Recently my friend and I tried to come up with some explanation as to why those living on Hong Kong Island seem reluctant to travel to Kowloon peninsula for shopping or dining, while Kowloon dwellers don’t find crossing Victoria Harbor such a trouble at all.
According to my friend’s analysis, almost every district on “Hong Kong side” is well developed and exudes a unique ambience. So it’s not surprising that islanders would rather stick to their old familiar hangouts.
Though I live in Taikoo Shing, my most frequently visited shopping mall is Landmark in Central.
Café Landmark, situated at the atrium of the mall, is my top choice for breakfast. I bet it is the only place where you can sun yourself without soaking in sweat, thanks to the air-conditioning.
It’s so relaxing to take my own time reading the newspaper while having breakfast on a Sunday morning.
Occasionally that’s also where I take my afternoon tea, but the quality of coffee is obviously much poorer than that served in the morning.
My friend, who has been a judge at the World Barista Championship over the past decade, took a sip of her coffee and immediately concluded it was some left-behind from a large pot of pre-brewed coffee for the morning rush-hour crowd.
Most costumers would not be able to tell the subtle difference; nevertheless, I think an exquisite café like this should have done a better job in at least delivering freshly-brewed coffee.
China Tang Hong Kong at Landmark is another favorite, where they serve dishes of higher and more impressive quality.
Classical Cantonese dishes like double-boiled pig’s lung soup with almonds (杏汁豬肺湯) and braised pomelo peel with shrimp roe (蝦子柚皮) are always excellent at China Tang.
But frankly, dim sum and other offerings on the menu are pretty mediocre.
Since the arrival of the executive chef, Albert Au Kwok-keung, from the three-Michelin-starred restaurant – The Eight of Grand Lisboa in Macau – China Tang has been revitalized with fresh, creative options.
I could still recall the dinner where my friend and I were served with crispy fried chicken with black truffle and roasted suckling pig with truffle mousse. They were just superb.
And the steamed dark sugar cane sponge cake with honey for our afternoon yum cha was unforgettable.
I couldn’t hide my excitement when I was invited for their autumn menu.
The appetizer was smoked pigeon egg topped with caviar. The Russian caviar was of first-rate quality, while the pigeon egg was first soaked with Chinese marinade and then cold-smoked.
The double-boiled abalone soup with sea whelk came with a hint of fresh sweetness that was attributed to black goji berries.
I couldn’t help but ask how the soup could stay untainted by the natural black pigment.
It turned out that the berries were added only at the very last moment. Under 10 seconds the sweetness could be diffused into the soup yielding a significant flavor.
No wonder it has become one of the most sought-after ingredients.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Aug. 22.
Translation by Darlie Yiu
[Chinese version 中文版]
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