Monday, January 29, 2007

Hong Kong & Macau

C says:

We try to make it a point to only write about places that both A and I have been to together, so that we can each give our own take, but I went to Hong Kong and Macau for the weekend on a department offsite, and had such amazing food that I couldn’t not spread the word. So, in a rare departure from atetoomuch’s norm, here’s a quick review of some of the great food that I had in Hong Kong and Macau.


Fernando’s is apparently an institution in Macau. It’s an unassuming little shack, but that’s what I like about it. It sets out to serve good food, and doesn’t bother with other distractions like its décor, which is homely and basic, and the reassuringly rowdy ambience, which comes from the crowds that pack every table in the house.

It serves traditional Portuguese food, and the dishes that we had that night were the restaurant’s specialties. We started out with some home made bread, soft and light inside and crusty on the outside, and an incredibly fresh salad of tomatoes, lettuce, white onions and the most amazing vinaigrette. Note: apparently the restaurant sells the olive oil to customers who want to recreate some of their dishes at home. I wisely decided to leave the cooking to the experts, and chose not to buy any.

We were bombarded with plates and plates of seafood next – clams, claypot crab with a gravy that I wished I could just slurp up every drop, fried prawns and pan fried fresh sardines. I loved the flavour of the sardines, and the olive oil and white wine vinegar that they served with the fish did a good job in cutting through the somewhat rich flavour of the fish. It was a bit too bony for me though, and even though the bones were tiny and were probably meant to be eaten, I found it quite hard to maneuver my way around the gazillion little bones.

The meat was next, and my main grouse was that we didn’t know what was on the menu – the food just kept coming. I wish I’d known beforehand so that I could pace myself, because I would have gladly foregone a couple of the seafood dishes in order to have more of the fabulous meats. The African chicken was quite tasty, but the two pork dishes were the highlight of the meal for me – the suckling pig, with its crispy skin and tender meat, and the salted pork ribs which were incredibly flavourful.

This was an extremely enjoyable meal, and I’m pretty sure it’s not just because of the many glasses of the delicious sangria that I had throughout dinner. I’m definitely bringing A here if and when I next visit Macau. Maybe I’ll just skip everything and go directly to the meats…

Hong Kong

After our offsite in Macau, Y, L and I had a day and a half to explore Hong Kong and we didn’t even manage to make a dent in the list of eating places that we were recommended.

We did make it to Yung Kee for dinner, one of the most famous restaurants in Hong Kong for various types of roasted birds. Apparently visitors buy entire roasted geese home for their families. We tried the famous roast goose, roast pigeon, and the Hong Kong gailan.

The goose was tasty but a tad dry, I thought. It had less fat that I expected, and perhaps that’s why it was a little tough. Surprisingly the pigeon turned out a lot better. The skin was crispy, the meat was really tender and juicy and didn’t have any unpleasant gamey smell, and there was a distinct flavour of Chinese wine. The gailan was sautéed simply with garlic, and was wonderfully tender, sweet and crunchy. A far cry from the gailan that you get at home.

The next morning, we went to the only dim sum place that was open for breakfast. We were surprised that most places only opened at 10.30 or 11 am, since dim sum seems to be quite a breakfast food. The place we went to was apparently a restaurant opened by the Wing Wah mooncake chain, and was a surprisingly good find.

The menu was all in Chinese, but we (or rather, Y and L) did a pretty good job trying to decipher the menu, and managed to order most of what we wanted. The pan fried carrot cake was the best thing we had, and the steamed pork ribs were pretty good too.

There are so many other places that I want to try in Hong Kong – the dim sum joint that apparently sells the best char siew pau in the shape of pineapples, and the legendary wanton noodles. I’ve kept the food maps that my friends have so nicely prepared for me, for my inevitable trip back in the near (I hope) future.

Restaurante Fernando
Praia de Hac Sa
No.9 Coloane, Macau
Tel: 853-2888-2264

Yung Kee Restaurant
32-40 Wellington Street
Central, Hong Kong

Tel: 852-2522-1624

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