Dim sum dish, prawn dumpling or har gao

Highlights from Hong Kong Dim Sum and some news

by April@MyFoodTrail on February 3, 2013

in Chinese, Dining Out, Hong Kong, Yum Cha

To my horror, I looked at my blog yesterday and realised that it has been three months since I last posted, and besides the last WTC Wharf competition post, it was three months before that! I can’t believe so much time has passed. What a slacker I’ve been! Sorry for the lack of updates. It started off with me being so busy with work and working long hours that I couldn’t be bothered sitting in front of the computer when I got home too.

After the big deadline passed at work, I got lazy and blogging felt more like a chore I could put off so I did. But I guess that’s the great thing about a personal blog – I can write a blog post when I feel like it and when I don’t, I don’t have to. I do feel that I should be keeping my loyal readers entertained with new material, but I’m sure (or at least hope) people understand.

Then came some big news which has distracted me for the past few months… hubby and I are expecting our first baby!! I wasn’t sure whether I should make an announcement on my blog, but hopefully the people we were meant to tell know our news by now! If not, I’m sorry you found out this way!

I’ve had really bad morning sickness (including vomiting) since about 6 weeks which has really affected my appetite and my love of food. Morning sickness supposedly eases up after the first three months, but when mine didn’t, I held out hope as some people told me theirs took 4 months. The 4 month mark has passed and I’m still feeling nauseous but it was a lot better than before.

Since I’m doing better at being able to keep down my food and can stand looking at food again, I thought I would try to start blogging again. You can also always find me on Instagram @my_foodtrail where I post up to date photos of my eating if I go missing on my blog again.

I’m conscious of not turning My Food Trail into a baby centric blog, but I’ve been keeping a diary of the progress of my pregnancy so if I have time, I might turn it into a blog and save all my non-food related baby posts for that.

Our eating out has been curbed a lot due to my morning sickness so I actually haven’t taken my DSLR out for a while. I also find the iPhone 5 takes pretty decent photos so I’ve been Instagramming instead of blogging. I had to dig through my archives to find some photos to blog about and thought I should do Hong Kong since a number of people have wanted to see what I ate.

As it has been a while since I returned from my trip to Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan, it seems a bit silly to do detailed posts of places I ate at, so instead I will do a two part Hong Kong food highlights post, starting with dim sum. Dim Sum (or yum cha as it is called here in Australia) is one of hubby’s favourite foods so he was very excited to be going to the birth place of dim sum. He actually envisioned having dim sum every day but I had to convince him we needed to try other things too!

Tim Ho Wan

Tim Ho Wan, Mongkok, Hong Kong - Outside

Outside the famous Tim Ho Wan

By far one of the most recommended restaurants to visit in Hong Kong is Tim Ho Wan. One of the first questions people (usually foodies) will ask when they find out you’ve been to Hong Kong is “Did you go to Tim Ho Wan?” Yes, yes we did. Twice! Tim Ho Wan is the world’s cheapest Michelin starred restaurant, serving freshly cooked dim sum from morning til night.

There are currently three branches of Tim Ho Wan in Hong Kong. We went to the Mongkok branch as it was closest to our hotel. While it is the original branch, it was the smallest which meant long waiting times (can be more than an hour) in the mid-30’s heat (during June). You get given a number when you arrive and when your table is ready, your number is called. They give you a sheet of paper (either in English or Chinese) to order from while you’re waiting.

The first time we went, we got there at around 6pm on a Monday night and the wait was no more than about 30 minutes. I read that the char siew polo bun (baked BBQ pork bun) was a must order dish but OMG, I didn’t realise how amazing something so simple could be! A crisp, sweet crust, on a soft, fluffy bun, filled with the most delicious tender Chinese style BBQ pork. The polo bun was the reason why we returned a second time on our last night in Hong Kong and hubby and I ordered a serve each so we didn’t have to share!

To be honest, the rest of the food at Tim Ho Wan was good and cheap, but not really worth returning a second time for, especially when you only have a limited number of meals in Hong Kong. The next time I go to Hong Kong, I’m going to order the polo buns to take away! Below is the food we ate over two visits.

