Grab Your Fork: A Sydney food blog: August 2014 Archive #navbar-iframe { display: none; }

Saturday, August 30, 2014

LP's Quality Meats, Chippendale

Beef short rib at LP's Quality Meats, Chippendale

Meat and smoke. You might be thinking American barbecue, but LP's Quality Meats is much more than that. Head chef Luke Powell (ex-Tetsuya's and ex-Mary's) is cranking out lamb bellies stuffed with Merguez sausage, smoked salmon and massive hunks of beef short rib - all put through a Southern Pride wood smoker shipped over from Texas. And then there's the cured and cold cuts of meats, all made in-house, like coppa di testa, bierwurst and belly ham.

LP's Quality Meats dining room, Chippendale
LP's Quality Meats dining room

LP's Quality Meats might have only opened last Wednesday, but there was a decent crowd of carnivores packed into the restaurant on Friday night. Hidden down a dark laneway around the corner from Ester, the dining room is surprisingly big with a long row of communal tables and stools making up 100 seats in total.

You'll spot the staff by their distinctive white t-shirts, emblazoned with the LP logo across the back. The American diner-style feel is compounded by the location of the cash register by the entrance for payment, stocked with branded t-shirt and trucker cap merchandise.

The drinks menu is massive, looking more like a wine list for a hatted restaurant. There's a fully stocked bar at the front serving everything from wine to a list full of whiskeys. Young Henry's is on tap and they've got all your cocktail needs sorted too.

Belly ham and bierwurst at LP's Quality Meats, Chippendale
Belly ham $12 and German bierwurst smoked sausage $12

The cold cuts are all made in-house and sliced to order, delicate shavings piled onto a paper-lined tray with complimentary pretzel sticks, olives, mustard and a pickled chilli pepper. The belly ham is impressively ribboned with fat, so soft and sweet it practically melts on the tongue.

We order the coppa di testa ($12) - head cheese or brawn by any other name - but are mistakenly served the bierwurst instead. It's a tasty mistake, the German smoked sausage is pleasingly pink and seasoned generously with garlic and spices.

The pretzel sticks are worth mentioning - they're so tasty you'll wish you could order more on their own.

Chef Luke Powell carving the beef short rib at LP's Quality Meats, Chippendale
Chef Luke Powell carving the beef short rib

The open kitchen gives you a birds eye view of all the carving action. Every now and then you'll catch a tantalising whiff of smoke when the smoker is opened. Watching Chef Luke Powell carve up a mammoth beef short rib is damn sexy too.

Lamb belly stuffed with Merguez sausage and beef short rib at LP's Quality Meats, Chippendale
Lamb belly stuffed with Merguez $26 and beef short rib $32

We have to skip the smoked salmon ($18) and the pickled sardines ($12) but we'll make room for them (and ask more dining partners along) next time. We order the lamb belly stuffed with Merguez sausage and the beef short rib instead, even though the toulouse sausage ($14) and the chicken -- it's smoked AND THEN DEEP-FRIED ($24 half/ $42 whole) sound tempting too.

Pickles at LP's Quality Meats, Chippendale
Pickles $10

The sides menu is no afterthought either. In addition to soft bread rolls ($2 each) and pickles ($10), there are five veggie-heavy choices to supplement your protein.

Eggplant salad at LP's Quality Meats, Chippendale
Eggplant salad $12

The eggplant salad is gobsmackingly rich and smoky, the eggplant chargrilled to a smoky and sweet stickiness. Then there's the Nicoise salad ($14), kale with chickpeas ($12) and corn on the cob ($10) cooked on the grill. Mashed potato and gravy ($10) is reminiscent of the one at Mary's, and right now they're also doing optional extras of truffle shavings on top.

