Saturday, November 20, 2010

Tea Culture in Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, if someone invite you to 'yum cha' 飲茶 (tea drinking), it does not mean drinking of tea only, but to have dim sum together with tea. However when we name this activity as 'yum cha', it indicates how important tea is in the food culture of Chinese.

Tea in a Cantonese dim sum restaurant is charged per head. Depending on the restaurant and the time you go, it may vary from HK$6 to 20 per person. There are many choices of tea. As for myself, I always ask for Pu Er. This is dark in color, very fragrant and strong in taste. It is very good to go along with food, as it will help digestion and melt off some of the fat in the food.

My Favourite Pu Er Tea 普洱
Some people like Xiang Pian as it is very fragrant,
however less strong than Pu Er.
Xiang Pian Tea 香片
When we go 'yum cha' in a big crowd, we may order many pots of tea. The restaurant usually lable the tea pots so that we can easily identify our own favourite tea. Need to re-fill? Easy. Lift the lid as a signal and the waiter will come.

Lift the lid - Waiter will come add water for you
Chiu Chau Tea Culture
If you happen to go to a Chiu Chau restaurant, they may serve 'Kung Fu Tea' 功夫茶 without extra charge. However if you go during the economic hours like early morning or afternoon, they may not give you this little bonus. 'Kung Fu Tea' is just a nick name and it is actually Shui Xian 水仙 or Tie Guan Yin 鐵觀音 by tea type.

Chiu Chau restaurants usually serve it before and after meal in addition to the tea you order. They are finely prepared and Chiu Chau people usually treat their important guests with it.
'Kung Fu Tea' - Shui Xian 水仙
Strange Tea Culture in Hong Kong
Almost all dim sum restaurants, including some medium to high end restaurants will serve you a big bowl and an extra pot of hot water for you to clean the utensils.

Isn't it funny or strange? But it happens as a custom. Restaurants won't treat this as a shame. I don't think I need to clean the cups and chopsticks myself, but as I'm being served that way, I just follow the rule of game. When did this custom start? I can't recall. Guests demanding for extra hygiene or restaurants offering extra service? Probably it's a matter of whether a hen or an egg exist first. Anyway, don't be shocked in a Hong Kong Chinese restaurant seeing guests doing their own cleaning work.

Doing our own cleaning work

PS: I notice this 'cleaning' custom also happen in other areas of China, especially in restaurants serving visitors from Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Food Blog - Tea Culture in Hong Kong

Friday, November 12, 2010

Cream Sauce Spaghetti

Bacon Chopped Onion Spaghetti in Cream Sauce
Price: HK$68 (US$8.72)
Surchage for soup and coffee: HK$18 (US$2.3)
Service charge: 10%
Restaurant: New Burgh Cafe at 113 Hennessy Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong

Does this dish look nice? It does. And does it taste delicious? It does. However I have a story to tell. This is my dinner for tonight: cream sauce spaghetti. Cream sauce?! Yes, that's what I order from the menu.

Size of the dish: 6 inches. Portion: even smaller than what I collect from a breakfast buffet chef. I finished eating in three bites and within a minute. That was the end of my $68. If you been following my blog, you know that I don't eat much. Even so, this was not enough to fill up half of my stomach.

I used to buy take-away from this restaurant which is usually of good value. Tonight I have some time and decided to sit down and enjoy a relax dinner. I ended up with this story to tell. What are you after, when you want to enjoy a good dinner, quality or quantity?

Hong Kong Food Blog - Cream Sauce Spaghetti

Monday, November 1, 2010

Peking Duck in Hong Kong

I don't usually eat lunch. And I don't usually eat heavy lunch. But today I've broke all my rules. My boss took me out for a farewell lunch with an overseas colleague.

I need to fast for 40 hours after this lunch. Anyway, let me talk about the Peking Duck we had. Peking Garden, the one we went at Alexandra House has been highly rated by visitors. And they are one of top producers of Peking Ducks in Hong Kong.

The duck was included in our set menu, but I noticed the price is HK$380 (US$48.7) if you place a standalone order.

Look, the presentation was not bad at all. Cucumber, sauce and bread were all laid out nicely. They even brought the duck to the table for our photo taking before cutting it.

You may wonder what that is. Well, espresso. A Chinese restaurant serving espresso? That's correct. I have visited this restaurant many times but never know about it. I was a bit shocked when the waiter offered the service. Probably they only offer this to expacts and not locals.

Their menu is very comprehensive if you want to go a la carte. However if you want to save time and effort (of course not saving money), there are set menus available.
Here's the set menu we had for today.
  1. Braised spare ribs with black vinegar sauce
  2. Sea blubber
  3. Sauteed prawns and scallops with cashewnut in hot garlic sauce
  4. Braised shark's fin soup with crab meat
  5. BBQ Peking Duck
  6. Pan fried sliced fish
  7. Sauteed seasonal vegetable
  8. Fresh fruit platter

    1. Peking Garden
      Shop B1, First Basement Floor, Alexandra House, Central, Hong Kong
      Restaurant telephone: 852-2526-6456
      Hong Kong Food Blog - Peking Duck