Date of Visit: August 27 2013
It was near impossible to find a place for lunch in Central before the restaurant boom took off with a gusto in Hong Kong a decade ago. Now, a short walk on the pedestrian overhead bridge to Sheung Wan from IFC or an escalator ride to Mid-Levels is all you need to find an array of new restaurants serving up cuisines from all over the world.
This is a significant departure from my good ‘ol days of McDonald’s take-aways and styrofoam lunch-boxes *sniff*. Then again, I was only an architectural intern engrossed with my mundane priorities of specifying steps in the stairs, gradients in the ramps, toilet accessories – amongst the most exciting tasks! My mind was far away from digging out any culinary finds then!
I degress… back to Central, I say reservations are still recommended today especially since this is a busy financial district.
Tsui Hang Village in New World Tower, Central has been around ever since I can remember. This is a family favourite. We used to have to check-in at least once every week when I was little. Gran had a ‘trader’s couch’ in Central where she reports for ‘duty’ every workday! Anyway, after many face-lifts, this is still the same expansive restaurant on the second floor of an office building with a low ceiling. Heck! Even the maitre d’ is still the same woman!
Food here are classic Cantonese, with dim sums for lunch. Some of the a la carte, I recommend are salted fish fried rice, braised e-fu noodles, 2-faced yellow noodles and back pepper beef on sizzling hot plates.
Naturally as a golden-oldie, Tsui Hang Village made into the list of recommended restaurants in Michelin Hong Kong & Macau Guides in 2012, 2013.
Great news for the ‘bananas‘ (Chinese who cannot read Chinese) out there! Bi-lingual menu with pictures – ordering made easy. All one needed to do is to tick off the boxes for the food one wants with the pencil provided and give it to the waiter.
Honey Glazed BBQ Pork (HK$128): Sticky, juicy, succulent pork – half fat, half lean – exceptionally tender porky bites with sweet chewy unctuousness. I enjoyed the honeyed soy beans, so much that my chopsticks have only 1 path – to the plate for the beans into my mouth and back!
Steamed Braised Chicken Feet: Don’t say yuck! Also known as ‘Phoenix Claws‘, in Cantonese, this is a nutritious savoury-sweet delicacy with plenty of collagen to make you look younger and prettier! Curious at how this dish is cooked, I checked online (recipe here) and to my horror they have to be first deep-fried in order for it to puff up when steamed. Not so healthy now, is it? Still, as a once in a while delicacy, it’s OK as a treat, right?
Steamed BBQ Pork Bun: This is sweet BBQ pork filling in white fluffy cottony-soft buns. The filling is very hot. Personally, I am not crazy about BBQ buns because they are too sweet for me. I usually share the bun and have it as my dessert.
Steamed Squid: An old classic in any yumcha. I think a basket of this is becoming a rarity nowadays. I especially enjoyed the supposedly cholesterol-lowering or was it blood-pressure lowering pomelo skins under the squids dressed in salty nam jin sauce.
Steamed Vegetarian Dumplings: Chinese chives or ‘gau choi‘ wrapped in glutinous rice paper wrappings.
Vegetarian Stir-fry (Lo Hon Chai): Snap peas, carrots, celeries, bamboo shoots, black fungus, lotus roots, lotus buds and chestnuts. A flavoured packed dish with all my favourite vegetables in it. The notables in this dish are the crunchy lotus roots and water chestnuts.
Steamed Pork Ribs: I have not had this dish for quite a long time and it was not as good as I remembered. It was all bone cartilages with little meat. Basically a deep-fried pork ribs which is later steamed and given a generous garnishing of chopped garlic.
Steamed Beef Balls: Finally! The favourite among my favourite dim sums. The beef balls here are rather special to me because the beef are minced to a pulp, thus having the texture of beef paste. The added parsleys and water chestnuts in the beef balls are accentuated with the soy vinegar provided.
The total time we spent in Tsui Hang Village from arrival to picking up the tab was only 50minutes! Now, that’s executive lunch-time in Hong Kong for you!