Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Dinner at the Tung Po Seafood Restaurant (Photo-essay)

My mother left Hong Kong yesterday. In the one and a half weeks that she was here, we did such as go on a couple of hikes, take in a Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra concert and Stan Lai's latest play (which I wrote about for a newspaper whose website, unfortunately, requires a subscription to read), and also watch two Arsenal games 'live' on TV with a few fellow Gooners (over the course of which we were witness to Arshavin's fabulous first goal for the Gunners).

More pertinently for the foodies among this blog's readers, we also ate out every night. And while we had more than one good meal together this visit, the best dinner we had by far was the one we had last Friday at the Tung Po Seafood Restaurant on the Cooked Food floor of Java Road Market which serves far more than just seafood -- and which has previously been 'discovered' by the webmaster of the 'hip' Hong Kong Hustle and, before him, one Anthony Bourdain.

Frankly, I'd rate this meal as being among the top three I've ever had in Hong Kong. It was that good. Yet, miraculously, I actually managed to remember to take photos of what two friends, my mother and I consumed that evening *before* we dug into and devoured the dishes. So prepare to feast your eyes on the following photo-essay...!

Before the food was served, there first came
beer (Carlsberg lager) in Chinese porcelain bowls!

The delicious fried fish dish that
my Hong Konger friend specially ordered
because, she said, it's really hard to cook

Next up: fried frittered prawn balls
served with a light vinegary sauce
on a boat-shaped dish!

Want a closer look?
I'm only too happy to oblige! ;b

Pork knuckle paradise!
Seriously, this fried pork knuckle dish
was out of this world taste- and texture-wise

After all that fried food,
here's a vegetable casserole for balance
-- and yes, it was a tasty dish by itself too!

What's this hidden by all the lotus leaves?

None other than a heaping portion of lotus leaf rice
that, frankly, we wouldn't have ordered
if we had known beforehand how large it would be!

Satisfied? If not, here's pointing out that Mr. Bourdain can be seen eating -- and with great relish too -- at the Tung Po Seafood Restaurant near the end of this videoclip and also at the beginning of this other videoclip. (Also for those thinking of checking out the place: it's physically and aesthetically spartan but rest assured that it does have an extensive English language menu to peruse! :b )


Glenn, kenixfan said...

Awesome! As soon as you said Bourdain, that was the segment that popped into my head -- lucky guess.

Maybe one day I'll stop being poor/lazy and investigate Hong Kong for myself?

Not too keen on pork knuckle but all of the other dishes look great.

Anonymous said...

Never had pork knuckle... it does sound worse than I imagine it is, especially since you give it accolades ;-)

Most interesting, to me, is beer from a bowl... I simply must test if it's better that way :-D

YTSL said...

Hi Glenn --

If you're wondering, also have been to two other places Bourdain ate at: my mother and I actually discovered the clay pot place in Temple Street years ago; and the Lin Heung Tea House my mother and I went to some months back before I watched that Anthony Bourdain Hong Kong episode.

And yeah, I hope you'll come over one day. Have a feeling that you'll find plenty to love here -- food and films being among them. :)

Hi JC (and also Glenn some more) --

Re pork knuckle: It's an Asian/Chinese thang, I've discovered, to prefer meat that's close to the bone to, say, chicken breast. We think that meat from such places is juicier. OTOH, Germans love pork knuckle too... so we're not alone!

As for beer from a bowl: I think the porcelain actually helped keep the beer cool. So, yeah, maybe you should try it some time! :b

sarah bailey knight said...


Everything looks so good. I thought the pork knuckles looked very succulent and tasty. What's in the lotus leaf rice. That dish looked very interesting.

ewaffle said...

Bowls of beer and pig knuckles! Terrific for watching the big game.

In the United States a very rough equivalent might be pig's feet which can be served barbequed, pickled (especially in bars) or fried. They are considered downscale--making use of a part of the animal that takes a lot of work to prepare and that is often ignored--but can be delicious.

The photographs make me hungry--the presentation of the different dishes looks just right.

Sounds like a lovely evening!

Anonymous said...

In America we are stuck with Manchu Wok. :(

YTSL said...

Hi sbk --

Thanks for the positive vote for pork knuckle!

Re the lotus leaf rice: there's rice (of course) but also mushroom and meat (to be honest, have problems discerning whether it's pork or chicken!). The thing though is that you really can taste the lotus leaf flavoring the whole thang.

Try a much smaller version of it for dim sum: it's called "ho yip fan" in Cantonese.

Hi ewaffle --

Yeah, fried pork knuckle and beer do go well together... though you don't need a "big game" to distract! ;b

Have never been served pig's feet in the US: is it a (particularly) Southern thang, I wonder? OTOH, have had fried pork rind as a snack in Philadelphia... :)

Hi laicheukpan --

Poor you! OTOH, scary but true: miss Chinese American dishes like moo shoo beef sometimes! ;D

ewaffle said...

"though you don't need a "big game" to distract! ;b"

I was thinking of a game like Arsenal v. Tottenham Hotspur--which is such a delightful name for a sports team, even if they are the Gunners' greatest rivals.

YTSL said...

Hi again ewaffle --

When The Arsenal play Tottenham Hotspur (known to Gooners as The Scum), I'm usually too tense to be able to eat anything. Do drink though. In fact, I sometimes think that if I don't do that when watching Arsenal, I might actually have a heart attack and die! ;(

Unknown said...

I really enjoyed the photos of all the yummy foods. That first fish dish looks delectable!

YTSL said...

Hi "Pagan Sphinx" --

Thanks for checking out more than just my Photo Hunt entry. And yeah, the fish dish was delectable -- and my second favorite of the dishes after the pork knuckle. :)

kitliew said...

The lotus leaf rice really look interesting. Never saw a big and huge one like yours.

YTSL said...

Hi Kit --

I think all of us were shocked at its size. And maybe we were already full but have to say that it was the least tasty of the dishes we ate at that restaurant. Even then though, it really wasn't all that bad! :b