Tuesday, May 25, 2021

New and Old

I certainly didn’t mind coming back to Hoi King Heen at Intercontinental Grand Stanford twice in one week as I was able to check out some of the new dishes by Chef Leung during my second visit, which came in early May. The restaurant may be better known for some of the more classic-style Cantonese dishes and consistent execution, but veteran chef Leung Fai Hung and his team never stop innovating and come up with delightful new dishes every now and then to keep their menu interesting. 

Our first course of Watermelon Fritter (陳醋脆西瓜) was exactly that, a refreshing cold appetizer that’s perfect during the warmer season. The chunks of sweet watermelon was caramelized with sugar syrup and glazed with dark vinegar reduction on top – reminded me of the northern Chinese-style banana fritter but less crunchy. What an unusual way to begin the meal with something slightly sweet but it was salivating. 

We continued with a couple cold appetizers. The Pork Trotter Roulade (雲南巻蹄) was another new dish available for pre-order, with the minced meat from the pork trotter pressed to terrine consistency mixed with julienned vegetables and stuffed in the pork skin, formed like a roll (like a western style roulade) and carved to serve. It’s served with a very light dressing but it’s flavorful with the meat filling well-brined and seasoned and I love its soft texture. The tea-smoked scallops (煙熏玉帶子) came in generous portion with pieces of scallops sauteed and smoked with tea leaves and rose petals for the enticing aroma and the golden color - this would be even better if fresh sea scallops rather than frozen ones were used.  

The Soup course (四寶元肚竹絲雞湯) was next, served in a big pot with plenty for the six of us (seated across 2 tables because of COVID rules) and it’s a crafty dish to prepare. Scores of ingredients (sticky rice, dried vegetables, lotus seeds and more) were stuffed in the cavity of dark chicken and then into the pork stomach. It’s then slow-cooked with the soup base prepared with fish bones, ham, pork and vegetables. The soup was then ladled in individual bowls with the ingredients (cooked in the pork stomach) carefully removed from the pot and carved for serving. I enjoyed the hearty flavor of the soup and all the ingredients too. 

We continued with a few more hot courses served in individual portion – that included the deep-fried black cod fillet with a dark gravy sauce made with black beans and scallions (沙窩煎封銀鱈魚), and the braised Shanghainese cabbage with shiitake mushrooms and vegetables (三色津白). The salted fish bun looks like a gigantic pot sticker dumpling with the elongated shape, except it’s done more like a steamed Chinese bun stuffed with mashed salted fish and pan-fried for the slightly crispy crust. 

The last savory course was rice, served with a steamed pork patty on top with lard and soy sauce on the side. “Put the lard in sparingly”, as Chef Leung recommended, but I didn’t hesitate to spoon the whole thing into the mini-casserole filled with rice and mixed well with the sweet soy sauce. That’s the way to go for the rich taste that I have been craving for. 

The sweet almond cream (蛋白杏仁露) was always the restaurant’s signature dish and we also had two other desserts this time, including the deep-fried milk custard (黃金脆奶巻) and the hawthorn rolls (畔糖山渣巻), both old-school dishes not commonly seen elsewhere these days, and both were excellent with the right sweet flavor. 

Went with two champagnes this time – first one a vintage bottle with nice creamy texture, richer, more minerals with some stone fruit characters, and second one simpler but brighter (because of younger age), more citrus notes with nice acidity. Both worked well with the dishes - and kinda match the theme of the menu, mixing new dishes and old ones. 

When? May 3 2021
Where? Hoi King Heen at Intercontinental Grand Stanford, Level B2, 70 Mody Road, Tsimshatsui East, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Yunnan Pork Trotter Roulade (雲南巻蹄)
2012 Maison Mumm Champagne RSRV Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut
Champagne Ayala Brut Majeur NV
Web: www.hongkong.intercontinental.com/dining/hoi-king-heen

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