What is happening, everybody? Welcome to another edition of Mastication Monologues! If you didn’t read my last post, I finally made it to the century mark in terms of blogging, i.e. 100 posts. So this a small step towards the next 100 posts. Today continues in the same vein of the last couple of posts where I talk about my food adventures during my Korean Thanksgiving vacation in Hong Kong (Post 1, Post 2), Macau, and Taiwan. Today I wanted to bring you the food that I enjoyed during my last full day/night in Hong Kong. We begin with my journey to the quaint fishing village of Tai-O on Lantau Island.
I originally went to Lantau to see the big Buddha statue that I saw on posters and on friends’ Facebooks, but while doing my research, I found out that a lesser known attraction is Tai-O fishing village. Naturally, I always prefer checking out lesser known spots that aren’t crawling with tourists like a honey-smeared popsicle chillin’ (see what I did there) on top of an anthill. When we arrived, I saw on my map that the little blurb said that the village was once known as the Venice of Hong Kong due to its location in relation to the sea, and all of the houses are on stilts which creates mini-canals for their boats. Plus, they have wild pink dolphins. That’s right. Flipper and friends got a new paint job courtesy of excess blood vessels under their skin. If you go to Lantau, skip the Buddha and go on the dolphin tour. Nothing like whipping around on a tiny fishing boat and seeing these unbelievably beautiful animals in the wild. Food-wise, obviously it’s a fishing village, so they’re known for their dried fish filets and shrimp paste.
However, I’m not the biggest seafood fan, but I do have a sweet tooth. So, I found another Tai-O specialty: nougat. I got a variety pack for 20 HKD that contained black sesame, plain, and green tea chunks, and I did not regret it at all. It made a great snack while hiking up to see the Buddha and also look out at the pristine forests of the island. My personal favorite was the black sesame because it tasted like a mix of vanilla, sesame seeds with a slightly earthy aftertaste, and lightly salted almonds.
The mix of sticky and crunchy really hit the spot. After a long day of walking and sightseeing on Lantau Island, I had dinner.
I ended up going to one of the most popular dim sum restaurants in Hong Kong with a Michelin star: Din Tai Fung located at 20 Canton Rd in Kowloon, Hong Kong. Let me warn you that the wait might be long if you don’t get reservations or are picky about seating. Thankfully, I timed it perfectly. It was very busy, but I liked the surroundings in the shopping mall and my friend I made at the entrance.
I started the meal off with some xiaolongbao (小籠包) that had soup on the inside.
You had to be very careful not to bite into them too quickly or else your mouth would be treated to a piping hot broth bath. So I saw the proper way to eat them was to nibble a hole in the top to let it cool and put some of the soy sauce marinade on the inside. Then you could pop the little tasty pockets in your mouth once they cooled down. Before I could even finish my second dumpling, they were bringing out the second and third plates. One was a mini-bowl of longer dumplings filled with shrimp and pork, and the other plate had orange spicy chicken.
The longer dumplings were extremely slippery and hard to grab with my chopsticks, but the struggle was worth it. The skin was tough enough to hold the contents back from erupting all over the bowl, yet tender enough to give way with the slightest grazing of my teeth. As for the filling, the shrimp and pork was simply decadent with a whole surf and turf meal condensed into one bowl of dumplings. As for the orange spice chicken, I liked it because it was all white meat coated in a sweet orange sauce that had a gentle spice level, and the dried seaweed garnish was a good addition because it complimented the wet, sweet meat with some dry, crunchy vegetables. Just when I thought this parade of great food would stop, they bestowed upon us a dumpling the side of probably a newborn baby’s head.
It was more bread than meat, and the bread was sticky yet soft as a cumulus cloud. Inside I encountered a large, seasoned pork meatball that was similar in taste to the soup dumplings’ interiors.
Plus, I ordered a bowl of beef noodle soup which is a Taiwanese specialty which made sense I had it there because Din Tai Fung is originally from Taiwan. I can see why Taiwanese people always crave this national dish.
From the strong and salty beef broth to the tender pieces of beef, it was a solid dish that I’d ask for on any cold day in winter. Oh yeah, and the noodles were not too bad either. Finally, I had “dessert” in the form of taro dumplings.
It was a nice change of pace from all of the aforementioned meat laden dishes, and it was a refreshing way to cleanse the palate of the strong flavors with the slightly sweet purple paste that I always love in my boba tea.
So if you’re looking for great dim sum, check out Din Tai Fung in Hong Kong, but be prepared to wait since the quality and price always ensure that there is a horde of hungry people waiting their turn to try the greatness that awaits them inside.
Next installment, I go to Taiwan and eat out of a toilet. Need I say more?