This is the first of sixteen Postcards from my Hong Kong, Macau and Beijing foodie trip. Rather than writing up each dining experience in separate posts, which would have taken me up to Christmas, I thought it would be more fun to write up the trip in diary form, to include travel and sightseeing tips as well as the food recommendations
Day 1 highlights:
travelling from HK airport to Lanson Place hotel
checking in at Lanson Place
dinner at Chung’s Cuisine (Cantonese) – all photos shown are from Chung’s Cuisine
Travelling from HK airport to Lanson Place hotel:
Transport from the airport to Lanson Place was one of the first things that the hotel arranged during weeks of email exchanges prior to our arrival. For HK$150 for the first person and HK$90 for the second, we were booked onto the 18:30 Airport Shuttle bus (meeting place at Center B01 in the Arrivals hall. The alternative would have been to take the Airport Express train to Central (which leaves every 12 mins and takes 24 mins), at HK$100 per person, followed by a taxi to Causeway Bay. The latter wouldn’t have cost much, but I didn’t fancy queuing for a cab on our first day in HK, with heavy jetlag and luggage. So I chose the easiest and not much more expensive option! However, we were suffering from motion sickness by the time we reached our hotel over an hour later, so we’re definitely going to take the Airport Express when we leave HK.
Checking in at Lanson Place:
Apart from having a super helpful Concierge desk, Lanson Place also provides a mobile phone with SIM card free of charge (flat rate of HK$3 per call), free wireless access in all the rooms and shuttle bus to Central at 8:30am every weekday morning. There is a 24 hr gym and a coin-operated launderette (haven’t come across one of these in a hotel before!). The room is very spacious, with a docking station for the ipod, a widescreen TV and DVD player, while the bathroom is modern and clean (with Gilchrist & Soames products!). I think we chose well.
Dinner at Chung’s Cuisine (Cantonese) – 8.5/10:
Recommended by Chowhounders on the China board, but not on my original restaurant shortlist, Chung’s Cuisine at Times Square was the first restaurant that I chose to try when writing my travel schedule. It serves good Cantonese cuisine (after so many years away from HK, my first meal had to Cantonese!), they take reservations (made by the hotel), and it’s within walking distance to our hotel. I knew we would be exhausted after our flight, but thought we should eat something light, then try to sleep at a normal time.
It was very busy when we arrived, although admittedly we did arrive earlier than our reservation, so had to wait a short while to be seated. It’s a very large open restaurant, and there is an open kitchen, although the tables are situated so far away from it as to make it pointless, and no one seemed to be that interested.
All dishes were free of MSG and artificial colouring, quite an unusual restaurant policy, and which sounded very appealing after our long journey. I often feel quite bloated after a Chinese meal, no matter what I order, as well as quite buzzy, and I always wonder if it’s the use of MSG. And I was delighted to see a bilingual menu (with lovely food photos) on my first night in Hong Kong, when I was so tired.
Braised goose web with abalone in abalone sauce is the dish that Chowhound foodies rave about, but although I love abalone, I don’t like feet of any description. There were some pricey dishes (the most expensive abalone costs HK$1080 per piece!), but after some deliberation, we ordered the following from our very friendly waitress:
crispy bean curd roll with mushrooms – HK$50
roast baby pigeon – HK$48
braised bean curd with Chinese mushrooms – HK$80
sauteed flowering cabbage (choi sum) with preserved vegetables – HK$70
steamed pork belly with salted fish – HK$90
To be brief, it was a simple but delicious meal. With no MSG or artificial colouring, all we could taste were the fresh ingredients, particularly the tofu. The portions were enormous, and I have to admit that we couldn’t finish everything. My roast baby pigeon was heavenly, perfectly roasted with the meat still tender. I used my fingers, as it was too difficult to use chopsticks (and I was in a hurry). Steamed pork belly with salted fish is a childhood favourite of mine, and I was delighted to see it on the menu, having always regarded it as a home-cooked dish. The combination of the roughly minced steamed pork with the extremely salty fish (it’s bought dried, then cooked, usually steamed I think), always works really really well.
The vegetarian husband was pleased, I was pleased he was pleased, and I also got to eat some meat. The bill for the dishes, two small bowls of rice and mineral water came to HK$400 without service charge, so I left a tip for our fantastic waitress. I could write more about the atmosphere, but to be honest, all I wanted to do was eat and go back to the hotel to unpack and sleep. I did notice though that there were different types of eating areas, including booths with comfy cushions, which I liked. A promising start to the traveleating trip!
Lanson Place (’Lan Sum’) 133 Leighton Road Causeway Bay Hong Kong Tel: 852 3477 6888 www.lansonplace.com
Chung’s Cuisine (they accept reservations) 10/F Food Forum Times Square 1 Matheson Street Causeway Bay Hong Kong Tel: 852 2506 9128
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat: 11:00am – 12:00 midnight Sun and public holidays: 10:00am – 12:00 midnigh