Saturday, April 15, 2023

Top Notch Home-style Meal

A few friends and I got together at Yong Fu a few weeks ago. It's one of those nights when we don't really have a preference of what dishes we wanted, so we left it to the restaurant's recommendation with a combination of new and old dishes. 

We began with a few cold appetizer dishes. The marinated crab is their signature dish, but this time it's served in a smaller portion as a platter with the marinated mantis shrimps which were available off menu. While the crab was marinated with soy sauce and rice wine, the mantis shrimps were simply flash boiled and chilled with minimal seasoning so they came with a cleaner flavor profile and a more subtle umami flavor. 

Fish cake looked ordinary but it has a nice bouncy texture and coated with the seasonal Chinese toona buds 香椿, known for its distinct flavor and aroma. The razor clams came in good size, blanched and chilled and served with the chunky chili oil with a nice spicy kick. That worked perfectly well with the rich umami taste from the clams. Rounding up was the cured young cauliflower stems, crunchy and with the subtle acidity and fermented taste which was the good palate cleanser.

We continued with a few hot seafood dishes which came just as we were finishing up our appetizer courses. The sour yellow croaker soup was the perfect comforting taste we wanted on a cool and rainy night such as this. The soup base got a bright and balanced flavor, working well with the silky and delicate pieces of yellow croaker fillets. The "Golden Turban Shells" 黃金螺 usually caught on shallow riverbed were sauteed with a spicy sauce with red and green chilies. The fillets of Miiuy Croaker 鮸魚 , species common in the region, were steamed with chopped chilies and rice lees - it came in a slightly larger size than the typical yellow croaker hence got the firmer texture which I like. 

The meat courses all came with rich flavor, including the sauteed mountain turtle 甲魚, beef brisket and turnip stew and stir-fried pork slices with garlic shoots. I was most impressed with the beef stew with the chunks of turnips soft and well infused with the sauce. The pork dish sounded like something typically done at home, but here they sourced the meat from Tibet with rich meaty flavor and really tender. Finishing up our savory courses were sauteed Shanghainese bokchoy and steamed meat buns. That's before their signature sweet dumplings and seasonal fruits being served. 

They did make an effort with a wine menu with good choices, at least in Chinese restaurant standard. Went with a bottle of Krug this time, and speaking of that, of the few visits I made here, I found champagne and sake the best companion to the dishes here, rich in seafood with a more delicate flavor profile.  

I guess only the slightly high price point prevented us from coming back here more often, but in terms of ingredient and execution, this place is certainly top notch for something homey and comforting. 

More photos here:

When? March 25 2023
Where? Yong Fu, Shop 2, Gold Star Building, 20-24 Lockhart Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Sour Yellow Croaker Soup 酸湯黃魚羹
Drinks? Champagne Krug Grande Cuvee 169eme Edition MV (ID: 120013)

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