Smoked lamb belly stuffed with Merguez sausage at LP's Quality Meats, Chippendale
Smoked lamb belly stuffed with Merguez

But you know it's the meat we're here for. The lamb belly looks the business, curled up around a Merguez sausage, a spicy snag heavy on the cumin that hails from North African. Together they make one big flavour bomb. The lamb is smoky, fatty and tender; the sausage is meaty and firm. And then there's the skin on the outside that's all kinds of wicked crisp and charred at the edges. It's like magic.

Smoked beef short rib at LP's Quality Meats, Chippendale
Smoked beef short rib

And then there's the big kahuna, the beef short rib. Sure size isn't everything, but tell me your eyes didn't just glaze over at this behemoth. Powell smokes his meats at under 100 degrees, cooking it low and slow so its tender and smoky. You can tell before you've even had your first mouthful. The meat comes off the bone clean as a whistle, and the meat is so juicy, you may find yourself weeping with joy. This bad boy is loaded with pockets of joy-giving fat, but it's the undercurrent of gentle smoke that will keep you going back for more.

Pouding Chomuer dessert at LP's Quality Meats, Chippendale
Pouding Chômuer $12

There's only one dessert on the menu and that's the pouding chômuer, a Canadian poor man's pudding invented in Quebec during the Great Depression. The cake batter is poured into a tray, placed in the fridge overnight, then poured over with maple syrup and cream and baked in the oven.

It turns into one hot mess of caramelised maple syrup-soaked pudding, a little on the sweet side but easily alleviated by the melting puddle of vanilla ice cream on top. That maple syrup kick is what makes this so addictive even after your teeth start hurting. Share this between three people. No, better make that two.

Chef Luke Powell at LP's Quality Meats, Chippendale

LP's Quality Meats on Urbanspoon

LP's Quality Meats
Suite 1, 16 Chippen Street, Chippendale, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 8399 0929

Opening hours
Wednesday to Thursday 5pm-11pm
Friday 12pm-3pm and 5pm-11pm
Sunday 12pm-10pm
Closed Monday, Tuesday and Saturday

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Chippendale - Brickfields
Chippendale - Ester
Newtown - Mary's
36 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 8/30/2014 10:28:00 pm

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Surry Hills Eating House, Surry Hills

Duck tongue with five spice at Surry Hills Eating House

Duck tongues. You can go quackers over them at the newest addition to the Spice I Am family, Surry Hills Eating House. Barely a month old, it's opened up in the spot once occupied by Harry's Chilli Crab. Relax. Harry's hasn't closed down. They're moving a few doors up the road and tipped to open in October.

Surry Hills Eating House makes five eateries in total for head chef and co-owner Sujet Saenkham, joining House plus three Spice I Am restaurants spread across Darlinghurst, Surry Hills and Balmain. There's a focus on southern Thai food here, with Chinese and Malay influences shining through.

Refurbished dining room at Surry Hills Eating House
The refurbished dining room that was once Harry's Chilli Crab

The dining area has been completed refurbished, a calming oasis of timber furniture, flickering candles and caged light fittings that cast spindly shadows on the coffee coloured walls. Even though it's a Monday night, the place is full. It's a diverse group of diners that includes couples, groups of friends and even a posse of pensioners in one corner.

Thai milk ice tea at Surry Hills Eating House
Thai milk ice tea $5

The menu is a single page of 25 dishes. There's no breaking up into entrees or proteins. It's just one big happy mix of dishes to share - prices range from $9 to $24.

Pak Mor Youan steamed minced pork and spring onion in rice paper at Surry Hills Eating House
Pak mor youan $9 for three
Steamed minced pork and spring onion wrapped in rice paper

While we wait for our food, the kitchen sends out a complimentary serve of the pak mor youan, little parcels of mince pork and spring onion bundled up in a freshly steamed sheet of rice noodle. There's a lovely textural contrast between the rubble of pork mince and the sexily smooth rice noodle, all doused in a puddle of sweet fish sauce dressing that has a bigger chilli hit than you'd expect.