Tim Ho Wan, Mongkok, Hong Kong - Baked bun with BBQ Pork 2 serves

The dish everyone must get when they go to Tim Ho Wan, the baked bun with BBQ pork

Tim Ho Wan, Mongkok, Hong Kong - Lor mai gai, radish cake, crescent dumplings, beancurd wrapped pork

Clockwise from top left: 1. Glutinous rice dumpling; 2. Pan fried turnip cake; 3. Deep fried dumpling filled with meat; 4. Steamed beancurd roll filled with beef & vegetable

Tim Ho Wan, Mongkok, Hong Kong - Har gao, siu mai, beef wrapped enoki mushrooms, pork spare ribs

Clockwise from top left: 1. Steamed fresh shrimp dumplings; 2. Steamed pork dumpling with shrimp; 3. Steamed beef roll filled with enoki mushroom & black pepper sauce; 4. Steamed spare ribs with black bean sauce

Tim Ho Wan, Mongkok, Hong Kong - Prawn rice rolls, char siew rice rolls, spring rolls

Clockwise from top left: 1. Vermicelli rolls stuffed with shrimp; 2. Vermicelli rolls stuffed with BBQ pork; 3. Deep fried spring rolls filled with shrimp, pork & vegetable

Cuisine Cuisine at The Mira

Cuisine Cuisine, The Mira, Hong Kong - Outside and Inside

Left: Outside The Mira Hotel; Right: Inside Cuisine Cuisine

Cuisine Cuisine gets one Michelin star, though I think it is for their dinner menu, not their dim sum. We heard about their fancy dim sum dishes and wanted to try so we made a reservation for lunch. There are two options at lunch – you can choose a la carte dim sum dishes or go for the all you can eat. The dishes are pretty similar on both menus, though there are some which are only available on the a la carte menu so we chose to go with that.

As with at Tim Ho Wan, there are no ladies pushing trolleys of food around where you can point and order what catches your eye. Instead you tick from a piece of paper what you would like to order. I much prefer the Australian way of seeing the food first, but at Cuisine Cuisine, they had quite good menu descriptions.

Cuisine Cuisine, The Mira, Hong Kong - Mushroom & truffle dumpling, wu kok with foie gras, osmanthus eel, crescent dumpling

Clockwise from top left: 1. Steamed wild mushroom & black truffle dumplings; 2. Crispy taro puffs with diced chicken & foie gras; 3. Grilled eel in osmanthus sauce; 4. Crispy glutinous rice dumplings with diced chicken & lotus root

Cuisine Cuisine, The Mira, Hong Kong - Radish cake, polo buns, crispy rice rolls with vermicelli, steamed rice rolls with scallops

Clockwise from top left: 1. Pan fried turnip cakes with Parma ham & prawns in XO chilli sauce; 2. Baked barbecue pork & pineapple buns with crystal sugar; 3. Crispy rice rolls stuffed with vermicelli, minced pork & carrot; 4. Steamed green rice flour rolls stuffed with scallops

The stand out dishes were the wild mushroom and truffle dumplings and the crispy taro puffs with diced chicken and foie gras, but the food overall was so amazingly good, probably the best dim sum we’ve had, that we made a booking two days later for the all you can eat dim sum! What I loved about the all you can eat menu was you could order individual pieces so if we weren’t sure about a particular item, we could order one piece so hubby and I could share in case it wasn’t nice and it wasn’t a waste of stomach space. The dumplings also came in two pieces rather than the usual three or four.

Cuisine Cuisine, The Mira, Hong Kong - BBQ pork puff, lotus root cake, spring roll, fried dace balls, wu kok

Clockwise from top left: 1. Crispy barbecue pork puff with pomelo honey flavour; 2. Pan fried minced lotus root cake; 3. Crispy spring roll stuffed with shrimp & cheese, crispy glutinous rice rolls stuffed with minced dace, crispy taro puff with diced chicken & foie gras

Cuisine Cuisine, The Mira, Hong Kong - Steamed carrot rice rolls with char siew, steamed rice roll with minced beef, pork spare ribs with rice noodle, stir fried turnip cake with xo sauce

Clockwise from top left: 1. Steamed carrot rice flour rolls stuffed with barbecue pork; 2. Steamed rice flour rolls stuffed with beef and parsley; 3. Steamed spare ribes with rice noodles in black bean sauce; 4. Stir fried turnip cakes in XO chilli sauce

Cuisine Cuisine, The Mira, Hong Kong - Har gao & prawn & vegetable dumpling, shrimp wonton in spicy soup, xiao long bao, siu mai

Clockwise from top left: 1. Steamed shrimp dumpling, steamed sweet potato with shrimp & vegetable dumpling; 2. Shrimp wonton in spicy soup; 3. “Xiao long bao” steamed Shanghai style soup dumpling; 4. Steamed minced pork dumpling with crab roe

Cuisine Cuisine, The Mira, Hong Kong - Egg tarts, sweetened bean curd, mango cream

Clockwise from left: 1. Baked mini egg tart with bird’s nest; 2. Sweetened bean curd with cane sugar; 3. Chilled mango cream with sago & pomelo

Yes, we ate all the food above in one sitting, plus we had seconds of a few of them! Needless to say, we were rolling out of there like a dumpling ourselves by the end of lunch.

Stay tuned for my next post, fine dining highlights from Hong Kong. Hopefully it won’t be in another three months :)!

Over & Out, April xx

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