I’m returning to my Hong Kong reviews — and there aren’t many of them left — this one being rather dear to my heart. My friend Bernice was reviewing Tsui Hang Village for her magazine and asked me to tag along. Tsui Hang Village was my mom and her best friend’s favorite place to go for meals when I was in high school and college and remained their favorite until we emigrated to Australia and her friend to Canada.
Therefore, a lot of memories were spawned from our time here and returning was a bittersweet memory. My mother’s best friend passed away a few years ago and the mere thought of eating here brought many memories of our meals together even though it is technically no longer the same restaurant.
The reason being, the original Tsui Hang Village has now moved from the ground floor upstairs but still remains in the Mira Hotel (formerly Miramar Hotel). The restaurant is now modern and chic, no longer the loud, glaring Chinese restaurant of yesteryear. The restaurant is trying to attract the younger crowd, the kids and grand-kids of the patrons who used to frequent decades ago and by the looks of it, it is succeeding.
Bernice and I perused the menu and I saw a few things I definitely wanted to order, one of which was the Braised Duck Tongue (HK$58/US$7.45) I love duck tongue and even though we can get it in California, it isn’t always braised in a sauce worthy of this delicacy. Often, the flavor is too weak, but here, it is robust and rich, making them absolutely a joy to start the meal off with.
I also love Roasted Goose (HK$118/US$15/half) and we ordered half (you can order a whole goose too for HK$180/US$23) but unfortunately, the goose was tough and chewy. The skin which is usually prized for its crispiness was also on the stale side leaving it hard to swallow. We left it and the server took it away and removed it from the check.
Bernice was wanting some soup so she chose Mandarin Peel Shredded Duck and Sliced Fish Maw Soup (HK$216/US$27.70 for two bowls). Fish maw or “swim bladder” is the gas-filled organ that keeps the fish afloat. The mandarin peel was awesome, very aromatic but not overpowering. I love how it infused the soup but I was really hoping for more fish maw as I only detected a few strands swimming in my soup. That was sad since I love the almost jelly fish-like texture of the fish maw.
One of the house specials is the Shredded Boneless Chicken HK$180/US$23 half portion) and it is the most flavorful, tender chicken I’ve ever tasted. I don’t know why chicken always tastes so much better in Hong Kong. Served with two sauces, one a ginger scallion and the other, a ginger-salt-oil (沙薑汁) which is so hard to find States-side, I crave it whenever I eat poached chicken — the ginger scallion one I have mastered quite well.
Braised Pomelo Peels with Shrimp Roe and Seasonal Greens (HK$128/US$16.40) was ordered because we had such a wonderful pomelo rind dish at Fook Lam Moon and were craving more. This was cooked the same way, but texturally it wasn’t as refined. The rind retained a lot of liquid making it spongy in texture rather than melt-in-your-mouth soft.
I had seen Steamed Bean Curd in Duo Sauce (HK$168/US$21.50) on the menu and was impressed by the ‘yin yang’ presentation. I love tofu and here its silkiness is enhanced by the use of soft tofu. One side was topped with a plump shrimp, while the other, a succulent scallop and black bean sauce.
Generally while dining in Hong Kong, we don’t accompany meals with steamed rice, preferring to end the meal with a rice or noodle dish. This is precisely what we did here. Braised Rice with Conpoy, and Assorted Meats in Abalone Sauce wrapped in a Lotus Leaf (HK$118/US$15) was simply stunning.
The rice is encased in a lotus leaf and the steaming process allows the fragrance of the leaf to be infused into the rice. The rice itself is already beautiful flavored with so many ingredients dotting it, but add to it the lotus leaf and the rice it taken to a new dimension. If you get a chance to try lotus leaf rice, I suggest you don’t pass it up.
In the US, the only way to enjoy dessert soups is to go to some place like Phoenix where they specialize in desserts. In Hong Kong, restaurants tend to have an array of sweet soups to round off a meal.
Bernice chose Double Boiled Milk (HK$28/US$3.60 ) which is tipped to give women a beautiful complexion, while I stuck with my favorite of Walnut Cream (HK$28/US$3.60). The walnut cream was definitely far better than the one at Fook Lam Moon. Here, the intensity of the walnuts came through both in flavor and color albeit, the consistency was a little too watery. I still enjoyed it thoroughly.
We also sampled a half portion of the Crispy Water Chestnut Rolls (HK$21/US$2.70) — diced water chestnuts encased in a crispy batter and fried. The crispiness of the batter contrasted with the crunchiness of the water chestnuts make for a really fun mouthful.
At the end of the day, I still like Tsui Hang Village a lot. Even though it doesn’t look anything like I’d remember, just knowing I’m dining here is enough nostalgia for me to return again. And oh, for the shredded chicken of course!!
Tsui Hang Village
at The Mira Hotel
132 Nathan Road
Tsim Sha Tsui
Tel: +852 2376 2882