Sen Yai Sai Normai sauteed bamboo wrapped in flat rice noodle at Surry Hills Eating House
Sen yai sai normai $9
Sauteed bamboo wrapped in flat rice noodle, steamed and served with chilli and soy vinegar and dried shrimp

The sen yai sai normai is a thicker rice noodle, wrapped around a filling of sauteed bamboo like an albino spring roll. This one is more salty than sweet, served on a lake of chilli soy vinegar with garnishes of dried shrimp, chilli and coriander.

Yum Sam Grob crispy cuttlefish salad at Surry Hills Eating House
Yum sam grob $16
Spicy salad of crispy cuttlefish, fried fish maw, roasted cashew, brown onion, cherry tomatoes and Chinese celery

Yum sam grob has echoes of a som tam papaya salad but there's a lot more crunch. Shards of crispy cuttlefish and golden puffs of fried fish maw add pep to a zingy salad of cherry tomatoes, cashew nuts and matchsticks of fresh Chinese celery.

Gai Pae Sae Chinese Phuket steamed chicken at Surry Hills Eating House
Gai pae sa $18
Chinese Phuket steamed chicken with steamed water spinach

The gai pae sa or Chinese Phuket steamed chicken is highly reminiscent of Hainan chicken. The white poached chicken is served with the skin, liberally drenched in a dressing made from rice wine and ginger. A little tub of ginger sauce with chilli sits on the side for extra dipping.

Pla Tod Phae curried whitebait fritter at Surry Hills Eating House
Pla tod phae $12
Curried whitebait fritter served with house made sweet chilli sauce and crushed cashews

If it's crunch you're after, look no further. The pla tod phae or curried whitebait fritter is a snowball of deep fried deliciousness, a tangle of seasoned whitebait daubed with a sweet chilli sauce and sprinkled with cashews.

Gaeng Pak soft bean curd curry at Surry Hills Eating House
Pad ka lum lek $16
Stir fried brussels sprouts and Chinese sausage

Have you ever seen brussels sprouts on a Thai menu before? Never had I. Until now. The pad ka lum lek is a jumble of tofu, beans, cabbage and yes, brussels sprouts, swathed in a thick and spicy peanut sauce. The brussels sprouts work surprisingly well here,  the compact brassica heads adding a little crunch among the spice. It's a great dish for a winter night, especially mopping up all that gravy with spoonfuls of fluffy white rice.

Gaeng Het Pho Phuket style curry of bar cod fillet, Thai black mushroom and betel leaf at Surry Hills Eating House
Gaeng het pho $24
Phuket-style curry of bar cod fillet, Thai black mushroom and betel leaf

I'm even more enamoured with the gaeng het pho or Phuket-style curry. The red curry base has an addictive sweetness that works particularly well with the delicate bar cod fillets. The Thai black mushrooms are the best part of the dish though, dark and shiny funghi that look more like pebbles or smooth black truffles.

They're known as hed tob mushrooms, and biting into one when the whole thing is in your mouth is mandatory. You'll feel an explosive pop that is likely to leave you laughing in shock. It's the strangest sensation, like mushroom TNT exploding in your mouth. Flavour-wise they're similar to a straw mushroom but their texture is much firmer, almost like a crunchy shiitake.

Kra Dook Moo Mai Fun slow cooked pork spare rib soup with rice vermicelli noodle at Surry Hills Eating House
Kra Dook Moo Mai Fun $14
Slow cooked pork spare rib soup served with rice vermicelli noodle

The kra dook moo mai fun would be a great dish to have all on your own. It's a two-part affair: a conical bowl of pork spare ribs in a clear sweet soup versus a mountain of seasoned rice vermicelli noodles tossed through with fried shallots. Each is satisfying on its own, but alternating between the two makes them taste even better.

Duck tongue with five spice at Surry Hills Eating House
Lin Ped Pha Lo $24
Duck tongue simmered with five spice served with braised pickle, green mustard and nam som chilli vinegar

And then there's the lin ped pha lo or duck tongues. I've had duck tongues before deep-fried with salt and pepper, but here they've been simmered in a heady mix of five spice. There's not a lot of flesh on duck tongues - there's a soft bone that runs through the middle that you can eat, but there's a forked bone at the bone you'll have to extricate. The flesh itself is soft and slightly fatty, especially the tongue pad itself.

