Here we were, sitting at a round table for eight at the Canton Room of Gloucester Luk Kwok, Wan Chai, for lunch.
The guests were aged between 10 and 86, including a fellow who moved away to Europe from Hong Kong over 30 years ago.
The genial host wasted no time ordering a welcoming round of dim sum.
Shrimp dumplings and siu mai are classic appetizers to kick off a Hong Kong meal.
Although it is often joked that wherever Chinese go, dim sum follows, Hong Kong’s dim sum has an irreplaceable position in diners’ hearts, those of foreigners in particular, as its delicacies are regarded as the best and most authentic.
Our “ex-Hongkonger” showed his concurrence in action, helping himself to one after another.
Well, who could resist the freshly steamed goodies, especially ones made in Luk Kwok?
Established in 1933, Luk Kwok is a heritage hotel that impresses diners with its unforgettable tastes.
Our honorable 86-year-old guest couldn’t agree more.
I, meanwhile, regarded myself as a lucky lad in terms of dining experiences.
Thanks to my uncle, who was the man in charge in the kitchen of the Peninsula, I could enjoy its goodies at will.
However, as I knew no one at Luk Kwok, I dared not set foot in the hotel of the elite at all.
The ex-Hongkonger seemed already to be satisfied by the preliminary dim sum and spring rolls, leaving the steamed meatballs aside untouched.
Probably having eaten so much quality steak throughout the past three decades, he might have looked down on the meatballs.
His hesitation was normal, since the beef content of most “meatballs” may well be called in question.
Nonetheless, the meatballs served at Luk Kwok are honest ones.
If I were to choose only one dim sum item, that would be my favorite.
Soon the waiter came with fried wontons along with sweet and sour sauce, originally a signature dish in the early days of Ho Hung Kee, a specialist in wonton noodles and congee.
The dish is now spiced up by Luk Kwok’s chefs with fresh shrimp and squid immersed in the sauce.
While it’s almost time to call it a perfect lunch for the day, our ex-Hongkonger had a sudden surge of nostalgia, searching for the name of a dish in which noodles bathe in an orange-red soup.
“Assorted seafood with noodle soup (鴻圖窩麵)!” he yelled.
We could tell he wanted it so much. The waiter didn’t disappoint us, either.
Not having tasted the dish for over 20 years, I found myself approving the dish much more than the ones in my memories.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Jan. 6.
Translation by Darlie Yiu
[Chinese version 中文版]
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