Friday, December 21, 2007

Lung King Heen, Hong Kong

Some kind of dim sum

This linen-clad harbor view restaurant at the Four Seasons hotel (8 Finance Street, 3196-8888) was supposed to be one of the best Cantonese restaurants in the city. We thus picked this place for a nice business lunch today, all the while hoping that most of this praise was actually based on the food itself rather than the distractions of its fancy decor or service.

Indeed, this place did turn out to be quite posh, with an amazing set of porcelainware and top notch staff just waiting at your beck and call. If you want to impress your business contact, then this is definitely the place to do it, especially if you decide to splurge on the HK$780 (US$100) bowl of their top end shark's fin soup with fresh abalone (wow!)...and that is an individual serving, by the way, so don't forget to multiply that by the number of folks in your party. No, we didn't go for that, even if there were plenty of lower grade versions available. Instead, we grabbed a few signature items from their (limited) dim sum menu, as well as some other recommendations such as a scallop dish as well as some kind of chicken.

Fortunately, all of the praise for this place did seem based on the quality of the food. Everything was so finely prepared and fresh enough for me to gobble this down in a heartbeat, including a very delicate crab meat xiao long bao that beats the pants off that overhyped thick-skinned stuff at Joe's Shanghai in New York. I was also amazed by the detail of the workmanship that went into our (cheaper, non-shark's fin) soup. Most importantly, this "contemporary" cuisine, while very creative, didn't clobber nor stray far from its traditional Cantonese roots. Thumbs up for me. Next time we've just got to find someone with a fat expense account to help with the outlay for that US$100/person soup!


Anonymous said...

Joe's need to have slightly thicker skin because they contain so much more broth-grease-goodness than the dumplings at most other places -the only similar place i found was in San Fran. And i had xiaolungbao in a plethora of places, here in Singap too-

I like the skin to be thin too on other dumplings. It is indeed a sign of quality. But if one gets xiao long bao, one gets them for the soup.
Otherwise one can get other normal steamed dumplings/dim sum.

bma said...

Well, I'd argue that this place had plenty of soup goodness inside and they didn't feel the need to go super thick on the skin (nor do places like Din Tai Fung).

But to your credit, many of the places that I've been to in Shanghai itself had pretty thick skin too, so perhaps that is the authentic way of doing it. I was just so disappointed in my visit to Joe's that I really felt like I wasted my time there. Then again, that was about ten years ago, so I am probably overdue for a visit.

Anonymous said...

:smile: you are a man of reason ;-)
i was back in manhattan over december and walking distance to the chinatown branch, i went 3 times ;-)
(i heard the queen's branch may be better, the midtown one is the worst).
One dumpling has enough goodness to fill a FULL spoon, whereas Crystal Jade here is probably half, Din Tai even less :-(
Actually watching Bourdain in shanghai and indeed they seem of the slightly thicker one. I havent been to Shanghai in 10yrs myself..