Sauce things up with the accompanying nam son chilli vinegar, and when the going gets too much, you can refresh your palate with pickles and stir fried preserved green mustard leaves.

Baked taro cake with fried shallot and durian coconut milk Thai dessert at Surry Hills Eating House
Baked taro cake $10
with fried shallot and warm durian coconut milk

There are two just desserts on the menu. The baked taro cake may be a little daunting for some. Not only does it combine a sweet taro with deep fried red onion shallots (yes really), but you'll also cop a thickened coconut caramel mixed through with durian.

Once you get past the crazy idea of durian, onion and taro for dessert, this is a pretty darn tasty dish. The taro cake is warm and comforting, the shallots add a salty hit, and durian just makes everything intoxicatingly good.

Black sticky rice with warm coconut cream Thai dessert at Surry Hills Eating House
Black sticky rice $10
with warm coconut cream

The black sticky rice is also a winner, the grains almost glassy in appearance with a distinctive chew. Savour each spoonful with warm coconut cream and fine ribbons of foi tong, delicate golden strands of sweetened egg yolk.

The flavours here feel more well-rounded overall, with mellower flavour profiles. It's no coincidence. "This the food I cook at home," Chef Saenkham says, when he stops by our table for a chat. "It's the food from my town. It's the food I grew up with."

Entrance to Surry Hills Eating House on Elizabeth Street

Surry Hills Eating House on Urbanspoon

Surry Hills Eating House
Level 1, 198-200 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills, Sydney (entrance on Campbell Street)
Tel: +61 (02) 9212 4092

Open daily 5.45pm til late

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Thai - Home, Sydney
14 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 8/27/2014 11:41:00 pm

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Roast goose and suckling pig in Hong Kong: Yung Kee, Asiania and Tai Chung Wah

Whole suckling pig at Tai Chung Wah, Cheung Sha Wan, Hong Kong

There are two things that should always be at the top of your Hong Kong eating list: roast goose and suckling pig. Cantonese-style roast goose, in particular, is a delicacy we rarely get to enjoy in Sydney. In Hong Kong, it's almost as commonplace as roast duck, cooked to the same level of juiciness with a slightly gamier taste to the flesh. And then there's suckling pig, reaching levels of crunch you never thought possible in its crackling skin.

You can eat roast goose and suckling pig at restaurants all over Hong Kong, large and small, expensive and cheap. Here are three places to get you started on your next visit.

Yung Kee, Central

Chef plating up roast good at Yung Kee, Central, Hong Kong
Chef plating up roast goose at Yung Kee

When it comes to roast goose, Yung Kee is a Hong Kong institution. Originally it started as a dai pai dong, or roadside stall, selling siu mai in 1938. Four years later it converted to a restaurant and after several relocations, it settled into its current premises on Wellington Street in 1978. Today it owns the entire six-storey building.

In 2009, Yung Kee was awarded one Michelin star in the inaugural Hong Kong and Macau Michelin Guide, a status it maintained for 2010 and 2011. In 2012 it was moved to the Bib Gourmand section, defined as "inspectors' favourites for good value".

Roast meats at Yung Kee, Central, Hong Kong
Hungry passersby admiring the roast meats in the window

That hasn't stopped the swarms of customers that flock to Yung Kee every day. They sell as many as 300 roast geese each day, with many bought by tourists to take back home to Guangdong or Macau.

Its reputation means that prices aren't cheap, and whilst some Hong Kong locals regard it now as more of a tourist trap, it's still worth visiting, especially for some of its more unusual dishes.

Main dining room at Yung Kee, Central, Hong Kong
Downstairs dining room

One hour waits are common, even though there are two floors of seating. It's a noisy clatter of families and tourists, with waitresses hurrying through with brusque efficiency.

