Wednesday, December 23, 2020

The Last Night Out

This was literally the last dinner out I had before the latest government restriction to shut down restaurant’s dinner service. I was at Ying Jee Club for the first time a few months ago during the first wave of the pandemic, and here I was again a few months later, in what’s described as the fourth wave in town. It did feel like it's centuries apart with so many changes and happenings in between.  

I enjoyed the series of dishes in my last outing for lunch, and so I was glad to be back for a totally different menu in the evening this time, with 8 courses of dishes in the same classic Cantonese cooking style prepared by Chef Siu. Starting off was a pair of hot appetizers – shrimp toast was done with a twist to the ordinary version, done with a piece of butterflied shrimp on top of taro slice, battered and deep-fried, and along side was the pan-fried lotus root patty with minced pork and shrimp paste. The "toast" worked well with the yellow chili sauce served on the side giving it an extra kick, and the lotus root patty was paired with a sweet and sour dipping sauce with a good combo of soft and crunchy textures. 

The bowl of hearty soup followed and that was my favorite of the night. Partridge potage was an old-school Cantonese dish made using a chicken superior broth base and mixed with minced chicken and partridge meat for the thickened consistency, and added to the bowl to finish was braised bird’s nest with the soft texture. It’s fulfilling with the warm, hearty spoonful of Chinese delicacies skillfully prepared by the kitchen team. 

With nostalgic cooking being the theme, we continued with the series of classic Cantonese dishes. Steamed fish (the leopard coral garoupa this time) was said to be done the “old-fashioned” way but given a modern touch, with shredded pork meat and julienned shiitake mushrooms placed on top of the piece of fish fillet, and cooking with the silky tofu underneath in a bed of light soy sauce and oil. I love the delicate flavor and the firm, flaky texture of the fish with the contrast of the soft tofu. 

Next were the pair of poultry dishes and both showed the skills of Chef Siu and his team. First was the sauteed pigeon glazed with soy and oyster sauces with the soft sea cucumber, and on the side, a thin slice of deep-fried Yunnan ham coated with bread. We thought this was perfect with a bowl of hot steamed rice just to go with the rich flavor. 

Same can be said about the next dish of chicken wings which was given a poetic name of “dragon over phoenix”. It’s a crafty dish with the chicken wings (phoenix) carefully deboned, stuffed with bamboo shoot and ham (dragon) and finished with gravy. 

The braised pomelo skin dish was unlike the one we usually had elsewhere, with fish maw and conpoy added in with the soft pomelo skin slow-cooked with the superior sauce. And the final savory dish was the rice steamed in lotus leaf and served in a bamboo basket. On top was a piece of braised abalone with the perfect bouncy texture, with the braising sauce well mixed into the rice for the excellent flavor. I enjoyed their desserts of sweet sago pudding last time so I absolutely didn’t mind a repeat, with the custard combined with lotus paste and baked in a ramekin. It’s of the right sweetness and I love the slightly burnt “skin” on top. The bite-sized baked puff on the side was delicious as well, with the sweet winter melon paste stuffing. It’s the mini version of the “Lo Por Beng”, a local street pastry known for the flaky shell and soft filling. 

Will definitely want to come back especially when we are allowed to eat out at night again. 

(The meal was by invitation - more photos are in my Flickr album:

When? December 8 2020
Where? Ying Jee Club, Nexxus Building, 41 Connaught Road Central, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Imperial Bird's Nest Broth with Partridge 

P.S. As PSA, I do urge everyone to support the United We Dine campaign, the sequel of the original marketing event launched earlier this year putting the spotlight on the battered local F&B industry and provide a way to show our support. Ying Jee Club is one of the participating restaurants, offering a special menu as part of the campaign. Dine in, order out, buy the gift vouchers from all the outlets so they could sustain their operations in this challenging times - there's the also incentive of a lucky draw for those who participated if that helps. For more information, go check out their website at

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