Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hong Kong Eats: Tak Kee Chiu Chow Restaurant in Kennedy Town Praya (food, HKFall10)

One of the types of Chinese cuisine that I miss most living in NYC is Chiu Chow cuisine (潮州菜), or more specifically Chiu Chow style cold dishes (潮州打冷). So it's great that not far from where I live in Hong Kong is a very popular restaurant specializing in this style of food, called Tak Kee Chiu Chow Restaurant ( 德記潮州菜館). Tak Kee has moved from it's original location to a much larger place nearby, but it remains as crowded as ever. The food is solid and more importantly the prices are very reasonable for this type of cuisine, which at times can get very expensive.

Starting off at every table is a small dish of pickled vegetables and fried bean curd. Good sweet and sour flavors help to open up people's appetites.

Braised goose slices over fried tofu. Braised goose (滷水鵝) is a main staple of this type of cuisine, with the soy-based braising liquid (滷水) consisting of many different ingredients. Here these slices are from more expensive parts of the bird such as the breast or the thigh, and are full of good meaty flavor. At HK$80 (=USD$10) it's quite a bargain, considering it's very easy to find this at other places in Hong Kong for two to three times that price.

Cold-served fish (凍烏頭) uses a fish that is a local product, and that from what I can find on the internet is a striped mullet. The fish is not even scaled, but just opened up, gutted, and steamed. Then it is chilled and served cold. You only eat the meat and dip it into the fermented bean sauce that's on the side. This was really good, fresh-tasting fish that had a nice firm texture. Another good deal at ~HKD$80(=USD$10).

Oyster pancakes had lots of small oysters fried together with some starchy dough mixture and scallions. This was solid but nothing extraordinary.

Sichuan pepper chicken (碧綠川椒雞) is a dish that I get all the time as well. The sichuan pepper flavor in the sauce is quite muted, so it's not a particularly special stir-fried chicken. However, I really like the fried leaves that accompany the dish. I can't figure out what they are, but after a little internet research, it appears that they are the leaves of a species of orchid plants. Not sure, but they're definitely tasty. I saw at another table that these leaves also accompany their fried chicken (炸子雞), so that might be a better option for someone looking to eat those leaves but get a different type of chicken preparation.

Chiu Chow style oyster congee (蠔仔粥) is a combination of rice, broth, oysters, and preserved vegetables. It's a wonderful assortment of flavors and textures. Note that the Chiu Chow version of congee is more like rice with broth and the rice is not cooked down like other congee.

This place continues to be extremely popular, with crowds and lines, and rightfully so. It has solid versions of Chiu Chow style cold dishes at very reasonable prices. It's a little out of the way for now for some people, but when the MTR finishes the Western district stops, it'll be much more accessible. Either way I highly recommend this place.

No comments :