Upstairs dining room on level 3 at Yung Kee, Central, Hong Kong
Upstairs dining room on level four

Pigflyin has the inside intelligence though. He confidently leads the way to the elevator, neatly spitting us out at level four on the VIP floor. There are no queues here, and it's eerily quiet. An army of waitstaff flank the corridors, springing to attention at the faintest wave of a hand. The seats are covered in a royal purple silk and classical music plays softly in the background. It's a little bit of luxury compared to the chaos downstairs. You'll pay about 10% more on menu prices for the privilege.

Signature roasted goose at Yung Kee, Central, Hong Kong
Signature roasted goose HK$176 (AU$25)

A quarter roast goose will set you back AU$25, not cheap by any stretch of the imagination, but the slices are plump and succulent. Even though we're given the breast, the meat is tender, offset by a complex marinade on the skin.

Poached pigs aorta at Yung Kee, Central, Hong Kong
Poached pig's aorta HK$198 (AU$28)

Pig Flyin is here for the rest of the menu, especially the poached pigs' aorta, which is the kind of dish that's hard to find anywhere in Hong Kong. The large artery is eaten more for its texture, a rubbery chewiness that is inordinately satisfying.

Frog leg sauteed with salt at Yung Kee, Central, Hong Kong
Frog leg sauteed with salt HK$298 (AU$42)

We also feast on frogs legs, sauteed simply with salt and shallots that add a subtle sweetness. The frog has been cooked gently so it maintains its moisture, its flesh coming away from the bone with ease.

Smoked pigeon with tea leaves at Yung Kee, Central, Hong Kong
Smoked pigeon with tea leaves HK$165 (AU$23)

The smoked pigeon is a favourite too. The skin has been roasted to a glorious deep brown, and each mouthful of flesh has an intense smokiness from tea leaves.

Asiania Restaurant, Wan Chai

Roast goose at Asiania Retaurant, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Whole roast goose HK$360 (AU$50)

You can get your roast goose fill from Asiania Restaurant in Wan Chai for about half the price of Yung Kee. Asiania has been around in Hong Kong for ages, although it's recently moved to smaller premises. That means it's highly recommended to make a reservation. It's regularly fully booked.

Roast goose at Asiania Retaurant, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Roast goose

The whole roast goose is piled onto a plate, drenched in a puddle of its own sweet roasting juices. There's a generous layer of fat beneath the skin, and there's plenty of flavour in both the meat and the bones.

Half roast suckling pig at Asiania Retaurant, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Half roast suckling pig HK$460 (AU$64)

The suckling pig is a sight as well, especially when it arrives with a red light bulb jammed into its eye socket. The red light flashes on and off like some saucy strip club entrance. Perhaps its not too far from the truth given the gleam in our eyes as we hover closer.

The crackling on the skin is perfect: thin and brittle tiles that make a resounding crunch. Suckling pigs are noticeably smaller in Hong Kong too.

Steamed buns for roast suckling pig at Asiania Retaurant, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Steamed buns for the roast suckling pig

Wrap a slice of crackling suckling pig in the accompanying steamed buns and you'll appreciate the contrast between softness and crunch even more. A slick of hoisin adds sweetness and the matchsticks of cucumber and scallions will cut through the richness.

Teochew dumplings at Asiania Retaurant, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Teochew dumpling HK$88 (AU$13)

They do a couple of teochew dishes here too, like teochew dumplings which have a distinctive chewy and glutinous skin. Inside each pocket is a textural wonderland of mushrooms, dried shrimp, bamboo shoots and roasted peanuts.

Vermicelli with XO sauce at Asiania Retaurant, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Vermicelli with XO sauce HK$88 (AU$13)

Vermicelli with XO sauce is one big umami and spice hit that combines dried scallops, dried shrimp, garlic and chilli. Buried in amongst the glass vermicelli noodles are sweet whole prawns.

