallions are dotted throughout and you can totally taste the shreds of daikon in this deliciously delicate dim sum item.
Of course, greens are a must and a plate of Gai Lan -Chinese broccoli — was ordered for good measure. The vegetables are smaller in size and so much more tender than the ones found in the US.
The Spring Rolls are always done right at dim sum with a great crispy exterior and nice vegetable-filled interior. Funnily, spring rolls in Hong Kong are always served with a Worcestershire dipping sauce.
Beef Balls are another item which is served with Worcestershire sauce. These were pretty good — beefy taste with cilantro chopped up inside the meat. Fragrant, flavorful and textured nicely, not too tough and not too soft.
Surprisingly, the Xiao Long Bao (XLBs) weren’t half bad here. They weren’t spectacular but they were decent and contained the pocket of soup so greatly desired in one of these dumplings.
My son wanted Cong You Bing (scallion pancakes) but they weren’t like the ones we get back home so he was disappointed. These are the traditional Shanghainese style scallion pancakes with the scallions rolled into the dough and formed into a little roll. I like these because each bite contains a pocket of scrumptious green onions filling — a bit greasy, but delicious.
For the vegetarians — there were two at the table — we ordered some Salt and Pepper Tofu Cubes which were enjoyed by even the carnivores.
At the end of a dim sum meal in Hong Kong, it is customary to order some noodles and rice dishes as a filler because dim sum usually isn’t substantial enough to fill you up and take you through to dinner.
Vegetable Chow Mein is Hong Kong-style fried noodles. Egg noodles are crisped up and a topping of stir fried vegetables are poured over the top before serving. The sauce softens some of the noodles while keeping some still crispy. This is something restaurants in the West aren’t able to fully replicate well.
The Seafood Rice Steamed in Lotus Leaf is something quite traditional in Cantonese cuisine. Lotus leaf has a distinctive aroma and when rice is cooked inside, the fragrance of the leaf permeates into the rice leaving it with a wonderful heady finish.
This is the kind of meal you come to Hong Kong for. Quintessentially Cantonese worthy of a repeat performance. At the end of the day, the meal cost HK$220/US$28 per person and I was quite satiated and happy to share a meal of this caliber with my dear friends.
Budaoweng Hot Pot Cuisine
1 Matheson Street
+852 3102 9363
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