Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Dim Sum at Tung Yuen Banquet and Plain Congee

It was hard to refrain from devouring a large smoked salmon and cheese baguette in the morning. We had an early dim sum brunch with my cousin at a fancy restaurant called Tung Yuen Banquet. According to Aunty, this is one of the better dim sum restaurants in Hong Kong.


According to Aunty, the restaurant invested a lot of money in upgrading their dining lounge and private rooms. The restaurant was nice and brightly light by “crystal” chandeliers. I wasn’t that impressed with it all. We were here for dim sum. But people who like to eat at fancier places will enjoy eating here.

We didn't have to wait to be seated at a table at all. The sharply dressed hostess directed us to a table that had not been clean yet. Why didn't they just sit us at a clean table? There were plenty of empty tables around. Ah, no biggie. The staff swiftly cleared the table and gave us our pot of tea and hot water.

In Hong Kong, people tend to rinse out their dishes and utensils (chopsticks and soup spoon) in the hot water. All the hot water was put in a bowl and taken away. This process was quite noisy but I quite enjoyed it.


There were a few menus to look at, but majority of them were in Chinese. There were some pictures to help out people like me. Of course, you can always point to other tables and tell the waiter/waitress that you want such-and-such. Aunty took the helm and did the ordering.



These bouncy fish balls were stuffed with a salted egg yolk. It was a surprise addition to the fish balls – a delightful surprise for Mom and AI.



We enjoyed cha siu and beef cheung fan, though not as much as the Chiu Chow Garden version. Like the cheung fan in Ottawa and Toronto, cheung fan we got here were soft and slurpable.




Aunty ordered wontons in a sweet soy sauce, stewed beef tripe (stomach), and a steamer each of shrimp and fish siu mai. As we were enjoying dim sum, Aunty mentioned that most Hong Kong people have lunch at 12:00pm. And as if on cue, the restaurant became flooded with hungry locals at noon.



There was also one decent steamer of soup dumplings (xiao long bao). The meat filling was very tender and unlike any other I've had, which tended to be firmer like a pot sticker. The slightly sweet soup wasn’t very oily (click photo to see it more clearly), but it was an odd orange colour. Was this a special soup? Cause it didn’t taste like it. It tasted like a regular pork soup dumpling to me.


Aunty ordered some kind of seafood dumpling that had shark fin. I only had half of one. I simply don’t enjoy eating shark fin, but not because of how they are harvested, or how expensive they are. It just has no taste and the texture is firm, almost to the point of being crunchy. I just don’t get it. Not my thing.


My absolute favourite dish - hands down - was the baked daikon pastries. There was zero competition. The crisp flaky pie-like pastry was beautifully baked and wasn’t greasy at all. It the pastry shattered when we bit into them. And the filling?


Each of the pastries were packed full of burning hot daikon. They almost burned my tongue off. I tasted fried shallots, but I don’t know what else they flavoured it with. Nevertheless, I fell in love. If you look at the photo above, it looks like it could be bland. But that’s far from the truth my friends. It was so good that we had to order another round, though my greedy stomach wanted another ten rounds of the daikon pastry. This dish blew my mind.

And you know what's crazy about this dish? We wouldn't have ordered this if I hadn't asked Aunty to order it. At the time of my request, I thought they were filled with sweet durian because I kept seeing the durian-filled pastries in many food blogs around the time of the trip. Aunty told me that they were daikon right away. I was still curious. Plus, I like daikon.


We ended the meal with two desserts. This was a steamed brown sugar (maybe cane sugar) cake.



To Dad’s delight, we also had an order of steamed egg custard buns. The filling actually had salted egg yolk too. It made the savoury-sweet custard a bit grainy. Overall, the dim sum here was amazing compared to the stuff we get back home. We were on the island of dim sum after all.

Tung Yuen Banquet
G/F & 1/F, Hay Way Building, 71-85 Hennessey Road
Wan Chai, Hong Kong

We spent the rest of the day walking around Hong Kong Island. After getting back to Aunty’s place late in the evening, we had plain congee for dinner. But it wasn’t just any plain congee; we had all the fixings too! What kind of fixings, you ask?



Aunty’s housekeeper went out to buy youtiao and hang jing bian (aka ham ching peng or bánh tiêu in Vietnamese). They were heavy and saturated with grease. The flavour tasted very similar to the stuff back home in Canada.






Toasted salted fish (from Cambodia), preserved tofu and soy beans, scrambled egg with soy sauce, stir fried chicken (leftover from the abalone congee we had from the first night), and some pork jerky (from Macau). I guess you can debate whether we ate plain congee that night.




The pineapple filled cakes, which were bought in Macau the previous day, and some coconut custard filled buns (from Taipan Bread & Cakes) were our desserts. Along with some hot jasmine tea, the desserts weren’t overly sweet.


I couldn’t resist having some youtiao with sweetened coffee. What a day! I was beginning to fall in love with Hong Kong.

Dim Sum at Tung Yuen and Plain Congee Dinner

Wonton Egg Noodle Soup & Dinner at the HK Airport

More links from my Asia 2011 trip:

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