Steamed egg white with prawns at Asiania Retaurant, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Steamed egg white with prawns HK$98 (AU$14)

Steamed egg white with prawns is always a crowd favourite, a comforting mix of wobbly egg white, sweet prawn, tender carrot, chewy mushrooms and crunchy pops of finely sliced asparagus. Everything is enveloped in a thick gravy, perfect for ladling over bowls of plain steamed rice.

Mushrooms with broccoli at Asiania Retaurant, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Mushrooms with broccoli HK$88 (AU$13)

And because you need more veggies to balance out all that meat, we swoop on the mushrooms with broccoli too, the funghi firm and toothsome, coated in a glossy thick sauce.

Tai Chung Wah, Cheung Sha Wan

Dining room poster at Tai Chung Wah, Cheung Sha Wan, Hong Kong
Oh hello Photoshopped poster

If street food is more your thing, then you have to check out a dai pai dong. Dai pai dongs refer to the extra large street food stalls, ones that sprawl more like a restaurant with masses of large tables. Translated into English, dai pai dong means "big license food stall".

They're fast disappearing across Hong Kong - especially as the government is trying to buy back licenses and improve hygiene levels - but they offer a feast of good food at a fraction of an air-conditioned restaurant's price. In 2010 there were only 28 dai pai dongs left in Hong Kong.

Dai pai dong outdoor seating at Tai Chung Wah, Cheung Sha Wan, Hong Kong
Dai pai dong outdoor seating

Tai Chung Wah in Kowloon's Cheung Sha Wan is one of the biggest. From the main street, it looks like a bustling restaurant but if you head around the back and into the alleyway, you'll find a sprawl of chairs and tables in backrooms and on the street.

Kitchen set-up at Tai Chung Wah, Cheung Sha Wan, Hong Kong
Kitchen set-up

The open kitchens face onto the street, giving you a direct look into most of the prep that happens. Sometimes it's a little more information than you wanted, but that's half the fun of street food dining, right?

Indoor dining room at Tai Chung Wah, Cheung Sha Wan, Hong Kong
Indoor dining room

You'll need to pre-book to eat here, so find a Cantonese speaker to help you out. You may as well ask them to join you too, as you'll have to write down your own order, in Chinese no less.

The dining rooms are no fuss affairs. Posters plaster the walls and fans keep things cool during summer. Plastic stools are all you'll get here, and forget about tablecloths - the tables are covered with giant plastic sheets.

DIY cutlery and crockery cleaning at Tai Chung Wah, Cheung Sha Wan, Hong Kong
DIY cutlery and crockery cleaning with hot water

Your bowls, glasses and chopsticks are brought out in a giant bowl with a jug of hot water. That's so you can sterilise your own eating utensils with boiling water. It's like they concede that ok we admit things aren't so clean, so here, have some hot water and go crazy with your hygiene complexes.

Frying the oyster pancake at Tai Chung Wah, Cheung Sha Wan, Hong Kong
Frying the oyster pancake

The food comes out whenever it's ready, so if you do head out to have a sticky beak at the kitchen like I did, hurry back quickly as the food arrives fast.

Deep fried oyster pancake at Tai Chung Wah, Cheung Sha Wan, Hong Kong
Deep fried oyster pancake HK$70 (AU$10)

The deep fried oyster pancake is a massive fritter of plump oysters bound together in a lacy batter that is full of crunch. And at AU$10, it's an utter bargain.

Deep fried century eggs at Tai Chung Wah, Cheung Sha Wan, Hong Kong
Deep fried century eggs HK$55 (AU$8) each whole egg

The deep fried century eggs are an awesome mash-up of century eggs and Scotch eggs. Century eggs are an acquired taste, but they're made even better here with a casing of shrimp paste that's then crumbed and deep-fried.

Deep fried eel at Tai Chung Wah, Cheung Sha Wan, Hong Kong
Deep fried eel HK$100 (AU$14)

The deep fried eel is a winner too. The battered coating adds crunch, but without the usual thick sweet soy you get with Japanese-style eel, here you taste more of the eel flesh on its own.

