Travel: Our Macau/Hong Kong Getaway (6D/6N)!

Follow our 6 day, 6 night adventure in these lands of amazing food, awesome culture and astounding sights. See how we ate, shopped and laughed our way through Macau and Hong Kong! :)

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Travel: HK Day #3 - Lin Heung Kui 蓮香居 @ Sheung Wan

After the previous night's excitement at The Peak and Madame Tussaud's, we all slept in a little later the next morning. That day also happened to be Mid Autumn Festival, which is a public holiday in Hong Kong

On a public holiday, majority of shops are closed in Hong Kong. I believe couples and families flock to the theme parks on these days for a day of wholesome entertainment. Thankfully, public holiday also meant no work for the office people, so we had the chance to have brunch with Rebecca, Adam's friend from church!

She told us to meet her at Lin Heung Kui for dim sum. Only problem was she couldn't give us any further directions other than the nearest MTR station (Sheung Wan). So armed with nothing but printscreens of Google Map on Bryan's iPad, off we went! =D

At Sheung Wan MTR station, we alighted at Exit A1 to Des Voeux Road Central. The streets were extremely empty! So not what we were used to seeing in our Hong Kong trip thus far.

At Exit A1, take a left and continue walking up Des Voeux Road Central. Take a right at the end of the road (you'll see this huge red building which is the Western Market) and then left onto Connaught Road Central. Take another left and you'll find yourself on Des Voeux Road East, which is where Lin Heung Kui is.

A map to ensure you have an easier time than us!

But I'll be honest - our journey to Lin Heung Kui was anything but smooth. Thankfully we were actually on the right track, just that we didn't know it then. Word of advice to future visitors: Don't walk there from the MTR station. Learn To Take Trams. It will save you valuable time and energy walking all over the place.

Lin Heung Kui was out to be a name that made me exceptionally happy because it is a newer branch of the famous Lin Heung Tea House which was on our To-Do List!

In fact, Lin Heung Kui is an award-winning restaurant based on, the go-to directory for all famous food in Hong Kong.

Rebecca told us we would have a hard time getting a table, and she was absolutely right! Lin Heung Kui has 2 floors of seating, but both were equally packed with seated diners with even more standing around waiting for an empty table. There isn't much of a system there; it's almost like a Malaysian coffee shop where eagle eyes are important to spot tables that will soon be vacant. :p

But while Malaysians only fight for seats, at Lin Heung Kui people have to fight for food too! There are dim sum carts just like in Malaysia, and just like Malaysia it feels like the dim sum cart never comes round to our table.

But while we Malaysians are content with muttering under our breath and furiously signalling waiters, over in Hong Kong diners take matters into their own hands. When a new batch of the popular items like siew mai or har gao are brought out, there is literally a rush to the cart to get a hand on some! Definitely an experience, but not for the faint-hearted. 

But there's also other dim sum that's cooked on demand, like you can get in some places in Malaysia. But, I guess everything has a more authentic feel when we're experiencing it in the original land of dim sum...

Adam's favourite at dim sum joints is a serving of ham sui kok (Savoury Glutinous Dumplings or 咸水角). Not found in all dim sum restaurants over here; Adam prefers this over the wu kok (Yam Puff Dumplings or 芋角) because the pastry is not made of yam.

If this is done right, the pastry should be soft and crisp with a lot of meat filling inside. Over here, the glutinous pastry was thicker than what we were used to, but still good nonetheless.

We also had some Prawn Wantans, prawn filling in a thin, crispy popiah-esque skin. Awesome-ly crispy stuff for the child in us.

The Egg Tarts (蛋挞) were also delicious, piping hot and crumbling. An egg tart fell to a premature death though, we were only left with two.

This is one of the highlights at Lin Heung Kui - a simple ma lai kou (Malay (?) Steamed Cake or 馬拉糕) that kept us slowly nibbling at it. Not too sweet, and a soft fluffy texture. 

We ordered a Chinese Pancake from the made-to-order section, a light and crispy pan-fried pancake with carrots and chives. I really enjoyed this thin and light pancake.

We also had a dish of fried wu tao gou (Pan Fried Yam Cake or 芋頭糕) from the same section. This was full of yam and soft, but a little too oily.

What would a dim sum brunch be without some porridge? We asked for pei dan sau yuk porridge (Century Egg and Lean Pork Congee or 皮蛋瘦肉粥) which came with some crispy Chinese crullers. Simple and finely made, this was comfort to our stomachs.

Another crowd favourite is obviously the cheong fun (Rice Noodle Rolls or 腸粉) be it the char siu pork or prawn variety. We had both; one containing fresh, plump prawns, and the other with savoury diced barbecued pork. While the fillings were fresh, I think we're more accustomed to our localised version back here. The cheong fun was far too thick for my liking and the sauce much too concentrated and salty.

And last but not least, the dim sum which we all cannot go without: the siew mai (燒賣)! 

This was really good, still steaming hot and jam packed with a flavourful mixture of juicy prawns and some pork. Adam had to brave the crowd to get our table two basketfuls of siew mai as everyone was quickly snapping them up!

We also had some other dim sum (omg, it really seems as though we ate everything there is to offer at Lin Heung Kui). The cha siu bao (Steamed Barbecued Pork Bun or 叉燒包) was extremely disappointing. Many reviews praise the bao-s at Lin Heung Kui, but this didn't meet our expectations. There was too much bun, too little pork. We also had the fung zau (Chicken Feet or 鳳爪) but neither of us are fans so we didn't try that. The last two pictures were of beef and fish dumplings respectively, which looked interesting but turned out to be nothing special in the end.

This is how they record how many plates of dim sum you've taken =P
The total bill came up to about HKD 280 (about RM 110 at the exchange rate we had) for 6 of us, which is very reasonable for the amount we had, in our opinions.

We were extremely stuffed after stuffing ourselves with all that yummy authentic dim sum, but couldn't linger for long as the next batch of patrons had already come in and were hovering over our tables like hawks waiting to move in for the kill.

To walk off the calories, Rebecca showed us the way back to Central MTR Station. Off on a leisurely walk we went along Des Voeux Road West, also known as Hong Kong's Dried Seafood Street. Loads of small shops selling dried seafood like shrimp and abalone, and medicinal herbs like ginseng can be found here.

On the way we passed also passed by this herbal tea shop, Tung Lok Tong, similar to those herbal tea kiosks we find in shopping malls over here. We thought it would be very good for all of us since we each had one ailment or another. :p

It's probably one of the easiest businesses to set up. All it takes is preparation of several different herbal drinks, leave it simmering in the pots, and scoop to serve when required.

Although there were several different flavours, the lady recommended more or less the same one for all the problems we gave her! Whether sore throat, flu, or even pain from that time of the month (only applicable to females =p), the recommended drink was one aptly named ya sei mei, loosely translated to mean 24 Herbs or 廿四味 :D

She added in a dash of salt to each bowl and we were all ready to gulp down our herbal teas from bowls in true Hong Kong fashion.

A closer look at the herbal goodness. Who ever said things that are good for us must look nice? A bittersweet ending to an authentic Hong Kong brunch. :)


Lin Heung Kui 蓮香居 | Openrice
2-3/F, 46-50 Des Voeux Road West
Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

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