Sunday, May 28, 2017

Dai Pai Dong Encore

When our friend V proposed that we do a Dai Pai Dong run in the forgotten neighborhood of Shum Shui Po, I obliged. We had a great time on our last time out at the restaurant so all we need is just any excuse to go back there to eat. A few more later signed up to this plan and we fixed a Tuesday night to go.

If you compare the central business district with all the tall office buildings, neon signs of designer boutiques and fancy cars running on the street, Shum Shui Po is the exact opposite of what you would imagine for a Hong Kong night scene in the eyes of out-of-towners. But there's nowhere else I would rather be at night for a real taste of Hong Kong at this small street blocks lined with tables inside the shops and out, with fierce fire from the stoves inside the outdoor kitchen right on the curbside.

As we sat down at one of the round tables inside the shop and while waiting for a few others to join, we couldn't help but look at the tables around us. The place was lively and loud, but not to the point of rowdy or over-crowded, and everywhere you saw people cheering, eating, drinking in a care-free manner. You knew you didn't go to the wrong place when you see every customer happily enjoying their dishes.

They ran a pretty long menu but not atypical of this type of local casual restaurants - basically any dishes you can think of you can order, as long as they got the ingredients. But we pretty much stuck with what's listed, both on the laminated booklet of menu, and the special items on the wall. Not a lot of places carried the "Baked Fish Intestine with Eggs" these days but I thought this is one of the dishes best represent the Hong Kong-style casual cuisine. A combination of humble ingredients - carp fish intestines, cellophane noodles, deep-fried dough rolls (a.k.a. youtiao or yau ja gwai) and plenty of eggs were baked in a deep-dish casserole with addition of ginger, dried mandarin peel and ground white pepper to shield the fishy after-taste of the intestine, and you ended up with this interesting dish with complex textures and flavors. That's like a perfect Cantonese answer to a frittata!

A few other dishes stood out for the evening too, among the many dishes we had that evening. I love the sizzling chicken giblets served in a clay casserole pot with green onions and galangal sauce for its rich flavor and a mix of textures from various chicken organs. It's another dish we don't see often these days. A few restaurants claimed to have invented this dish of beef with glazed potatoes, but we love the version here, with the potato triple-cooked - boiled, deep-fried and glazed with maltose, then sautéed with chunks of beef tenderloin. The best part of the dish was definitely the potatoes with a crunchy crust, soft center and a hint of sweetness, which were salivating. This made the stir-fried beef rice noodles, another dish that we ordered, looked so ordinary.

We hastily made our wine arrangement but we brought our own proper glasses and had a couple bottles of easy white, both were particularly suitable in such warm weather with casual dishes. There's no dessert on their menu, but we shared the beautiful, Eggsraordinary chocolate eggs by Heston Blumenthal x Waitrose, brought in by V from UK for a belated easter celebration of sorts. That's just another random things we have enjoyed in this random evening at this random street block - but trust me, there's nowhere in town that has tastier dishes and livelier atmosphere at this time of the night.

When? May 16 2017
Where? Tin Cheung Restaurant - 98 Yee Kuk Street near Shek Kip Mei Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
天祥飯店 深水埗石硤尾街醫局街98號利德昌大廈側
Menu Highlights? Beef tenderloin with glazed potatoes
2014 Domaine Servin Chablis Permier cru Vaucoupin
2015 Weingut Brundlmayer Gruner-Vetliner Leicht und Trocken (L&T)

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