Saturday, May 20, 2017

All Chicken!

An all-chicken Cantonese feast must be something we found it so hard to miss that despite a few last minute changes of plan, we finally made it at the end of April when most of us were free to go. We had a few decent meals at Kin’s Kitchen in Wanchai before so we were happy to be back for this special menu specially designed by Lau Kin-wai and Lau Chun, the father-son team who own the restaurant.

All eleven dishes served in the evening had something to do with chicken – that alone was quite an amazing feat – with a good mix of traditional and contemporary Cantonese dishes. We began with the stir-fried chicken black pudding (gai hung 雞紅 in Cantonese) with loads of Chinese cilantro on top. If you haven't had this before, I agree you do need to have an acquired taste for the dish with both the black pudding (or blood curd for a more precise description) and the super pungent cilantro not something everyone born to like. But if you do, the dish was super tasty.

The grilled chicken liver was done tender and delicate with the sweet honey glaze. Tasted like char-siu (barbecued pork) but softer in texture, though just like char-siu, I often prefer a more charred crust, but I will still take this over any foie gras dish anywhere. Our next course was Guo Ja 戈渣, an old-school Cantonese dish made with chicken broth frozen then dipped in batter and deep-fried. The end-result was this bite-sized snack which was soft, rich and with a custard-like texture inside, and a crispy batter outside. I think this is the better version I had here.

The fried chicken was probably the most modern course we had for the evening. Similar to the Korean-style fried chicken with the super crispy batter and this one was done with walnuts mixed in for some extra flavor. I thought it would work better with a fermented bean dipping sauce on the side but they were equally good as was. The "Cantonese Hundred Flower Chicken" (江南百花雞) was my favorite dish of the night – not exactly a chicken dish per se (despite its name), but instead, the whole chicken skin was taken out and stuffed with mashed shrimp paste (known as 百花, which literally meant hundred flower) inside then steamed, and finished with a clear gravy made with chicken stock, garnished by vegetables and edible chrysanthemum petals. It has amazing taste with everything combined.

We were also wow-ed with the seemingly simple dish of stir-fried cabbages which turned out to be great with chicken oil drizzled on top to finish. And I enjoyed a few bowls of the comforting congee cooked with chicken giblets, and the equally comforting bowl of steamed egg custard with ginger juice on top as our final course and dessert.

Went with two bottles for the night. Thought the magnum bottle of champagne was perfect for celebrating with the birthday girl, and the slightly aged sake worked well as our second drink, with a rounded palate and balanced taste which worked particularly well with the congee towards the end, I reckon. And of course, there’s never a dull moment with this gang.

When? April 26 2017
Where? Kin's Kitchen (留家廚房), Fifth Floor, W Square, 314-324 Hennessy Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Cantonese Hundred Flower Chicken – steamed shrimp paste patty stuffed in chicken skin
Champagne Olivier Brut NV (en Magnum)
Hakkaisan Yukimuro-aged Junmai Ginjo 3 Years (BY28) – Hakkaisan Brewery, Niigata Prefecture
八海山純米吟醸雪室貯蔵三年 -新潟県八海醸造

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