Sinqua melon with dried shrimp at Tai Chung Wah, Cheung Sha Wan, Hong Kong
Sinqua melon with dried shrimp HK$80 (AU$11)

Sinqua melon has a terrific spongy texture with a mild sweetness similar to young zucchini. Here it's stir-fried with dried shrimp, shallots, chilli and bucketloads of garlic.

Deep fried whole giant oysters at Tai Chung Wah, Cheung Sha Wan, Hong Kong
Deep fried whole giant oysters 

We splurged on deep fried whole giant oysters too. Not sure how big these are?

Deep fried whole giant oyster comparison with iPhone at Tai Chung Wah, Cheung Sha Wan, Hong Kong
iPhone-sized giant oysters 

How did we survive before the international size comparison unit, the iPhone? Mrs PigFlyin has the hand modelling job down to a fine art too.

These oysters are ridiculously huge, almost a meal on their own.

Pork knuckle with black pepper and oyster sauce at Tai Chung Wah, Cheung Sha Wan, Hong Kong
Pork knuckle with black pepper and oyster sauce HK$120 (AU$17)

One of the trademark dishes here is the pork knuckle. They churn these out like nobody's business, each one arriving at the table on a hotplate cloaked in steam.

Pork knuckle with black pepper and oyster sauce at Tai Chung Wah, Cheung Sha Wan, Hong Kong
Pork knuckle

The pork knuckles have been slow cooked until soft, then liberally soaked in a rich and sticky black pepper and oyster sauce. The meat falls away easily off the bone.

Making clay pot rice at Tai Chung Wah, Cheung Sha Wan, Hong Kong
Making clay pot rice

Clay pot rice is also worth seeking out here. There's an element of mastery behind getting the water and heat ratios right so you're left with perfectly cooked ingredients and a bonus crunchy layer of rice at the bottom.

Gas flames cooking clay pot rice at Tai Chung Wah, Cheung Sha Wan, Hong Kong
Gas flames cooking the clay pot rice

Clay pot rice at Tai Chung Wah, Cheung Sha Wan, Hong Kong
Clay pot rice HK$80 (AU$11)

When everything is mixed up, you get bits of crunchy rice in amongst the bursts of sweet lap cheong sausage and fresh shallot. The clay pot keeps everything hot for ages too.

Whole suckling pig at Tai Chung Wah, Cheung Sha Wan, Hong Kong
Whole suckling pig HK$560 (AU$78)

And I've saved the best for last, of course. The whole suckling pig. It's a crazy bargain at only AU$78. The pig is tiny - only the length of about three iPhones laid end to end - but it's the best we have on our entire Hong Kong trip.

The crackling skin is superb. Super crunchy and sweet with an unmistakeable taste of smoky charcoal that leaves you craving for more.

Crisping the suckling pig by hand over charcoal at Tai Chung Wah, Cheung Sha Wan, Hong Kong
Crisping the skin of the suckling pig over charcoal by hand

It's only when we sneak into the kitchen on our way out that we discover the secret. After each pig is roasted, it's held by hand over a bed of glowing charcoal. The prong is slowly rotated so the skin bubbles even more, and the flesh takes on the flavour of charcoal.

Roast suckling pig at Tai Chung Wah, Cheung Sha Wan, Hong Kong
Roast suckling pig

They serve the suckling pig here with saucers of hoisin and mustard. The flesh is buttery soft, but it's that smoky sweet crackling that will make you a fan of this dai pai dong for life.

Asiania Restaurant
Basement level, 288 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2861 2882

Tai Chung Wah
539 Fok Wing Street, Cheung Sha Wan, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 9045 4863
Open daily 6pm - 1am

Yung Kee
32-40 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2522 1624
Open daily 11am - 11.30pm

<< Read the first Hong Kong post: Ronin modern Japanese seafood

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
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22 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 8/24/2014 08:02:00 pm

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